When Cryptids Attack

Bigphoot2

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Alright then! So when making one's list of supplies for cryptid-hunting we've got:
1. Flashlight
2. Bug Spray
3. Video Camera
4. Red shirt recruit to be used as pack horse/bait/sacrifice
5. Stiff drink for courage
What else do we need?

A video camera with no tripod and dodgy autofocus. We can't have nice crisp, clear, steady images of the cryptid.
 

Anonymous-50446

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Something to read while you're waiting e.g. 'War and Peace'/'The Complete Works of Shakespeare'/The entire Sherlock Holmes canon.
 

Quake42

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Great stuff. Any UK cryptids blamed for fatal attacks? I recall a deadly giant otter (!) from one FT story...
 

oldrover

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Well, off the top of my head there's the Welsh Water Vampire from the 80's/90's, one of the proposed explanations at the time was that it might have been an otter with a broken tooth which had got infected. Lordmongrove is the one who knows about that though. (I'm not accusing him of being involved by the way)

That only attacked livestock though.

Edit here it is: The Beast of Bodalog

http://criticalbelievers.proboards.com/thread/5159
 
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EnolaGaia

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... What about Nessie? Has she snacked on any locals?

The earliest potential reference to Nessie comes from Life of St. Columba circa the 6th Century The incident described is a fatal attack on a man swimming in or across the River Ness (not the Loch per se) by some unspecified type of beast or monster.

A number of cursory Nessie summaries cite a similar (and similarly ancient ... ) incident involving a monster emerging from the Loch and attacking, killing, and / or eating a man. For example:

The large dinosaur-like creature is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. The first recorded sighting of the monster was nearly 1,500 years ago when a giant beast is said to have leaped out of a lake near Inverness and ate a local farmer. Since then the myth of the Loch Ness Monster has magnified.

SOURCE: http://www.scotland.org/features/scottish-myths-folklore-and-legends

It's never been clear to me whether these were two independent events versus the latter version being a distorted retelling of the St. Columba storyline.

The 1933 Spicer report (in which a couple claimed to have seen Nessie crossing a road) stated the creature had an unspecified animal in its mouth.

I don't recall any references to Nessie carnivorous activity (at least against non-aquatic animals) later.
 

lordmongrove

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Krepostnoi's up for it!
Won't you need a bodyguard as well?
I'm off to Russia this summer but the west of Russia, the Cacausus Mountains. The Siberian lakes are closer to Canada than to Moscow, in the far, far east. It's a project i'd like to do in the future but it would be costly.
 

lordmongrove

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Alright then! So when making one's list of supplies for cryptid-hunting we've got:
1. Flashlight
2. Bug Spray
3. Video Camera
4. Red shirt recruit to be used as pack horse/bait/sacrifice
5. Stiff drink for courage
What else do we need?
I wrote a whole article on it once for a defunct fortean mag. I'll post it in parts.
 

lordmongrove

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Alright then! So when making one's list of supplies for cryptid-hunting we've got:
1. Flashlight
2. Bug Spray
3. Video Camera
4. Red shirt recruit to be used as pack horse/bait/sacrifice
5. Stiff drink for courage
What else do we need?
First published in Paranormal Magazine about five years back...

HOW TO HUNT MONSTERS: ORGANIZING A CRYPTOZOOOLOGICAL EXPEDITION


You might thing that trekking through steaming jungles and swamps or crossing deserts and mountains on the track of monsters was something confined to the pages of pulp novels and Boy’s Own Adventures of the 1920s and 30s. But you would be wrong!

A small but dedicated group of people around the world, cryptozoologists, brave the dangers of the unexplored corners of our planet on the track of unknown animals. I am one such person. As the zoological director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, I have travelled the globe trying to track down these beasts of legend. This is not a hobby for me but a full time job.

In this article I will explain how to mount a cryptozoological expedition of your own. I hope to inspire others to take up the challenge and hit the trail. If successful scientific immortality awaits you.

If you are thinking of going monster hunting for profit, think again. No one got rich through this game. Cryptozoological expeditions devour money. Cryptozoology is a calling; it’s about dedication, adventure, and scientific endeavour not profit.

I make no apologies for occasionally referring to cryptids as ‘monsters’ in this article. The original definition of the word monster was ‘a revelation’. There can be no more fitting description of a cryptid.

