Bigfoot / Sasquatch
Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch (in Canada), is North Americas biggest cryptozoological mystery. If its existence is ever proven-and nothing short of an actual specimen will satisfy most scientists- it would be able to provide revolutionary insights into human evolution. It would almost certainly be a close relative of homosapiens.
According to one of Bigfoots most prominent chroniclers, John Green, Canadian journalist/investigator, the creatures are about seven and a half feet in height. They are normally solitary in disposition and seldom seen in company of others. Like a primate, hair covers nearly all parts of their bodies. They also have broad shoulders, nonexistent necks, flat faces, sloped foreheads, brow ridges and cone-shaped heads. However, the proportions of their limbs are closer to that of a human than a primate. They are generally omnivorous, largely nocturnal, and mostly inactive during cold spells.
In most of the more believable reports, Bigfoot is supposed to have reddish-brown/auburn hair and a footprint of about 16 inches long and 7 inches wide.
Versions of this ape-man have also been sighted around the world, appearing in China, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The hairy Yeti of the Himalayas is also considered to be a variant of this hairy hominid. The creatures sighted in the Central and Southern China are known locally as Yeren. Similar to Bigfeet, they have man-like features with has greyish or brownish hair covering is body. However, its height varies from 6 to 9 ft tall. A smaller version that is only 3 ft tall has also been sighted.
Bigfoot is rumored to be living in the mountains and forests of northwestern United States (northern California, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho) and Western Canada (British Columbia and Alberta). The idea of having an undiscovered extraordinary anthropoid undetected by all except the relatively few eyewitnesses after so many years is incredible.
Early reports of Bigfoot are very difficult to find although some may mistakenly cite characters of the Native American legends as being potential candidates. The Algonquin Indians of the northern forests have a legend about Witiko (or Wendigo) who were supposedly cannibalistic giants with supernatural powers.
One of the earliest published reports of Bigfoot was in a California newspaper, the Antiloch Ledger, during 1870. He reported the sighting of a gorilla or wildman in the bush. He also noted that the head seemed to be set closely on its shoulders, without a neck- reflecting upon the well-noted modern detail. However, it also goes on to say that it had relatively short legs, and therefore could have been a chimpanzee if the animal did indeed exist outside of legend.
Notable sightings occurred throughout the 20th century, with witnesses coming forward to newspapers throughout. Stories ranged from stumbling upon the enormous footprints to being abducted or attacked by the creatures.
By the 1960s, Bigfoot had become part of the popular imagination and it was then that Roger Patterson claimed to stumble upon a female Bigfoot squatting by the river and shot some footage of the experience. Although there was some doubts about the authenticity of the video due to the estimated height (over seven feet) of the Bigfoot, Patterson died swearing to its authenticity. It is believed that the stride should be somewhat longer than what was found if the Bigfoot was really that tall. There was also a certain amount of doubt because of Pattersons eagerness to exploit the video for personal gain. However, if faked, all observers agree that it was a brilliantly executed film nonetheless. The debate of the film continues and will probably continue until the person who played the Bigfoot is finally found or someone produces a physical specimen for comparison.
Perhaps one day, solid evidence of Bigfoots existence will surface and the debate will be resolved once and for all. If the forests of the Northwest harbour these extraordinary animals, they cannot remain hidden forever.
Reason for Creation:
Anthropologists believe that like earlier civilizations, the creation of Bigfoot was used to warn members of the dangers of violating taboos, which serve other, more complex functions within society.
Back to Top
Faeries / Elves
Faeries are often portrayed in Western childrens stories as tiny, winged, and good hearted. However, this description varies widely from worldwide folk traditions in which beliefs concerning hidden races sharing the earth with us have resided for most of human history.
Within different regions different descriptions of faeries grew, all were more or less human in form although sometimes taller or shorter, but never bearing wings. Much of their behaviour was much like humans as well; they had governments, societies, marriages, children, and war. They were often mortal and therefore, could be killed. However, unlike humanity, they had supernatural powers, which made them, at best, unpredictable and at worst, dangerous. Few people sought out the company of faeries and most went out of the way to avoid it.
