Places with cryptozoological phenomena

Group of large animals in Lake Tianchi, China, 2013. This event was witnessed by hundreds of tourists
Group of large animals in Lake Tianchi, China, 2013. This event was witnessed by hundreds of tourists / Screenshot from YouKu, 2013

Outstanding places with cryptozoological phenomena around the world

This is unique list of locations with cryptozoological phenomena – some 50 cryptids which are linked to certain place and observed repeatedly over a longer time period.


Mysterious Lake Tele, Republic of Congo
Mysterious Lake Tele / Photo courtesy of Tom Klaytor, CC BY 2.0
  • Ennedi Tiger – Chad, Ennedi. People in Ennedi mountains have interesting stories about very strong, elusive tigerlike cat, similar to extinct (?) Machairodus cats. According to stories this purported sabertooth cat is living in caves. Locals even consider that there are two species – one in mountains (Hadjel, Gassingram) and one in water (Mourour N’gou).
  • Lake Kashiba – Zambia, Copperbelt Province. Lake in a sinkhole. The lake is 220 by 160 m large, it is approximately 100 m deep. Water level is some 10 m below the rims of sinkhole, water is lucid and deep blue. Numerous legends are linked to this lake, including a legend about lake monster. There are other similar sinkholes in this region.
  • Lake Ngozi – Tanzania, Mbeya. Enormous and picturesque crater lake. Locals consider this place to be magical, with many mysteries. According to local legends here lives a lake monster which comes out from the water in sunny days.
  • Lake Tele – Republic of the Congo, Likuala. Round freshwater lake deep in swampland and rainforest, possible impact crater. According to local stories in this lake and surrounding area lives mokèlé-mbèmbé – purported giant reptile. This remote area is very rich with rare species of plants and animals including a population of more than 120 thousand gorillas. Many other cryptids reported, such as mahamba – giant crocodile.