Organizing a monster hunt might sound daunting but if you break it down into steps it is not really so hard. To be honest the most difficult things I have dealt with on expeditions are getting to and from the airports across London.

The main thing to remember are the six ‘Ps’. Perfect planning prevents pretty poor performance!

CHOOSE YOUR MONSTER

First of all you will need to select a cryptid that you want to search for. You don’t want to waste time chasing shadows. What makes a good target creature? There are several factors to consider. Is your target creature likely to exist? It makes sense to look for a creature that has been reported by witnesses for a very long time rather than something seen only once or twice. In some cases such as the Canadian sea serpent dubbed ‘Cadborosaurus’, the Sumatran mystery ape orang-pendek, and the thylacine or marsupial wolf of Tasmania, some of the witnesses have actually been scientists. Such witnesses strengthen the case for the existence of the animal in question.

Another consideration in choosing your monster is the location. This is tied up with other factors such as finance and transport. For example, in order to take a decent expedition into the Congo, on the track of Mokele-mbembe, the supposed living ‘dinosaur’(in fact far more likely to be a giant monitor lizard) would be an expensive undertaking. In order to get there and transport yourselves, bearers and equipment into the very deep jungle you would need a large team of people. You would need to weigh this against the noise such a large group would make and its possible negative effects.

In an expedition to the wilds of Siberia after the Irkuiem or god bear you would be hundreds of miles from the nearest town. You would need to take enough provisions to last for the whole time you were there. You would need to think about how you would transport this or if you were going to store it at a base camp.

Try to select a creature you have a fighting chance of seeing or at least gaining some information from eyewitnesses on.

Don’t forget to bone up by reading as much as you can on both the creature and the country it inhabits. Guides such as the Lonely Planet series are excellent to give you traveller’s info on almost any country.
 

lordmongrove

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PLANNING AHEAD

Always have an itinerary for your expedition. You will only have limited time and you want make the most of it. Try to get information on were the creature was last seen and concentrate your searches on that area. However be ready to move on if the monster turns up else were whilst you are in the country.

Often times guides will do some groundwork in advance for you such as finding witnesses for you to interview. With e-mongol.com the CFZ designed posters that were then translated into Mongolian and distributed to nomads in the desert. They explained how a group of British scientists were visiting the area and wanted information on the deathworm or even a specimen. Though no specimens were forth coming the posters attracted many witnesses some of whom travelled several days to see us.

In Russia our Ukrainian and Russian counterparts had been in the area for two weeks chasing up stories and finding eyewitnesses.

You might want to set up camera traps in the hope of photographing your quarry. Test your trigger cameras before setting them up in the wild. The same goes for all your equipment.

FUNDING

Sadly there are no academic bodies that finance cryptozoological expeditions. The Centre for Fortean Zoology generally finances its own expeditions. We publish our own books, do lectures and write for magazines as well as publishing our own quarterly magazine Animals and Men. The money from this goes towards expeditions. Members generally pay there own way on such trips.

If you have a day job you might want to save up and take your annual fortnight (or should that be ‘Fort’ night?) off on a monster hunt. Remember though this is not a holiday. Cryptozoological expeditions can be dangerous and often take you to remote places. A monster hunter needs to be brave enough to follow the quarry into places most people would never dream of going.

Expenses can differ greatly. This can include flights, equipment and native guides. The cost of my trip to West Africa on the track of the dragon-like Ninki-Nanka was a little over £300. My Russian trip looking for relic hominids known as almasty ran to about £1500. More expensive expeditions have included my hunt for the Mongolian Deathworm in the Gobi and the giant anaconda in Guyana, costing £4000 and £7000 respectively.

You might think TV companies would be interested in financing cryptozoological expeditions in order to make exciting documentaries out of them. Nothing could be further from the truth! Of all my expeditions only one, the 2000 trip to Indo China in search of the serpent dragon called the naga, was financed by a TV company. About six or seven time per year the CFZ are approached by researcher for companies who are toying with the idea of making a film about an expedition. They all end up the same way, the researchers go back to the company, the company approaches the TV station with the idea and the TV station says no. Usually there is no explanation but in the past we have been told we were rejected for being too real (too much like natural history and not fitting in with dross like ‘alien abduction’ and rescue mediums). On another occasion we were contacted by a researcher who wanted to send a camera crew along on a CFZ funded expedition in order to make a documentary for the BBC. In return he said we would get nothing! What I said to him is quite unprintable here. TV companies promise the earth and deliver nothing.

