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Future CZ TV: Top Ten Cryptids

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 14th, 2010

Future CZ TV: Top Ten Cryptids
by Loren Coleman

Topless Robot posted a brilliant blog list yesterday. Entitled “Top 10 Cryptozoological Creatures that Have Yet to be Exploited in Film and Television” by Kevin Guhl, it suggests exactly what its headline says it does. I am not sure I’ve heard of Kevin Guhl before, but we seem to share an occasional listing-type of mentality. I like his brain and will seek out his work, henceforth.

This is Guhl’s introduction to his list and his justification:

“Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Jersey Devil and El Chupacabra are among the most famous cryptids – mysterious creatures people claim exist but have yet to be proven by science (and let’s face it, probably will never be). They’ve gotten their fair share of screen time on TV and in the movies, as the possibility of their existence is a natural thrill for the human imagination. Even lesser known beasts that exist more in folklore, urban legends and unverifiable accounts like the Thunderbird, the Dover Demon and the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp (a Creature from the Black Lagoon wannabe) have gotten the limelight in shows like Secret Saturdays and Lost Tapes. The following 10 creatures have yet to be exploited on film or television (to our knowledge), but should be! ”

I have some reactions to his list, so I’m going to critique it. I shall also give my own list, and encourage you to make up your own accounting of recommendations (which you can share in comments).

Yes, we are doing all the creative, pre-production work for the producers of forthcoming reality television series, but, heck, let’s hope the programming folks take these ideas to heart. We need a few good shows in the coming years.

Here’s Guhl’s list, followed by my grades on his choices. (I was an adjunct associate film professor for 20 years at a university. I can’t help myself, sometimes.)

I will review these picks based upon the criteria of whether they are really cryptozoologically-worthy and whether I think they have already been exploited in film and television. (As opposed to the clever trend in blogs and on David Letterman, to have the list go from 10 to 1, I’m going with the traditional way I like lists, that is, from 1 to 10.)

1. Bloop – Strange unknown marine sounds (1997, onward?)

This is an “A-” choice. While some may have explained this as mere fish farts, there remains a mystery as to whether these are unknown whale noises or Sea Serpent signaling devices. Not sure an entire documentary could be build around it, but clearly this is a good cryptozoological choice and it has not been noted on tv or in movies, to any great extent. But the visuals would be so speculative, I won’t even have this on my top ten list.

2. Batsquatch – Washington State’s Winged Creature (1980s-1990s)

Another good pick on Guhl’s part, and I would say the “A+” member of his list. The original report is unique, and there are beginning hints of others, which may merge with other sightings. No movies or television episodes, as far as I know, have dealt with the Batsquatch, and it is a goldmine of the spooky, scary, and the cryptozoological.

3. Champ – Lake Champlain Monsters (1813-Present)

This is a “D.” While it is clearly about the cryptid lake monsters of Lake Champlain, these creatures have been overdone. National Geographic, MonsterQuest, and other documentary-type programs have looked into Champ in some depth (no pun intended). I would have given an “F” for this, but Guhl seems to be right about no movies on Champ having been made.

4. Sirrush – Ishtar Gate, Babylon’s dragon-like beast (2600 B.P.)

This is a good, solid “B+” choice. The Babylonian creature (pictured at the very top) has come in for some consideration, recently, on Animal Planet’s “Beasts of the Bible,” but only in passing. The Sirrush overlap into the Mokele-Mbembe file does make it a natural. This would do well in the movies, for I don’t count the kid flick Baby as having exactly taken on the Sirrush tale. Good pick.

5. Montaur Monster – Rotting body found on NY beach (2008)

Terrible, “F.” This is all about a decaying raccoon on shore, and NY media hysteria. It has little or nothing to do with cryptozoology, even if I did coin the name. Bad dead coon. Very bad coon.

