Hey everyone, listen up! When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with monsters. This is why I watched The Monster Squad constantly. Nowadays, if you are twenty-something or older and you still like talking about monsters, you have to call them cryptids, or else you just don't sound serious. I, of course, am super-serious. So too, by the way, is Lakshmi. We had a long conversation about cryptids the other day (on account of our seriousness), but then we had to stop because we both got scared. Anyway, that inspired this list!
Back in 1955, a businessman saw three or four green, scaly frog-men hanging out under a bridge. One of them had a little device that shot sparks and according to the guy, they smelled like alfalfa and almonds. An alternate (and potentially more truthful) telling of this story is as follows: A man in the business of doing drugs stumbled upon a sparsely attended hobo Halloween party. The hobo in charge of bringing snacks could only scrounge up alfalfa and a bowl of almonds.
15. Skunk Ape
The skunk ape is a Bigfoot-knockoff from down south who has a hankering for bushels of apples and smells really funky. Once again, I think the logical explanation is a hobo in a costume.
Champ is a total biter, like Skunk Ape, but he is one notch cooler because he is some type of plesiosaur and not a smelly monkey. He (apparently it is totally obvious that Champ is a dude) lives in Lake Champlain, and has been there every since 1883--coincidentally appearing during the first Make Lake Champlain More Famous campaign headed up by the Lake Champlain Board of Tourism. (I cannot trace Champ's origins to hobos.)
What even is a bunyip. This is why I don't get Aussies.
12. Black Shuck
Mythical Scottish dog name-checked by neo-glam-rockers The Darkness in their song "Black Shuck". (According to the lyrics, "Black Shuck / that dog don't give a fuck".) Hey, whatever happened to The Darkness? They have practically achieved cryptid status as a band by this point. Did they ever really exist?
11. El Chupacabra
Also known as the goat-sucker! (Yes, yes, that is a blood-curdling moniker!) This alien/reptile/dog/cat/vampire/thing roams the Southwest and Mexico, wreaking havoc on livestock, mainly goats. (It, um, sucks their blood, apparently.) My beef with the chupacabra is that it sounds like the product of a five year old who has been asked to design his very own imaginary animal. "An it'll have... talons! And a beak with fangs... but also it can fly. And really big eyes! And claws! And a tail that turns into a gun! And when it blinks, you get really cold! And it looooves American Graffiti!"
Aw man, this guy scared the crap out of me as a little guy. It's a half-man, half-goat who roams the backroads of the U.S. with a hatchet and a temper. Mostly he runs out into the road, jumps on cars, and beats the shit out of their roofs and hoods. What a cryptid dick! Also, he's human enough to scrawl "Goatman was here" in rest-stop bathrooms. Neither goats or men are particularly terrifying, but when their two powers combine--JEEZ. (Note: actually pertinent hypothetical battle question... if Goatman and a chupacabra got into a fight, who would win!!?!)
Wasn't there a Richard Gere movie about this guy? (Answer: YES.) Run down of powers: Flight? Check. Cool, creepy, glowing eyes? Check. Ability to cause cataclysms!? Check! Oh man, this life is so full of weird.
The Chinese don't screw around when it comes to cryptid-related urban legends. Half-man, half-whatevers are boring. What isn't boring is a gigantic worm-snake that spews venom and always kills you. This one was definitely not invented by hobos. There are photos of tracks to prove it!!! (Note: okay, so a long line in the sand is what counts as tracks in this instance, but for reals, guys, DEATH WORM!)
I'm giving this guy extra points because he's the only one with a Mountain Goats song dedicated to him. (Also, he sounds like the friendliest monster out of the bunch!)
Probably one of the more plausible ones on the list. So... every once in a while, rural Britons see large, carnivorous cats, just chillin' out on the moors. They're usually described as lion or panther-like and they just love killing sheep. Frankly, I think a better thing to search for would be the Large Cat-Fancier of Bodmin Moor. I'm guessing the thought process usually goes like this. "Shit! My lion/panther escaped! I should call the police--that thing could kill people or sheep. Wait, having a lion/panther in a private residence is probably illegal! Hmm... I know, instead of alerting the authorities, I will by another large, carnivorous cat. That was so easy!"
Oh man, remember anti-gypsyism? Yeah, those were the days, eh? Anyway, apparently a gypsy lady had 13 kids or something and the thirteenth was the Devil's son. I have chosen to half-remember the Jersey Devil's origin story, rather than doing any research. Also, the New Jersey Devils are a not-half-bad team to pull for, when it comes to hockey teams. By the way, the thing about the Jersey Devil is that I think I could take him. Like, I've seen the pictures, and that little Pine Barrens-dwelling prick has it coming. He's got stumpy little legs, a big dumb reptile-dog face, and poorly drawn wings. You're going down, mythical creature!
There's a great Mitch Hedberg joke about how the scariest thing about Bigfoot is that he's so blurry. There's this fuckin' blurry guy running around the Pacific Northwest! In other news, wasn't Mitch Hedberg the greatest?
It should be noted that according to news clippings seen in How I Met Your Mother, Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) will capture the Loch Ness Monster sometime in the 2030s. Neat! Also, my favorite thing is on those "In Search of Monsters"-type shows when they implicate Nessie in that one speedboater's death? Because Nessie was apparently making waves? Waves that killed?
WHAT, this thing is real, but it died out. OR DID IT?!!?! Answer: Dudes, obviously not. I'm guessing there's some sort of massive Australian government conspiracy... in fact, I bet they're slowly sneaking thylacines into high-ranking government positions. Like that one Australian governor who can open his mouth 180 degrees. He is probably a thylacine.
1. The Yeti
BEST MONSTER EVER. Sweet name, sweet location, sweet backstory... I even named my cat after the Yeti. There is just something so thrilling, so engaging about an enormous furry beast, carving out a legendary existence in an inhospitable climate, eluding capture and verified documentation for hundreds of years. (Then again, there are Tibetan hobos, too...)