Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that all cryptids are mythical creatures. That includes Bigfoot, Nessie, Champ and the traditional list of creatures whose existence is based on anecdotal evidence (I warned you there would be arguments) and legends. Add to that the traditional mythical creatures like mermaids, dragons, unicorns and the like. Finally, throw in the extinct creatures that still get reported, like the Tasmanian tiger. Now, pick out from that combined list the six mythical creatures you most wish existed. No ties –- six only. Got it? The website Grunge.com did this exercise recently with 518 people around the U.S. As Steve Harvey says on “The Family Feud,” the top six answers are on the board. Let’s see how you compare, starting with #7. Wait … didn’t you say six?
A small number of people (4.44 percent) voted for fairies, vampires, leprechauns and ‘others’ that seem to be more of the mythical than cryptid kind. One interesting comment came from a person who asked, “Would we allow them to live freely?" This is a question that comes up frequently with the Tasmanian tiger and in cases where the DNA of an extinct animal is available, but it’s a good one to ask yourself about your own list. If you caught a mythical creature, would you release it after getting an irrefutable video or photo? Would you protect its existence from others or would you use it for your own fun and profit?
Really? Have 3.67 percent of the respondents never seen a werewolf movie? There aren’t even any ‘friendly werewolf’ tales or romances with princesses – just stories of bloodthirsty shapeshifters. Why would one want werewolves to be real?
If you’re into ancient Greek mythology, it might be fun to have these half-men-half-horse creatures -- 3.86 percent of the respondents thought so. This could revive the sport of horse racing and save wear-and-tear on those little jockeys. A lot of people love horses – although it’s the other end that gets all of the petting and mouth-to-mouth carrots. Do centaurs go for the carrot-passing or the more traditional forms of human kissing?
4. Loch Ness Monster
Finally, a real cryptid. Nessie is probably in the top three in number of sightings per cryptid and an entire economy has grown up around looking for it – something you can even do from your home anywhere watching the Nessie-cam. Nessie is also a harmless cryptid, so it’s easy to see why 11 percent wish it was real. Would a real Nessie help or hurt the businesses dependent on tourists searching for it? Would scientists crowd them out?
OK, the Game of Thrones crowd may have pushed dragons to #3 with 18.92 percent choosing them for reality. Prior to the books and series, that number would probably have been lower, since there are very few dragon sightings in the U.S. Anyone who has been under a large flock of geese or lives in a wildfire zone would probably not be interested in real flying firebreathers.
Ah, there’s a mythical creature who would have a large following of men and a sizable number of female fans too, given the rising popularity of mermaid suits and mermaid shows. It’s obvious that the 23.36 percent who voted for mermaids are unfamiliar with the stories of the creatures capturing and killing men and children. Way to go, Disney.
Unicorns, like mermaids, have benefitted from children’s books, cartoons and movies. They’ve also benefitted from very few people – certainly not the 34.75 percent who voted for them – knowing that the original Greek unicorn was based on the Indian rhinoceros, a fearsome creature to those who only heard their descriptions, and who the early naturalist Pliny claimed could never be captured alive. The Roman scholar Aelian added that the unicorn was gentle with females during mating season, and these two evolved into the idea that unicorns could only be captured by a virgin. Then came the shout-out in the Hebrew bible and Old Testament, which historians blame on a mistranslation from Hebrew to Greek. That put the unicorn on the path to universal belovedness, culminating with it being associated with Jesus. The rest is mythical marketing and Disney movie history, pushing the unicorn to #1 on the Grunge.com list of mythical creatures we most want to exist.
How did you do? There are probably a lot of angry Bigfoot fans disappointed in the tally. Could that be because so many people already believe Bigfoot is real and didn’t need their vote?
Let the arguments begin!