Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Crypto-Kid Radio Show Episode 1

Last night I was joined on my radio show by Jonathan Downes, founder of the Centre for Fortean Zoology and monster hunter extraordinaire. We discussed the organization and his research into the Owlman of Mawnan in the UK. 

If you missed the show last night, you can listen to the archived show here.

You can find more info about the radio network I am on here.

You can find more info about Jon and the CFZ here.

You can purchase Jon's book about the Owlman titled The Owlman and Others here. 

To interact with me and participate in the weekly after show immediately following the airing of my radio show, you can join the Cryptozoology Discord Server.

And next week, Ronald Murphy will join me to discuss the Wildman archetype throughout history. 



Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Changing Perspectives of Cryptozoology Part 5: Stan Gordon

     For years, I have been fascinated in the evolution of cryptozoological thought. There are clear fractures happening in the field, but I don't really see a ton of discussion about it in public. Yet, I have had plenty of personal conversations with a variety of researchers about the changes. So, I decided it would be valuable to the field to ask a variety of researchers, all with different approaches and expertise, the same five questions about the field today. Hopefully, the differences in answers will be valuable information on the diversity of thought in the field.

    For my last interview, I talked to my friend Brian Parsons, you can read that here. For this one, I spoke to the one and only Stan Gordon.

    Stan Gordan is Pennsylvania's premier researcher into the unusual and unexplained. Having been involved in the field for over 60 years, Stan has amassed an incredible number of cases. He has written three books on the unexplained and produced a documentary about the Kecksburg UFO Crash, on which he is the lead authority. He can be found at his website www.stangordon.info

1. What is cryptozoology as you see it?

    Stan: My long journey into this interesting and controversial field of research began just as the term cryptozoology was being introduced to the public. My interest in researching Bigfoot and cryptids, as well as other anomalies, began when I was 10 years old in 1959. I was a kid interested in science and electronics who had heard radio discussions about people claiming to have seen strange creatures, and I was curious to learn if these accounts were true.  

    It was my understanding back in those days that cryptozoology was basically a quest to investigate, document, and search for animals that were not known. Many of the mystery animals reported from land and sea worldwide are likely specimens that have never been catalogued and confirmed by the  scientific community. Years later, researchers from various backgrounds, including some of those who have been trained in the science fields, continue to pursue the ongoing strange reports of creatures that have not been scientifically confirmed.

2. Where do you think cryptozoology is headed in the next few years?

    Stan: My answer to this question is based on discussions that I have had with others who are involved in this field. In speaking with other researchers in the field, they are more open minded and willing to at least listen to witnesses and investigate cases where some high strangeness details are associated with a Bigfoot or other cryptid encounter. 

    There is a growing body of data being gathered by researchers throughout the country and around the world that indicates that some of these mystery beasts act much stranger than normal flesh and blood creatures. In the last few years, many other investigators have now come forward and are discussing some of the same strange details associated with Bigfoot reports that I was writing about in the 1970s. I think we will be hearing more discussions, for example, of strange luminous balls of light being observed in association with Bigfoot encounters or observed in areas that have a long history of Bigfoot sightings.

    With the introduction of the internet, reports of mysterious creature sightings from around the world  are easily accessible. Many of the experienced cryptozoologists of past years are no longer with us. I feel that in the future, there will be new teams of younger researchers that are now getting involved to seek out answers to the continuous reports of Bigfoot, Thunderbirds, water monsters, and more.

3. Who do you think (living or deceased) has had the biggest impact on the state of cryptozoology in today's world?

    Stan: I would have to say that it was the late Ivan Sanderson that influenced myself and others to use a scientific approach to investigating such reports. I was also very interested in the findings of the late John Keel. My investigations of some Pennsylvania strange creature encounters of the late 1960s and early 1970s, turned up some similar details as to what Keel had uncovered during his research and investigations into the Mothman mystery and other strange cases. There are some great researchers out there, such as researcher and author Nick Redfern, who are willing to speak out about the unusual cryptid cases that are taking place that defy easy explanations.