6. Hodag – Lumberjack tall tale of Rhinelander, Wisconsin (1890s)

Another “F.” This lumberjack folktale story is silly and not cryptozoological. Cute but this is unworthy of Guhl’s list. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

7. Spring Heeled Jack – Caped blue flame-throwing manlike UK entity (19th century)

Guhl’s third “F” in a row. SHJ is a great Fortean mystery, but it is human/elemental/demonic, not cryptozoological. I’m not saying this won’t be a wonderful subject for a movie or a mini-doc, but it is not a cryptid. For example, I wrote about these sightings in my Mysterious America as a Fortean wonder, but not as cryptids.

8. Phantom Kangaroos – Midwestern cryptic hopping creatures (19th century to Present)

Okay, I’ll give this a solid “B.” These do seem to be cryptids, and they have not been dealt with on television or in the movies. They may be “Devil Monkeys,” not kangaroos, but those have not been exploited either, so this one clearly works.

9. Flatwoods Monster – Giant, owl-headed creature (1952)

Humm. I guess the grade here would be “C.” It might be cryptozoological, Fortean, or ufological. It is a confusing one. However, it has been semi-utilization by the reality cz series on television, so it may be old hat (pun intended) already. Might make a good scifi movie.

10. Mahamba – Congolese giant crocs?/mosasaurs? (Present day?)

Maybe a “B-.” As a cryptid, it is one, but as an interesting one, it is a bit on the boring side. It has not been used on any series or in any movie I know about.

+++

That all said, here is my list of the unrevealed, lesser-known cryptids that should appear in tomorrow’s television reality programming, documentaries, and science fiction movies:

1. Batsquatch (Winged Weirdies of Washington State)

2. Tatzelwurm (Giant Gila Monster-Like Lizards of the Alps)
3. Sirrush (Ishtar Gate Dragons of the Mideast)
4. Ahool (Giant Bats of Java)
5. Pogos (Ogopogos, Igopogos, Manipogos, & Winnipogos of Canada)
6. Giant Beaver (Bear Lake Monsters of Utah & Lake Monsters of Manitoba)
7. Lusca (Giant Octopuses of Bermuda)

8. Nguoi Rung (Hairy Wild People of Vietnam & Laos; Rock Apes of Vietnam War)
9. Queensland Tiger (Unknown Felids of Australia)
10. Ucu (Bigfoot of Andes)
Honorable Mention: Phantom Kangaroos/Devil Monkeys of the Midwest USA

What ones would you like to see on the big and little screens?

++++
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Deep appreciation, again!

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. 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.


18 Responses to “Future CZ TV: Top Ten Cryptids”

  1. JungleHusky responds:

    This would be my top 10 list in order of interest.

    1) Yeren (Bigfoot of Bhutan)
    2)Chupacabra (Puerto Rican animal-sucking vampire)
    3)Mokele Mbembe (Supposed Living Dinosaur living in the Congo River Basin)
    4)Lusca (Giant Sea Creature in Bermuda)
    5)Thunderbird (North American winged creature)
    6)Jersey Devil (Horse-faced winged demon-like beast in New Jersey forests)
    7)The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp (South Carolina)
    8)Giant Wolves of Romania
    9)Ogopogo (Lake monster, British Columbia, Canada)
    10)Nessie a.k.a. Loch Ness Monster (Just because its existance has not completely been ruled out)

  2. logan responds:

    hey i just wanted to point out that the bloops have gotten a bit of publicity from the book “the loch” im not sure who its by but its a great book it touches everywhere from bloops, to Nessie (obviously, to secret societies. its well writ but it does start off with a negative view of cryptozoolagy but that goes away.

  3. springheeledjack responds:

    Okay, I’ve got to say, some interesting topics.

    As for the “bloop” it was mentioned on an old horror movie…I think it was either Leviathon or Deep Star Six (neither of which were anything to write home about). I think it has been mentioned on at least one Cryptid documentary, but which one escapes me. Still, the possibilities are wide open on movies. Oh, and there was a fiction book called “The Loch” that tried to tie the bloop and nessie together.

    As for my list…well, while I find my namesake interesting, I’ve got to agree with Loren and say it’s not a cryptid.

    1-4) Any water critter…there’s plenty to go around…Issie, Morag, at least one in South America, and so on.

