Jan 11, 2023 I Nick Redfern

The Strange Domain of Cryptozoology: Are All "Cryptids" Supernatural? Maybe They Are!

In the last couple of days, I have come up with various theories and ideas that suggest the Loch Ness Monsters and Bigfoot are supernatural, rather than just unknown animals. Not only that, it's very possible that all cryptids are supernatural. Let's take a look at some of the more well-known monsters on our world and that should be changed to "paranormal" in nature. Let's begin with the Dog-Man. It looks like a werewolf-type creature, but there's no doubt that it's something beyond flesh and blood. If someone told you they had seen a werewolf (as in, a real, 100 percent werewolf) most people would likely laugh at you. The fact is, though, that people have reported seeing such things (largely) since the early 1990s. Imagine a large, wolf-like creature that has the ability to walk and run on its hind legs, and that's what the Dog-Men look like. I should stress that aside from dubious yarns created by hoaxers, reports of these creature shapeshifting are very few and far between.

There are only one or two reports of people claiming to have morphed into Dog-Men and back again. And a full moon plays no role in the story. Nor do silver bullets. So, what we're dealing with is, basically, an upright wolf-like monster. Like the Black Eyed Children, when publicity began to surface, the Dog-Men phenomenon grew and grew. More and more people saw them. And, just like the BEC, they seemed to repeat the same things time and time again. Whereas the BEC tried to get an invite into the home, the Dog-Men have a penchant for racing across roads late at night and terrifying drivers. But, when confronted, the Dog-Men only ever make half-hearted attacks on people - after which they vanish into the night. This is not the way that normal animals work. They may be nothing less than Tulpas/Thought-Forms.

(Nick Redfern) The Dogman: Clearly a paranornal creature.

Now, onto the matter of the U.K.'s Alien Big Cats (ABCs). For decades, the British Isles have played host to a decidedly mysterious and marauding beast. It has become known as the “Alien Big Cat,” or the ABC. Some cryptozoolgists and monster-hunters suggest the puzzle is an even older one, maybe even dating back centuries. Regardless of when, exactly, the controversy began, the fact is that, pretty much every year, dozens upon dozens of reports surface of large cats roaming the wilder – and sometimes the not so wild – parts of Britain. Very often, the cats are described as being huge, muscular and black in color. This has given rise to the term “black panther,” which is actually incorrect, but frequently used by both the public and the press. It would be far more correct to suggest the creatures are probably leopards and jaguars displaying significant melanism – a condition in which there is an excess of a black pigment known as melanin. As for how such creatures have come to be seen across pretty much the entirety of the British Isles, the theories are as many as they are varied.

Some researchers hold that the animals have escaped from private zoos and enclosures and are now living and thriving very nicely in the nation’s woods and forests. Others suggest that back in 1976, when the British Government significantly altered the rules and regulations governing the keeping of large, predatory animals, the owners of such cats – who couldn’t afford to pay the new fees – secretly released their pets into the wild. And, today, so the theory goes, what people are seeing are the descendants of those large cats set free in the 1970s. Other theories are far more controversial: one suggests the ABCs may have been with us since roughly AD 43, when invading Roman forces brought large cats to Britain in the form of mascots. Did some of those mascots escape and manage to survive and breed, largely undetected? Some say: Yes. Then there is the highly-charged theory that Britain has in its midst an unidentified indigenous cat – one that science and zoology have yet to recognize or categorize. Whatever the answer to the question of the origins of Britain’s ABCs, the fact is that their presence is pretty much accepted by the general public and the media – although largely not by the government, which prefers to play down the matter whenever and wherever possible. But they are not literal monsters: they’re simply regular animals, albeit seen in distinctly out of place environments, correct? Well…maybe not. They just might be monsters, after all.

(Nick Redfern) Alien Big Cats: this photo was taken by an employee of the U.S. Government. That places the photo in the public domain.

Although many ABC researchers cringe and squirm when the matter is brought up, the fact is there are more than a few reports on record that place the ABCs in a category that is less flesh and blood-based and far more paranormally-themed. There are cases of the ABCs vanishing – literally – before the eyes of astonished witnesses. People report large black cat encounters in old graveyards, within ancient stone circles, and even – on a few occasions – in association with UFO sightings. Whatever the truth of the matter, the ABCs of the UK aren’t going away anytime soon. One final thing on the Alien Big Cats: I have in my records eleven cases, in which the ABCs have the ability to rise up on their back limbs and even make strange growls that sound like a language. There are even reports of the ABCs vanishing in front of people. And, when I say "vanishing," I mean dematerializing. These creatures are clearly not normal cats. Then, there are the Phantom Black Dogs. They look like normal dogs (albeit much bigger), but have supernatural aspects attached to them.

