Seconds, little pieces of forever, crawling towards 5pm and quitting time–I’m drained of essence, slaving in a cubicle, no window, no outlet, no wind in my face, just an organized version of Hell, but with paperwork. My boss keeps yelling at me to think outside the box, but I’m crammed into a container that someone forget to punch holes in to let me breathe. I’m tired of watching the clock. I’m tired of asking permission to go to the bathroom. I’m tired of working for the man. It’s time to carve out my own niche. It’s time to do something for me. I’m going to be a cryptozoologist.
Cryptozoology is the search for animals believed to exist, but for which conclusive evidence is missing. The field also includes the search for known animals believed to be extinct. The scientist or explorer who discovers a new species gets the privilege of naming it. At last, I can see my 15 minutes coming, and it’s covered with scales and fur. But first, I need to bone up on cryptids, the hypothetical creatures involved…
Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark: the first encyclopedia of its kind contains nearly two hundred entries. This book provides definitive descriptions and many never-before-published drawings and photographs from eyewitnesses’ detailed accounts. You want to be sure you snag Bigfoot, and not your hairy next-door neighbor.
The Field Guide to Lake Monsters and Sea Serpents by Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe: Water covers two thirds of Earth’s surface, that’s a lot of exploring. From the serpentine “Champ” of Lake Champlain to the venerable “Nessie” of Loch Ness, extraordinary and unexplained creatures of the deep have been reported in sightings throughout the centuries. Comes with an in-depth taxonomy system. Now, let me tell you about the one that got away.
Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America by Scott Francis: Tired of bird watching? This book is limited to North American monsters such as The Jersey Devil, The Loveland Frogman and Tioga County’s very own Squonk. Within these pages you’ll find detailed pen-and-ink drawings, helpful quick-reference boxes for quick identification of key monster traits, a glossary of crytozoology terms, a remedial course in common monster knowledge, useful appendices, case studies, and more. Decoder ring not included.
The Monster Hunter’s Handbook by Ibrahin S. Amin: Looking for tougher prey? This book tells you how to hunt the creatures of lore, such as the Minotaur or Hellhounds–includes a useful section on legendary weapons like Excalibur and Mjolnir. Beware of hunting monsters, lest you become a monster. Gotta love that Nietzsche.
A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, And Other Subversive Spirits by Carol K. Mack and Dinah Mack: Every culture has its demons and they aren’t always cloven-hoofed. From the Tommyknockers of North American mountain mines to Japan’s fox like Kitsune to India’s Rakshasas, this book melds folklore and mythology to give an even handed view of the world’s demons. I guess we really do live in a global society.
Hunting the American Werewolf by Linda S. Godfrey: He’s out there… a malevolent beast with the head of a wolf-walking upright like a man! Don’t believe it? How do you explain dozens of verified sightings throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and nationwide? The author takes on weird creatures too bizarre to be real-and too well documented to be mere fairy-tales. Think I’ll be loading up the shotgun with some silver pellets.
Three Men Hunting Monsters: Six Weeks in Pursuit of Werewolves, Lake Monsters, Giant Cats, Ghostly Devil Dogs, and Ape-Men by Nick Redfern: A delightful travelogue with three English blokes who drink a lot of beer and investigate such entities as The Man Monkey of Ratan and the Big Gray Man. No exotic locales here with stinging insects, infectious diseases or restless natives. This takes place entirely in Great Britain. Road trip anyone?
Yes, there be dragons here and the map is not the territory. We may live on islands of ignorance adrift in oceans of chaos and we fear to voyage far from shore. Unknown creatures await, not urban legends like alligators in the sewers of New York, or aliens crashing in the desert at Roswell, or that social security can be saved. Beyond the known lands of humanity lie dragons, demons, and monsters both real and mythical. I will set sail for the edge of the world, the edge of reason. Seeking knowledge, seeking the unknown, seeking the truth. There are dragons alive in the world today, and I will find them…
Comments, questions, is the cryptid you know better than the cryptid you don’t?