    5) Lusca…I think there’s some real possibilities there, especially if they could investigate the blue holes in a big way:)

    6) Tatzelwurm–always been one of my favorites…and I think it’s been mentioned a couple of times, but no real press.

    7) Giant Sharks–it’s gotten movies and tv time, but hey, sharks are just a favorite all the way around and would pull in a wide audience:)

    8) Pterosaurs…or I’ll expand it to any flying cryptids…plenty of options

    9) kraken. I know everyone has tied the kraken to either giant squids or whales, but I’m one of the few who don’t buy it hook, line and sinker. The original kraken was island like…and I don’t see sailors climbing out onto the back of a floating squid and lasting very long…or on a whale either. There’s been the odd movie or tv thing, but I’m for more in depth on this one.

    10) Heck, I wouldn’t mind a show just to hunt new species at the bottom of the Atlantic (maybe that would fall under ‘bloop’), or the Pacific. While it’s been done, an extended series might just yield up some cool finds.

    Now, the hodag has always been near and dear, but I don’t think it’s worth any documentary time…unless we’re talking about a doc looking into and cataloging all of the myths and legends of different countries…where and how they might have originated and why. Again, not really cryptozoology in and of itself, but I’m of the mind that mythology and folktales sometimes do have a basis in fact–though again I’m with Loren…the hodag is all folklore.

    Realistically, if you want to find anything, we need to get the backing to put a team into wilds for like months, looking for BF, or some of these more exotic cryptids…we could have a reality show…call it CZ Survivor…

    SHJ

  4. Alton Higgins responds:

    Fun topic. It’s now only a matter of time until all the “known” cryptids are exploited.

  5. JungleHusky responds:

    *Note: After reading “Cryptozoology A to Z” by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark, I also agree that sightings of the Jersey Devil may in fact have a human origin for the purpose of intimidation and perhaps even tourist attraction. Jersey Devil (number six on my previous list) will be replaced by the Kongamato of sub-Saharan Africa.

  6. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    1. Lake Illiamna Monster

    2. Issie

    3. Crescent Lake Monster

    4. Memphre

    5. Skrimsl

    6. Arica Monster

    7. Lake Van Monster

    8. Blue Tigers

    9. Ogopogo

    10. Giant Sloths

  7. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    Replace Giant Sloths with the giant Black Boa of Peru. I want more proof.

  8. kgehrman responds:

    Your lists are great.
    I wish a flick would be made of some lesser know creatures though.
    How about the Beast of Busco.

    Nutshell storyline:
    “The story goes that a farmer began to notice his chickens going missing. Believing it to be caused by known pests, he paid no mind to it. After a few months, larger and larger livestock was disappearing, even a calf in one instance; all the disappearances occurred near the lake on his property. One day, he reportedly saw a colossal snapping turtle, estimated at 15 feet (4.6 m) in length, basking on the lakeside. Terrified, he called the police; when they arrived, the giant reptile was still there. A plan was devised to drag the beast from the water with chains pulled by four Clydesdale horses; when initiated, the turtle and horses were evenly matched, but the chains broke. “Oscar” escaped, never to be seen again.”

    I think this happened not far from Loren’s old hood. May even be mentioned in “Cryptozoology A to Z”.
    But I have never seen a film treatment of the “folk legend”.

    I know there was Gamera and that devil sea tortoise that was mixing it up with Jennie Hanover in the Bermuda Depths crazy T.V. movie, but they don’t really count. The turtle in Lake Falk was supposed to be real. Imagine a bunch of college girls skinny dipping and coming out to dry off on a big rock on the shoreline, the rock starts to move…well, you get the picture.

    Lake Tele’s “ndendeki” would be another good flick subject.

  9. glendoor42 responds:

    The Bloop was just featured on Discovery’s show ” Weird or What” Not sure if I like the show or what. It seems to focus more on the ” Or What” part.

  10. wuffing responds:

    Cryptozoology could begin to gain more credibility if it spent more time correlating its “cryptids” with known species.

