Monday, February 6, 2017

Crypto-television: A Series of Serious Series Reviews

Lately, I have been in a type of television conundrum: I love cryptozoology, but cannot seem to find any worthwhile cryptozoological shows on television to watch. So, I decided to go on a hunt through the recesses of modern crypto-television.

Monsters and Mysteries in America/Unsolved

I began my search with watching several episodes of the popular Monsters and Mysteries in America and Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved. The first aired in 2013 and ran for three seasons, and the second aired last year. Each episode looks at a handful of mysteries, most focusing on various cryptids. Their portrayal of the phenomena is pretty accurate and they generally get several researchers on to discuss cases and ideas, but the show tends to focus on the sensational aspects without any skeptical points of view. The show also recreates various cases with a person in a rubber suit and some B-grade actors -- the effect of which is quite amusing.


Mountain Monsters

This infamous show was also on the top of my list to peruse, largely due to the huge cult following this show seems to have acquired. After watching two episodes, I realized either the show producers or the team themselves don't care about accurate research. It seems that the bare minimum was done before heading out on a hunt. I think that the AIMS team uses the premise of monster hunting to get on television playing with their firearms. I have no problem with the show, in fact, I think that it is great mindless entertainment, but that is all that it is.


Swamp Monsters

Swamp Monsters is essentially the same show as Mountain Monsters but in the Bayou instead of the Appalachia. The team members of BEAST (Bayou Enforcement Agency on Supernatural Threats). The show only had three episodes and there isn't much worth discussing from any of them.


Finding Bigfoot

Finding Bigfoot is another show that has gained a large cult following. During the first couple seasons, the show did some pretty good research and investigative work. Over time, though, the show began to outgrow its stay and seems to be riding purely on the unending dedication of its fans. The show certainly isn't as bad as many people claims.


Monsters Underground

Monsters Underground has a simple premise: there are mysterious creatures that supposedly live in caves around the world, and this team is going after them all! The only thing is... there aren't that many that supposedly live in caves. Needless to say, the show didn't last long -- and the short time it did air was not spent terribly productively.


MonsterQuest

Monster Quest was technically the first cryptozoology focused show to be produced. It lasted for 5 seasons and each episode focused on a different cryptid or a specific regional aspect of a creature with a larger range. I personally love this show. Each episode did an excellent job of introducing the creature and several cases as well as consulting several authorities on the creature each episode. Something else that made the show unique is that they consulted the skeptical side of thinking as well, not just those who wholeheartedly believe in the creatures.


Killing Bigfoot

Over the past few months, the show Killing Bigfoot has been making waves in the world of cryptozoology, to the point that some disgruntled bloggers and researchers put together a petition prevent the airing of the show. The reason the show created so much controversy is the argument: whether or not Bigfoot should be killed in order to prove its existence. The show seems to have really relied on that controversy in order to raise viewership. Unfortunately, the show follows the same formula as Mountain Monsters and Swamp Monsters among others: a bunch of bearded rednecks with large guns traipsing the wilderness searching for monsters. Killing Bigfoot is nothing really new or special but is fairly entertaining to watch.


So, what is your favorite crypto-show? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Inside the Goblin Universe Episode One added to Archives

The first episode of my podcast Inside the Goblin Universe (also hosted by Ronald Murphy) has been added to the Paranormal UK Network Archives. If you missed the airing on Thursday, you can still listen to it here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Inside the Goblin Universe

The first episode of Inside the Goblin Universe (hosted by Ronald Murphy and myself) airs at 10 pm to Midnight EST tomorrow on the Paranormal UK Radio Network. We discuss how Ron and I met, our research, and what the Goblin Universe is as well as have Timothy Renner, the author of Beyond the Seventh Gate. I am extremely excited to hear what everyone thinks about the show. Ron and I are extremely proud to be the hosts of a show, especially being on such an excellent network. If you are unable to listen to the episode when it airs, you can listen to it on any of several archives which can be found on the website. After the episode airs, I will post a link to the episode.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Podcast

As many of you know, I am good friends with Ronald Murphy, the fairly well-known cryptozoologist from Pennsylvania who has written numerous books and has appeared on a plethora of podcasts. We are working on a book together as well as several other projects.
The time has come to announce one of those other projects... Ronald and I are getting our own podcast! The show will air sometime in January and will be aired on the Paranormal UK Radio Network.