We were once funded by a video game company but this was the one off whim of one man who worked for the company in question. On the whole cryptozoological expeditions are funded from the cryptozoologists ever more threadbare pockets.

‘But wait’, I here you cry, ‘I can’t afford to fly to the other side of the world’. Don worry is my reply; sometimes monsters are on your doorstep. An investigation in the UK can be done for next to nothing. The CFZ have hunted big cats and lake monsters all over the UK. In fact our most successful expedition was to Martin Mere in Lancashire were we investigated reports of a monster attacking full-grown swans. It turned out to be a giant catfish.

You don’t have to clamber up the Himalayas or delve into the Amazon to be a cryptozoologist. There are a wealth of poorly investigated creatures in the UK and Ireland such as the earth hounds in Scotland and the master otter in Ireland.
 

lordmongrove

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YOUR TEAM

If you intend to take a group of people on your expedition you need to select them with care. Don’t just bring along anyone. Ask yourself if the people you have in mind will be physically and mentally up to the job. I recall one an expedition to Africa, one man, who claimed to have much experience in the Dark Continent, being of no use what so ever once he was there. This ‘old Africa hand’ spent most of the trip in a seedy hotel room wining about the humidity whilst the rest of us traversed swamp and jungle.

Look for people with zoological experience or tracking experience. Those well versed in the use of cameras will also be a boon to your team. Most of all make sure all members can rub along together well. You don’t want fights braking pout whilst you’re up a mountain of in a rainforest.
Academic qualifications are not always a guarantee of quality. Whilst studying zoology at Leeds University in the 1990s I was appalled at the lack of knowledge and infantile errors from people who were supposed to be teaching the subject. A degree is no match for practical experience and field work.

Don’t make your team too big, unless you plan to split up. Most of my expeditions have consisted of 3 to 5 members. Remember you will have guides as well. If you get too many people tramping through the wilds like a herd of demented elephants any self respecting cryptid will hear you coming and vacate the area post hast!

NATIVE GUIDES

This is perhaps the most important factor in any monster hunt. It is vital to get hold of trustworthy and experienced local people to help you in your expedition. I have been lucky in having worked with some of the best guides in the world. Some companies will provide excellent guides with intimate local knowledge. When we investigated the Mongolian deathworm we worked with the brilliant Mongolian company e-mongol.com.
They provided us with English speaking Mongolian guides and drivers who knew the desert and the nomads like the back of their hands.

In Guyana we were lucky enough to have a native chief of the Eagle Clan Arrawak Indians as our guide. Damon Corrie of http://www.guidedculturaltours.com/ took us off the beaten track and into native villages. We were honoured to be the first westerners allowed into caves were an ancient burial had taken place. Thanks to Damon we uncovered information on monsters unheard of outside the country. Getting away from tourist areas is one of the keys to carrying out a successful expedition.

Sometimes your guide will be as interesting as the monster you are hunting.
In Sumatra our guide Sahar was a shaman said to be able to bring down the ‘tiger spirit’ to posses him. In the jungle his bush craft was second to none and we even found and followed the tracks of an orang-pendek. His friend Debbie Martyr, head of the Indonesian Tiger Conservation group had seen the orang-pendek several times.

Often the guides will not only know monster witnesses but will have often seen the creatures themselves. An elderly man in Thailand took me into a maze of caverns in the jungle to show me were he saw a 60 foot naga crawling through a subterranean river. In Russia the respected Ukrainian scientist Gregory Panchenko had twice seen the almasty, one at very close range.


TRANSPORT

Getting around in third world countries can be an adventure. In some countries you will have to transverse vast distances. In my experience there are two types of expedition. The first is when most of the exploration is done on foot due to the terrain. You may drive to the area initially but then you spend weeks in the jungle or mountains. The second is were you drive from place to place and spend comparatively little time walking. Sumatra, Russia and Guyana fell into the former type and Thailand and Mongolia into the latter.