Some of most frequently seen and most filmed are Kanas Lake Monsters in China. Spectacular movie was made in 2012
Some of most frequently seen and most filmed are Kanas Lake Monsters in China. Spectacular movie was made in 2012 / Screenshot from CCTV news.
  • Ayia Napa Sea Monster – Cyprus, Famagusta. Legendary sea monster which, reportedly, is occasionally seen near the coast, most frequently at Cape Greco.
  • Bardia Elephants – Nepal, Bheri. In this pristine Terai forest lives a population of weird elephants. These animals are larger than any known Asian elephants and have an unusual appearance, making them more similar to mammoths.
  • Bukit Timah Monkey Man – Singapore. Although the Bukit Timah rainforest is very small and surrounded by a modern city, there are reports about hominid living in this forest.
  • Cheonji – abode of Lake Tianchi monster – North Korea, Ryanggang and China, Jilin. According to legends and modern stories in this beautiful crater lake lives a monster.
  • Cat-fox in Kayan Mentarang National Park – Indonesia, North Kalimantan. It is possible that in this pristine tropical forest lives carnivore – an animal which looks like a cross between fox and cat. This animal was photographed on cameras of BBC researchers in 2005.
  • Endau-Rompin National Park and Mawas – Malaysia, Johor and Pahang. One of the oldest tropical rainforest complexes in the world which contains many rare plants and animals. Forest is 870 km² large. Indigenous people in this forest tell stories about encounters with Mawas – mythical, human-like creatures who are 3 – 4 m tall. There are also recent sightings of this creature.
  • Kanas Lake Monsters – China, Xinjiang. According to legends in this lake live giant fish or similar creatures, which are some 10 – 15 m long. These animals have been caught on video, including an aerial which shows a group of some 15 creatures crossing the lake (2012).
  • Khumjung Monastery – Nepal, Sagarmatha. In this monastery is located a purported scalp of yeti. Research shows that it is a fake made of Himalayan serow skin.
  • Kok-Kol Lake and Aidahar – Kazakhstan, Jambyl. An unusual montane lake which, reportedly, emits sounds – long whistles or sighs. This could be explained by emissions of gas from the bottom of the lake. According to stories of many locals sometimes here is seen a monster – Aidakhar – which comes out from the lake and hunts sheep. This monster has been observed also by some scientists but there is no evidence whether it exists in reality.
  • Lake Labynkyr Monster – Russia, Sakha Republic. Local Yakuts tell legends about a fierce, giant animal who lives in this lake. Geologists have noticed this animal in 1953 and later there have appeared unusual legends about the charms of this lake.
  • Mae Charim Yeties – Thailand, North. Local people frequently have met enormous, hairy and black creatures in this remote, mountainous area of Thailand. According to some stories, local people never leave their villages after the dark due to these aggressive animals.
  • Mande Burung near Balpakram, Garo Hills – India, Meghalaya. Many local people are convinced that in the extensive subtropical forest in Garo Hills live large (some 3 m tall), man-like creatures that are covered with hair. Especially frequently these animals are seen in a forested canyon near Balpakram.
  • Pangboche Monastery and Pangboche Hand – Nepal, Sagarmatha. In this monastery was located a hand of an unknown creature, a hominid which was not human. Parts of hand were stolen in 1959, the remaining parts disappeared in 1999.
  • Peppara Forest and Kallanas – India, Kerala. A population of suspected dwarf elephants reportedly lives in this forest. Here lives the common Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) but local people are convinced that considerably smaller elephants – Kallanas – hide from the common elephants further up in the mountains. Maximum height of Kallanas is 1.5 m.
  • Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary – Bhutan, Trashigang. Gorgeous primeval forest in Himalaya, mostly – temperate forest and subalpine ecosystems. One of the reasons for the creation of this sanctuary is the protection of migoi – man-like cryptid, whose existence has not been proved but local people are convinced that it exists.
  • Shennongjia white animals – China, Hubei. Virgin montane forest with a very high diversity of plants and animals. This is an ancient forest with little climatic change since the Jurassic period. As a result here live many ancient species. Peculiar is the many reported sightings of diverse white animals – bears (Bai-Xiong), snakes, monkeys, deer, crows, weasels. Many local people have reported sightings of big human-like animals.
  • Shishi-Kuh Valley – Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. An area where many researchers and local people have spotted footprints and sounds made by unknown animals. Many local people often have seen an ape-like creature which is similar to Neanderthal man. This animal is called Barmanu and it has been spotted in other areas too.
  • Vũ Quang – Vietnam, North Central Coast. A remote, forested region, where numerous new species of animals and plants have been found over the last decades and several more are reported but their existence has not been proved yet. One of the most intriguing ones is batutut (Nguoi Rung) – a human-like creature, which is approximately 1.8 m tall and covered with hair.

Australia and Oceania

  • Ropen of Umboi Island – Papua New Guinea, Umboi Island, Morobe Province. According to tales and legends sometimes here is seen a featherless, enormous flying creature. In the night, while flying, it is glowing for several seconds. It is seen in other parts of Papua New Guinea as well but most frequently it is in Umboi. Some believe that this might be a flying reptile similar to pterosaur.
  • Kakamora caves (Kakangora caves) – Solomon Islands, Makira-Ulawa. Legendary, inaccessible caves, where, according to locals, live Kakamora people – ancient dwarf people, just one meter tall, walking naked and endowed with incredible strength. Many believe that these people still exist.
  • Lake Murray Monster – Papua New Guinea, Western Province. Over the last 10 years in Lake Murray repeatedly has been spotted enormous carnivore, a reptile which is named Au Angi-Angi. It is similar to Theropoda dinosaurs.


