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10 Creepy Cryptids You Might Not Know Much About

by Robert Pace
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Cryptids are creatures that have never been proven to exist but are believed to exist. We’ve all heard of Nessie, and everybody knows Bigfoot—but what about the rest? There are reports of strange creatures all over the world. Here are ten cryptids you probably only know if you’re a fan of the paranormal—or a lucky resident of one of the towns they claim as their hunting grounds.

Related: 10 Oldest Monster Myths

10 The Beast of Bray Road

The Mystery of the Beast of Bray Road in Elkhorn, WI

The Beast of Bray Road, also known as the Wisconsin Werewolf, is a large wolf-like creature that terrorizes a particular stretch of Bray Road in rural Elkhorn, Wisconsin. The cryptid was reportedly first encountered all the way back in 1936 by Mark Shackleton, a night watchman at the St. Coletta School.

Shackleton claimed to have encountered the beast twice on successive nights as it dug near school grounds. When he confronted it, he says the beast stood up on two legs and growled at him before running off. In the decades since, locals have repeatedly reported encountering the beast, including one woman who claimed it ran alongside her car at 55 mph (88.5 km/h).

The local paper, the Walworth County Week, assigned a reporter named Linda Godfrey to investigate reports about a werewolf on Bray Road after residents had notified animal control. She found enough credible accounts to write a book about it. Elkhorn is now the site of a paranormal conference focused on the Beast of Bray Road.[1]

9 The Honey Island Swamp Monster

In Search of the Honey Island Swamp Monster | Boogeymen | Documentary Central

Over 7 feet tall (2.13 meters), covered in tangled fur, with webbed toes and an eye-watering stink, the Honey Island Swamp Monster stalks the swamp in Louisiana’s St. Tammany Parish. Hunters have reported encounters with the creature for decades, with the first coming in 1963. Almost all of them follow the same basic outline. While hunting or scouting a new hunting site, the hunters hear the sounds of heavy movement coming from behind them. They take cover, and soon they see—and smell—the monster as it passes them.

The Honey Island area has been the home of similar legends from Native Americans since long before the swamp monster was given a name (and a featured story on an episode of In Search of… in the 1970s). The swamp was also the home of at least one moonshine operation and the site of more than a few murders in the early 1900s. Between the Honey Island Swamp Monster and the history of murder, it might be a good idea to find yourself another swamp when you’re in the area.[2]

8 Kelly-Hopkinsville Goblins

Kelly Hopkinsville Encounter, The Goblin “Invasion” of 1955

The Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter has become so iconic in paranormal and UFO-enthusiast circles that you have to capitalize the word “Encounter” when writing about it. One fateful night in 1955, Billy Ray Taylor, visiting the Sutton family in the unincorporated community of Kelly adjacent to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, walked outside to fetch a bucket of water from the well. As he approached the well, a rainbow-colored light streaked by overhead and then seemed to land in a field behind the Sutton home.

Billy Ray high-tailed it back inside to tell his friends what he’d seen. They laughed it off, but not for long. Alerted by the dog’s barking, Billy Ray and Lucky Sutton headed to the back porch and encountered the first of what would come to be known as the Kelly-Hopkinsville goblins. Amid a strange glow stood a three-foot tall creature with a large head and long arms that ended in claws. As they watched, the creature raised its arms and began to approach the house. Terrified, Billy Ray and Lucky opened fire.

What followed was a nerve-wracking two-hour gun battle between the residents of the Sutton home—eight adults and three children—and what seemed to be an army of goblins impervious to bullets. And the creatures were insistently curious about making contact with this group of people. The goblins peeked into windows, climbed on the roof, and approached the door as the Suttons and Billy Ray attempted to hold them off with gunfire.

Eventually, the Suttons made a run for their cars and drove straight to the police station to report the encounter. An investigation by both local and military police found the shell casings but no evidence of little green men.[3]

7 The Michigan Dogman

The Michigan Dogman

Every ten years, a monster visits Michigan. Seven feet tall (2.13 meters), with steely blue eyes and thick, ropey saliva dripping from his snout, the Michigan Dogman crosses paths with those isolated in the woods during any year that ends with a seven.

The Dogman is known to jump out in front of cars driving through the woods. There’s even a record of a particularly unlucky Michigander calling OnStar in recent years to report that the Dogman ran out in front of his car and caused it to flip over. In another encounter in the 1930s, a man was attacked by five wild dogs while alone in the woods. He fired his gun into the air, and four of them ran off, but the fifth stood up on its hind legs and glared at him.

In 1987, a disc jockey in Traverse City, Michigan, recorded a song about the Dogman. He intended it to be a fun April Fool’s joke, but his station was soon swamped with calls reporting run-ins with the cantankerous canine.[4]

6 The Nain Rouge

The History of Detroit’s Nain Rouge

The legend of the red dwarf of Detroit dates back to the city’s founding in 1701. The story says that Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who founded the city, attacked the Nain Rouge, and subsequently, both the man and his creation were cursed. The Nain has become a harbinger of doom since then, being spotted just prior to every major disaster that hits the city.