In order to classify the faerie characters in the stories, the race is divided up into two groups: the peasantry and the aristocracy. The peasantry is made up of the solitary faeries that are believed to have descended from spirits who made up all of nature. Although they had some of the same powers as their more prestigious relatives, i.e. the ability to become invisible and shape-change, they were known to be more wild and capricious. Fortunately, true encounters with mortals were relatively rare, instead their presence were most often announced by evidence of the creatures activity. It was believed the bending of the grass, the rustling sounds of tree branches, and the glittering patterns of frost on windows could be attributed to their nearness.
The Faerie aristocracy was very different from their isolated cousins. They were known as trooping faeries because they travelled in long processions. These faeries are believed to be descendents of ancient, vanquished gods. They dwell in underground kingdoms or across the deepest seas- they were creatures of amazing desire or perhaps fear. In many cultures like those in Scandinavia and Scotland, they subdivided the aristocracy into good and evil.
However, there is no distinction between the good and evil faeries in Wales and Ireland. They were called the Tylwyth Teg (Fair Family) and the Daine Side (Dwellers of the Faerie Mounds) respectively. The Irish have the most complete accounts of the trooping faeries hidden within their many songs and folktales.
Sightings of faeries most often occur in Northern Europe between the 15th and 18th centuries. Consequently, the works of literature from that era frequently contain faerie characters. Variations of these creatures, however, have been reported worldwide.
Although most contemporary North Americans believe faeries to be figments of the sentimental imagination they played an important part of past folklore, especially in Celtic communities. It was said that their countryside was literally infested with faeries of such volatile temperament that only the foolhardy called them by their proper name. As a result, many refused to call them faeries because the use of a creatures true name without permission implied threat in that era and one of them could be listening at any time. Instead, they were referred to by euphemisms like the "good people", the "Gentry", they "honest folk", the "fair tribe", and many others.
Folk explanation of faerie creation, especially in Christian countries, is that they were originally fallen angels or displaced spirits.
The word faerie is derived from the Latin fatum or "fate". This is in recognition of the skill faeries had in predicting and even controlling human destiny. The other common English term for an individual faerie is "elf". This is derived from the word alfar from the Nordic and Teutonic languages which is associated with mountains and water. This clearly illustrates the close relationship between faeries and the earth.
Reasons for Creation/Possible Explanations
The origins of faerie belief have been characterized as "one of the most difficult problems in the study of folklore." Some folklorists and anthropologists have theorized that the original faeries were members of conquered races that were sighted on rare occasions, mistaken for supernatural beings. By separating them from the rest of society, leaders were able to keep the two races apart. Others believe that faeries were creations from the ancient belief in the gods and spirits of Paganism that were displaced by Christianity.
One of the most popular characterizations of faeries is of the benevolent Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. However, there are many more including the many faeries of William Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights Dream, e.g. Titania, Oberon, and Puck.
Back to Top
Merfolk are a race of beings having human features above the waist, but tails of marine animals (most often fish) that allow them to swim deep within the sea. The root word "mer-" comes from the Old English word for sea, mere. They are said to live deep underwater, beneath oceans and seas. Sightings normally occur when they come to the surface to either bob along with the waves or perch languorously on a rock.
In modern times, the young females- popularly known as mermaids- are often said to be of deep and entrancing beauty. Normally, their eyes are dark and their skin is pale while their hair and scale colour varied from light green to burnished red. However, the merfolk portrayed in the 18th and 19th century are frequently described as disfigured, stubby, and unsightly.
Merfolk were allegedly sighted primarily in Western Europe with occasional reports from around world. Merfolk-like gods and goddesses were also worshipped in Syria, India, China, Greece, Babylon, and Rome.
Some of the earliest merfolk legends surrounded the Babylonian god, Oannes who appeared as a merman, rising from the Erythrean Sea to impart knowledge and culture to the human race. Later, merfolk-like gods and goddesses were worshipped in various other countries. In later centuries, they became a nearly universal part of folklore.
