May 20, 2019 I Nick Redfern

Animal Spirits and Cryptozoology

Jon Downes, of the U.K.-based Center for Fortean Zoology, has made an insightful statement concerning the matter of strange, ape-like animals seen in the U.K. Jon says: "Unlike the phenomena in other parts of the world, each of the historic British Bigfoot and mystery ape cases have a convenient little folk story, or ghost story, attached to them to explain the presence of these apparitional creatures in the relevant region. Now, my theory is that none of these assertions is correct. I earnestly believe that these stories were invented by village folk in centuries past to try and explain the sightings of monkey-shaped apparitions that would fleetingly appear from time to time and then would vanish as if into thin air." When we chatted in 2010 about such issues as animal spirits and whether or not our furry, flying, and swimming friends might have souls, paranormal expert and good friend Joshua P. Warren - the author of the highly-relevant book, Pet Ghosts - told me that he had extensively investigated a series of encounters with apparition-like, ancient animals on farmland at Lancaster, South Carolina – one of which seemed to resemble nothing less than, of all things conceivable, a ghostly pterodactyl.

Josh told me he had mused very deeply upon the possibility that the paranormal presence of certain extinct animals might very well help explain at least some sightings of monstrous beasts in our presence to this very day - and particularly so those that seemingly appear and vanish in the blink of the proverbial eye. "Maybe Bigfoot is a 'phantimal,'" said Josh to me, utilizing a term he uses to describe ghostly beasts, "perhaps even the ghost of a prehistoric creature, similar to the enormous extinct ape, Gigantopithecus, or maybe even the spirits of primitive humans." And, in a similar fashion, Josh explained to me, he was not at all adverse to the idea that the world’s most famous lake-monster, Nessie, might actually represent some form of "ghostly plesiosaur," rather than a literal, living animal, or even a colony of animals.

This latter point was closely echoed by the late Jim Marrs. While digging deep into the subject of the U.S. Government’s secret research into the realms of so-called remote viewing and psychic spying, Jim learned that elements of government had secretly attempted to focus their skills upon solving the riddle of what it is that lurks within the deep and dark waters of Loch Ness, Scotland. It was a very controversial operation, however, as Jim noted. And it led to an utterly amazing conclusion, as he further revealed: "Several sessions targeting the famous Loch Ness Monster revealed physical traces of the beast – a wake in the water, movement of a large body underwater. Their drawings even resembled a prehistoric plesiosaur, often identified as matching descriptions of Nessie. But when the viewers tried to discover where the object came from or returned to, they hit a dead end. The creature seemed to simply appear and disappear. Considering that reports of human ghosts date back throughout man’s history, the Psi Spies seriously considered the possibility that the Loch Ness monster is nothing less than a dinosaur’s ghost." [Note: plesiosaurs were not actually dinosaurs].

Commenting on the matter of life after death in animals, author and researcher Neil Arnold says: "‘I’ve investigated numerous reports of ghostly bears across England over the years. I’ve often been of the opinion that if people see ghosts of humans then they must surely be able to see ghosts of animals, the most common seem to be spectral pets: dogs, cats, and also horses and birds. However, I’ve gathered reports over the years of a number of ghostly, wilder animals from lions to apes. Ghostly bears have been reported all over the U.K. Maybe these are lost souls that suffered greatly at the hands of bear-baiting centuries previous." Neil is careful to stress, however: "I don’t believe the reports of alleged U.K. wild men cross into ghostly bear territory. For one, bears, in their natural form, are not bipedal. When they do stand on their hind legs they cannot walk far and certainly have no apparent stride. Bears also have muzzles. In the cases of phantom bears I’ve looked at, in every case a bear has been described, nearly always on all fours and not bipedal.’

Do the spirits of long-extinct animals still roam the Earth - whether on land, in the air, or within the mysterious depths of ancient lakes and oceans? Maybe, we should not rush to dismiss such thought-provoking possibilities out of hand.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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