Top 10 Creepy Cryptids [by Bea Harper]


Cryptids are pretty darn nifty, as monsters in general tend to be. Monsters serve multiple functions in culture, to caution, to set an example and of course, just to scare the living daylights out of you. The beauty of all things ghastly is that the concept of fear, disgust, uncertainty and revulsion is universal; no matter what walk of life you tread, no matter what dwelling you call home, there is something which will always savagely haunt your inner recesses.

Fear is as universal as it is subjective, but one thing we all know, we all tend to fear that of which we cannot understand, hence why cryptids harbor that certain power. They escape instant classification, they are other-worldly and, as one may argue, they were never meant to be fully understood.

In saying that, on this splendid Devil’s Night here in Australia, I present to you, in no discernible order, my Top Ten Creepy Cryptids. Enjoy!… or not. No hard feelings if you don’t.

The Mothman

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I feel the main reason why I am interested by the Mothman is the fact that it’s not the creature who directly does anybody harm (unless you count scaring the beyeezus out of folks on a dark highway), it’s more about what he stands for. There are few things infinitely more frightening to us as humans than to be faced with our own mortality, and that is what Mothman does. When the be-winged harbinger reveals himself to you, it means you, or somebody you love, are slated to die, and the worst part is, you don’t know how and that is when your mind assumes the very worst which ultimately drives you to the edge. Dick.

Wendigo

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Ohhh howdy, do I love me some wendigos! Why do I love these beasts so much? Well, simply put, it ultimately hearkens back to us as a flawed, delicate species. When we are struck down by isolation, fear and desperation, we do things we ordinarily would never consider, things that are considered taboo by society, all in the name of continued survival. In the case of the Algonquian myth of the wendigo, the point of no return is cannibalism. When a human consumes the flesh of another, they are possessed by the immortal wendigo spirit and act as an invincible vessel.

The shocking twist with the wendigo is, when you turn, you are constantly hungry due to the unspeakable act of you have partaken in. Wendigos are indeed powerful, but always at a heavy cost. What starts out as essential need for flesh eventually becomes a desire for it and no matter how much they gorge themselves, the pain and hunger continues in a perpetual cycle. In a sense, wendigos also stand for the human notion of greed and the destructiveness of over-indulgence, which doesn’t necessarily require the desperation to merely exist in the world.

In addition to this, there is a very real and very troubling mental health disorder known as Wendigo Psychosis which pretty much accounts for the above. While uncommon, it is nevertheless disturbing.

SCP-173

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SCP-173 is kinda groovy because if it’s observed, it doesn’t move, it remains as the grotesque, off-putting sculpture it appears to be, but the moment you remove eye contact, that’s when it murders the fuckedy fucking fuck out of you. I think it’s an interesting twist on the concept and function of art. Art is something we are drawn to because humans are intensely visual and when we see something compelling, we contemplate what it means to us and if we don’t like it, we are within our own power to turn away and dismiss it. In the case of 173, we NEED to look at it, we NEED to pay it mind despite it’s unsightly appearance because if we don’t it means our death.

And the fact it’s standing in a pile of it’s own blood and faeces is pretty icky too. I mean really, doesn’t this thing believe in common hygiene?

Leviathan

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The leviathan is so difficult to classify as one creature because there are so many interpretations of it due to it’s wide exposure through international mythology, but let’s get to the center of the maelstrom- the Leviathan is omnipotent, inevitable. It is the waves, it is the sky that lays above and the abyss below. It is as old as time itself and as powerful as our perceptions of what a god is. Paired with the complicated relationship humanity has with the ocean- what can nurture can destroy- Leviathan is a formidable force beyond all human comprehension.

Any sea-dwelling monstrosity you can think of came from the idea of the Leviathan, all of them come back to this creature. In the case of one of my favourite physical manifestations of the Leviathan, the Kraken, if the attack isn’t bad enough, it’s the lead up. When the Kraken is nearby, the ocean boils, bubbles and surges under the ship, notifying the hapless sailors they are doomed beyond hope. Those who ran below decks only lived a little longer before Kraken’s tentacles crush the ship and pluck out every screaming morsel, holding their flailing bodies to it’s eye before lowering them into it’s gaping maw.

Penanggalan

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The Malaysian penanggalan, or when I first tried to pronounce the word, ‘penagannnananagggeehhhh‘ is such a cool variant of vampire because, well, how often to you see a head and neck of a beautiful woman floating around with bare digestive organs trailing along behind it? It is rather comedic at face value, but it’s also incredibly disturbing because imagine this thing floating into your room, wrapping you up in it’s entrails and feeding off you until you’re dry? Not only that, but when it’s done basically devouring you, it floats back to its body and reattaches itself as if nothing happened.

