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Places with cryptozoological phenomena

Storsjöodjuret - lake monster in Sweden
Storsjöodjuret - lake monster in Sweden / Screenshot from Sveriges TV, Jämtland, 2007
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Described cryptozoological phenomena

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What is included in this category?

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.

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

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

Stories that never have an 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 sometimes manage to get some proof of the existence of cryptids, but, alas, this is not a common science but cryptozoology: the proof is lost on the way home. Such are the rules of this “genre”.

Criteria

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:

  • Linked to a certain place. Here are not included these cryptids which are reported in different places of larger regions – e.g. giant anacondas 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

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.

The unofficial queen of cryptozoology is Nessie – Loch Ness Monster. If foreigners would be asked to list the 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 the 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 water bodies 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.

Hominids

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 a hoax or a 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 a 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 – maybe 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 forests, 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
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 that are reported on Umboi Island (Papua New Guinea)? Or possible subspecies of a mammoth in Nepal? Maybe there exist giant squids that hide in the mysterious blue holes near Andros (Bahamas)?

World (and human mind…) is exciting!

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Top 25 places with cryptozoological phenomena

Africa

Republic of Congo

Round 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. Many other cryptids reported, such as mahamba – giant crocodile. Numerous rare species of plants and animals including a population of more than 120 thousand gorillas.

Mysterious Lake Tele, Republic of Congo
Lake Ngozi

Tanzania

An enormous and picturesque crater lake. Locals consider this place to be magical, with many mysteries. According to local legends here lives a lake monster that comes out from the water on sunny days.

Makasutu Cultural Forest

Gambia

Site of legends, a thick forest at Mandina Bolon stream. Site of legends – according to locals this forest is haunted by djinns and here earlier (or even today) was living the beast called Ninki-nanka, similar to a dinosaur.

Night falls over the mysterious Makasutu Forest, Gambia
Lake Kashiba

Zambia

Lake in a sinkhole. The lake is 220 by 160 m large, it is approximately 100 m deep. The water level is some 10 m below the rims of the sinkhole, water is lucid and deep blue. Numerous legends are linked to this lake, including a legend about the lake monster. There are other similar sinkholes in this region.

Kaulime Lake

Malawi

Small montane lake, a sacred site to local people. According to local legends here lives an enormous snake that enables the communication between humans and gods. In the lake are left offerings.

Asia

China

According to legends in this lake live giant fish or similar creatures that are some 10 – 15 m long. These animals have been caught on video, including an aerial that shows a group of some 15 creatures crossing the lake (2012).

Two Kanas Lake creatures, China
Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhutan

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.

Cheonji - abode of Lake Tianchi monster

China / North Korea

According to legends and modern stories in this beautiful crater lake lives a monster.

Group of large animals in Lake Tianchi, China, 2013. This event was witnessed by hundreds of tourists
Shennongjia white animals

China

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. 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.

Pangboche Monastery and Pangboche Hand

Nepal

In this monastery was located a hand of a dead, unknown creature, a hominid that was not human. Parts of the hand were stolen in 1959, the remaining parts disappeared in 1999.

The mysterious hand in Pangboche Monastery - before it disappeared
Endau-Rompin National Park and Mawas

Malaysia

One of the oldest tropical rainforest complexes in the world with 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.

Vietnam

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 that is approximately 1.8 m tall and covered with hair.
Pseudoryx nghetinhensis in Vũ Quang Nature Reserve
Shishi-Kuh Valley

Pakistan

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 that is similar to Neanderthal man. This animal is called Barmanu and it has been spotted in other areas too.

India

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. The maximum height of Kallanas is 1.5 m.
Peppara Forest
Khumjung Monastery

Nepal

In this monastery is located a purported scalp of yeti. Research shows that it is a fake that is made of Himalayan serow skin.

Kok-Kol Lake and Aidahar

Kazakhstan

An unusual montane lake that, 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 – that comes out from the lake and hunts sheep. This monster was been observed also by some scientists but there is no evidence whether it exists in reality.

Mae Charim Yeties

Thailand

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.

India

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.

Balpakram National Park

Australia and Oceania

Ucheliungs Cave (Ucheliuns Cave)

Palau

Cave with the entrance in shallow seawater. 2,900 – 1,400 years old burial site of the early inhabitants of islands. Burials belong to extinct dwarf people, possibly weighing just 28 – 47 kg.

Ropen of Umboi Island

Papua New Guinea

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 a pterosaur.

Europe

Loch Ness monster

United Kingdom

The most famous legend about cryptid in the world. Nessie is a supposed creature living in Loch Ness – a large lake. 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. No convincing proofs for the existence of Nessie have been found.

Loch Ness Monster, screenshot from the film

North America

Headless Man Valley in Nahanni National Park

Canada

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. Here are reported other cryptids as well, e.g. nuk-luk – man-like hominid and waheela – giant wolves that have a similarity to bears.

Nahanni Valley, Canada. Mysterious events have taken place here
Lake Champlain monster - Champ

Canada / United States

Well-known lake monster that has been seen more than 300 times since 1609. Its existence though has not been proved. The animal is similar to a snake.

Most famous image of Lake Champlain monster, taken in 1977 by Sandra Mansi

United States

Many reports, including legends of native people about an enormous, manatee-like animal that is up to 15 m long. The elongated lake is 5.6 km long and 1.2 km wide, up to 91 m deep.

Wallowa Lake

South America

Argentina

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.

Purported image of Nahuelito - monster of Nahual Huapi Lake, Argentina
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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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