By Melanie Moyer.
Everyone has heard a tall tale or two of mythic monsters lurking in the wilderness. These stories go back to the very dawn of humankind, from mysterious creatures that roam the forests and mountains to monster that dwell in the deepest, darkest waters. Over time, some of the mythical sightings have been explained as natural predators of the world. But, for some, they still lack any real answer to their mysterious origin and nature.
Here are ten of the most mysterious creatures whose existence remains unexplained, and where you might be able to catch a glimpse of them…
Bigfoot is possibly the most famous of all the unexplained creatures said to be stalking the forests of our world. Sometimes known as Sasquatch, this creature is often described as a large, bipedal humanoid creature, covered in hair. Sightings of Bigfoot go back to times of indigenous population, prior to colonization. Stories intensified and spread when white settlers arrived in the area and came into contact with the “wild men” reported to live in the forests.
The most famous sighting of the legendary beast came in 1967 when Bigfoot hunters, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, were out riding their horses in the Bluff Creek area, California, researching recent Sasquatch reports when they came across an overturned tree. To their surprise, walking slowing along the creek bed, approximately 120 feet away from where the men stood, was the very creature they had been looking for.
Where in the world: Sightings of Bigfoot have happened all over North America, but the most frequent sightings happen in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington and British Columbia, though many sightings have also happened in Oregon and California.
The Yeti is very much like the Bigfoot of the mountains, but his roots go back to the peoples living in the regions of southern Asia, in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal. He is often referred to by western visitors as the Abominable Snowman and is described, not all that unlike the Bigfoot as a large, humanoid, bipedal covered in hair. Stories of the Yeti go back to pre-Buddhist Nepal. Records of footprints go back to 1899, cataloged by explorer Laurence Waddel. Since then, many have gone hunting for the Yeti and, in the 1950s, the reported scalp of the Yeti was captured and studied. Then in 1996, two hikers in the mountains of Nepal took a video of an ape-like creature thought to be a Yeti walking upright along the slopes.
Where in the world: If you want to go looking for the Yeti yourself, you can find him Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan in the snowy stretch of the Himalayan mountains.
3. Skunk Ape
Another creature that is not that all far removed from the stories of Bigfoot. The creature is sometimes referred to as a swamp ape, a stink ape, the Florida Bigfoot or a swampsquatch. The swamp ape is noted to be much smaller than the reports of Bigfoot, describing the creature as a small, bipedal, monkey-like creature. Stories of the creature go back to the 1960s in Florida, though some other states have reported a similar creature living in their swamps. Photographs of the creature surfaced in 2000 when the photographer in question took them to the police after she claimed to encounter the creatures in her backyard. While the woman believed the creatures to be orangutans escaped from the zoo, many Bigfoot experts identified the creatures as skunk apes.
Where in the world: This creature is native to the swampy regions of the southern United States. Florida seems to be its primary place of sightings, Dade County, specifically. However, you might also see glimpses of this creature in Arkansas and North Carolina.
4. Minnesota Iceman
For centuries scientists have been searching for what they call the “missing link”, a creature in the middle stages of evolution from ape to man. So far, no evidence of such a link has turned up but in the 1960s and 1970s, some claimed to have found the link frozen in a block of ice. A man was described as being over 6 feet tall, with hairy feet and hands, dark hair, and a flat nose. Exhibitor Frank Hansen claimed to be the caretaker of the creature, which had been unearthed in Siberia by a wealthy Californian explorer. While many claimed Hansen was toting around a hoax, third party scientists noted the exposed flesh, outside the ice, putrefied, and the Canadian customs officials detained Hansen when he attempted to enter the country, out of fear that he was transporting a true cadaver.
Where in the world: The Iceman was once able to be glimpsed at various showings throughout the United States and Canada. But as of 2013, he was sold to the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas.
