The Future Of Cryptozoology

kamalktk

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Another issue is any cryptids in the United States are running out of places to not be found. Even in remote areas of the lower 48 states, there are normally roads within a few miles, so it gets harder and harder to say there's something out there without having to resort to a cryptid having a supernatural/paranormal ability.
 

Sharon Hill

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Another issue is any cryptids in the United States are running out of places to not be found. Even in remote areas of the lower 48 states, there are normally roads within a few miles, so it gets harder and harder to say there's something out there without having to resort to a cryptid having a supernatural/paranormal ability.
Yet, people still insist that places like the Pacific Northwest and "Area X" in Oklahoma are remote enough for Sasquatch. The rest of the cryptids typically appear in areas where people travel so the claim that they are remote is invalid, yet they leave no discernible traces. The slip into a supernatural explanation is what I call "Supernatural creep" - people wish to hold onto their beliefs so badly that they must reach further for an explanation. One that can't be falsified is handy to have. With the increasing popularity of cryptids, the supernatural/paranormal explanations are also just as popular. You just can't have a literal Mothman or Dogman that is a legit part of zoology. Either the science or the story has to give.

Edit - I do agree, though, that no place in the US is really very remote.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Just reading this thread can people explain who they are?
 

Naughty_Felid

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The tedium of recent "fortean' studies is that people who publish, have a podcast, tv show are suddenly experts is boring the hell out of me because all they do is argue with each other.

The nature of the game is to examine and wonder.

We are all getting like the UFO lot in America which killed their field.

We are not like that. We are Fortean people. We really enjoy everything.
 
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lordmongrove

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I find a WHOLE LOT to disagree with here. Redfern is in a particular neighborhood of cryptozoology. That side of town has gone to the dogs (more like dogmen, because that subject and paranormal themes DOMINATE cryptozoological meetups here in the US). Redfern has deliberately ignored, unless forced to acknowledge, the more scholarly side of cryptozoology which is, in fact, flourishing. Researchers and writers in this scene don't push out several volumes of witness stories and speculation on the monster of the day, but take years to put out original research and thoughtful commentary. They focus on the zoology and folklore aspects. I've focused on how science is invoked (typically by amateurs) like those on TV shows and in Bigfoot hunting groups, but others have actually provided excellent explanations for cryptid tales. Here are some examples:
  • Abominable Science - Loxton and Prothero
  • Lake Monster Mysteries - Nickell and Radford
  • Searching for Sasquatch - Brian Regal
  • Hunting Monsters - Darren Naish
  • Tracking the Chupacabra - Ben Radford
  • The Secret History of the Jersey Devil - Regal and Esposito
  • Bigfoot, Yeti and The Last Neanderthal - Bryan Sykes (title may be different in the UK)
Those are just pretty recent ones. And there are even published papers by Sykes, Regal, Naish, Paxton, and others. I believe more are to come. But Redfern doesn't like these. They don't promote mystery. They are complicated. (The Jersey Devil isn't even an animal!) Well, cultural items have very complicated origins, and often not the obvious ones, either. So, my questions has been to self-styled cryptozoologists* - what is your goal? Are you looking for the best answers to explain what people say they see? Or are you trying to indulge your belief in monsters and myths and to be a "monsterologist"?

*none of the authors listed would call themselves that, I suspect.

Daniel Loxton called it the "post-cryptid" cryptozoology phase that we are in now. TV monster shows are fictionalized. The solid research to get done right now is pretty difficult.

Syke's book is probably the best written on relic hominins, There is allot to like in Naish and Regal too.
 

lordmongrove

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I think the problem here is one that is common to many fields, Fortean and otherwise.

The term "cryptozoology" has widened in scope until it has become almost meaningless.

At one end of the spectrum are serious researchers who are seeking physical evidence to confirm or refute essentially credible witness evidence of unknown but plausible creatures.

At the other end, there are people who are excited by big scary monsters and will come up with pseudoscientific rationales for so called "cryptids" that would defy the laws of normal science. (Example: something roughly human sized and with wings sprouting out of its back could not generate enough lift to fly, so perhaps it is an inter-dimensional being.)