In his absolutely definitive book, Explore Phantom Black Dogs, the author and researcher Bob Trubshaw wrote the following: “The folklore of phantom black dogs is known throughout the British Isles. From the Black Shuck of East Anglia to the Mauthe Dhoog of the Isle of Man there are tales of huge spectral hounds ‘darker than the night sky’ with eyes ‘glowing red as burning coals.’” While a number of intriguing theories exist to explain the presence and nature of such spectral-like beasts, certainly the most ominous of all is that they represent some form of precursor to – or instigator of - doom, tragedy, and death. One of the most infamous of all black-dog encounters in the British Isles occurred at St. Mary’s Church, Bungay, Suffolk, England, on Sunday, August 4, 1577, when an immense and veritable spectral hound from Hell materialized within the church during a powerful thunderstorm and mercilessly tore into the terrified congregation with its huge fangs and razor-sharp claws. In fact, so powerful was the storm that it reportedly killed two men in the belfry as the church tower received an immense lightning bolt that tore through it and shook the building to its ancient foundations.

According to an old, local verse: “All down the church in midst of fire, the hellish monster flew. And, passing onward to the quire, he many people slew.” Then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the beast bounded out of St. Mary’s and was reported shortly thereafter at Blythburgh Church, about twelve miles away, where it allegedly killed and mauled even more people with its immense and bone-crushing jaws – and where, it is said, the scorch marks of the beast’s claws can still be seen to this day, infamously imprinted upon the ancient door of the church. Even more intriguing is the fact that Bungay’s legend of a satanic black hound parallels that of yet another local legend: that of Black Shuck, a giant, spectral dog that haunts the Norfolk and Suffolk coasts. Such is the popularity of the Bungay legend, that it has resulted in an image of the beast being incorporated into the town’s coat of arms – and the Black Dogs is the name of Bungay Town Football Club.

What about Mothman? It's clearly not just a huge, flying beast. For example, when the Mothman descended upon the West Virginian city of Point Pleasant, all kinds of chaos occurred. There can be few people reading this who have not at least heard of the legendary Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, who so terrorized the town and the surrounding area between November 1966 and December 1967, and whose diabolical exploits were chronicled in the 2002 hit Hollywood movie starring Richard Gere: The Mothman Prophecies, so named after the book of the same title written by Mothman authority John Keel. A devil-like, winged monster with glowing, red eyes, Mothman’s appearance came quite literally out of nowhere and, some say, culminated in high tragedy and death. But what was the Mothman of Point Pleasant? And how did the legend begin?  To answer those questions we have to go back to the dark night of November 12, 1966, when five grave-diggers working in a cemetery in the nearby town of Clendenin were shocked to see what they described as a “brown human shape with wings” rise out of the thick, surrounding trees and soar off into the distance.

(Nick Redfern) Mothman: The world's freakiest flying humanoid.

Three days later, the unearthly beast surfaced once again. It was at the highly appropriate time of the witching-hour when Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette – two young, married couples from Point Pleasant - were passing the time away by cruising around town in the Scarberrys’ car. His they drove around the old factory, the four were puzzled to see in the shadows what looked like two red lights pointing in their direction. These were no normal lights, however. Rather, all four were shocked and horrified to discover that, in reality, the “lights” were the glowing, self-illuminating red eyes of a huge animal that, as Roger Scarberry would later recall, was “…shaped like a Mothman, but bigger, maybe six and a half or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back.” Not surprisingly, they fled the area at high speed. Unfortunately for the Scarberry’s and the Mallette’s, however, the beast seemingly decided to follow them: as they sped off for the safety of Point Pleasant, the winged monster took to the skies and shadowed their vehicle’s every movement until it reached the city limits. The four raced to the sheriff’s office and told their astounding story to Deputy Millard Halstead, who later stated that: “I’ve known these kids all their lives. They’d never been in any trouble and they were really scared that night. I took them seriously.”

Of course, if only what happened at Point Pleasant was a cluster of sightings of a large, winged thing, it would be just one matter. But, it didn't end there. Creepy, emaciated, pale Men in Black appeared. They didn't seem human. People in town began to have prophetic dreams. Terrible dreams. And, things culminated with the collapse of the Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River. Dozens were  drowned. Clearly, a flying animal should not be able to provoke all this. But, the Mothman clearly was the cause of it all. In other words, we're not talking about just unknown animals. The same goes for the U.K.'s similar red-eyed, large beast, the Owlman.

(Nick Redfern) Point Pleasant, West Virginia: Red-eyes and huge wings.

One might be forgiven for thinking that sightings of large, winged monsters only ever occur in the skies over large forests and jungles, and above remote mountains. Not so. In fact, far from it. In 1984, just such an unearthly beast was seen soaring over the capital city of the United Kingdom: London! The specific location was Brentford, a town situated within west London. The day on which all hell broke loose was hardly of the kind one might expect to associate with a monster. There were no dark and stormy skies, no thunder and lightning, and no howling winds. Instead, there was nothing but a warm, pleasant, sunny day in March. The man who kicked off the firestorm of controversy was Kevin Chippendale, who, at the time, was walking along Brentford’s Braemer Road. As he did so, Chippendale’s attention was drawn to something strange in the sky. It was some sort of large, flying animal. It looked just like a legendary Griffin. Not the kind of thing you see every day, to be sure. All of the creatures I have written about in this article are clearly supernatural. Not a single one of them are just normal, but unidentified. So, my thought is this: maybe, we should change the field of Cryptozoology and alter its title to something very different. Maybe, you can come up with a good name, because, when you look at all of these strange animals (including Bigfoot and Nessie, who I wrote about a couple of days ago) it's obvious none of them are animals. They're all paranormal creatures. That's a very big difference.

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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