Storsjöodjuret - lake monster in Sweden
Storsjöodjuret – lake monster in Sweden / Screenshot from Sveriges TV, Jämtland, 2007
  • Am Fear Liath Mòr (Greyman) – United Kingdom, Scotland, between Aberdeenshire and Moray. A mythical creature which, reportedly, haunts the highlands around Ben Macdui mountain. According to the eyewitnesses, this is very tall, human-like creature which is covered with short hair. Many travelers report uneasy, fearsome feelings in this area.
  • Brosno Lake Monster – Russia, Tver Oblast. Some 4 – 5 m long, serpent-like creature, which has been observed in this lake since the 19th century or even the 13th century. Photographed in 1996. Later investigations though have shown that stories could have been created by large bubbles of gas coming from the lake bed.
  • Lagarfljót – Iceland, Austurland. This large lake, according to legends, has a monster – Lagarfljotsormurinn (Lagarfljot Worm) – living in it.
  • Loch Morar Monster – Morag – United Kingdom, Scotland, Highland. In this lake, more than 30 times has been observed a serpent-like creature, which, reportedly, is some 6 m long.
  • Loch Ness Monster – Nessie – United Kingdom, Scotland, Highland. Best known cryptid in the world albeit not too credible. Nessie is a supposed creature living in Loch Ness – large lake in the Scottish Highlands. By many considered to be a surviving reptile similar to plesiosaurs. Attained worldwide fame in 1933 although supposedly mentioned already in the 6th century AD. Numerous search expeditions with state of the art technologies have found some unexplained phenomena but there have been no convincing proofs for existence of Nessie.
  • Seljordsvatnet Monster – Selma – Norway, Telemark. A lake monster which is similar to Nessie. This monster has been sighted since the 18th century. It was filmed in 2012.
  • Storsjöodjuret – Sweden, Jämtland. A lake monster is reported in Storsjön lake since 1635. This animal is reportedly some 6 m long and looks like an aquatic reptile with fins across its back.

North America

Nahanni Valley, Canada. Mysterious events have taken place here
Nahanni Valley, Canada. Mysterious events have taken place here / Alison and Fil, / CC BY 2.0
  • Cayuga Lake Monster – Old Greeny – United States, New York. Sightings of serpent-like monster have been reported here since the early 19th century. Already by the end of the 19th century, it was sighted 69 times at least, but there have been multiple reports in the 20th century as well.
  • Chickcharney – mysterious bird in Andros Island – Bahamas, forest of Andros Island. According to tales of locals in the forest of this island lives approximately 1 m tall creature which resembles an owl. There is a possibility that here survives the flightless owl Tyto pollens, which was 1 m tall and was last reported in the 16th century.
  • Crescent Lake Monster – Cressie – Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the tales of ancient Native Canadians and contemporary people in this lake lives an enormous, eel-like creature. Numerous giant eels attacked a group of divers in the 1980s.
  • Flathead Lake Monster – United States, Montana. Lake monster which, reportedly, is similar to Loch Ness monster. First reported sighting took place in 1889 and since then it has been seen numerous times. In 1993 the monster was seen 13 times, including two times with two monsters at once.
  • Headless Man Valley in Nahanni National Park – Canada, British Columbia. Site of legends where several gold seekers died in mysterious conditions in the early 20th century – reportedly, their heads were ripped off. Some link these attacks to the mysterious people called Naha – but this is little likely. Here are reported other cryptids as well, e.g. nuk-luk – man-like hominid and waheela – giant wolves which are somewhat similar to bears.
  • Islesboro Up-island spider – United States, Maine. In a small area of Islesboro island are observed wolf spiders of unusual size, with a leg span reaching 20 cm. According to local legends, these spiders arrived here in a coffin.
  • Lake Champlain monster – Champ – United States, Vermont and New York as well as Canada, Quebec. Well known lake monster which has been seen more than 300 times since 1609. It’s existence though has not been proved. The animal is similar to snake.
  • Lake Simcoe Monster – Igopogo – Canada, Ontario. Impressive lake monster which is similar both to sea serpent and canine. It is seen rarely but consistently throughout several centuries at least. Animal made sudden appearance during the boat race in 1991.
  • Lake Tahoe Monster – Tessie – United States, California, and Nevada. Many times in this lake has been sighted 3 – 25 m long serpent-like monster.
  • Lake Utopia Monster – Old Ned – Canada, New Brunswick. In this lake every few years is observed a monster, which, according to different reports, is 3 – 15 m long. It looks like a cetacean and it is possible that it comes here from the sea.
  • Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp – United States, South Carolina. In abandoned areas of Lee country over the last decades is reported fearsome, approximately 2 – 2.1 m tall monster with lizard-like skin. This monster repeatedly attacked cars in events which resemble scenes from horror movies.
  • Lusca – giant octopus of Andros blue holes – Bahamas, in blue holes around Andros Island. There are numerous stories about giant squids that reportedly live in the sinkholes near the coast of Andros. According to these stories, this monster is up to 23 m or even 60 m long.
  • Memphremagog Lake monster – Memphre – Canada, Quebec. A lake monster, which reportedly looks like a whale or plesiosaur. First sightings have been reported in 1816 but there are also recent ones, e.g. in 2005.
  • Okanagan Lake monster – Ogopogo – Canada, British Columbia. A serpent-like monster which is reported since the 19th century. This serpent reportedly is 12 – 15 m long.
  • Reindeer Lake Monster – Canada, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Reportedly there is a monster in the Deep Bay, which eats reindeer who fall through the ice. In 2006 it killed several dogs.
  • Big Wally (Wallowa Lake Monster) – United States, Oregon. Many reports, including legends of native people about an enormous, manatee-like animal, which is up to 15 m long.

