A Beginner’s Guide to Cryptozoology

female cryptozoologist in forest

Cryptozoology is an intriguing field that captivates the curiosity of many, especially those who are fascinated by the unknown and the possibility of undiscovered creatures. Stemming from a blend of folklore, mythology, and scientific inquiry, cryptozoology seeks to explore the existence of cryptids – legendary or mythical animals that have yet to be proven as real or extinct.

This unique field of study has its roots in ancient times, but it wasn’t until 1955 that cryptozoology was officially recognized as its own discipline. Despite this, the concept of hidden or unknown creatures has persisted throughout history, with stories dating back to the 15th century BC. By examining reports, legends, and unexplained sightings, cryptozoologists embark on an exciting journey to uncover the truth behind the myths and determine if there’s any evidence to support these mysterious beings’ existence.

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, it might seem like there are no more secrets left to uncover. But as a beginner in the world of cryptozoology, you’ll soon discover a vast array of uncharted territory – from searching for the elusive Bigfoot to investigating lesser-known cryptids. So, dive into this fascinating world with an open mind, and you might just uncover something extraordinary!

What is Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology is the study of unknown, legendary, or extinct animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated. The field has been around since the 15th century BC but was officially established as a field of study in 1955.

Fascinating and mysterious creatures have captured the imagination of people around the world for centuries. These fringe creatures can be found in folklore and mythology, often taking on unique characteristics and abilities. Cryptozoologists work to explore these cryptids, investigate sightings, and gather evidence to support or debunk their existence.

While some cryptozoologists focus on iconic cryptids like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Chupacabra, others delve into less-known creatures or undiscovered species. Cryptozoology is a broad field, offering numerous opportunities for researchers to investigate and contribute to the growing body of knowledge on these elusive beings.

Though its status as a scientific field is sometimes debated, cryptozoology continues to intrigue and inspire curiosity about the world’s hidden and unknown creatures.

History of Cryptozoology

Early Accounts

Cryptozoology can be traced back to ancient times, with various mythical creatures and legends having roots in the world’s early cultures. One such example is Bigfoot, which has been a part of Native American folklore for centuries. Stories of this mysterious creature have been passed down through generations and continue to capture the imagination of people globally.

Similarly, sightings of mysterious, ape-like creatures have been reported across different parts of the world, with varying names and descriptions. From the remote forests of the Pacific Northwest to the vast landscapes of the Himalayas, people have claimed to encounter Bigfoot-like beings in different regions.

Modern Developments

The modern field of cryptozoology began taking shape in the 20th century, with more and more researchers dedicating themselves to studying cryptids and documenting encounters or sightings. As technology advanced, so did the methods for collecting evidence – photographs, prints, and sometimes even alleged physical remains.

For cryptozoology enthusiasts, there are many hotspots around the world where they believe these elusive creatures may reside. These locations draw in curious explorers, eager to catch a glimpse and potentially collect new evidence for the existence of cryptids.

The field of cryptozoology has also gained new attention due to numerous expeditions, seeking to uncover previously unknown creatures. One notable example is British mountaineer Eric Shipton’s discovery in the Himalayas in 1951, which sparked widespread interest in the elusive yeti.

While cryptozoology remains a fringe field of study, the fascination with these creatures continues to grow as new sightings and encounters are reported. The search for unknown creatures is, for many, a thrilling and captivating pursuit that challenges the boundaries of traditional scientific inquiry.

A Beginner’s Guide to Cryptozoology: Famous Cryptids

sasquatch at night


Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a legendary creature that is said to inhabit forests, especially in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. For centuries, people around the world have been fascinated by Bigfoot’s elusive nature. Described as a large, ape-like creature, many are still curious about what Bigfoot looks like and even what it eats.

Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster, often referred to as Nessie is a famous cryptid believed to dwell in the waters of Loch Ness in Scotland. An enduring symbol of mystery and intrigue, the Loch Ness Monster has been the subject of countless stories, alleged sightings, and even hoaxes.


Imagined as a cryptid of terror, the Mothman is a legendary creature in American folklore that is said to have haunted Point Pleasant, West Virginia, from 1966 to 1967. Its appearance is described as a large humanoid with wings and glowing red eyes. While many dismiss the existence of the Mothman as mere folklore, its enduring notoriety has made it a popular figure in cryptozoology.


