Four More Weird Cryptids4 min read

The number of undiscovered species on Earth is estimated to be in the millions, if not the billions. For all of the biodiversity that our planet has, there are still constantly new varieties of life being found from the rainforests to the ocean depths to even cities, and if cryptozoology is to be believed, proof for the existence of supposedly mythical entities lies waiting to be found. As I pointed out before in my last article on cryptids, there’s lots of supposed evidence for the most famous legendary beasties, but for every celebrated case like Mothman, there are a fistful of much more obscure and even weirder critters, like these:


Now how’s that for an onomatopoeic name? The ahool is a supposed flying animal that lives in the thick Indonesian jungle. It is big, it has wings, and it is probably mammalian or reptilian and not avian. That’s all the various accounts agree upon. If it is a bat, as one common theory goes, that makes it twice the size of the largest known bat in the world, the flying fox, which exists in Indonesia. And it’s definitely much bigger than even the largest owl species in its habitat. The most exotic claim about the ahool is that it’s a living pterosaur, having survived from the Cretaceous period. Regardless of what the ahool might be if it actually exists, the idea of something huge, dark, and winged that makes the piercing cry of its name as it glides swiftly through the night is enough to unnerve anyone who would dare venture into the forest after dark.



Dobhar Chu


Celtic mythology has produced some truly terrifying creatures, but some of the monsters from those tales that were meant to be scary now sort of come off as ridiculous. Case in point: The Dobhar Chu, literally “Water Dog,” which is a massive, flesh-eating otter alleged to inhabit the swift-flowing rivers of the British Isles. The monstrosity is sometimes referred to as more like a (still carnivorous) beaver and still other times like a half-wolf/half-fish creature, but it’s always thought to be dangerous. Also known as the avanc in Welsh, there have been Dobhar Chu sightings at least as recently as 2003, when the eyewitness said the beast had orange flippers and made a haunting cry. A grave in County Leitrim, Ireland has a headstone that, improbably enough, claims the grave occupant’s cause of death was Dobhar Chu.

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Just about everyone knows about the jackalope hoax of the American Southwest – how cowboys used to trick gullible city slickers into thinking that a monster with the body of a jackrabbit and the antlers of an antelope lived in the desert through the cunning application of taxidermy. Well, that’s practically pedestrian compared to what the Germans came up with. The wolpertinger is like the jackalope in that supposed specimens have rabbit heads and antlers, and unlike it in that they also have pheasant wings and squirrel tails, along with pointy fangs and any number of other chimeric features. The wolpertinger also differs from the jackalope in that it’s usually alleged to be ferociously carnivorous, a la the Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It goes without saying that wolpertinger sightings, such as they are, are taken rather less seriously by cryptozoology than some other cryptids.


Usually, animals thought to be cryptids turn out to be real animals misidentified or the result of conscious hoaxes. The so-called skyfish (also known as flying rods or solar entities) are none of these things. The claim is that elongated photographic artifacts – rod-shaped streaks of light that appear in photos unintentionally – represent a kind of animal unlike any other, one that travels at blinding speeds between dimensions. Most proponents of the skyfish theory say that they’re alien insects, and in a sense they’re right, because usually the cause of rods in photos is motion blur from the flapping of the wings of, say, a moth that went unnoticed by the photographer. This didn’t stop the creators of video games from including “real” skyfish – one Castlevania game has it as an “Easter egg” monster that can only be seen by using a power that stops time.


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