Ghostly Cryptids

Posted by: Nick Redfern on June 6th, 2012

Yep, another post from me at Mysterious Universe that will have blood boiling in certain quarters! This one deals with the idea (admittedly, one I am particularly obsessed with) that our cryptids are not all they appear to be.

I begin like this:

“When, with my teenage years looming, I became seriously fascinated by the subject of cryptozoology—the search for and study of mysterious, undocumented creatures such as Sasquatch, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster—everything for me was very much black-and-white: Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman were giant, as-yet-unclassified apes; the Loch Ness Monsters – I say ‘Monsters’ rather than ‘Monster,’ as encounters span more than a thousand years, effectively ruling out the possibility of just one creature being involved – were surviving relics from the Jurassic era; and the veritable menagerie of other amazing animals in our midst, including werewolves and sea-serpents, were simply creatures that science and zoology had yet to definitively classify.

“Unknown or not, they were still flesh-and-blood creatures—or so I assumed. As time progressed, however, and as my teens became my twenties and then my thirties, my views began to change, and with very good reason. The beasts with which I had become obsessed as a child, I later came to realize, were not just strange: they were actually too strange.”

And here’s the complete article.

Nick Redfern About Nick Redfern
Punk music fan, Tennents Super and Carlsberg Special Brew beer fan, horror film fan, chocolate fan, like to wear black clothes, like to stay up late. Work as a writer.

9 Responses to “Ghostly Cryptids”

  1. springheeledjack responds:

    I see what you’re saying, but (you knew there was a ‘but’ coming didn’t you??? :), to me there’s plenty of other possibilities.

    With Bigfoot, I’ve actually been reading heavily on sightings and there are lots of instances where Bigfoot is seen eating leaves, berries, ransacking people’s garbage, not to mention actively chasing deer and other critters. I think there’s definitely not many of them, but I think there’s enough varied food sources for such a critter to survive–especially if it roams or is nomadic. As for corpses, that’s been gone over ad nauseum.

    Concerning Nessie, again people always underestimate that place. They hear 24 miles long, a mile wide and ya-da-ya-da-ya-da. But it’s no joke. We’re talking 24 square miles of surface area to scan 24 hours a day seven days a week to be able to see one. Plus, we really don’t know much about them as to how often they need air, if they even need to put a decent portion of their body out of water to do it (seals can just stick their nose up and get all the air they need–try spotting a seal 500 yards out on a choppy day if it only extends its nose above the surface). In addition, Loch Ness does not have people living around the entire shore–there’s plenty of ground that is unobserved every day, all day.

    If it were ghosts, spirits or playbacks of earlier things, we’d be getting different data (there have been several reports of Nessie being seen and actually reacting to physical stimuli–like a door slamming or a boat coming into view). The same holds true with Bigfoot–I’ve read countless reports where someone runs across Bigfoot and it actually looks at them and stares at them, or runs off away from a specific person. If it were ghosts, they’d just do their thing, pretty much without any interactions or worrying about what witnesses were doing.

    On the other hand (a distant favorite to ‘but’ and ‘however’), I’d be more inclined to think that instead of ghosts we might be dealing with something still physical but a circumstance of physics. With all of the talk about string theory and multiple universes, I think there is at least the possibility that we could have bleed through critters.

    I’ve always wondered about fortean things (the lizard man seen multiple times back in the 70’s–I think–which then just disappeared from sightings), and maybe even things like Mothman.

    If there’s any truth to string theory and multiple universes, it makes sense that there would be congruent points between universes (alright, at least to me–but if universes are layered, then there’s got to be some areas that are closer to being in physical contact than others), and what if, at these congruent points, it’s possible for bleed through from one universe to another? Maybe certain places–say Loch Ness, just as an example.

    Maybe things come and go, which would make it infinitely harder to find evidence if such things occur. And it might go a ways to explaining some of the crazier things people seem to see from time to time (and before the scoftics jump in spouting things like–‘maybe they’re just hallucinating,’ just stay out of this).

    Personally, I’m still in the “physical creature” camp, but I’m always willing to dance the metaphysical…

  2. mandors responds:

    My personal opinion is that cryptozoology should distance itself from the Casper the Friendly Ghost and Little Green Men from Mars movements. I think there is a stark difference between simply searching for undiscovered animals on the one hand and hunting for boogeymen and evidence of alien probing on the other.