The Chupacabra is a mysterious creature originating in Latin America and is believed to roam the lands in various forms. Known for its reputation of attacking and draining the blood of livestock, particularly goats, the Chupacabra has become a subject of fear and fascination in the world of cryptozoology. Many descriptions mention it as having a reptilian-like appearance, with sharp spines running down its back and a predatorial nature.

Investigative Techniques

Field Research

Field research is crucial when studying cryptozoology. It involves going out into nature to search for elusive creatures, like Bigfoot, and documenting any potential encounters or evidence. Being properly prepared when entering the field is important, which includes having appropriate gear, supplies, and knowledge of the terrain and environment.

Evidence Collection

Collecting evidence is vital in cryptozoology. While some people report sightings and encounters with creatures, tangible evidence is necessary to support these claims. Examples of evidence include footprints, hair samples, or even audio recordings of creature sounds. When gathering evidence, it is critical to practice caution and care, to avoid contamination and preserve the integrity of any potential findings.

Analysis and Documentation

Once you have collected evidence, it’s important to thoroughly analyze and document your findings. This will often involve collaborating with experts in relevant fields, such as biology or zoology. In some cases, new studies and research projects, like the Oxford-Lausanne Homonid Project, are formed to investigate specific cryptids or phenomena. Proper documentation and analysis of evidence can lend credibility to cryptozoological claims, ultimately contributing to the understanding and validation of these mysterious creatures.

Debunking Myths

One of the most fascinating aspects of cryptozoology is debunking myths and separating fact from fiction. While many creatures in cryptozoology remain unconfirmed and often criticized, it’s still important to investigate these cases, as some mythical creatures have turned out to be real or misidentified animals.

Take mermaids, for example. They have captivated us for centuries, inspiring legends and folk tales that stretch around the world. But in reality, mermaids are likely just a combination of human creativity and misidentified marine life. Sailors might have spotted manatees or dugongs and mistakenly believed they were witnessing half-fish, half-human beings.

Another example of a popular myth debunked by cryptozoology is the Loch Ness Monster. Initial investigations had people speculating that Nessie might be a prehistoric creature, like a plesiosaur or a giant eel. Further research, however, has cast doubt on these theories, with some scientists suggesting that Nessie sightings could be optical illusions, misidentified large fish, or even a collective misinterpretation of natural phenomena. Sometimes, claimed sightings could also be hoaxes or deliberate attempts to draw attention or profit.

Cryptozoology provides a unique opportunity to explore our cultural beliefs, reconsider our understanding of the natural world, and open our minds to new possibilities. It reminds us that truth can be stranger than fiction, and encourages us to stay curious and critical in our pursuit of knowledge.

Cryptozoology and Pop Culture

Cryptozoology, the study of unknown, legendary, or extinct animals, has fascinated people for centuries and has significantly influenced popular culture. From movies to literature, we can see the impact of these mythical creatures on our entertainment and imagination.

In movies, legendary creatures such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster have become household names. Films like “Harry and the Hendersons” or “The Water Horse” provide a lighthearted take on these cryptids, introducing them to new generations of fans. These stories often humanize the cryptids, making audiences relate to them as misunderstood beings instead of terrifying monsters.

In literature, we find intricately detailed descriptions of mythical creatures that further fuel our fascination with the unknown. From J.R.R. Tolkien’s expansive world of Middle Earth to J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series, these fictional universes captivate readers with their extraordinary inhabitants. One notable example is Jorge Luis Borges’ The Book of Imaginary Beings, an artistic catalog of mythical creatures found in various cultures.

TV shows and documentaries investigate the world of cryptozoology, often sparking heated debates about the existence of these creatures. Series like “MonsterQuest” and “Destination Truth” takes viewers on thrilling adventures as they search for elusive cryptids around the globe, combining entertainment with education.

The internet has played a crucial role in increasing the popularity of cryptozoology, with numerous forums, websites, and social media platforms dedicated to discussing the possible existence of these legendary beings. Reddit communities, for example, allow enthusiasts to connect and share their theories, findings, and experiences.

In the end, cryptozoology and pop culture have a symbiotic relationship, with each inspiring and influencing the other. Cryptids intrigue the human mind, leaving us with a sense of wonder and curiosity about the unknown, while pop culture brings these mysterious creatures to life, entertaining and captivating audiences worldwide.

Notable Cryptozoologists

Cryptozoology is an intriguing field that delves into the study of hidden or unknown animals, including creatures that have not yet been scientifically acknowledged. Over the years, several individuals have made significant contributions to the field, earning reputations as notable cryptozoologists.

