My Favorite Mythical Creatures
By Jeff Salter
Before I explain how I can’t select just ONE creature to discuss today, let’s get something straight about the term “mythical.” If you find 100 people who DON’T believe griffins, unicorns, and flying dragons ever existed… I can find 5 who either believe it or think it was possible. Let’s call those critters the most mythical of the mythical. Now, if you can find 100 people who DON’T believe that Nessie, Bigfoot, and Leprechauns existed… I can probably find 40 who either believe they did (and do) or at least think it is possible. Let’s call those creatures the least mythical of the mythical.
I make that distinction because my “favorite” creatures of the unproven variety are those which could very easily have existed in generations past… and may even exist as we speak.
Nessie and other Sea Serpents
Nessie is one of the few with a name and certainly has garnered more publicity since she (or her generational offspring) have existed in a fixed body of water… with no chance of escape to the open sea. Those who believe Nessie exists (or has existed) often agree that one possibility for her identity could be a plesiosaur who got trapped in that Scottish loch after the northern inlet somehow closed-up (geologically).
I can’t swear Nessie is a plesiosaur, but I know there have been reports of other sea “serpents” in nearly every other ocean or large sea since such reports have been handed down. It’s logical for ancient sailors to have seen a creature they’d never before encountered and characterized it as a “serpent”… especially if it’s long and snake-like, as a prehistoric eel might be. And literature has examples of famous creatures, which may very well be something like a serpent or a something-saur. Take Beowulf, for instance, who (after battling a monster named Grendel and Grendel’s kin) took issue with a fierce dragon (sometimes called a “worm”). Even the Bible has its Behemoth… which some consider a dinosaur-type sea creature.
All this is to say: the oceans are vast and deep… and (incredibly) with many areas still comparatively unexplored. Who’s to say which critters lurk in those depths… and what form they might take?
Summary: I like Nessie and her distant kin because I think it’s still possible some of them – whatever actual creatures all the sightings and accompanying legends were based upon – may still exist somewhere.
I wish our alternate Fox, Joselyn Vaughn, were here this week, because I think she’s writing a book which features a search for Bigfoot.
I’ve been fascinated by the Bigfoot critter – and his many (tall, powerful, bi-pedal, ape-like) cousins, all over the world – since I was a kid in junior high school. There are about as many sightings of the Yeti, Sasquatch, Bigfoot, et al as there have been of Nessie and her aquatic kin.
Lots of similarities in the reports from different regions of the world… enough commonalities that it’s easy to see how remote areas of various unpopulated regions could support the on-going existence of tall, powerful, bi-pedal, ape-like critters that (so far) defy capture and classification.
And I guess that’s one of the things which draws me to the Sasquatch “family” of critters — in North America the sightings are not confined to the Pacific northwest (even though many are indeed concentrated there). Who’s to say there aren’t any Bigfoot cousins living in the wilds of North Dakota, the remote areas of Appalachia… or even the outskirts of Possum Trot?
Skeptics and Hoaxers
Now let me say a word about the people who are HARMING the advancement of factual information about both the Nessie family and the Bigfoot family of critters. Too many skeptics – who are entitled to their opinions, bless them… and I won’t presume to attempt to sway them – are far too eager to quash any serious research. They struggle mightily to quickly dismiss even the most credible sightings and reports… and ridicule those who reported those sightings. And therefore the most promising cases are often lumped in with the ones which are obviously nothing more than surface waves (in Nessie’s case) or escaped zoo apes (in Bigfoot’s case).
And I have nothing but disdain for those who perpetuate hoaxes about these, or any other critters which we are trying to learn the truth about. I group hoaxers along with vandals and reckless drivers — their main “thrill” is to make things worse for everybody else. If they can’t enjoy something, then wreck it so nobody else can.
Do YOU believe it’s possible – not necessarily proven, but merely possible – that creatures (which scientists have not yet classified or studied) could live in the deep seas? And that critters (which scientists have not yet classified or studied) could reside in the deep, remote, forested wilderness?
If so, then you’re in my camp — not willing to dismiss the possibility and quite willing to examine compelling facts or evidence from credible multiple witnesses.
[JLS # 400] — corrected