South America

Purported image of Nahuelito - monster of Nahual Huapi Lake, Argentina
Purported image of Nahuelito – monster of Nahual Huapi Lake, Argentina / Mapazf, / public domain
  • Nahual Huapi Lake Monster – Nahuelito – Argentina, Río Negro. A purported lake monster living in the enormous Nahual Huapi Lake. Stories tell that this animal is similar to a plesiosaur, 4.5 – 6 m long. The first stories about the animal have been recorded in the late 19th century.

Described places with cryptozoological phenomena

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General description

Cryptozoology is very exciting pseudoscience – a discipline which stands between true science and folklore.

It deals with legendary animals which seem to exist but their existence has not been proved.

Stories which are never ending

The most interesting aspect of this discipline is the following: often it seems that just one more step – a final proof or one more expedition is needed and the elusive cryptid (undiscovered animal) will be discovered, it will receive its Latin name and will be added to the long list of known species. Nope… just like in a good TV drama the story goes on and on and becomes more and more interesting with every next turn because cryptid just can not be "discovered".

There is no need to belittle cryptozoology – it is a pastime of many outstanding personalities including many of the best biologists. Numerous expeditions have been organized to remote parts of Earth and have brought home many interesting scientific discoveries. Members of expeditions sometime manage to get some proof of the existence of cryptids, but, alas, this is not a common science but cryptozoology: proof is lost on the way home. Such are the rules of this "genre".


This category includes places where on a regular basis can be observed cryptozoological phenomena.

Wondermondo does not include all legends and stories related to cryptozoology. Here are included only these cases which are:

Giant snake in Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo. This unknown snake is 14 - 16 m long, longer than any known snake in Africa
Giant snake in Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo. This unknown snake is 14 – 16 m long, longer than any known snake in Africa / Image taken by Rene van Lierde from helicopter in 1959.
  • Linked to a certain place. Here are not included these cryptids which are reported in different places of larger regions – e.g. giant anaconds of South America or the fearsome j’ba fofi (1.5 m large spider) of Central Africa. In fact Wondermondo tries to keep the 500 km² rule and avoids to include landmarks which take larger area than this.
  • Repeating over a longer time. Cryptozoology has many cases when some weird beasts are seen only once or few times over a short time period. Such cases are not included here – Wondermondo describes more or less permanent phenomena. There are rather many cryptids which are well known for many centuries.
  • Recent. It seems, cryptids sometimes die too. There are cases when weird animals were seen on a regular basis in the past but are not reported for many decades. Such cases are not included here.

