Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 4th, 2011
What cryptid will be the first to be sighted and to make the news during the new year?
Actually, unknown animals are being encountered and seen all the time, but unless someone in the media (and I mean all the media) publishes on the account, how do we know if it is the “first”?
What were some of the firsts from years’ past?
Every year I watch to see what is the first cryptid sighting that is mentioned in the media indicating what might be the actual first cryptid encounter.
Take for instance 2000. On January 2nd, news services reported that in the rural Malaysian village of Kampung Chennah, durian farmer Liong Chong Shen, 50, smelling a strong odor and hearing a grunt, turned to see two mystery ape-like animals covered in long, shiny, black and brown hair. The mawas (as they are locally called) stared at the startled farmer, and walked back into the nearby rainforest.
As fate would have it, this 2000 media hiccup would foreshadow what happened six years later. As more details surfaced, the 2000 sighting had actually occurred a week earlier, thus taking place in 1999. Interestingly, it would not be until December 2005, when a similar series of sightings in Johor would play on the bigger global stage for weeks, then months into 2006.
We know from the history of the discovery of the coelacanth that the holidays can interrupt the dissemination of information on what is being found, when, and where. During the modern era, it seems, the first cryptid seen and reported is often a mystery cat, perhaps because there are more of them around.
For example, the Year 2001 began quietly in the United Kingdom, at 9:20 PM, local time, on the first day of the year, when a puma-like beast was seen crossing the road near Tiverton.
The first supposed sighting of 2002 was on January 4, when the guests and manager of a Tasmanian teahouse at Oatland said they saw a “Nessie.” The supposed encounter was of a monster in a marshy, shallow Tasmanian spot named Lake Dulverton. The lake had been dry for a period of 14 years, and apparently local resorts had suffered as a result. By the year’s end, the report was taken tongue-in-cheek by locals and nearby Australian cryptozoologists, as merely a tourism publicity stunt.
A more conventional appearance of an unknown animal took place on January 7, 2002, when eyewitness Michael Lefevre, 49, of Shoebury, Essex, United Kingdom, spied a black panther on his garden patio. The five-foot long, two-and-half-foot tall black cat with “piercing emerald green eyes” was eating some chicken bits Lefevre had left out for local wildlife.
On January 1, 2006, the first cryptozoologically-related media dispatch was from the Italian press, reporting that the country was experiencing a wave of Black Panther sightings. In an item entitled “Panther Panic Hits Italy Again,” one eyewitness interviewed was a Turin traffic cop who managed to identify the big feline as a Black Panther. After the second Umbria sighting of a Black Panther, locals said they had seen a Mystery Lion roaming in the vicinity, but the incidents happened before January 2006.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.