5. Loch Ness Monster
Easily the most famous aquatic creature of mystery, the Loch Ness Monster famously appears like some prehistoric creature, with a long neck, small head, and ridged back, swimming in the waters of Loch Ness in Scotland. Stories go back to 1933 when Alex Campbell reported the first known sighting of the creature and wrote about it in the Inverness Courier. In December that same year, Hugh Gray took the first known photograph of the creature. Throughout the decades, photographs and claims of sightings continued.
Where in the world: If you want to snap a picture of this creature yourself, you can find him thriving still in Loch Ness in Scotland. However, several of the Lochs across Scotland are deep and dark enough that there are claims of similar creatures making a home there.
On the topic of lake monsters, Nessie isn’t the only creature said to be lurking in the depths of freshwater lakes. In fact, the United States has its own version of Nessie in the form of a creature said to live in Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont. Stories of Champ lurking in the lake date back to pre-colonial times. The Iroquois and Abenaki both have legends of a creature living in the lake. The creature and the lake both got their name from Samuel de Champlain, the founder of the Canadian province of Quebec. He claimed to see the monster in the lake that would bear his name in 1609. Another famous sighting occurred in 1819 and again in 1883. In 1977, tourist Sandra Mansi captured the creature in a photograph. Since then, Champ has become a source of cultural pride for those of Upstate New York and Vermont.
Where in the world: The creature can be found along the 125 mile Lake Champlain which sits on the border of Vermont and New York and passes, slightly, into Quebec, Canada. Plattsburgh, New York is said to be one of the most active towns when it comes to Champ sightings.
7. Hook Island Sea Monster
Moving out of the lakes and into a much bigger body of water, the ocean itself, you’ll find all sorts of monstrous creatures rumored to be calling the deep and dark depths of the world’s oceans home. After all, we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about our own ocean floor. The Hook Island Sea Monster, also known as the Tadpole Creature because of its resemblance to that a large tadpole, is said to have no eyes or teeth, but a gaping mouth which sits on top of its head. The first sighting of the creature was by Robert Le Serrec and his family, in 1964, when the creature swam near their boat and opened its mouth. Le Serrec believed the creature was big enough to swallow the boat but swam away after coming into contact with the propeller.
Where in the world: The Hook Island sea monster can be found off the coast of Hook Island, just off the Australian mainland.
This is a famous creature of South and Central America. The Chupacabra has its origins in Puerto Rico and is said to feed on the blood of livestock (its name translates literally to “goat sucker” in English). Descriptions of the creature vary greatly, though all agree that it resembles a small bear like creature with ridges down its spine. It was first reported in 1995 in Puerto Rico when 8 sheep were discovered, completely drained of blood, with two puncture wounds in their chests.
Where in the world: This creature can be spotted all over South and Central America, wherever livestock lives, out in the open, and vulnerable.
The legend of Mothman comes from the rolling hills of West Virginia. The story dates back to 1966 when five men were digging a grave in West Virginia, claimed to see a creature that resembled a man with wings fly overhead. Not long after, a pair of couples went to the police, claiming to have seen a creature of a ten-foot flying man with glowing red eyes. The stories of the Mothman gained fatal tones when 46 people died in a bridge collapse that the Mothman was blamed for. As recently as 2016, a picture has been captured of the Mothman in flight.
Where in the world: The Mothman is most likely to be spotted at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where the majority of his sightings have been over the decades.
10. The Flatwoods Monster
The Mothman isn’t the only creature said to be haunting the wilds of West Virginia. The Flatwoods Monster is a creature, believed by some to actually be an extraterrestrial, which is over 7 feet tall, with a dark body, and glowing red eyes. Some reports of the appearance differ, but all agree that the creature has an inhuman body design. The story goes back to 1952 when brothers Edward and Fred May, along with a friend, watched an object glowing in the sky land nearby. They informed their mother who accompanied them, along with a National Guardsman, to investigate the apparent UFO landing. After claiming to see a creature with glowing eyes, many of the group reported a sickness after the event that lasted for some time.
Where in the world: Sightings of this creepy creature can be seen in Braxton County, West Virginia where it was first spotted in the 1950s.
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