The Day of the Cryptids

2006-12-15 - KC-Artspace - Cryptozoology-0003The creature stands in the clearing between me and the safety of my building. He has a long nose, dense legs; a thousand needles sticking out of his broad angry back. It’s midnight, Saturday, nobody will come to my assistance if I shriek in horror, so I stand perfectly still behind a No Parking sign that conceals 1/2918th of my chubby ass.

The monster snorts in my direction and then thumps through the grass. I gasp and run home, vault myself through the door of the building and finally relax on the lift up to my flat. Once inside I lock the door and hear the creature howl in the foggy night, frustrated at having lost such a delectable meal.

I vow that I will never lose the midnight battle to this creature that lives outside my building, shaking my fist from the relative safety of my balcony.

And then I make some popcorn.

Selling a cryptid is all about believability. You have to sell it with details, demeanor, and timing. And if you can pull this off, you can have a lot of fun with a lot of people.

You know what a cryptid is, you just don’t know that you know. A cryptid is a creature, plant, or thing whose existence has been suggested but is not recognized by scientific consensus. They come in a lot of different forms. There are underwater cryptids (The Loch Ness Monster), primate snowmen cryptids (Yeti), sound cryptids (Bloop), and winged bipedal horse cryptids (Jersey Devil).

People have been creating cryptids for thousands of years and other people have been believing them for thousands of years. They exist in every nook and cranny on Earth; from Louisiana to New Guinea to Mongolia.

I make them when I’m bored and have eaten popcorn.

Mine, too, have come in many forms. My students have heard straight-faced stories about Ellis, the shellefrog. A creature I have encountered on my morning runs around the Vltava. Ellis is an amphibious creature who is part shark, part elephant, and part frog. He eats the discarded taco wrappers of British tourists and can be seen back stroking near the Výtoň Bridge. This is the gangly shellefrog; aka: carp.

To this day, Collin still believes that our flat is haunted by the ghost of a little girl. I think I named her Stephanie (btw, Collin, she says hi). Though I didn’t invent it, I have seen a grammatical cryptid. A long time ago in a language school far, far away, my colleague – for his own safety I shall refer to him as Indiana Hazel – created the Space-Time Continuous, a verb tense which sent several advanced students of English into frothy, mumbling panic attacks.

The best aspect of the cryptid is that even though they can be 99.999% proven false, people will still believe them.

Though all but proven a hoax, droves of people still search the murky Loch Ness for Nessie each year. My students are almost certain that I’m bullshitting them, but I know they peer into the Vltava on occasion with squinty, unsure eyes and would never go swimming in there. Collin still casts curious looks into his old bedroom (now my home office) and doesn’t like to spend the night at the flat. And the rumored existence of the Space-Time Continuous is still whispered about in the corners of Prague language schools and linguistics departments.

And tomorrow, my students shall hear about Herman, the snorting, howling, dense-legged, needle-backed, red-eyed carnivorous stalker that hunts pedestrians in the bushes near my flat.

Aka: hedgehog

Do you have a favorite cryptid?

  1. #1 by Jared on September 9, 2013 - 7:05 pm

    Great post, Damien. I love the stories of Nessie and the photographic evidence that invariably turns up to support the claims.
    I am also glad that you didn’t mention aliens in your post, because that shit is real…and they will probe your chubby ass.

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on September 10, 2013 - 10:39 am

      Oh Jared, we both know that the truth is out there…and it’s carrying a big damn probe!

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