In part-1 of this 2-part article, I noted that stories of a “death by cryptid” nature began a long time ago. A very long time ago. As an example, I cited a curious 6th century saga that occurred on Scotland’s River Ness. It’s an approximately twelve-mile-long body of water that flows out of the northern end of Loch Ness. And we all know what’s alleged to dwell in the dark depths of that famous loch, right? Right! Nessie, of course. Or the Nessies.
Over the years, I have come across more than a few cases suggesting that death by cryptid is something which may not be as rare as we assume it to be. Granted, and I have to admit this, trying to fully confirm the facts surrounding these inflammatory tales is no easy task. Trying to only partly confirm them is not easy, either. In some cases, it’s due to the fact that the data is scant. Then, there are those cases that are supposedly shrouded in secrecy – the results of government cover-ups to hide the shocking truths. Others may be the fantasies of idiots.
Certainly, one of the most fascinating stories I have heard on this issue relates to the phenomenon of so-called “Alien Big Cats,” or “ABCs,” in the UK. For decades people have reported seeing large, leopard-like black cats roaming the UK. And not always just the woods, forests and fields. But, even the towns and inner-cities. All of which brings me to the year of 1983.
That was the year in which the English county of Devon – and specifically an area known as Exmoor – became the hunting ground for what many people, including elements of the nation’s media, suspected was an Alien Big Cat. It appropriately became known as the “Beast of Exmoor.” Even the military – the Royal Marines – did their utmost to track down the killer-beast.
There are several conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 1983 on Exmoor. Bizarrely, one, investigated by Jonathan Downes of the Center for Fortean Zoology, revolved around none other than the late Princess Diana! (For an extremely brief summary of what is actually a very complicated saga, see the last entry in this link.)
A further conspiracy theory, also connected to the Beast of Exmoor, was given to me after I wrote at length about the Downes/Diana story in my 2013 book, Monster Files. Yep, it was one of those frustrating “friend of a friend”-type cases that so very often cause far more problems than they provide answers. So the story went, late one night, and at the height of the Royal Marines’ investigation, one of the personnel was savaged to death by an unknown animal. A hasty cover-up was put into place, as was a cover story concerning the circumstances under which the unfortunate man died.
Yes, it sounds like something straight out of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles: the English county of Devon, a wild and mysterious moorland landscape, and a dangerous and strange beast on the loose by night. It was a thought-provoking and fairly lengthy story. But, no, it didn’t lead anywhere. At all. And, indeed, if there had been a death of one of the Royal Marines on Exmoor – and at the height of a big cat search – I’m pretty sure the facts would have surfaced by now. On top of that, there is zero evidence of any Marines dying on Exmoor in that time frame, from a large cat attack or from anything else. I filed the story away. And that’s where it remains. Let’s move on.
Since 2004, I’ve been on many expeditions to Puerto Rico, all in search of the Chupacabra. On at least 3 or 4 of those occasions I have heard accounts of the Chupacabra attacking and killing farmers, villagers, and people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As with the 1983 saga of the Beast of Exmoor, the Puerto Rican reports were all “friend of friend” in nature. All were quite spectacular too. People spoke of violent and fatal attacks in the El Yunque rain-forest, of cavers falling victim to the monsters in some of the more extensive caves that can be found on Puerto Rico, and of deadly confrontations between the beasts and US military personnel (shades of the Beast of Exmoor story).
What this all serves to demonstrate is that, yes, there are reports of people losing their lives at the claws and fangs of savage, monstrous creatures. But, from my own personal investigations, not a single one has ever been shown to have any merit attached to it. Now, I should stress this doesn’t mean people haven’t been killed by cryptids; the Loch Ness/River Ness story is at least suggestive of such a possibility. All it means is that the cases I have been exposed to and which I’ve looked into haven’t led anywhere – yet.
That’s not to say you won’t be torn to shreds by a Bigfoot if, one day, you decide to take a walk in the dense, forestland of Washington State. You know, I’m just saying. Many of the stories may be just that: stories. But, in the world of cryptids, it’s always wise to tread carefully.