Between these extremes are various positions with varying degrees of credibility.

The problem is then that the people at the "rationalising" end of the spectrum use the word "cryptozoology" to add a spurious scientific respectability to their own area of interest and, in so doing, they cause an equal and opposite reaction in the general public. Someone with a genuine scientific interest in a plausible area of cryptozoology may find that his or her work is popularly lumped together with that of all the people who believe in werewolves and mothmen and the like.

In a similar way, anyone who tries to present a serious case for Loch Ness containing an "unknown species" will not get as far as describing a 6 foot eel or a subspecies of sturgeon before the journalist is already reaching for his or stock images of plesiosaurs towering over terrified highlanders.

Cryptozoology seems to encompass a wide range of disciplines and areas of interest including, but not limited to:
  1. Inquiries into credible reports of unknown species that would plausibly exist in the environment they are said to inhabit: an unknown species of ape in a large area of sparsely populated jungle, for example.
  2. Inquiries into credible reports of known species in alien environments. Big cats on Dartmoor, for example.
  3. Inquiries into widespread reports of creatures that are not necessarily impossible, but seem unlikely to have remained undiscovered for so long. Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, for example.
  4. Inquiries into the possibility that a known species assumed to be extinct may exist as a small surviving population in a remote area.
  5. Inquiries into credible reports of extreme examples of known species: an individual python or crocodile substantially larger than any previously killed, photographed, or captured.
  6. Interest in a possible factual basis for creatures described in myth or legend: species or individual animals that may have existed even if the stories have subsequently grown in the telling.
  7. Interest in strange and unknown creatures described in myth or legend, but with the clear understanding that this is a study of myth rather than of real things.
  8. Interest in creatures described in modern folk tales and news reports, but from a sociological perspective. This is the sensible position that "I know that Slenderman is a recently invented fictional entity, but it is fascinating to study how people have come to regard him as a real phenomenon."
  9. An apparent belief in weird and impossible creatures described in folk tales and news reports. Such a belief can always be rationalised by the believer. Inconsistencies in descriptions may be attributed to shape shifting ability. Breaches of the known laws of physics are attributed to some poorly-defined but convenient inter-dimensional origin. These are the people who may try to borrow credibility from those at the top of this list and, in so doing, discredit their serious scientific work.
Some people would lump all these together as cryptozoology. A purist might only admit the top 1, 2, or 3 on the list. The trouble is, it is not possible to stop someone else using a word to describe their particular field of interest. Maybe the purists need to come up with a more specific and less "nickable" word for their endeavours.

Meanwhile, I can't help feeling that if someone was searching the Amazon rain forest for a species of small dragonfly widely believed to be extinct, they would be an entomologist or naturalist, rather than a cryptozoologist. If they were looking for a species 5 foot tall ape known to the locals as "the old man of the forest" they would probably be called cryptozoologists. Strange.

I'm interested in the first 6 on this list. Its well thought out. 7 would be pure folklore and 8 and 9 more 'paranormal' for want of a better word.
 

Mikefule

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I'm interested in the first 6 on this list. Its well thought out. 7 would be pure folklore and 8 and 9 more 'paranormal' for want of a better word.

I would raw a similar distinction to yours. However, the point is that the term "cryptozoology" has unfortunately spread to encompass 7, 8 and 9 in many people's minds — with the sad effect of appearing, by association, to discredit those who do sincere and thorough research and study into 1–6.

It is of course possible for an individual to recognise the distinction and yet still be interested in all 9 on my list (or at least 1–8) — just as it is possible to enjoy both sailing and power boating, or both bicycling and motorcycling, or both classical and pop music.
 

oldrover

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I wonder whether cryptozoology is really any worse now than in the past, was it ever plausible? Is dogman or slenderman, whatever the hell they are, really that much easier to trace to a pop culture origin than bigfoot, or nessie? Are bigfoot's anatomical discrepancies really that much more forgivable than mothman's. Is the PG film, as much as we love it, any less glaringly fake than finding bigfoot? Was Sanderson trustworthy, Heuvelmans the full shilling? I'd say no. I'd say it's glaringly obvious that the reason the word cryptozoology exists separately from zoology at all is that it's defined by the subjects it studies, which are in most cases fundementally based on such a degree of subjectivity that it'd be totally unjustified to study it as anything other than a hobby. And I believe it has always been that way.