That is so fucked up, I love it.

And yes, the painting you see above was painted by mine own hand. In all honesty, it is one of my personal favourite pieces.

Spring-Heeled Jack

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Commonly associated with Jack The Ripper as well as the criminal element, Spring-Heeled Jack is terrifying even without the social commentary- some tall fellow, all legs and elbows, with curved talons in place of hands (dressed as the Devil (or maybe even the Devil himself) leaping across rooftops whist laughing so loudly and manically that all in the vicinity can hear assaulting any poor soul unfortunate enough to be out after dark plays on the very real abhorrence and anxiety of being violently attacked while walking the streets at night.

Jack wasn’t particularly discriminant when it came to his victims, but he did have a particular liking to pursuing and molesting women, attempting to rape them as they hurried away from him, all the while hooting with obscene laughter and making bawdy and explicit propositions with every physics-defying bound across the moon.

Shadow People

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These guys hold a very personal place in my heart because I have actually seen them.

Shadow folk are vivid perceptions of a shadow as a living, humanoid figure, particularly as interpreted by believers in the paranormal or supernatural as the presence of a spirit or other entity. In most cases, they are typically associated with sleep paralysis which is a common phenomenon in which an individual, either while falling asleep or awakening from slumber briefly experiences an inability to move, speak, or react. This is a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, characterized by an inability to move muscles but still retain various degrees of awareness of surroundings.

I recall my first episode incredibly well- after arriving home from university after an exam, I took a nap. I felt a presence in the room, opening my eyes, but I could not discern what it was. As I lay there, I saw a figure on the roof of my room. I could not move, I could not make a sound as the thing moved above me, almost like an arachnid.

The more I observed, the more apparent it was I was looking at something vaguely human, but I could not make out a sex or any facial feature. I was frozen to my bed and that is when something told me the being had become aware of me and it moved its head down to look at me, or what I thought was it’s head. It didn’t do anything or uttered a single sound, but I felt petrified.

In what was reality it most likely lasted for a few seconds, but in my state at the time, it felt like an agonizingly long period. I don’t often get sleep paralysis these days due to my stress levels not being as high, but as somebody who has had the experience of these vivid hallucinations, I can safely say it was one of the troubling experiences of my life. Has anybody else had this? Sound off in the comments section and tell me about them!

Mokoi

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AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE!

Aboriginal Australian Dreamtime doesn’t receive nearly as much across the pond recognition, but it is nevertheless extremely interesting.

A brief note on the definition of Dreamtime – the Dreamtime can be summed up by the assortment of stories are linked to the creation process and spiritual ancestors of Indigenous Australians, stories which are still passed down today.

As with many other creation myths around the world, Dreamtime has its fair share of heroes, deities and oddities, one of them being the dreaded Mokoi of the Northern Territory. Mokoi are infamous Murngin spirits who kill sorcerers which doesn’t seem so bad until one realises with each practitioner of black magic they ingest, they in themselves become more powerful and have a taste for the tender, vulnerable flesh of children.  Often, if a person dies in a horrendous accident or suffers from terminal malady, a mokoi is often condemned as the perpetrator due to the pleasure they take in the suffering of mortals.

Upsweep

I admit, this is a cheat since the Upsweep isn’t so much a mysterious creature that has been given a physical appearance, but a mysterious sound. Upon originally being recorded, Upsweep was ID’ed as considerable volcanic and seismic activity, which tends to be louder in the spring and autumn,  but the possibility has not been ruled out by scientists that it could be something else due to the lack of evidence to its genesis.

What could it be?  It sounds like the wailing souls of the dead attempting to swim to the surface but finding they are unable to escape their watery graves.

Saturn

Fine, fine, I did it again, but face it, when it comes to the Final Frontier, there is much to be afraid of as there is much to be in awe of. All the way out in space, where humanity still has no province or hope, there are worlds, worlds with lives of their own, even if they are not yet visible to our eyes. Saturn is the Hot Mama planet of the Milky Way solar system due to it’s beautiful rings which move in perpetual orbit around the planet and they are most likely what you can hear in the haunting audio above thanks to Cassini.

While science has been able to explain the whys and wherefores of these sounds, to close one’s eyes and listen feels as if you are hearing an extraterrestrial siren song, both gorgeous and foreboding.

It truly makes you appreciate and realise how small we are in comparison to what lies beyond our moon and the stars we gaze at in the sky.

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