Strange things are afoot in the animal kingdom. In Sweden, a 16-inch “Ratzilla” burrowed into a family’s home and terrorized them for weeks. In Canada, a two-legged dog jogged down the beach as if it were a human. Our sense of what is possible is expanding every day – could the cryptids, those legendary monsters of folklore, have more grounding in scientific fact than previously assumed?
Probably not. But it’s April Fools’ Day, and that means we can have just as much fun fooling ourselves as we do other people. After all, the world is a more interesting place with these creatures in it.
Join us below as we explore the most intriguing cryptid sightings of 2014 – if they’re real, might they be hiding in your backyard?
The legend of the Chupacabra – a bloodsucking monster that preys on livestock – continues to haunt the Southwest, most recently in March, when a Texas family claimed to have shot and killed a real Chupacabra. With its terrifying teeth and unholy grimace, the animal’s corpse certainly fits the Chupcabra’s description, but local authorities, their hearts dead to the magic of the West, say the creature was likely a local predator infected by Sarcoptic mange.
Bigfoot enthusiasts received a disappointing blow to their efforts on March 28, when self-proclaimed “best Bigfoot tracker in the world” Rick Dyer admitted that his two-year publicity campaign to convince the world he’d killed the beast was a lie. This was the second time Dyer admitted to lying about killing the legendary monster, which raises the question of why anyone trusted him in the first place.
As you may guess from its delightfully folksy moniker, the Yowie is the Australian analogue to Bigfoot, a gigantic hominid rumored to hide in the Australian bush. Given Australia’s remarkable biodiversity and relatively low population density, the Yowie might be slightly easier to believe in than its American relative, particularly among the numerous travelers who have recently reported seeing it in the New South Wales outback.
Conspiracy theorist David Icke has popularized the theory that several world leaders are actually reptilians in disguise, but less cynical cryptid fans have reported seeing lizard people wandering the wilderness in their natural skin, far from the corridors of power. Typical is this account from February, in which a trio of bikers reported encountering a six-foot-tall reptile with clawed hands and snake eyes while traveling through the Arizona desert.
“When you read these stories online or watch them on TV, you think, ‘Man, these people are crazy, or on meds or something,'” CryptoZoologyNews.com quoted one of the bikers as saying. “This story has made me a believer.”
What’s Portugese for “spooky-scary?” The Brazilian Internet blew up in February after security footage of what appeared to be a terrifying wolf figure, complete with tales of frightened locals and security lockdowns, went viral.
The rumors were finally stopped by the Internet equivalent of a silver bullet: A few skeptical sleuths, who noticed that the video dated back to at least 2007. Officials in the town reportedly terrorized by the werewolf said they had no knowledge of any such creature – of course, that’s what they would say.
If a body of water is large enough and deep enough, eventually people are going to start worrying there are monsters in it. The most recent rumblings come from Russia, where a team of scientists has been studying Siberia’s Lake Labynkyr, hoping to find evidence of a mysterious sea creature that fascinated the media in 2013. (Initial reports that those divers found a large jawbone at the bottom of the lake have not been confirmed.)
Meanwhile in Scotland, longtime Loch Ness watchers are puzzled at the lack of sightings of their own aquatic monster – there have been no reports of “Nessie” in a year and a half, for the first time since 1925. Maybe it migrated?
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