Roads, where they exist at all, tend to be much worse than in the UK. Full of potholes driving along them can be ads dangerous as hacking your way through the rainforest. Mountainous areas like The Caucasus and Sumatra have tortuously twisting roads making a journey that would last two hours in the west last up to eight hours.

I recommend you get a four-wheel drive vehicle of decent size. This way you can use it to carry equipment and even to sleep in if needs be.
 

lordmongrove

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INNOCULATIONS, TABLETS AND HEALTH
Before you go tearing off on a monster hunt, make sure you have the correct inoculations or you might be falling victim to much smaller monsters! Make an appointment at your local health centre. They will have detailed information on the inoculations you need for each country. Some areas will differ from others. Visitors to Mongolia will need a series of injections against rabies. The neo-tropics, South and Central America harbours yellow swamp fever. Most tropical areas will have malaria carrying mosquitoes. Malaria tablets are a must in these cases. Depending on the kind of malaria tablets you are on you may have to start taking them several weeks before you leave.
All ways take Imodium for an upset stomach and water purification tablets. The latter are available at most camping / outdoor stores. This will kill off most bacteria in drinking water enabling you to re-fill your flask from lakes and streams. Always read the instructions carefully. Decent insect repellent is a good idea as is a powerful sun screen for hot countries. A first aid kit with plasters, ant-septic cream and bandages is a must. If your first aid kid contains scissors remember not to carry them in your hand luggage on the flight!
Obviously, make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.

EQUIPMENT

What you need to take can differ radically from expedition to expedition. Generally you will be camping out in the wilds. Good, hardy footwear is essential. I once new a man who came on an expedition with tatty old boots whose souls fell off three days into the trip! He spent the rest of the arduous expedition is soft slip ons!

Make sure you know about the climate of the country you are visiting. Remember many countries have rainy and dry seasons. If you are going to a wet climate you will need a rain poncho and a waterproof bag to keep your extra clothes dry.

Take warm clothes for a cool climate and lighter one for a tropical country. Remember even in the tropics it can get cold at night. I recall on my first trip to the mountains of Sumatra I was freezing cold at night because I had not brought an adequate sleeping bag. A good multi season sleeping bag is a must.

Sometimes guides will provide tents and camping equipment but don’t bank on this enquire first. Guides usually double up a cooks and have their own cooking equipment. Sometimes the guide’s fee cover food expenses sometimes not make sure this is all worked out in advance.

You need to travel as light as you can. If your expedition is to be made mostly in vehicles than this is not too much of an issue but on foot, believe you me, you can feel every ounce in your backpack. Apart from tents and bedding take as few clothes as you can. You will end up smelling like a tramp but this is a monster hunt not a fashion show! You will need to leave room for other equipment and any evidence you find as well. If you carry too much they will be an additional; charge on flights.

Always take both moving and stills cameras. Imagine if you saw a cryptid and had no camera on you! Who would ever believe you? I find digital cameras the best. Take extra batteries as electric sockets for recharging are few and far between in jungles, deserts and mountains. Trigger cameras or camera traps can be picked up relatively cheaply on line. Remember were you set the traps up. You don’t want to forget were you put the camera and lose it in a forest! In the UK there is always the risk of the camera trap being nicked so chain them in place. The CFZ has had one camera trap swiped when it was put up in a field to photograph a big cat.
On my last trip to Sumatra I fund that the excessively damp cloud forest drained the batteries of my camera very quickly. Try to store extra batteries in water-proof bags. Take as many as you can.

Also carry scientific specimen bags for any skin, hair or dung you may find. These bags are easily brought on line. When handling evidence always use surgical gloves as to not contaminate the DNA with your own. A good resin for making casts of footprints is a nice idea. Resin is generally stronger and keeps the shape better than plaster of paris. I remember carrying a plastic bag full of plaster of paris through customs and worrying what they would make of my bag of white powder! In very damp climates silicone rubber, available from DIY shops is the best bet for creating a good, waterproof and tough cast.

Sound recording equipment such as a powerful Dictaphone is good for capturing vocalizations of creatures and eyewitness statements.
 

lordmongrove

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HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR TIME

If you are taking a big group then split up to cover more ground. Smaller groups also make less noise. Record all interviews with witnesses and film as much of the expedition as you can. This will come in use not only as a record in itself but also as a tool to improve future trips.

You will be very lucky to get a glimpse of your target creature so gleaning information from locals and witnesses is the next best thing.