4. What, if any, have been cryptozoology's biggest contributions to modern science?

    Stan: I think that this field has raised the awareness that there may well be undiscovered creatures large and small that need to be confirmed and catalogued for science. It might also encourage those in the science field to take a more serious approach to look into reports of mysterious creatures.

5. Why do you think that paranormal and ufological subjects have been gaining traction within the field of cryptozoology?

    Stan: I feel that the reason that these topics are gaining traction is that more and more cases are surfacing where these two subjects seem to interact, and some UFO and Bigfoot researchers are becoming more open minded and are coming across cases similar to what I have been finding for years. There are similarities and likely some connection with various anomalies associated within the UFO, cryptid and the paranormal field. 

    For decades, many of those involved in the UFO and Bigfoot research community refused to take a serious look into any correlation between the two phenomena. Beginning in 1970 and continuing for many years, I led teams of research specialists including scientists and engineers to investigate UFO, Bigfoot, and cryptid incidents that were reported in Pennsylvania. I began to conduct in-the-field investigations of these cases in 1965 and realized as my investigations increased over the years, that many Bigfoot sightings, just as with UFOs, could be explained as various types of misidentifications.

    There were, however, many very detailed Bigfoot encounters that could not be easily dismissed. Early on, I was of the opinion that Bigfoot was an unknown animal. I was not expecting to be exposed to the strange series of Bigfoot cases that took place during the 1970s. That is when we began documenting numerous Bigfoot encounters that had high strangeness details, and cases when Bigfoot and UFOs were seen together. Those well documented cases changed my perception of what was taking place. 

    There were cases where we observed trails of large footprints with long strides in various ground conditions including heavy snow that just ended abruptly without an explanation. Reports from various witnesses of seeing in daylight a Bigfoot suddenly just vanish and then reappear at another nearby location and a incident with a woman who fired at a Bigfoot with her shotgun only a few feet in front of her. It vanished in a bright flash of light. 

    While I am not suggesting that we are dealing with visitors from another planet, more information  has been surfacing that suggests that we are dealing with a phenomena that has a physical and non-physical component to it. I learned from communicating with some very active Bigfoot researchers in the 1970’s that they had also received similar strange incidents, but they didn’t want to discuss or publish their findings for fear of being ridiculed by fellow investigators. These types of incidents appear to be increasing and are now being discussed seriously on radio and podcast shows. Some well researched books have been published in recent years that are covering these same topics.

6. What is the current focus of your research?

    Stan: One focus of my current research are the sightings of black panthers in the Keystone state. Some of these out of place animal reports occur in the daylight and at close range. Witnesses ,in past years and as recently as 2020, described seeing an animal that looked like what they saw in a zoo. This melanistic version of a jaguar or leopard has been reported for years in areas where they should not exist. Interestingly, such reports have also occurred at locations where Bigfoot sightings were also taking place or in areas that have a history of other mysterious events.

    I am investigating some recent sightings of Thunderbirds as well. I continue to receive reports of other even stranger cryptid as well.

    I am also looking into cases here in Pennsylvania where it appears that a particular geographical location or private property seems to be the focus of repeated paranormal events along with UFO and various types of cryptid activity. Some of these locations have had a long history of strange incidents. Some of the events that have taken place are similar to what have been reported at the Skinwalker ranch in Utah. 

    One more widespread area that is very active is the Chestnut Ridge that spreads through sections of Westmoreland, Fayette, and Indiana counties in Pennsylvania and continues to a few miles outside of Morgantown, West Virginia. Strange incidents are reported yearly but the areas along sections of Westmoreland and Fayette counties are quite active.

    There continue to be reports of small spheres of light or other unusual luminous objects being reported in active Bigfoot locations and some have actually been seen and associated with a Bigfoot encounter.

    I am also obtaining details from eyewitnesses who are describing various strange happenings during their encounters with Bigfoot and other cryptids. In some cases, the cryptids appear startled when they realize they can be seen by the human observers.