One prominent figure in the world of cryptozoology was Ivan T. Sanderson, a naturalist who took a scientific and anthropological approach when studying legendary creatures like Bigfoot. His commitment and rigorous methodology led to considerable advancements in our understanding of cryptids. Another influential cryptozoologist of the time was Bernard Heuvelmans, who is occasionally referred to as the “father of cryptozoology.” Heuvelmans authored several books on the subject, including the seminal work “On the Track of Unknown Animals,” which remains a valuable resource for researchers in the field.

The field of cryptozoology also has seen the emergence of self-taught individuals who have made meaningful contributions to the study of unknown creatures. For instance, Anna and Harris have been exploring the unknown in Texas and pursuing their passion for cryptozoology. Their dedication to the field showcases that people from all walks of life can contribute to this fascinating area of study.

While cryptozoology faces skepticism and criticism, these incredible researchers have helped unearth valuable information about hidden and unexplained creatures in our world, shedding new light on the mysteries that surround us. Their work continues to inspire future generations of cryptozoologists who seek to explore the unknown and challenge the boundaries of our scientific understanding.

Ethics and Conservation

Cryptozoology, often defined as the study of unknown, legendary, or extinct animals whose existence is disputed or unsubstantiated, has been around since the 15th century BC but was officially recognized as a field of study in 1955. This casual exploration of the field might lead you to wonder if there’s a connection between cryptozoology and conservation, as well as the ethical implications of this unusual field.

When it comes to conservation, cryptozoology has interesting overlaps. Searching for mythical creatures might seem fanciful, but there’s a shared goal between mainstream conservationists and cryptozoologists: locating and protecting the world’s biodiversity. As The Conversation points out, both groups aim to preserve animal species and their habitats, although cryptozoologists typically focus on more elusive, mythical, and unproven creatures.

Ethics in cryptozoology is not as clear-cut as in mainstream conservation. Naturalists and scientists often adhere to established ethical guidelines in their research, whereas cryptozoologists might find themselves in more ambiguous territory. The field can get a bad rap for promoting sensationalism, and sometimes that leads to false or exaggerated claims. But, on the positive side, it could help raise public interest in real-life conservation issues by tapping into the excitement around unknown, legendary creatures.

In the end, it’s important to approach cryptozoology with a casual and open mind, recognizing that, despite its unorthodox methodology, it might contribute to conservation efforts and spark curiosity about the natural world. So, go ahead and explore the fascinating world of cryptids, and who knows, maybe you’ll discover something unexpected along the way!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common cryptids?

Cryptids are creatures whose existence is disputed or unsubstantiated. Some of the most popular cryptids include Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, and the Yeti. There are also lesser-known cryptids, such as the Marozi or “spotted lion,” which has been reported in Eastern Africa.

How do I start researching cryptids?

Starting your research in cryptozoology involves exploring the stories, evidence, and theories about various cryptids. Online resources and books on cryptozoology can help you gather information. You may also join online communities like the r/Cryptozoology subreddit to learn from other enthusiasts and share your findings.

Where do most cryptid sightings happen?

Cryptid sightings have been reported all around the world. However, certain regions are more commonly associated with specific cryptids. For example, the Loch Ness Monster is linked to Scotland, while Bigfoot sightings are often reported in North America. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that cryptids could potentially be sighted anywhere.

Are there any reliable sources on cryptozoology?

As cryptozoology is a pseudoscience, finding reliable sources can be challenging. However, some institutions offer courses and diplomas in cryptozoology, such as the Centre of Excellence, where you can learn about the subject from a more structured perspective.

Has any cryptid been scientifically proven?

No cryptid has been conclusively proven to exist by the scientific community. However, many new species are discovered each year, and some previously believed to be legends have turned out to be real animals, such as the giant squid and the Komodo dragon. This shows that it’s still possible for cryptids to be proven real in the future.

Which cryptozoology books should I read?

Numerous books have been written on the topic of cryptozoology. Some popular titles include:

  • “Cryptozoology A to Z” by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
  • “Searching for Ropens and Finding God” by Jonathan D. Whitcomb
  • “Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend” by Joshua Blu Buhs

As with any subject, it’s essential to approach the literature with a critical mind and consider the credibility of each source.

Chris Beckett

Chris Becket is an author and amateur "cryptozoologist" who is obsessed with finding the truth about Bigfoot and other mysterious creatures. He's spent countless hours (and probably a few too many dollars) studying and investigating reports of strange animals and phenomena, and he's convinced he's an expert on everything from Bigfoot to the Yeti.

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