Today, the city hosts the annual Marche du Nain Rouge, a parade and celebration in which residents (wearing costumes to avoid being identified by the dwarf) ritualistically drive out the Nain Rouge and burn him in effigy. Each year, though, there are protestors waving signs that say “Be Nice to Nain.”

The earliest prophecy of the Nain Rouge, you see, implores Cadillac to appease the dwarf lest he and the city he founded be cursed. A victim of his own temper, Cadillac instead struck the Nain Rouge with his cane and brought down the wrath of the diminutive demon. The protestors today urge the paradegoers in much the same way—but the group burning the Nain Rouge is always the larger one by far.[5]

5 Mokele-mbembe

Cryptid Profile: Mokele-mbembe and the “Lost” Dinosaurs of the Congo

What sort of creatures live so deep in the African Congo that they await discovery by man even today? If you believe the stories, the mokele-mbembe may be Africa’s answer to the Loch Ness monster: a living, breathing dinosaur complete with a long neck and tail lurking within the swamps and lakes of the region.

The sauropod was first reported in animal dealer Carl Hagenbeck’s book Beasts and Men in 1909. He claimed to have had the creature described to him as “half elephant, half dragon” by two men who’d encountered it. In the intervening century, multiple attempts have been made to locate and identify mokele-mbembe, but none have succeeded.[6]

4 Rougarou

Rougarou fought in the War of 1812? – Forgotten History

The rougarou, also called the loup-garou, is a uniquely horrifying monster. With the body of a man but the head of a wolf, it stalks the swamps of Louisiana, hunting for misbehaving children to snap up in its jaws. It is, essentially, a Cajun werewolf, a human who’s been cursed with a terrible affliction.

Those who carry the curse are said to transform for 101 days. On the last day, the first human whom the rougarou attacks and draws blood from will become the next carrier of the curse. It’s also possible to become cursed by running afoul of a particularly vindictive witch.

The rougarou remains a grim belief for Cajun elders to this day. They use tales of the creature to caution their children and grandchildren against misbehaving, and accusing members of the community of being a rougarou has historically led to bloody conflicts.[7]

3 The Brosno Dragon

The Brosno Dragon Russia’s Nessie

Hidden in the depths of Lake Brosno in western Russia lurks a creature 16.5 feet (5 meters) long, with a head like a dragon and a long, thin tail. The Brosno Dragon, called Brosnya by locals, has reportedly inhabited the lake for hundreds of years. Legends of the creature say that it has emerged to drive off any invaders unfortunate enough to choose its hunting grounds as a place to camp. Brosnya has also been known to flip over boats and swallow fishermen.

In the summer of 2002, a group of Russian cryptozoologists and mystery researchers called Kosmopoisk (“All-Russian Research Public Organization” in English) led an expedition to the lake. They conducted echo sounding and found something they described as the size of a railway car, but when they attempted to engage the creature, it simply disappeared. Lake Brosno is as much as 140 feet (42.7 meters) deep in places, leaving a lot of room for Brosnya to hide.[8]

2 Yowie

YOWIE: The Legend of the Australian Bigfoot | Boogeymen | Documentary Central

North America has Bigfoot, and Australia has Yowie. Its legend reaches all the way back to the Aboriginal people of the continent, with the Kuku Yalanji tribe claiming to have long coexisted with them.

There are two types of Yowie: one that grows only to 4-5 feet (up to 1.6 meters) tall and another that grows as large as 10 feet (3 meters) tall. It’s described as apelike, with orange fur that grows 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) long. Indeed, there is Aboriginal cave art depicting creatures that fit this description very well.

There have been hundreds of reported sightings. There are even organized expeditions dedicated to locating and documenting the creature. They have generated some compelling evidence, including a thermal image showing a human-shaped creature towering above four full-grown men as they search for the Yowie in the woods.[9]

1 The Mongolian Death Worm

Death Worms: Fact or Fiction? | Monstrum

In 1926, an American paleontologist named Roy Chapman Andrews published a book called On the Trail of Ancient Man. In it, he shared tales from a gathering of Mongolian officials/ These included stories of a 3-foot-long (0.9-meter) worm, fat and red, that lived in the sands of the Gobi Desert and was so poisonous that any physical contact with it was a death sentence.

The Mongolian Death Worm has inspired equal parts obsession and terror in the past century. For those locals who believe in the creature, it remains something to be feared, respected, and avoided at all costs. For those who are either morbidly curious or fascinated by the mystery and the macabre, the Death Worm represents danger, suspense, and everything that’s exciting about the world. Multiple expeditions have been undertaken to prove the existence of the creature, but as of today, none have been successful.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen