One of the questions that I often get asked when it comes to the matter of Cryptozoology goes something broadly like this: “If Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman, the Loch Ness Monster, and all the rest, are real, then why can’t we ever catch, or find, just one example of them?” Well, there’s no denying, at all, that it’s a very good question!
The skeptic, of course, would say the reason for the lack of such a specimen is simple: all the reports can be explained away via folklore, fantasy, mythology, mistaken identity, and hoaxes. Those monster-hunters who believe the beasts they seek to be flesh and blood and nothing else, would say the creatures are just incredibly elusive. I say neither approach is correct.
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Sasquatch, lake-monsters, and the many and varied other types of mystery animal that get seen every now and again, are absolutely real. In that sense, I believe the skeptics to be mistaken. But, there’s a problem with the flesh and blood angle of the conventional cryptozoologists – as I see it, at least.
If this bizarre “monster-menagerie” is just comprised of animals that science and zoology have not classified (or downright refuse to classify), then we should be seeing them purely at random locales – places that are normal, everyday environments, but that just happen to be home to some very strange animals. When we look closer, however, we see that is not what is actually happening: The places are often as profound as the beasts themselves.
Indeed, in many cases where crypto-creatures are seen, the location is already noted for its high-strangeness. And, with that said, let’s take a look at a few such places.
I live just outside Dallas, Texas, and – with good friend and fellow creature-seeker, Ken Gerhard – wrote a book a couple of years ago called Monsters of Texas. The book included a chapter on sightings of Bigfoot-type beasts in a massive area of East Texas forest called the Big Thicket. Many of the reports emanate from a long road that runs through the dense woods. Its name is Bragg Road.
Locally, however, the road is known as “Ghost Light Road.” The reason for this is simple: strange, ethereal balls of light are seen flitting among the trees on a regular basis. Thus, we have an area renowned for supernatural activity where Bigfoot just happens to be seen, too.
Now let’s take a trip to Loch Ness, Scotland. If you thought that Nessie (or the Nessies) was the only weird thing in residence at the loch, you would be dead wrong. Aleister Crowley once had a home at the loch – Boleskine House – and while there tried to summon up demons from the dark waters. Large black cats have been seen roaming the shores of the loch. UFOs have soared overhead, while Men in Black have been seen prowling the surrounding, wooded areas.
It’s the same with England: from the Cannock Chase woods, numerous reports have surfaced of so-called “Alien Big Cats.” Now, they might be escapees from zoos and private menageries. But, many of the reports from the Chase come from a cemetery in the woods known as the German Cemetery (it houses the remains of German military personnel who died on British soil during the First and Second World Wars). Here’s the other thing: large, black cats are not the only kind of crypto-beast seen at the cemetery.
Bipedal, wolf-like animals – definitive werewolves, some might say – have also been seen there, as have Bigfoot-style entities. And a number of reports of the ghostly and spectral style, too, have surfaced from among the old gravestones.
Moving back to the US: Stan Gordon’s excellent book, Silent Invasion, is an in-depth study of an early 1970s wave when UFOs and Bigfoot were seen repeatedly at the same time, and at the same place, in various parts of Pennsylvania. Easily rivaling John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies – in terms of multiple weird phenomena all manifesting in one area – Silent Invasion makes it very difficult to conclude that Bigfoot is just a giant ape and nothing else.
Linda Godfrey’s first-class research into American werewolves has demonstrated connections to cemeteries, to areas that were perceived as sacred and magical by Native Americans, and – bizarrely – to old military bases, too. Her books Hunting the American Werewolf and Real Wolfmen make that abundantly clear.
Now, I’m most assuredly not saying that unknown animals don’t exist – they clearly do. There is a massive amount of evidence that obviously leads in that direction and – in my view – nowhere else. But, when the locations where lake-monsters, lycanthropes, and Bigfoot (to name just three) have been seen are teeming with additional paranormal phenomena – or where the site has, for centuries, been perceived as magical or mysterious – then I think we need to look outside the box.
I will be the first to admit it’s difficult to know what we should make of these cases that tie strange creatures to a wide variety of other “things,” but there is one thing I do know for sure: when a strange creature is seen at an already-strange and renowned site, there’s something afoot that goes way beyond the conventions of just Cryptozoology.