Cryptids have always fascinated conspiracists not only because of their elusiveness but because they appear so often in lore from almost every culture there is. Cryptids are by definition any creature that has been reported to exist but there is not enough proof for its existence to be scientifically accepted. Some are ridiculously unlikely, but others have some reasonably believable evidence. These are ten that the casual conspiracist might not know about, but definitely should, in no particular order.
I’m skipping Bigfoot because I already wrote about him. Here’s everything you need to know about him, an interesting theory on his ancestry, and all his relatives.
The Loch Ness Monster (and its relatives). You’ve probably heard of this one: a large, mysterious water monster that resides in Loch Ness of the Scottish Highlands and other large lakes. Nessie and Champ are its two most common aliases, but it’s been called many things. The species is described as either a long, thick snake with a large head, or a fat soft-shelled turtle with a long neck and a protrusion on its back. Its most likely explanation is an overgrown eel, but some people claim that Nessie is not one creature but a breed of ancient dinosaurs that survived the prehistoric apocalypse that killed the other dinosaurs by waiting it out in the depths.
Slenderman. This friendly guy is actually invisible to everyone except young children, unless he is on camera. Most people agree that there is only one Slenderman, but he appeared in cave paintings and lore in several countries and continents (Brazil, Egypt, Germany, etc). He is often seen in suburbs and forests, following children. Little is know about his behavior because of his invisibility, but legend says he grows tentacles from his back if needed and communicates with his human servants telepathically. His motives are unknown, but what we do know is that he kills any children he catches. He has also been blamed for several murders, most of them kids killing other kids in his name.
Mothman. This is not a Marvel superhero, although it would make a good one, but a mysterious humanoid cryptid residing in West Virginia. Unlike many other cryptids, this one saves people rather than murdering them. There are several accounts of a large, owl-like creature scaring people away from an area before a disaster. The most famous one was the incident of I-35W bridge collapse, where Mothman appeared months before and reportedly attempted to scare people off the bridge more and more often until it collapsed. However, there are even reports of him haunting the sites of Fukushima, Chernobyl, and 9/11 weeks before the disasters.
Chupacabra, also known as Goatsucker. These critters are known to feed on livestock by sucking their blood. For goats and sheep, they tend to inflict snake-like punctures on the neck or chest, through which they suck out the blood, but they are known to resort to mutilating larger prey and drain them limb by limb. The scientifically accepted explanation is a coyote-dog hybrid with mange, but some eyewitnesses describe a reptilian creature with green scales quills protruding from its back.
Maryland Goatman. A legend of an ax-wielding seven-foot tall half-man half-goat hybrid that runs around the countryside scaring people out of their minds might sound far-fetched, but some Maryland residents are convinced of its reality. The backstory is that an agricultural experiment concerning goats went wrong, and the result was this hybrid, which grabbed an ax ran for the woods. It is most often seen on the side of the road waiting for teens, who it seems to enjoy scaring particularly. However, no murders are associated with it yet.
Hellhounds. There are many legends of sinister black dogs as omens of death from just about everywhere in the world. Arguably the most well known is Black Shuck from Britain, but there are other famous devil dogs in folk culture as well, from the Vikings to Native Americans. Some are considered omens of death, and others as servants of the devil. Hellhounds are difficult to search for since they can be confused for any big black dog, and because they are supernatural entities so they can appear and disappear to individual people, rendering them impossible to find if they don’t want to be found.
Dover Demon. The general public appears to be undecided as to whether this freak is an alien or something else. It is known to take the form of a small humanoid with a massive misshapen head. It doesn’t seem to have any violent intentions, but it’s still a disturbing creature. The likeliest explanation people have come up with so far is that it’s an orphaned baby moose, and even that is contradicted by the fact that someone mistook it for a deformed child and chased it until he realized it was an alien, which indicates that it is bipedal.
Spring-Heeled Jack. Sightings of this guy date back to Victorian England and are almost certainly related to Jack the Ripper. The only clear difference between the cryptid and the killer is that Spring-Heeled Jack is a supernatural being, thought by some to be a devil. Jack is a shapeshifting humanoid often seen flying through the sky, characterized by his hat, cloak, and long, claw-like nails. He is known to laugh and shriek loudly before jumping off buildings and walls and flying away. He has been blamed for several real crimes, including murder, but much like Jack the Ripper, he was never identified as a single person.
Mongolian Death Worm. Olgoi-Khorkhoi, the official name of the creature, loosely translates to “large intestinal worm,” but contrary to the name they live in the Gobi Desert, not people’s guts. These creatures measure up to seven feet long and a foot wide. They have been observed to kill a human by touch alone, but its main weapon is corrosive projectile saliva. The sheer number of sightings over the past few thousand years and hundreds of attributed deaths alone give credibility to the myth, although no fossil evidence has been found.