We are calling the show Inside the Goblin Universe and will be discussing various strange and unusual aspects of the world of the paranormal, cryptozoology, and ufology with a focus on the idea of the Goblin Universe, which is a proposed alternative universe from which anything that goes bump in the night comes from. We have a handful of episodes recorded already and have some great guests including Jonathan Downes and Timothy Renner.

I will do updates about when the shows are released and any other relevant news as it happens, so stay tuned!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Name change

Since I started this blog, it has been named Paranormal101. Over time, I realized the problems with this name; it isn't unique, nor is it completely accurate to what I actually do with this blog. Because of this, I have changed the name of the blog to Crypto-Kid. For those of you who know Ronald Murphy, you probably noticed the similarity to his moniker Crypto-Guru. That was done on purpose. Ron and I work closely together and will be heading several projects in the upcoming new year that are to be announced.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wildmen, Dinosaurs, and Legend Tripping: My Six Favorite Books from This Year

This year has had some fantastic new releases from sone of the best crypto-authors out there. Here is a roundup review of my six favorite books from this year in no particular order. 

On Wildman: Tracking Bigfoot Through History by Ronald L. Murphy Jr. 

As I stated in my previous review of On Wildman, Ron's excellent study of Bigfoot throughout history is a treat for anyone interested in Bigfoot, mythology, or cryptozoology in general. 

A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts: Encounters with Cryptid Creatures by Ken Gerhard

Ken Gerhard's takes his readers on a global adventure in his third solo book; A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts. Ken covers nearly every kind of creature you could imagine; Ape-Men; Dogmen; black panthers; sea serpents; Thunderbirds; and even giant spiders. Menagerie is written in Ken's no-nonsense tone but doesn't lack any bit of excitement or strangeness.

I especially liked that Ken strayed away from the well known and popular cases and creatures. He examines some of the weirdest stuff you will ever find in a cryptid book... and that's saying something. 

Beyond the Seventh Gate: Exploring Toad Road, the Seven Gates of Hell, and Other Strangeness in York, Lancaster, and Adams Counties by Timothy Renner

When Timothy Renner first heard "don't look behind you on Toad Road," instead of just shrugging off the strange superstition, he questioned why. From there, he went through a long and weird journey not only on Toad Road but on some others as well. Are there really Seven Gates of Hell in York county? What is an Albatwitch? And, why shouldn't you look behind you on Toad Road? Find out in Timothy's excellent investigation into the truth behind the legends.

This book is an excellent example of cryptid/unexplained investigation done right. Timothy looks into any and all possibilities into the handful of urban legends and folklore that exist within York, Adams, and Lancaster Counties. I read this book in one sitting, it was THAT good. 

Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Adventure by Robert C. Robinson

Legend tripping: (Noun) to go or participate on a quest or adventure for something which has defined a mystery or legend and not verified or explained by science. In his highly detailed guide into how to begin legend tripping, Robert Robinson goes above and beyond that definition. He gives brief explanations of popular legends, how to perform a trip, and how to have fun doing it. He examines all kinds of legend trips including cryptid, paranormal, and UFO trips. Robert also tells stories about some legend trips he has been on.

This book is for both the novice and experienced in any kind of legend tripping field. The book is an entertaining read for anyone interested in the stranger side of the world. 

Still in Search of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures that Time Forgot by Karl P. N. Shuker

In 1995, Karl Shuker released what many agree to be his greatest work; In Search of Prehistoric Survivors. The book soon went out of print and became a much-sought-after piece. Finally, after 21 years of waiting, Shuker has released an updated version of the book. Considering the fact that I loved the first one, it was a given that I would also love the revised edition.