It is a good idea to prepare a list of questions when interviewing a witness. Be patient as English will probably not be their first language. You will have to work through an interpreter. In Sumatra, when speaking to the Kubu tribesmen of there encounters with orang-pendek and giant snakes we needed two interpreters. Our guide Sahar translated our questions into Indonesian and then these were translated by a second man (who spoke no English) into the language of the Kubu and visa versa.

Generally I have found native peoples to be very hospitable and honest. They are usually surprised at scientists from ‘the outside world’ being interested in their sightings. They ask for no payment and often do not consider what they have seen to be anything special but just ‘another kind of animal’. One Russian almasty witness was amazed that we were interested in such a ‘crazy topic’ as she put it.

The only real exception to this was in The Gambia were everyone seemed to be out to twist money from Europeans and would tell any kind of tall tail if they thought they could get their grubby hands on money.

Always keep a journal of your trip with entries every day. Such notes are invaluable when it comes to writing an account of your expedition. In the modern day you may even be able to do a daily computer blog with a laptop if you can get a signal.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET HOME

If you have got lucky and managed to film a cryptid do not hoard the film and exchange it only for money. As noted before this is a scientific endeavour not a way of making cash. Share the film with fellow cryptozoologists and the scientific community. This is all about exchanging knowledge and advancing knowledge. If you hold out for cash people will be suspicious. If you have indeed filmed an unknown animal than your reward will be scientific fame.

If you have bone, skin, dung, scales or other organic matter that may come from a cryptid you will need to get it scientifically analysed. Approach reputable museums, universities or zoological organizations. If these cannot do the analysis themselves they may be able to furnish you with contacts who can. Most of the organic matter from CFZ expeditions are analysed by Copenhagen University were our friend Dr Lars Thomas works.


Whatever the outcome publish the findings. There is no shame in mistaking something mundane for something strange. Supposed orang-pendek hair the CFZ brought back from Sumatra on our first expedition there turned out to be from a golden cat. Possible almasty hair was in fact human. Such negatives do not mean your monster does not exist, just that you don’t have a part of it. It’s better to have made a genuine error whilst looking for a cryptid than to never have looked for it at all. One day someone will get lucky and come up with the goods. That someone might just be you!
On our latest trip to Sumatra we brought back possible orang-pendek hair. The DNA has been analysed by Lars and his team and he discovered it was similar to but not the same as orang-utan DNA. At the time of writing a further set of tests are being carried out. It looks as if the hair may belong to a new species of ape.

All ways record your findings and your trip in a write up. This can be as a book, a magazine article an on line account or as we at the CFZ do, all three. Recording your work for posterity is vital. You would not want the things your expedition discovered to be lost and forgotten would you. By recording them they will be here forever and be a useful resource to other cryptozoologists.

THE BEST WAY TO HUNT MONSTERS

Finally, the best way to have a chance to hunt real life monsters in the 21st century is to join the only full time, professional cryptozoological organization in the world, The Centre for Fortean Zoology. The CFZ organizes monster hunts all over the world. Any CFZ member can come along if they can pay their own way. The great thing is that you will not have to organize a thing! The CFZ do all the organization. Check out our website www.cfz.org.uk

Even now monsters still stalk the world and great discoveries are waiting to be made. Adventure is just around the corner if you’re brave enough. Now it’s all up to you.
 

oldrover

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Fair play, you have always been totally up front about any 'negative' results. Also, videos of some of your expeditions are available aren't they.
 

Frideswide

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woohoo! good read sir! thank you lordmongrove :D
 

lordmongrove

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Fair play, you have always been totally up front about any 'negative' results. Also, videos of some of your expeditions are available aren't they.
Yes, most are on youtube under CFZ TV.
 

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Bigfoot Kills Trapper (Bauman's story)

 

lordmongrove

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The monster that killed the most people was The Beast of Gevaudan that accounted for well over one hundred people in 18th century France. The book below is well worth a read. Written by a mammologist who looks at the details of the attacks in the reports and concludes that the beast could not have been a wolf (as most skeptics think) and was in all probability a sub adult male lion.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gévaudan-T...7620214&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=gevadan+tragedy
 

lordmongrove

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I think it may be because its a FB event. I'll work on it.
 
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