If you really want to know what’s on the minds of the residents of a particular state or country, an excellent way is to look at the top Google search terms in the area. It’s great for finding out what political figures they’re interested, what kind of porn videos they prefer, where they would like to go on a vacation and what are their favorite monsters and mythical creatures. A vacation website combined the last two (sorry, porn fans) and developed an interesting guide listing the best countries to potentially encounter a particular cryptid, and what monsters are searched for the most in each country and in each U.S. state. If you’re a fan of Bigfoot and think you’re in the majority, you are in for a big surprise.
“Have a cryptid (yeah, that’s the official word) in mind that you’ve always wanted to peep in the wild? Ever wondered what a werewolf looks like? Whether Bigfoot really exists? These are the places you need to go to catch a glimpse of the world’s most elusive creatures, based on the first and last sightings of them.”
The travel site NextVacay.com first lists a helpful guide for those planning a vacation where the main objective is hunting for mythical creatures. Some are obvious – the best place to spot a Yeti is Nepal, werewolves are all over Europe, and the prime country for elf hunting is Iceland, where they’re actually protected by the government. Hoping to see a unicorn? NextVacay’s survey of searches directs you to Scotland, which adopted the mythical one-horned horse as its national animal. Real mermaids, not the costumed kind, are most often reported in Zimbabwe, although you may want to avoid it since they’re know to drown people … particularly men. While Ireland is obviously the place for leprechauns, it’s also the place to scream if you see a banshee – this seems to be their primary home. While Transylvania and New Orleans are the traditional places to hunt for vampires, there’s actually no one country with a lock on sightings.
“To discover which countries believe in cryptids, and which ones they believe in, we used search volumes of the terms ‘[creature] sightings’ and ‘[creature] real’ to discover the places searching for them the most.”
This section of the study is where things get interesting. Again, some results are predictable – the most searches in Ireland are for fairies, leprechauns and banshees. In Canada, Bigfoot comes in third behind the Yeti (technically a Bigfoot) and the Kappa. The Kappa is a green humanoid with webbed hands and feet found primarily in Japanese folklore. They’re said to love sumo wrestling, which might attract Canadians bored of hockey (if that’s possible). Another surprise is Australia, where the Bunyip comes in third behind Dragons and Mermaids, which are mentioned in Aboriginal folklore. A little heard of cryptid took top honors in Guyana – the Jumbee (also mendo or Chongo) is a Caribbean shape-shifting demon that will enter a house unless one leaves a knotted outside that the Jumbee picks up and plays with. Argentinians like to search for the Ningen, which is another Japanese folkloric creature – an aquatic humanoid that resembles a huge head on two giant legs with no body in-between.
However, the biggest surprises in this study of searches come from the U.S., where the #1 monster searched for is not Bigfoot but the Wendigo – the cannibalistic man-beast with horns that traces back to Native American tales. Next in search totals in the werewolf, followed by the Chupacabra, which has become popular in the U.S. as a mangy-looking dog creature in Texas and the southwest, not the traditional goat-sucking beast of Puerto Rico. In fourth place is the Skunk Ape – that smelly Bigfoot cousin from Florida, Louisiana and other swampy southeastern states.
Where are the Bigfoot fans in the U.S.? The state-by-state search breakdown is even more puzzling. Residents of Washington – home of the most Bigfoot sightings – prefer looking for the Kappa and Unicorn ahead of Sasquatch. California’s list of popular searches is even more puzzling – Elf, Fairy, Vampires and Jinn. Three huge and puzzling surprises – Georgians search for Mermaids, Werewolves and Krakens; West Virginians look for the Australian Bunyip; and those government workers in Washington DC are most interested in Banshees! What political party do Banshees favor? That’s a different search!
Why is Bigfoot so poorly represented in this study of state searches for monsters and cryptids? It could be that Americans feel they know enough about their hairy beast. Another possibility is that Bigfoot sightings have crossed over to the mainstream media. Or they could be becoming tired of Sasquatch showing up in car commercials, real estate listings and insurance ads. Bigfoot overload?
A special thanks to NextVacay for this enlightening and eye-opening research.
One thing this is for certain – Google knows us better than we know ourselves.