One of the many things that made Shuker's work unique — besides it being the only book of its kind — is the careful examination that he goes through of each potential survivor. He also doesn't only look at extinct animals for possible explanations. Shuker presents a truly balanced piece of cryptozoological writing that deserves a place on everyone's shelf. 

Nessie: Exploring the Supernatural Origins of the Loch Ness Monster by Nick Redfern

As I've stated before, Nick Redfern never ceases to disappoint me with his work; I love his Chupacabra Road Trip, Monster Book, and everything in between, but this book was special. From the moment it was announced, I knew I HAD to have it. When I finally did get it at the Mothman Festival, I stayed up all night reading in the hotel bathroom so I didn't wake my father. I've always been interested in the Loch Ness Monster but had never been convinced that there was anything actually there; this book changed that for me.

Nick goes through the extensive history of the Loch Ness Monster, looking at not only modern sightings and evidence but also ancient legends such as the kelpie or Nessie's encounter with a Saint. I loved this book and if you like lake monsters, you will too!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them: The Truth Behind the Hit Movie's Fascinating Creatures.

Earlier this week, I got my inner wizard on when I went to see the new movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie, set in the 1920's, follows wizards Newt Scamander, Tina Goldstein, and No-Maj Jacob Kowalski on a hunt for a variety of magical creatures who have been set loose in New York City. I thought the movie was an excellent addition to the vast world of Harry Potter and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of fantasy movies or the Harry Potter series. That being said, while I was watching the movie, I noticed that there were several magical creatures that reminded me of actual cryptids. So, here are five creatures from the movie that actually resemble real cryptids.

Demiguise

In the film, the Demiguise is an ape-like creature from the Far East. They are known to be very shy and uses their ability to turn invisible to hide from humans. From the first scene that included the Demiguise, I knew it was inspired by the legends of the Yeti from the Himalayas. As everyone knows, the Yeti is a large ape-like creature that dwells in the mountainous regions of Nepal and surrounding countries. Not only is the physical resemblance similar (at least considering the common depiction of the Yeti) between the two, the Demiguise acts quite similarly to what one would assume a Yeti would act. 

Occamy


The Occamy is another creature from the "Far East", but this time it looks like a large, winged serpent. I thought the creature was similar to a Naga. The Naga are serpent deities in some southern, central Asian cultures, particularly the ancient interpretations of the religions of the area. In cryptozoology, the Naga is used for snake-like lake monsters in the area, most notably the Mekong River in Thailand. 

Swooping Evil

In the movie, the mysterious Swooping Evil is used by Newt to get out of some tough spaces. The name is also the subject of a running joke throughout the movie. While the geographical origin of the creature is never really given, the name and appearance of the creature bring to mind images of the cryptid Kongamato. The Kongamato, meaning "breaker of boats," is a flying creature from the Congo of Africa. The creature itself is described as vicious and appears to be reptilian. Many associate the Kongamato with a possible surviving pterosaur. 

Erumpent

Another escaped creature from the movie is the Erumpent. The Erumpent is an adorable rhinoceros-looking creature from Africa. The creature resembles another African cryptid known as the Emela-Ntouka. The Emela-Ntouka is a gigantic creature from the savannahs of Africa. It is said to be about as large as an elephant, but much deadlier. The Emela-Ntouka is identified by a large horn on its snout, resembling that of a rhino's. 

Thunderbird

Finally in the movie we got to see one of my favorite cryptids displayed on the big screen in all its glory: the Thunderbird. In the movie, Newt rescues a Thunderbird who he names Frank, and tries to return him to his proper home; Arizona. Thunderbirds, birds of enormous size from Native American legends, were said to cause thunder and lightning just by flapping their huge wings. In legends, the birds were described to be big enough to blot out the sun, but in modern times the size is described as having a wingspan of fifteen to thirty-five feet.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this rundown of actual cryptids and their representations in the movie. My next post is going to be a couple of book reviews, I'm not sure when it'll be out, but it should be soon.