Most popular cryptids

There are two kinds of cryptids which are reported all over the world and are a lot more popular than any others. These are: a) lake monsters and b) hominids.

Lake monsters

Loch Ness Monster, screenshot from the film
Loch Ness Monster, screenshot from the film of ©Tim Dinsdale, 1960. Although Dinsdale was confident that this was the monster, it could be just a boat.

Unofficial queen of cryptozoology is Nessie – Loch Ness Monster. If foreigners would be asked to list top five things associated with Scotland, Nessie most likely would be on this list. But there are hundreds of lakes (as well as rivers, sinkholes and sea bays) around the world with similar stories about dragon-like or serpent-like monsters. Lake monsters are known for centuries in such diverse countries as China, Japan, Tanzania, Congo, Canada and other countries.

Lake monsters for most part are enormous, much larger than any known freshwater fish and reptiles. It is tempting to assume that these cryptids have descended from dinosaurs but almost everyone understands that this is nonsense – such enormous animals can not survive more than 60 million years and finally live in comparatively small waterbodies without being discovered. It is also tempting to explain all encounters with casual, boring explanations – floating logs, groups of common fish, fraud, wishful thinking etc. But this does not help as well – there are many cases when reputable people or even large groups of people have clearly observed large, unusual animals in these lakes.


Image of purported sasquatch, filmed in California, United States, 1967. Specialists are unsure whether this is hoax or real sighting
Image of purported sasquatch, filmed in California, United States, 1967. Specialists are unsure whether this is hoax or real sighting / Screenshot from ©Patterson-Gimlin film.

It is known that in parallel to modern humans there were living several more species or subspecies of humans which went extinct not that long ago. The dwarf Homo floresiensis lived on Flores island (Indonesia) some 17,000 years ago – in time when modern humans created magnificent rock art in Australia and elsewhere in the world.

This leaves a minor possibility that somewhere still is living a group of these "alternate" humans. Who knows – may be the popular legends about small forest spirits and gnomes tell about another human species (see the story about dwarf people of Kakamora Caves)?

Many stories tell about another kind of elusive human-like beings – enormous, hairy primates who live in mountains, large forest and sometimes – even near cities in every continent of the world (of course, except Antarctica). For example, thousands of countryside people in Meghalaya or Chitral have no doubts that these beings exist. Cryptozoologists speculate that these could be surviving giant apes, such as Gigantopithecus, which, according to more common science is extinct for some 100 thousand years. This 3 m tall giant lived in China and India.

Other cryptids

Purported bioluminescence of indava "birds", Papua New Guinea, 1996
Purported bioluminescence of indava "birds", Papua New Guinea, 1996 Paul Nation. Screenshot from video.

Other kinds of cryptids are less popular but not less exciting. What about flying reptiles which are reported in Umboi Island (Papua New Guinea)? Or possible subspecies of mammoth in Nepal? May be there exist giant squids which hide in the mysterious blue holes near Andros (Bahamas)?

World (and human mind…) is exciting!

Recommended books

People are Seeing Something

In this book, Denver Michaels examines reports of lake monsters in the United States and Canada. Simply put, Michaels’ title says it all—people are seeing something—sincere, honest people report seeing strange creatures in the water on a regular basis. The reports are real; moreover, there is much more to the plethora of sightings than just the misidentification of known animals and hoaxes. Michaels also takes the time to examine the bodies of water where cryptids are said to dwell.

Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology

Bigfoot hunters and their brethren are often depicted as outcasts, misfits, or passionate amateurs toiling in solitude. But has this always been the case? This fresh and entertaining study looks at the surprisingly complex relationship between professional scientists and cryptozoologists.


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