When it comes to the matter of unknown creatures (cryptids, many call them) there is one thing about them that really stands out. That is, their uncanny abilities to vanish. And sometimes right in front of us. Let us have a look at this uncanny issue. I'll begin with the Chupacabra of Puerto Rico. On this point, and as just one example of many, the Camuy River Cave Park (so named after the municipality of Camuy, situated north of mountainous Lares) is comprised of almost eleven miles of caverns, and more than 200 caves. Rather significantly, and on my first time on Puerto Rico in 2004, I learned to my great surprise, even at the dawn of the 21st Century, the cave system was barely explored and mapped all the way. Certainly, skilled cavers conclude to this day that the park is home to hundreds of additional caves which very likely still remained untouched, and uninvestigated, by anyone. That the other portions of the caves were, and still are, closed to the public – thanks to the actions of Puerto Rican authorities – led the conspiratorial side of my mind to wonder just what savage things might be lurking in those out of bounds, underground realms. Not only that, some people on the island are absolutely sure that the elusiveness of the monsters is the perfect camouflage. And, I think that could very well be the answer to that ability of the things to elude us almost all the time. In other words, they know Puerto Rico's massive amounts of caves and tunnels very well. And, those same caves allow the Chupacabras to stay away from us at most of the time. Make sense, right? It certainly does!
Then, there's the matter of the Loch Ness Monster (or monsters, of course). Just about everyone has heard of it. A large number of people claim to have seen the long-necked, humped leviathan of the deep. Some have even photographed and filmed it. Nessie, as the beast is affectionately known, has been a staple part of the world of the unexplained since 1933, when the phenomenon of the monster exploded in spectacular, planet-wide fashion. Since then, millions of people have flocked to the shores of the 22.5 miles long and 744 feet deep loch, all in the hopes of seeing the elusive creature. Attempts have been made to seek out Nessie with sonar-equipment, aircraft, balloons, and even submarines. Theories abound as to what Nessie is – or, far more likely and correctly, what the Nessies are. Certainly, the most captivating theory, and the one that the Scottish Tourist Board, moviemakers, and the general public find most appealing, is that which suggests the monsters are surviving pockets of plesiosaurs. They were marine reptiles that the domain of zoology assures us became extinct tens of millions of years ago. The possibility that the monsters are actually giant-sized salamanders holds sway in more than a few quarters. As does the idea that perhaps massive eels are the culprits. Then there are scenarios involving sturgeon, oversized turtles, catfish, and even crocodiles, giant frogs, and hippopotami! And, yet, after centuries, the mystery simply does not go away.
Now, there is the matter of how the Nessies can even elude high-tech equipment such as sonar. There is an answer; a good, plausible one. As Nessie expert, Roland Watson, notes very well: "...numerous underwater surveys of Loch Ness, conducted with sonar and echo sounder apparatus, have failed to reveal the various subsurface features so often featured in popular accounts: underwater ledges, caves and even tunnels leading to the sea. Finally, as is fairly well known, underwater visibility at Loch Ness is negligible - of the order of a few feet once one ventures to any depth below the surface - thanks to the heavy concentration of silt particles washed into the loch from the surrounding hills." Add to that, there are rumors that Loch Ness has very low-level ways of exiting the loch and that the creatures have the ability of leaving the loch and entering into some of the other, various, Scottish lochs. Tunnels? Caves? Maybe so! They would all prevent us from finding them. And, that's the important thing.
When it comes to Bigfoot and other hairy, mysterious man-beasts, the situation is somewhat different. In fact, i'ts totally different. Davy Russell, who, in 2000, penned an article titled Invisible Bigfoot, refers to an incident that occurred in 1977 and which may be relevant to this particularly charged area of research. The location was North Dakota: “A Bigfoot-type creature was spotted throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Locals, along with the police, staked out the area to search for the mysterious creature. A rancher named Lyle Maxon reported a strange encounter, claiming he was walking in the dark when he plainly heard something nearby breathing heavily, as if from running.” Russell continued that Maxon shone his flashlight in the direction of where the sounds were coming from, but nothing could be seen. Puzzled and disturbed by the encounter, Maxon gave serious thought to the possibility that the beast had the ability to render itself invisible to the human eye. Perhaps, that's why we can't catch a Bigfoot. Ever.
It must be said, and it’s hardly surprising, that the island of Cuba lacks any really credible reports of what one would accurately term Bigfoot. In times past, however, Cuba was said to be the home of a hairy creature of similar appearance but of far smaller proportions. Some researchers believe the creatures may still exist, living in deep stealth and out of harm’s way. Very little is known of these legendary animals that are said to have lived in the eastern parts of the island and that became known as the Guije – also known on Cuba as the Jigue and the Chichiricu. With a maximum height of around three feet, their appearance is that of something which is part-human and part-monkey. Particularly noticeable about the Guije are their bulging stomachs and their long claws – the latter being most atypical of monkeys. Despite their small stature the Guije exhibited great strength. Few reports of the creatures being seen during daylight exist, something which strongly suggests they were nocturnal in nature.