    Reports of  odd electromagnetic fields (EMF) disturbances associated with Bigfoot encounters have been reported over the years. There have been cases of UFOs moving low over cars and the vehicle lost power until the object moved away. Although rare, there have been incidents also reported where a Bigfoot walked near a car, and when it did, the vehicle lost power until the creature moved out of the area. Some of these cases occurred in Pennsylvania. I am continuing to research these types of cases as well.

    The more I know about the phenomena the stranger it is. I said years ago, “The phenomena is so strange it protects itself.”


Stan and myself in front of the infamous Mothman Statue. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Crypto-Kid Radio Show Back On the Air

     After several years off air, I am ecstatic to announce that my Crypto-Kid Radio Show is now coming back! It will be airing live Mondays at 8 pm EST for the summer on the Paranormal King Radio Network. I have some excellent episodes planned for the upcoming weeks. Check back in a few days to see the guest announcement for my first show on June 14th. 

    You can listen to the show here: www.paranormalking.com



Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Changing Perspectives of Cryptozoology Part 4: Brian Parsons

    For years, I have been fascinated in the evolution of cryptozoological thought. There are clear fractures happening in the field, but I don't really see a ton of discussion about it in public. Yet, I have had plenty of personal conversations with a variety of researchers about the changes. So, I decided it would be valuable to the field to ask a variety of researchers, all with different approaches and expertise, the same five questions about the field today. Hopefully, the differences in answers will be valuable information on the diversity of thought in the field.
    My last interview was with writer Sharon Hill and you can read it here. For this interview, I talked to my good friend Brian Parsons. 
    Brian is an Ohio cryptozoologist and paranormal investigator. He has written an excellent series of books on the investigation into the unexplained and hosts the best paranormal news radio show the Paranormal News Insider. He can be found at this link
1. What is cryptozoology as you see it?
    Brian: Avoiding the standard definitions, I see cryptozoology as a set of beliefs in creatures that defy logic, scientific support, or possibility of existing in nature. Many times, cryptozoology is defined using “the search or study of” based on the “ology”, but I feel the strongest aspect is the belief in not just the creatures themselves but also the fact that they could exist despite the overwhelming data against it. Folklore plays a big part in the creatures associated with cryptozoology and folklore depends on belief for survival and not on physical evidence at all. In fact, I feel the lack of evidence fuels the folklore even more and secures more interested parties into attempting to “discover” these creatures that are so elusive (since they often live in the beliefs of the hopeless romantics who seek them). 
    This might seem skeptical, but it is hard to believe in many of the creatures associated with cryptozoology existing in nature when you set aside the logical fallacies that skew the judgment of researchers and field investigators alike. What is even more difficult is to not be a complete skeptic or true believer. Creating a balance in belief is not easy, but a perfect balance should still weigh closer on the skeptical side to help escape many of the things that has held the topic back such as being unscientific, surviving on speculation, and having a lack of objective evidence to support the claims of witnesses. 
2. Where do you think cryptozoology is headed in the next few years?
    Brian: Cryptozoology will continue to evolve based on the creatures that are most popular within it. Bigfoot continues to be the primary driver since varieties of this creature are said to exist on many continents and the creature is easily identifiable by most of the public. Belief in the possibilities of such creatures will not diminish despite the continued lack of evidence and the increase in the technology and use of drones, camera, video technology, etc. In many cases personal accounts (even when they lack evidence or credibility) as well as ambiguous photos, videos, or audio evidence will continue to fuel the belief engine that drives cryptozoology. 
    Example: The Loch Ness Monster is currently seeing decades of popularity despite a lack of evidence as well as the Otago University DNA research project which did not find DNA to support any large creature in the loch. Nessie and other creatures associated with cryptozoology will continue to fuel interest if anecdotal accounts continue to flow in. My prediction could include the “next big thing” will be more flamboyant than a flying humanoid or a Sasquatch/werewolf hybrid and will create a sub-sect of researchers who are “experts” in that arena and maybe even a conference or two (and keep an eye out to see who can publish a book first)! Kidding aside, but cryptozoology is seeing a high popularity probably due to many ghost groups getting bored as well as the distraction of fantasy. I would, however, expect to see many flee this pursuit to investigate the UFO field in the next few years as this topic continues to get worldwide mainstream news attention.
3. Who do you think (living or deceased) has had the biggest impact on the state of cryptozoology in today's world?