    While not every observation will necessarily fit, it must be time to accept that the Tatzelwurm is a clear reference to the Olm, Proteus anguinus, first written about in the 1680′s and described and scientifically named by Laurenti in 1768.

    Specimens washed out of the cave systems by floods were sometimes thought to be baby dragons, and their gills were seen as developing wings. We know better now.

    The tatzelwurm is an Ex-Cryptid, pining for the Dinaric karst.

  11. JungleHusky responds:

    In regard to kgehrman’s comment:

    The “Beast of Busco” could very well be a snapping turtle. I just typed in “snapping turtle eating chicken” in a search engine and a lot of results emerged including some videos of snapping turtles being fed chicken breast.

    As a side, when I was in Guyana South America, my mother brought home a snapping turtle as a pet (seemingly good idea at that time) and all I can remember from my childhood was being terrified of it and later watching it try and cross a make-shift wooden bridge (after my parents left it there) across from a small stream, breaking the wooden boards, and being swept away by the current.

    This personal experience is a testament to not only the weight of a snapping turtle, but its ability to scare anyone from a toddler to a fully grown adult.

  12. Mnynames responds:

    The Fortean Times (I forget what edition, but I want to say it was around 1998 or so) reported that the location where the Bloop was recorded was identical (Or very close) to the coordinates provided by writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft for the lost city of R’Lyeh, where Great Cthulhu lies dreaming, until the stars are right for his return. Other stories within the Cthulhu Mythos have shown his Spawn to be a little more active, so it would be very easy to tie them to these sounds (Or maybe Cthulhu just snores, I dunno).

  13. springheeledjack responds:

    I caught a glimpse of the “bloop” episode too and tuned in for that on the ‘weird or what’ series. It was interesting–and the HP-L reference is disturbing:) Maybe that’s our “kraken.”

    And good call Cryptidcrazy on the skrimsl and the other aquatics!

  14. kgehrman responds:

    JungleHusky
    Your mother gave you a snapper as a pet?
    Oh the humanity!!

    I do indeed picture the “Beast of Busco” a giant Chelydra serpentina.
    But I have nothing to base this on. While I lived in Maine there was a story of a giant turtle that lived in Rattlesnake Pond. There are no rattlesnakes in Maine (or at least they are a n extreme rarity), so who knows how the pond got its name which was later changed to Pequawket Pond so as not to scare the tourists away. We caught small sun turtles along the shores of this pond and imagined them as the young of the giant which we never saw. But sun turtle ain’t got nothing on ugly like a snapper has ugly.

    I am glad your pet escaped while you still had all your fingers. Wonder if yours was a Mata Mata.

    Curious why you did not bring up the Didi as a good cryptid film subject.

    I recently read the “The Lost City of Z”, hoping that author David Grann would mention the Manicoxi that Fawcett claimed to have encountered in the Mato Grosso. But he did not, which probably means Brad Pitt will not be including this cryptid in upcoming film based on the book.

  15. SpaceAudioBooks responds:

    I’m just honored to have received some kind words from Loren, as well as some great critique. Cryptids are a subject I love to death and have since I stumbled across that series of (I think) Time-Life books held in my elementary school library. So naturally, I’m well aware of this site and Loren’s excellent work. :)

    Looking back, I agree that I could have switched in a few better choices in that list. Overall, I wanted to present the subject of cryptids in a fun way to an audience that might not be totally familiar with them, and the article did get a large response, so I was happy about that. I might write a follow-up if the editor desires one.

    Thanks!

    Kevin Guhl

  16. windigokid responds:

    Eastern Bigfoot would be cool.

  17. Dracorex222 responds:

    1. Batsquatch
    2. Yeti
    3. Kasai rex
    4. Mongolian Death Worm
    5. Spring-Heeled-Jack (it’s fun to say!)
    6. U2-8 sea monster
    7. Black Dogs (because I have one!)
    8. Mokele-Mbembe
    9. Champ
    10. Beast of Bray Road

  18. Dracorex222 responds:

    Oh, and those are MY top ten Cryptids!!!



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