All of this suggests that the Guije, if they did exist, were some form of unknown monkey, or ape, despite the fact that such a discovery on Cuba would be phenomenal. It should be noted, however, that there are a number of legends that attribute supernatural powers to the Guije. On this particular matter, Cuban Headlines notes: “Some identify him as a small old black man, others as a small boy of the same race and size with prominent eyes and even with great eyeteeth. Some people have seen him like a monster with goat legs and a caiman tail. “He behaves like an astute and evil goblin. It is said that he is faster than a horse and jump great fences better than a grasshopper. In addition, he becomes invisible like crossing a door [italics mine].
Bhutan Canada says: “In 2001, the Bhutanese Government created the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, a 253 square-mile protected habitat for the Migoi. The sanctuary is also home to pandas, snow leopards, and tigers but the Bhutanese maintain that the refuge was created specifically for the Migoi. Migoi is the Tibetan word for ‘wild man’ or more common to Western culture, the Yeti. The Yeti, often called the Abominable Snowman in the west and referred to as the Migoi by the Bhutanese, is a bipedal ape like creature that is said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. The Migoi is known for its phenomenal strength and magical powers, such as the ability to become invisible and to walk backwards to fool any trackers [italics mine].”
Then there is the matter of Bigfoot invisibility in the world of entertainment. From 2000 to 2002, the SyFy Channel ran a series called The Invisible Man. It focused on the exploits and adventures of Darien Fawkes (played by Vincent Ventresca), a thief who is recruited into the top secret world of espionage and assassination. Fawkes is subjected to advanced, fringe surgery, which involves the implantation into his rain of something called the “Quicksilver Gland.” It’s a gland that has the ability to secrete a substance – Quicksilver - that has light-bending abilities when it secretes through the skin, thus creating a form of invisibility. In series two of The Invisible Man, we learn that although the Quicksilver Gland was being created and synthesized artificially, its development was prompted by the recovery of a Bigfoot corpse and the deduction that its own Quicksilver Gland is what has allowed the creatures to remain almost 100 percent elusive. Fiction paralleling an astonishing truth? It’s a question to ponder deeply on.
Now, let's focus on the Dogman - a modern day version of the old-time werewolf, as some say. I was recently asked for my thoughts on the phenomenon of what has become known as the Dogman. Well, there's no doubt in my mind that the mystery is a real one. Of course, the big question is: what are these strange creatures? Are they flesh and blood animals? Might they be creatures of the supernatural type? Or, could they even be a strange combination of the two? Let's see. The phenomenon largely began in 1991. That was when the people of the city of Elkhorn, Wisconsin - which has a population of around 11,000 - were swamped by reports of creatures that eerily sounded like werewolves. In other words, they looked like wolves, but they had the uncanny - sinister, even - ability to walk and run on their back legs - and in an upright fashion. Of course, and as far as we know, no such animal exists. That hasn't stopped numerous people from seeing the creatures, however. It's largely thanks to a journalist and author named Linda Godfrey, who wrote for the Walworth County Week newspaper, that the mystery escalated. When Linda was assigned to the story, it became clear - and quickly, too - that this was a big story. Sightings were hardly scarce. In fact, they became many in number. People were scared. They had good reason to be." The reason why I focus on the Dogman is quite simple: I have seven reports from people who encountered a Dogman and watched the creatures (as one said) "fade away."
And, finally, there is Dennis Waller. He is one of the leading experts in the field of the Kushtaka. He notes in his 2014 book, In Search of the Kushtaksa, that the word, “Kushtaka,” equates to “Land Otter Man,” which is highly appropriate, taking into consideration that this is precisely how the Kushtaka is described. It is important, however, to note that the creature is not, literally, half-human and half-otter. Rather, it can take on both forms. But things don’t end there: the Kushtaka can also manifest in the shapes of giant wolves – and very often bipedal, upright wolves – and also large, hairy humanoids not at all unlike Bigfoot. In the Bigfoot-seeking community, Waller observes, this has given rise to the thought-provoking theory that the Kushtaka may well be an Alaskan Bigfoot; one which, over time, has been incorporated into Native lore and legend. On the other hand, however, and as Waller also notes, for the Tsimshian and the Tlingit, the creatures are monsters with the power to morph. In that sense, the jury is very much out when it comes to their true identities. And, you know what's coming? That's right: the Kushtaksa can go invisible. So, as I see it, it's no wonder, at all, that it's so difficult for us to get strong evidence on just about any of these strange creatures. But, who knows? One day we just might be amazed and shocked.