    Brian: This is a tough question since cryptozoology has relied on many different people to give it life to those who have helped give it shape over the years. While one can (and should) easily point to either Ivan Sanderson or Bernard Heuvelmans for creating a foundation for cryptozoology one could question who influenced them. Sanderson himself was a follower of Charles Fort who really deserves the credit for creating interest in all things paranormal and challenging many to think outside the scientific boundaries.  
4. What, if any, have been cryptozoology's biggest contributions to modern science?
    Brian: Cryptozoology and science are not exactly bedfellows. Cryptozoology itself is founded on belief and folklore and is considered pseudoscientific since it does not rely on the scientific method. Again, cryptozoology is cemented in belief and the folklore that perpetuates that belief. Many cryptozoologists talk about the coelacanth, giant squid, megamouth shark, okapi, and other creatures that used to exist only in folklore. The problem is scientists (people funded by organizations for scientific research) were the ones who documented these findings and thus took the credit for them, not cryptozoologists, although they have been adopted into cryptozoology lore.  
    The contribution here is that part of cryptozoology gives hope to the flesh and blood creatures that should be extinct and hopefully gives someone motivation to go out and rediscover them or not give up on a creature such as the thylacine or ivory billed woodpecker since they might become the next Laotian rock rat (related to a family of rodents thought extinct for 11 million years rediscovered in 2005) or the aforementioned coelacanth (order of fish that was thought to be extinct for over 65 million years). Every discovery of animals that are thought extinct gives hope, although not credibility, for the more outlandish cryptids to be discovered. 
    My hope is that like an interest in airplanes might lead someone to being an astronaut, an interest in planets might lead them to being an astronomer or physicist, a person interested in cryptids might lead them to being a biologist or zoologist. Animal educating celebrities are fewer than famous physicists these days. Gone are Steve Irwin who was made fun of due to his accent although he pulled more people into the world of animals than anyone. Jack Hanna recently left the Columbus Zoo and public life due to personal illness and all we really have left is Jeff Corwin, Jane Goodall who turned 87 this year, and a few other minor influences. Cryptozoology might be a good enough gateway to get young people interested in animals enough that they want to pursue a legitimate career in helping or helping to understand animals or other aspects of nature.
5. Why do you think that paranormal and ufological subjects have been gaining traction within the field of cryptozoology?
    Brian: Interestingly, my personal pursuit of cryptozoology and UFOs came from research I was doing on extra sensory perception while working primarily in the ghost field. In my opinion we are seeing the continuation of a shift in cryptozoology from belief in Lazarus taxon and longstanding regional folklore to more incredible creatures that defy biology or physics in their makeup. We have gone from Bigfoot (and the many other varieties) and the Loch Ness Monster (and other folkloric lake and ocean monsters) to one-off monsters like Chupacabra, Mothman, dogman, and many other modern day boogeyman stories that have created a loyal following of believers and instant folklore.
    Belief in the more incredible creatures has also laid the foundation for more incredible claims to accompany them. The Bigfoot being an alien hypothesis has been around for decades (see Stan Gordon, Jon-Erik Beckjord, and John Keel for starters). While this camp has been in the minority it gained a lot of traction about ten years ago and even led to an episode of Ancient Aliens being dedicated to the topic which has now made it a popular opinion to many.
    On the flipside of this UFO researchers have included creatures in their witness description lineups since the early days of research. A few decades ago, ghost investigators, cryptozoologists, and Ufologists wouldn’t be caught in the same room together. Now, many of these groups have adopted pursuits in two or all three of the anomalous fields and have also blended techniques and beliefs together at the same time. This cultural shift has also influenced witness testimony which has further solidified the new folklore of every cryptid potentially being a ghost or alien creature hopping from other worlds or dimensions to elude humans on Earth. 
    This could also potentially be influenced by the current rise in comic book culture. Those in the UFO field also know how heavy of an influence comic book culture has been on their field going back to the beginnings of comics (John Carter of Mars, Buck Rogers Flash Gordon, Superman, etc.). Of course, books and movies helped shape the culture of belief in aliens making their way to Earth and we are amid a widespread belief in aliens today thanks in part to movies and television and the current U.S. government’s interest in UAPs. About 40% of the top grossing movies of all time involve aliens as part of their content (although most are part of the MCU, DCEU, Star Wars, and Transformers franchises). We could even point at shows like the X-Files for blending these topics together as well. The once three separate fields have been slowly melting together for decades due to pop culture and belief.