Again only fair to add there are exceptions in both cryptozooligists and cryptids as mentioned on page 1.
 

Sharon Hill

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I wonder whether cryptozoology is really any worse now than in the past, was it ever plausible? Is dogman or slenderman, whatever the hell they are, really that much easier to trace to a pop culture origin than bigfoot, or nessie? Are bigfoot's anatomical discrepancies really that much more forgivable than mothman's. Is the PG film, as much as we love it, any less glaringly fake than finding bigfoot? Was Sanderson trustworthy, Heuvelmans the full shilling? I'd say no. I'd say it's glaringly obvious that the reason the word cryptozoology exists separately from zoology at all is that it's defined by the subjects it studies, which are in most cases fundementally based on such a degree of subjectivity that it'd be totally unjustified to study it as anything other than a hobby. And I believe it has always been that way.

Again only fair to add there are exceptions in both cryptozooligists and cryptids as mentioned on page 1.

Worse? Probably not. It's just different - changed with the times and the internal factors of the field. Television and all facets of the Internet (websites, forums, YouTube, podcasts) changed a lot of subjects including cryptozoology. The Internet is now a repository for old folklore (cryptid tales) and a place to promote claims and evidence of new cryptids. And, people can make more money off it now.

Interestingly, Meldrum and Bindernagle wrote an article for Meldrum's online journal noting that it's not a good thing for Bigfoot to be called a "cryptid" because of the negative connotation (Sasquatch, obviously, being real).
 

oldrover

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Worse? Probably not. It's just different - changed with the times and the internal factors of the field. Television and all facets of the Internet (websites, forums, YouTube, podcasts) changed a lot of subjects including cryptozoology. The Internet is now a repository for old folklore (cryptid tales) and a place to promote claims and evidence of new cryptids. And, people can make more money off it now.

Interestingly, Meldrum and Bindernagle wrote an article for Meldrum's online journal noting that it's not a good thing for Bigfoot to be called a "cryptid" because of the negative connotation (Sasquatch, obviously, being real).

I think the internet has allowed more user generated content which is less rigourasly selected than previous decades' published content. So consequently much of it is perhaps less imaginative than Sanderson or Heuvelmans, but no more or less inane. Dogman vs 15' penguins marauding round the Floridian coast. So yes I'd agree with you.
 

lordmongrove

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Dogman vs 15' penguins marauding round the Floridian coast. A new film on the SciFi Channel.
 

lordmongrove

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I wonder whether cryptozoology is really any worse now than in the past, was it ever plausible? Is dogman or slenderman, whatever the hell they are, really that much easier to trace to a pop culture origin than bigfoot, or nessie? Are bigfoot's anatomical discrepancies really that much more forgivable than mothman's. Is the PG film, as much as we love it, any less glaringly fake than finding bigfoot? Was Sanderson trustworthy, Heuvelmans the full shilling? I'd say no. I'd say it's glaringly obvious that the reason the word cryptozoology exists separately from zoology at all is that it's defined by the subjects it studies, which are in most cases fundementally based on such a degree of subjectivity that it'd be totally unjustified to study it as anything other than a hobby. And I believe it has always been that way.

Again only fair to add there are exceptions in both cryptozooligists and cryptids as mentioned on page 1.

As someone who has worked very closly with all the known apes i'd say the PG film is not a 'glaring fake' unless you can find a very big guy with a very sloping , hominid forehead and weirdly proportioned arms.
 

ramonmercado

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As someone who has worked very closly with all the known apes i'd say the PG film is not a 'glaring fake' unless you can find a very big guy with a very sloping , hominid forehead and weirdly proportioned arms.

Ever been to Cromer or Kilgarven?
 

stu neville

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As someone who has worked very closly with all the known apes i'd say the PG film is not a 'glaring fake' unless you can find a very big guy with a very sloping , hominid forehead and weirdly proportioned arms.
I'm still looking at it, and I'm still on the fence.
 
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