  3. maslo63 responds:

    I’m with Mandors on this one. If you want cryptozoology to be taken seriously by mainstream science than involving aliens or ghost or telepathy is not going to help your cause. We all know this. Stick to trying to describe new animal species, leave the rest of those topics to their respective fields.

  4. Massachusetts responds:

    I don’t understand the logic here. If you don’t think there’s enough evidence to point to actual animals, then isn’t it more reasonable to conclude that these critters don’t exist than that they are ghosts and such? Why move out onto an even more unlikely limb of speculation? I know many here believe there’s enough evidence, but this guy clearly doesn’t, so why doesn’t he just conclude that the creatures aren’t real?

  5. DWA responds:

    Cryptozoology has essentially disqualified itself as a science by its excessive impatience and unwillingness to roll up its sleeves and get behind why cryptids remain unconfirmed.

    (The span of 1000 years of Nessie sightings does not, of course, disqualify Nessie as a single species. If they are flesh and blood they breed. The sightings, however, are another matter, seeming all over the place as to what is being observed. Not apropos to my post but tossing it in there.)

    The sasquatch remains unconfirmed for one reason. None of the efforts to confirm it, save two, have been significantly more than a weekend in duration. Any field biologist knows that isn’t a serious effort. The two serious efforts that have been mounted would have essentially proven the animal, were the animal not a kind science refuses to accept could live in North America despite the comprehensive evidence. Yeti hunts too, have spent not much more time than weekends actually in the field; and they have consisted almost exclusively of large troops of people scaring away all the known, let alone unknown, wildlife. Many of them, however, have seen prints. If you are making prints you are no ghost.

    Here is but the latest report of a sasquatch/car collision.

    Right. It didn’t happen. See?

    There are fishy elements in it but they do not totally disqualify it. Someday someone will tell me why there are all these elaborate fake tales out there, when the most elementary understanding of human nature says people don’t do this without the prospect of reward. What praytell is the reward in being ridiculed? Some “scientist” might actually try to explain that.

    I don’t care how many sasquatch there are – and the evidence says we may be surprised should we ever take the trouble to find out – but we will never confirm it, or any cryptid, when no one believes anyone who says they saw one. How many times do I have to say that here? There’s a willful refusal here, on more than one front, to see what one does not want to see.

    Science is not happy when researchers make unjustified leaps of logic. That’s why cryptids remain unconfirmed. Amateurs will not, says here, get this done. They lack the money, the tools and the time.

    Read yourself some John Bindernagel. His two books are essential to anyone who wants to understand how a bipedal gorilla could make like a ghost.

    The simple answer? It doesn’t. We make like it does.

  6. AreWeThereYeti responds:

    Others have tackled other aspects of Mr. Redfern’s theory and, rather than running-over the same ground, I’d like to zero-in on his case against a flesh-and-blood explanation for Bigfoot, specifically, as it pertains to the following:

    “Bigfoot, given its immense size and build (eyewitness reports describe a creature eight feet tall and weighing an estimated 300 to 600 pounds), would likely require a massive intake of nourishment. After all, a fully-grown silverback gorilla requires a tremendous amount of food on a daily basis.” He then goes on to suggest that the results of such relentless foraging, a la gorillas, should be readily apparent.

    In response I posit that gorillas, essentially herbivores, are compelled to consume relatively large amounts of nutrient-poor vegetable matter to meet their daily caloric needs. Whereas Bigfoot, assuming it exists, and generally presumed to be omnivorous, would be expected to consume a more varied, higher-quality diet – much like the North American brown bear, males of which can reach 1,500 pounds (which, incidentally, is about two-to-five times the weight he proposes for Sasquatch!)

    However, just for the sake of argument, let’s assume Bigfoot is, in fact, a strict herbivore. There is still a similar-sized analogue – the North American moose. Here again, males reach 1,500 pounds and, although limited to a herbivorous diet, do quite well.

    Aha! You say, moose are not gregarious creatures and so their culinary deforestation is spread-out over large areas. Also, you add, what about Bigfoot’s ability to live in nutrient-poor areas? In reply, I would cite the elk/wapiti as an example of a large (males reach 700lbs.), gregarious, mammalian herbivore that does quite well in the marginal and semi-desert areas of the Western United States. Moreover bears – both brown and black – until displaced/extirpated by humans, had historically also done quite well in the Western/Southwestern United States.