Brian and myself at the 2017 PA Bigfoot Camping Adventure

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Changing Perspectives of Cryptozoology Part 3: Sharon A. Hill

    For years, I have been fascinated in the evolution of cryptozoological thought. There are clear fractures happening in the field, but I don't really see a ton of discussion about it in public. Yet, I have had plenty of personal conversations with a variety of researchers about the changes. So, I decided it would be valuable to the field to ask a variety of researchers, all with different approaches and expertise, the same five questions about the field today. Hopefully, the differences in answers will be valuable information on the diversity of thought in the field.

    My last interview was with the Cryptopunkologist: Kenney Irish. You can read it here. For my third entry, I interviewed Sharon A. Hill. 

    Sharon A. Hill is a geologist with an EdM in Science and the Public. She did her thesis work on the rise of amateur paranormal investigation groups and how they attempt to use science, which was later expanded and published as Scientifical Americans: The Culture of Amateur Paranormal Researchers (2017, McFarland). She continues to study paranormal topics in popular culture and anomalous natural phenomena, particularly relating to animals and geology. She has written for Fortean Times and Skeptical Inquirer as well as published in scholarly journals. Her current projects are SpookyGeology.com and SharonAHill.com

1. What is cryptozoology as you see it?

    Sharon: My most accurate description is that cryptozoology is a social phenomenon where legendary and rumored animals are studied and/or appreciated. Cryptozoology spans such different levels of interests - from serious study to an aesthetic. The current views of cryptids in modern discourse and media has extended the bounds to include all kinds of pop culture “creatures” and strange beings that range from animal to human-like and hybrids in between, with a heavy dose of fantasy and supernatural ideas.

    Cryptozoology is not driven by scientific discourse but by personal stories used in producing media products and by personalities on TV, the internet, podcasts, and at conventions who sell these stories. I don’t believe this was the original intent of the field that was initially set back in the early 1980s. Only a very few now stick to the idea that it’s a scientific subfield of zoology - an outdated view that is untenable in light of the massive popularity of the subject. Those that aim to research cryptids are almost entirely non-scientists who pursue mysteries and hold a belief that unknown animals exist that match these legendary descriptions. Any scientific spin is contrived because it’s not viewed favorably by science. And, recall at its inception, cryptozoology was started as an effort to defy “mainstream” science and find animals that were “hidden” or denied. So, it’s unsurprising that the field never got its bearings. 

    If I were to be wishful, though, I would like the field of cryptozoology to be a multidisciplinary area - using history, art, linguistics, folklore, cultural and religious studies, anthropology, wildlife biology, psychology, and sociology - to examine claims and beliefs of unusual animals that people say exist. The best scholarship in cryptozoology does this, which is useful and fascinating. Attempting to prove the existence of a mystery animal is almost certainly a futile goal. 