Reason Behind Creation/Possible Explanation
Many of the sightings were made by sailors on long hauls across the oceans through fog. Furthermore, the descriptions they provided involved vivid depiction of female body parts. It has consequently been suggested that these "sightings" were merely the fantasies of sex starved young men. The rumors of mermaids have also been attributed to the extreme superstitions of the sailors of the time.
Scientists in the past have suggested that the merfolk seen by the sailors were merely seeing sea cows, manatees, and dugongs. The sightings may have also been hoaxes created by fishermen for profit. In Japan, the fisherman joined the top halves of dead monkeys to the bottom halves of fish, selling them to sideshows as dead mermaids.
However, it seems hard to believe that sailors, with their trained powers of observation could commit such an enormous blunder of perception, mistaking a manatee for a mermaid. Despite this fact, it is difficult to imagine the existence of a race which seems to be a cross between two opposite worlds- that of land and sea. Also, there have never been any bodies of merfolk, washed up onto the beaches. Sightings are simply not enough to prove their existence. Consequently, until more conclusive evidence surfaces, merfok will exist only in our own imagination.
Merfolk have been portrayed most often in the songs and ballads of sailors around the world. However, one of the recent Disney animated movies, The Little Mermaid, depicts the modern conception of merfolk.
Back to top
Yeti/ Abominable Snowman
The Yeti are described as dark, hairy wild-men, inhabiting the slopes of the Himalayas between 15,000-20,000 ft above sea level. The belief in these creatures is universal among Tibetans. Adventurous Western explorers have also sighted them while scaling the difficult mountain faces. The people of Nepal call them "rakshasa" which is Sanskrit for "demon". According to the Tibetans, stories of its existence date back to the 4th century BC when references to the Yeti are found in a poem called 'Rama and Sita'. The Yeti has regularly been sighted since 1832.
Edward W. Cronin Jr. gives this commonly believed description:
Its body is stocky, apelike in shape, with a distinctly human quality to it . It stands five and a half feet tall and is covered with short, coarse hair, reddish brown to black in color, sometimes with white patches on the chest . The face is robust, the teeth quite large, though fangs are not present, and the mouth is wide. The shape of the head is conical, with a pointed crown. The arms are long, reaching almost to the knees.
The Yeti is also rumoured to smell terrible and be very strong. They can throw boulders as if they were pebbles. The Yeti normally make an ululating or whistling sound even though they can sometimes heard roaring like lions. It has also been remarked that the Yeti is very fond of strong alcoholic drinks.
Most sightings of the mysterious Yeti occur among the Himalayas including the infamous Mount Everest. However, their presence has also been remarked upon from as far as the Russian border.
However, more often than sightings, Yeti footprints are found. These prints are about three times the size of a normal human beings. At the first sighting of their tracks in the 1920s, the Sherpas, a tribe that inhabits the area, attributed them to the trail of the meh-teh meaning the "manlike thing that is not a man". However, the translator at the time incorrectly transcribed it as metoh-kangmi, which translates approximately to "abominable snowman". This seemingly purposeful error eventually became popular in the English language after generating enormous publicity through the newspaper coverage. Consequently, the Yeti now has a second name.
The Sherpas are convinced that there are at least two Yetis in the world: the dzu-teh ("big thing") and the meh-teh (as mentioned earlier). The less popular dzu-teh is the larger of the two, standing seven to eight feet tall, while the meh-teh, is only between the five to six foot range.
Many Western writers are suspicious of the Sherpa accounts of Yeti sightings "because of their vagueness as to time and place, the obvious garnish of common folklore themes, and motivation derived from the animalistic philosophy of Tibetan Buddism."
Reason Behind Creation/Possible Explanation
It has been suggested that the footprints and sightings of yeti were that of snow leopards, foxes, bears, or even Tibetan llamas. Sometimes the melting can distort the shapes of the footprints making them appear to be those of the elusive yeti. Furthermore, many of the sightings occurred in blizzard conditions or from far distances, suggesting that the people that spotted them may have been mistaken.
Like the Bigfoot, it is believed that the Yeti was a character created by Tibetans in order to warn members of the dangers of violating taboos, serving other, more complex functions within society.