Just recently I was asked: which cryptid creatures do I believe are supernatural in nature, and which ones do I think are animals that we have yet to classify, but that are nothing but flesh and blood creatures? It's a good and important question. There is no doubt at all that there are two types of cryptid in our midst. With that said, let's first take a look at these distinctly different creatures. In part-1 of this article, we'll focus on some of the animals that I believe are 100 percent flesh and blood and that have absolutely zero ties to the domain of the supernatural. And, in part-2, we'll tackle the much weirder side of Cryptozoology. In part-1, we'll begin with the Yeren. For those who may know, it is - in essence - China's very own equivalent of the North American Bigfoot. While Yeren have been seen in a number of areas of China, certainly the one area – more than any other – that is a hotbed for sightings is Hubei, a province located in central China. It’s a vast place dominated by numerous mountains – including the Daba Mountains and the Wudang Mountains – and the Jianghang Plain. Hubei is also a province through which flows the massive, near-4,000-mile-long Yangtze River.
It is specifically the western portion of Hubei in which the Yeren has mostly been spotted – an area noted for its dense forest and treacherous mountains. As for what the Yerens are, that is the big question. At the top of the list is Gigantopithecus, a massive and presumed extinct ape that certainly inhabited China hundreds of thousands of years ago – and which, perhaps, may not be quite so extinct, after all. Coming in at a close second is the theory that the animal represent some form of huge, and unacknowledged, Orangutan. Sightings of the Yeren cannot be blamed upon hype born out of the fascination for Bigfoot. That much is made abundantly clear by the fact that reports of these immense animals have been reported for centuries. A translated, 17th century document from Hubei notes: “In the remote mountains of Fangxian County, there are rock caves, in which live hairy men as tall as three meters. They often come down to hunt dogs and chickens in the villages. They fight with whoever resists.”
Other mysterious cryptids that I believe to be flesh and blood - and nothing else at all - are the various huge lizards that have been reported in Australia. Is it feasible that the subtropical rain-forests of Australia are home to gigantic, marauding lizards of twenty to thirty feet in length? Could such Jurassic Park-like beasts really remain hidden, undetected, and free to rampage around in near-unstoppable fashion? Just maybe, the answer is “Yes.” As for the creature itself, it’s not something created out of the minds of the fantasy-driven and the deluded. Thousands of years ago, Australia really was home to such immense beasts. Do they still live, despite the fact that they have been declared completely and utterly extinct?
The creature in question went by the name of Megalania prisca, a large, vicious monitor lizard that roamed Australia at least as late as 40,000 years ago. It got its name thanks to one Richard Owen, a paleontologist of the 1800s. He was the man who has gone down in history as coining the term “Dinosauria,” or, “terrible reptile.” As for Megalania prisca, it very appropriately translates to “ancient giant butcher,” and/or “ancient great roamer.”
Many might consider it utterly absurd to believe that significant numbers of thirty-foot-long monster-lizards could exist in stealth, in the wilds of Australia, and not be found, captured or killed. But, let’s take a look at what we know of this undeniably controversial saga. For years, reports have surfaced out of Australia of such creatures. Weird Australia notes that sightings of massive lizards in Australia were recorded in both the latter part of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century. Some of the old reports cited by Weird Australia sound very much like surviving examples of Megalania. Aaron Justice, in an article titled “Megalania Prisca: Dragon of the Australian Outback,” notes: “Megalania might not be constrained only to Australia – some sightings suggest it may live in New Guinea. A French priest in the 1960’s was traveling up river with a native guide in order to reach his mission. During the trip he spotted a large lizard lying on a fallen tree in the sun.”
Now, let us turn our attentions to Sumatra. And to a strange ape known as Orang Pendek. It's a creature that has been seen on many occasions - and by credible sources. Former zoo-keeper Richard Freeman says: "“Orang Pendek means ‘short man’ in Indonesian. The creature is said to be powerfully built and immensely strong but relatively short at around 4½ to 5ft in height. It walks upright like a man and rarely, if ever, moves on all fours.” As Richard has come to learn during the course of his various expeditions, the Orang Pendek is “…generally said to have dark brown or black fur but honey colored or reddish hair has been reported. Sometimes a long mane of hair that falls down to the shoulders is also mentioned. The Orang Pendek generally seems to be a solitary creature, though there are rare reports of groups of them being seen together.” Moving on...
Cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard says the following of the Texas Chupacabra: "The thing that has always amazed me about these so-called Texas chupacabras is why had we never heard of them before 2004? And why are there so many of them popping up, in the past decade, all over the place, with increasing regularity? That’s why I began to wonder if there could be some kind of ecological component, pollution or something else that’s causing these animals to appear this way.”
Ken also says: “Many of these Texas chupacabras have been reported in areas in and around coal-burning power-plants. Coal-burning power-plants release massive amounts of toxins, including sulfur-dioxide, which – in laboratory tests – has been proven to be a mutagen. This is a toxin that can get into an animal’s blood make-up and actually cause their cells to mutate. Maybe, as a result of the pollution, the immune-systems of these animals have been weakened to the point where, when they do contract the mange mites, their resulting symptoms are much more extreme than anything we’ve encountered before. This may be why they become completely hairless, so fast, and why they look so sickly. It might also explain the physical changes, like the forelimb lengths, the overbites, and the pouches.”
In part-2 of this article I'll address the matter of those cryptid things that I think are supernatural in nature.