2. Where do you think cryptozoology is headed in the next few years?

    Sharon: I’d guess that cryptozoology will continue to be shaped and changed by the media machines. Cryptids - as very interesting and flexible things - will filter more into pop culture. There is a growing interest in “cryptids” as an aesthetic - called “cryptidcore” - where stylized cryptids are used throughout one’s lifestyle. Popularized by the internet, people into cryptidcore romanticize cryptids, and embrace the weird, dark, and mysterious aspects of fantasy and legendary creatures. Link - https://aesthetics.fandom.com/wiki/Cryptidcore.

    Some self-styled cryptozoologists admit their interest is an escape from the every-day world. It’s exciting to entertain ideas that cryptids may exist and they can be the ones to discover them. Perhaps cryptidcore is a cuter, more consumer-oriented way to do that. 

    Cryptozoology long escaped the bounds to which the ISC tried to hold it. While the zoological takes are nonstarters anymore, I think we’ll see more historical, anthropological, and folklore takes on cryptid origins and popularity.

    The subject thrives in any modern medium so I’m sure it will continue to grow in popularity for many years. More fantastic and paranormal elements will surface. For example, we should note the growth in crypto-fiction, cryptids as movie topics, and the very fan-oriented, non-technical cryptid conventions with plenty of merch and movie screenings. People love the idea of monsters and we enjoy talking about weird animals and scary encounters. That will continue in these new forms and forms yet to evolve.

3. Who do you think (living or deceased) has had the biggest impact on the state of cryptozoology in today's world?

    Sharon: The key to that question is “today’s world”. While Heuvelmans was there at the start, his influence is fading because today’s participants are too young to remember the 70s and 80s. They learn from internet sources and not so much from reading the older books or going back to the source ideas.

    I would say the greatest impact was from those who capitalized on the media, and who built a popular reputation - Doug Hajicek of Monster Quest and Loren Coleman, for example. Scholars of the paranormal will say John Keel because he placed reports of mysterious creatures clearly outside of zoology and made them “strange”. The Keelian resurgence is on. We see his influence today in the paranormal descriptions of dogman, Bigfoot coming out of portals, bulletproof wolves of Skinwalker ranch, and, of course, the popularity of Mothman.

    I would honestly say, however, that it’s not a person who had the biggest impact, but a thing - the internet has turbo-charged cryptozoology in modern culture beginning with the chupacabra, through to the rake and the dogman. Bigfoot and other cryptids were reinvented and are all over -  more popular than ever. 

4. What, if any, have been cryptozoology's biggest contributions to modern science?

    Sharon: It is telling that cryptozoologists’ best examples of cryptid contributions have come long before the term was coined. Very few examples come after, and those are weak. The big prizes  - hairy hominids, lake monsters, bizarre-looking beasts - were never attained. I say there are, as of now, no contributions from cryptozoology regarding discovery of mystery animals. Others, who define the field very broadly, will say differently and will tout modern new species announcements as contributions. It’s incorrect to credit modern new species finds to cryptozoological methodology because they were done via application of existing, established zoological techniques. I think it is specious to call cryptozoology a special subfield of zoology when so few self-styled cryptozoologists are zoologists and the consensus of zoologists do not apply the term to their work.  

    Looking back at 50 years of cryptozoological research, there remains only anecdotes and eyewitness accounts, footprints or ambiguous traces, and blurry visuals. The technology is monumentally more sophisticated but the evidence for cryptids remains no better and the predictions for finding them have all, so far, failed. 

    I do not, however, think the field is useless or that it has to remain unscientific or pseudoscientific. Many who are interested in cryptozoology are fascinated by animals and interested in wildlife and habitat conservation. It is great fun and worthwhile to put out game cameras or collect other data to document wildlife. I have heard more Bigfooters and lake creature enthusiasts talk about citizen science, which is a valuable thing. Science enthusiasm is really encouraging to see. However, science doesn’t happen via one person. It must be organized and run by people who are knowledgable about research methods, data collection, and analysis. That is, amateur contributions should be provided to the experts who then pull it together and publish. It’s a process and a team effort. That’s still how science works to produce reliable knowledge. Aimless amateur expeditions are a waste. A YouTube video of your FLIR recordings, casts of footprints, rampant speculation, or more questionable pictures won’t contribute anything meaningful to society.