    Finally, as far as gorilla-like deforestation is concerned, it should be noted that said Simians are inhabitants of dense tropical/subtropical environments; necessitating large forage areas and extensive harvesting of nutrient-poor foods, thereby creating the signature devastation which Mr. Redfern suggests should also be found in conjunction with Bigfoot.

    Contrast this to North America, home to more varied environments, wherein all of the aforementioned animals – whether feeding singly, in small family units, or large herds – simply do not produce the allegedly “clear and undeniable evidence of their massive, hour-by-hour efforts foraging for food” that Mr. Redfern cites as damming evidence against the existence of Sasquatch as a living, breathing, entity.

    Simply put, the lifestyle and environment of the mountain gorilla is not directly analogous to that presumed for Sasquatch and direct comparisons, or lack thereof, cannot be interpreted as evidence against Bigfoot’s existence; whether on this plane – or any other!

    Now, is Bigfoot a ghost? Let me consult my Crystal Ball… 😉

  7. DWA responds:


    Among the most tiresome anti-sasquatch ‘arguments’ I read are the not-enough-food and not-enough-evidence-of-eating ‘arguments.’

    This is enough, on its face, to dismiss them.

    – The trackways and sightings keep happening, with guidebook consistency, all of them in or on the edges of what looks like excellent habitat (my theory: hoaxers can’t eat enough to keep doing all this, plus there would be a measurable effect on GDP if all of this were indeed hoaxing, so there);

    – Native Americans – large groups of them – foraged for generations over the same ground, plus some of it is actually richer ground now, as virgin forests aren’t as productive as edge and second growth, plus there weren’t the big farm and livestock operations – both, from the evidence, significantly used by sasquatch – when Native Americans were foraging the land;

    – Sasquatch – if you read the evidence – are mainly solitary; gorillas are social;

    – They eat different kinds of plants, requiring different methods. In temperate forests, only experts can tell what’s been eating the plants – and frequently that is only by seeing what is NOT there.

    In short: this is one more ‘argument’ that demonstrates, more than anything else, that those using it need to read up.

    Glancing back at the article, I also noticed the “countless cases” of bulletproof bigfoot. Um, I’m aware of at least two severe woundings, two killings (one with a single shot), and a rather recent shooter-induced blood sample from the second of the only two sasquatch expeditions in history.

    And please don’t respond with the MOST tiresome anti-sasquatch ‘argument’ I read:

    That’s not proof.

    When the so-called skeptics start understanding that it’s not skeptical at all to dismiss the evidence without review because it isn’t proof, we might get somewhere.

    Only evidence that is looked at can be proof.

  8. springheeledjack responds:

    I don’t believe Bigfoot is strictly an herbivore. I’ve read too many accounts that lead you otherwise. There was an account of a Bigfoot stealing garbage bags that had chicken bones in them (and it came back for a second). There have been multiple reports of Bigfoot crossing a road or trail with a dead carcass on its back–I doubt they’re taking the animal for any other reason than for food (though I suppose you could argue it’s for decorating purposes–you know, antlers on the wall). I just got done reading a report out of Virginia where a hunter watched three deer scatter and one was dropped by a rock or some other projectile–no not another hunter.

    I’m guessing we’re dealing with an omnivore, which would expand its food sources and make it a much better survivor. Couple that with Bigfoot’s ability to cover large distances and its smarts to find food, and I have no problem with a critter that size surviving all around us while still escaping our notice.

  9. Massachusetts responds:

    So how good are these eye witness ID’s that point to ghostly, paranormal beings, or even a more pedestrian biological explanation? People know there local area and ecology right? Ordinary hard-working folks are always sensible and reasonable and aren’t prone to foolishness or outrageous leaps of logic, right? Your average person would never see an ordinary, common, well-known critter and see a paranormal monster, right? There’s always something behind local legends, and the local people who claim sightings are spot-on and have therefore confirmed the existence of unknown beings, right?

    Well, not so fast perhaps. Check out this story form South Africa, where an ordinary harmless bush baby was mistaken by villagers for a monstrous paranormal being, and killed. They celebrate and proudly display their kill, confidant that they’ve triumphed over evil, and proud that they “are not afraid.” I suggest that for every sighting with physical evidence, like this, there are probably hundreds if not thousands where there’s no or little evidence to collect, adding to the legend. And what of the body they caught? How many will change there minds based on what a zoologist or primatologist has to say about it? In our own country we don’t value science that much either do we? Sadly the struggles in schools over teaching evolution that we still have and the crazy arguments over climate change attest to that fact.

    Here’s the story.

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