5. Why do you think that paranormal and ufological subjects have been gaining traction within the field of cryptozoology?

    Sharon: There are many reasons for this. One is, as I previous mentioned, the internet, that makes it easy for anyone with a fringe idea to find support and promote it in this limitless marketplace of ideas. Related to that, there has been a breakdown of the structure of expertise. Anyone can call themselves an expert with the poorest of credentials. There is a lack of critical thinking applied to what appears to be factual information. We assume that if we see it on the news, it must have some truth to it. But, mostly there are two main reasons that play heavily into the paranormal trend of cryptozoology.

    Paranormal claims are undergoing a resurgence for complex sociological reasons since 2000. This is happening in ufology for similar but additional reasons (such as conspiracies based on government distrust and technological fears). So, generally, belief in weird things is more popular and that has bled over into cryptids. There is plenty of oxygen in the paranormal community to feed new and fun ideas about strange creatures these days. 

    I think the specific reason that modern cryptozoology has been lost to paranormal and supernatural thinking is the need for people to sustain their beliefs. I’ve previously called cryptids “paranormal” because I argue they don’t behave like normal animals or they would have been discovered by now. Instead they have supranormal characteristics such as hiding, not leaving a discernible biological signal, surviving in small population numbers, and “powers” to stun, cause fear, use psychic communication or to just disappear instantly. They also have been successful at evading photography and video recording. Many people describe cryptids in very non-biological terms (lizard man, dog man, etc.) When that is what the witnesses describe, science fails entirely to address these aspects. So, there is a stark choice to make - the animals are zoological/the witness was mistaken, or the witness was correct/creatures are paranormal. Psychology research repeatedly demonstrated that people have a very hard time rejecting their beliefs, especially if they were formed from experiences, therefore, they adopt fantastical explanations for them. 

    We have a multitude of modern examples of this human trait hitting us in the face every day. Any strange idea will find support and get attention. There is a disturbing modern feedback mechanism that pushes views towards the extreme ends. Through media, these extreme views are normalized. Cryptids travel through inter-dimensional portals, or are conjured, or are of non-earthly origin. These concepts are obviously appealing to many these days. They want the world to be enchanted. They want magical mystery creatures to be real. It will take a major reset to change this trajectory since it affects many cultural frames, including cryptozoology.


Friday, May 21, 2021

The Changing Perspectives of Cryptozoology Part 2: Kenney Irish

    For years, I have been fascinated in the evolution of cryptozoological thought. There are clear fractures happening in the field, but I don't really see a ton of discussion about it in public. Yet, I have had plenty of personal conversations with a variety of researchers about the changes. So, I decided it would be valuable to the field to ask a variety of researchers, all with different approaches and expertise, the same five questions about the field today. Hopefully, the differences in answers will be valuable information on the diversity of thought in the field.

    My first interview in the series was with the Crypto-Guru himself: Ronald Murphy. You can read that interview here.

    Kenney Irish aka the "Cryptopunkologist" is a cryptid researcher located in New York. His most recent book, American Cryptids, has topped the Amazon ranking for its genre. He often works with the New York Bigfoot Society and has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio shows. You can find him at www.kwirish.com

1. What is cryptozoology as you see it?

Kenney: Cryptozoology was first presented to me as a study/research regarding the possible existence of a species that has not been categorized and recognized by means of traditional science and practices. When we first learn of Cryptozoology, in most cases it is presented via some elusive land beast or aquatic serpentine creature. Individuals who claim the title, seek answers using some means of practical sciences, along with studies in Native American folklore. There are a select few that carry the title, that also seek out to prove certain animals that are said to be extinct, still roam the land, and seas to this day.

2. Where do you think cryptozoology is headed in the next few years?

Kenney: With the subject becoming increasingly popular, and not requiring or needing any type of education, I see it becoming increasingly congested and reckless. Personally, at some point I long to see some form of actual, and recognized educational training presented using both science and history via some university type establishment.

3. Who do you think (living or deceased) has had the biggest impact on the state of cryptozoology in today's world?

Kenney: My answer is short and direct, anyone who studies the subject and “does not” draw a line in the sand based off one’s own opinion, theory, or feelings. This subject currently holds no accountability regarding truth. The individuals who are open to communication are the ones who serve with making the biggest impact to the subject.

4. What, if any, have been cryptozoology's biggest contributions to modern science?

Kenney: Cryptozoology in many ways has challenged traditional thinking and science, and really pushes the envelope. It has brought to light many strange, and unexplained occurrences that in the past was swept under the rug, and or laughed at. Over the years, it has also to a degree, faded the stigma and moved the line drawn in the sand, between scientists that are faithful to practical science, and the science professionals who are intrigued, and believe there is something to the phenomenon.

5. Why do you think that paranormal and ufological subjects have been gaining traction within the field of cryptozoology?

Kenney: With the countless eyewitnesses across the globe, varying in encounter description, it is not easy to believe that something of a “flesh and blood” being could elude most cameras and current modern-day technology. Also, it gives a “reason” why. Which for some individuals, this helps them explain with confidence what they don’t understand or can explain. While others claim to have seen something of a Sasquatch description vanish before their very eyes, others claim to have seen such a creature walking out of what they believed to be an extraterrestrial space craft, or in the area of the craft.



Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Changing Perspectives of Cryptozoology Part 1: Ronald Murphy

For years, I have been fascinated in the evolution of cryptozoological thought. There are clear fractures happening in the field, but I don't really see a ton of discussion about it in public. Yet, I have had plenty of personal conversations with a variety of researchers about the changes. So, I decided it would be valuable to the field to ask a variety of researchers, all with different approaches and expertise, the same five questions about the field today. Hopefully, the differences in answers will be valuable information on the diversity of thought in the field. My first interview was with my close friend, the Crypto-Guru himself: Ronald Murphy. 

Ronald Murphy has been involved in cryptozoology for over 30 years. Much of his research has been focused on the historical and mythical archetypes of cryptids, a topic which he has written a whole host of books on. He is also a prominent researcher into the fortean hot spot of the Chestnut Ridge in Eastern Pennsylvania. 

1. What is cryptozoology as you see it?

Ron: The study of unknown animals. Now this doesn't have to be as sensational as looking for bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. In fact, I'm quite interested on sighting of animal that are considered extinct being seen in areas where the once inhabited. The Eastern cougar in Pennsylvania, for instance. Cryptozoology is far more akin to biology than the paranormal. 

2. Where do you think cryptozoology is headed in the next few years?

Ron: I would like to see the subject offered as a course in mainstream academia but my fear is so many television personalities refer to themselves as cryptozoologists that there will never be a serious approach to such a fringe discipline. Unless, of course, a self-declared cryptozoologist finds something!

3. Who do you think (living or deceased) has had the biggest impact on the state of cryptozoology in today's world?

Ron: Heuvelmans without a doubt. He is the progenitor of this discipline 

4. What, if any, have been cryptozoology's biggest contributions to modern science?

Ron: Great question! I have to say that no one who is called a cryptozoologist has really impacted the scientific field with a discovery. Science demands facts. That is the cold, hard realization. Unless the scientific method is applied I truly don't believe and unknown creature will be uncovered unless by happenstance. 

5. Why do you think that paranormal and ufological subjects have been gaining traction within the field of cryptozoology?

Ron: Another great question. For lack of proof of the existence of bigfoot for nearly 70 years of searching, it is easy to throw up your hands and declare "it's not of this planet" or "it is interdimensional." It is a copout. Also, it is a sensational story that sells books and television programming. I find the conjecture fascinating to be honest. It is part of myth-building. But again we need proof and not simply a blanket apology of "aliens."

Ron and myself at a conference in 2016.