Everyone is familiar with Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, legendary, semi-mythical creatures around whom numerous campfire stories are spun and about whom hippies on mushrooms and wise old Indians tell fantastic tales, but those are just a couple of the more famous examples of the many strange and mysterious creatures who both terrify and capture the imaginations of people around the world. And since we here at Guyism are men of science who believe in educating the public in between our drunken bouts of debauchery, we thought we’d take a look at eight of these bewildering beasts, the weirdest of the weird, the creepiest of the creepy. They are the eight freakiest creatures to be found in the world of cryptozoology, which is the name given to the study of these strange beasts/beings/whatever the hell they are. And while you may end up catching Bigfoot making lewd gestures at your wife and rifling through your campsite in search of munchies (Little known fact: Bigfoot is a gigantic stoner. It’s true.) that’s nothing compared to what the fantastic creatures on this list would do if they ever got a hold of you.
The Tarasque was first noted in old French legends, where it was said that the creature was a dragon with the claws of a bear and a tail with a stinger on the end of it. Apparently, this dragon lived in a lake in the south of France, from which it occasionally emerged with a mighty roar to hunt its victims, usually virgins. Ladies, there’s a moral in there somewhere. Anyway, supposedly, St. Martha showed up in town and tamed the beast with the soothing music of the church. After gaining the poor dude’s trust, she lured it out of the water where it was beaten to death by the townsfolk. Today there is even a festival celebrating the creature’s untimely demise. But it would seem that the French Tarasque was not alone, as apparently in Vietnam, in the Halong Bay, another Tarasque dragon has been spotted. There’s no word about whether this one prefers virgins or Vietnamese hookers (there is a joke to be made here about a whore telling the dragon “Me love you long time,” and the dragon catching syphilis and returning home with a love child, but we are above such nonsense here at Guyism), but hopefully St. Martha minds her business this time.
Thunderbirds have been spotted all over the world since seemingly the beginning of time. Birds as big as small airplanes, they were mentioned prominently by several old Indian tribes and today they have been spotted flying everywhere from Pennsylvania to Alaska. Like giant eagles, the Indians used to say that the Thunderbirds would swoop down and grab deer or even people and carry them away to a mountain top where they would be eaten. So the next time you see a huge shadow swooping overhead, you can probably chalk it up to one of two things: either you’re about to get eaten by a Thunderbird or you’ve been drinking too much Thunderbird and are seeing things. Oh well, I guess you should have gone with the Colt .45. Then you’d only have to worry about being eaten by a giant Billy D. Williams. Then again, I suppose that is terrifying enough in its own strange way.
The Pope Lick Monster is a strange beast who has been reported to live in the vicinity of a railway trestle one hundred feet above the Pope Lick Creek in Louisville, Kentucky. Apparently, this creature looks like a human/goat hybrid with a human body, furry goat legs and horns on his head and he/she/it lures its victims to their death either through hypnosis or by mimicking the voices of loved ones late at night, which causes the poor victim to believe that somebody they love is in danger or trapped on the railway trestle. After the victim climbs out on the trestle, he either gets run down by a train or he falls to his death in the creek far below. But that’s all fairly ordinary monster stuff. What makes the Pope Lick Monster different is that it supposedly also carries around a great big bloody axe to chop off its victims heads. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the beast gets impatient. I mean, you try waiting around for some hypnotized fool to fall off a trestle or to get hit by a train. That’s some time consuming villainy right there. The Pope Lick Monster probably has places to be and people to kill and so sometimes he just has to get the ol’ axe out. But the best part about the Pope Lick Monster story is that it is rumored to be the offspring of a horny old farmer and his pet goat. No, really. It would probably piss you off too if you found out that your dad made your mom sleep outside in a pen and eat garbage. After all, it’s not the 1800’s anymore. Women have rights.
This freaky dude has been spotted all over Latin America and in the American Southwest. The Chupacabra -- or goatsucker (I wonder what would happen if the Chupacabra and the Pope Lick Monster ever met...) -- is infamous for raiding the livestock of terrified farmers, eating chickens and pigs, and, of course, goats. There are all manner of creepy stories surrounding the Chupacabra, everything from hissing and flying at terrified farmers to breaking into homes like a wino, mumbling at the owners and then attacking their children. Who the hell knows what the Chupacabra actually is? Maybe it’s just pissed because it has to live with the name Goatsucker. I mean, come on, that would bother any of you, wouldn’t it? You get caught sucking one goat and pretty soon that’s the only thing anybody cares about. If that goat didn’t want to get sucked then it shouldn’t have batted those pretty little eyes. I’m guessing the Chupacabra understands only all too well what the Pope Lick Monster’s dad had to deal with all those years. I guess if there’s one thing we should all take away from this list it’s that we should all stay the hell away from goats.
The Burrunjor is on this list for one reason and one reason alone: because it looks like a damn T-Rex. Indeed. Apparently, for centuries, the Aborigines of Australia told the tale of a 25 foot tall modern dinosaur that closely resembles the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex, king of the dinosaurs and also the award winning star of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (but don’t tell that to the Raptors who supposedly earned a reputation as real divas on the set). But these aren’t just Aboriginal legends. Oh no. Apparently, during the 1950s and ‘60s, the Burrunjor mutilated animals and terrorized Australian farmers, creating a wave of hysteria that included reports of mysterious giant animals roaring in the forests and jungles and farmers running for their lives. I mean, I guess it makes sense. Jurassic Park was set on an island and Australia’s an island with a bunch of other weird beasts found nowhere else in the world so... why not? Oh crap, I probably just gave Paul Hogan an idea for Crocodile Dundee IV. Or maybe I just gave Steven Spielberg the best possible idea for the recently announced Jurassic Park IV. Or maybe, just maybe, I inadvertently created the most amazing crossover flick imaginable. Hold on, I’ll be right back. I just have to give the fine people at SyFy a call and let them know I have their next original movie.
In the jungles of Indonesia lives the Orang Bati, a mysterious creature who supposedly resembles an ape with giant bat-like wings and a long tail. Yeah, that’s right, in Indonesia they actually have flying monkeys like in The Wizard of Oz. Only these flying monkeys occasionally show up and drag away the village children for a late night snack. Well goddamn, I know where I’m spending my next vacation. These freaky creatures are supposedly also found in Papua New Guinea where they are known as Ropen which means “Flying Demon.” Well, okay then. Look, we spend all our time worrying about being stuck in traffic or about raccoons rifling through our garbage, while in Indonesia, there are villagers who spend all their time literally fighting off hordes of flying demon monkeys. Then again, those flying demon monkeys probably don’t leave the trash scattered all over the driveway so who’s to say who really has it worse?
The Aswang are legendary shape-shifters who supposedly make their abode in the Philippines, where they switch back and forth from fairly harmless human forms to terrifying monsters with giant snouts who suck fetuses from the wombs of pregnant mothers. Whoa! I mean, yeah, I have been known to turn into a bit of a monster myself when the sun goes down and I get a few drinks in me, but I tend to draw the line at fetus sucking. Part vampire, part witch, part... whatever, these terrifying creatures supposedly will eat corpses and babies and have even been known to snatch up an adult or two. Flying around late at night, the shape-shifting Aswang descend upon their unsuspecting victims, eat them, and -– here’s where shit gets completely out of hand –- they then fashion a replica of said victim out of a tree trunk and then that replica, uh, comes to life and goes home where it then soon grows sick and dies. I... uh, well... huh. From fetus sucking to carving people out of wood just so they can die, the Aswang have earned their place on this terrifying and f*cked up list.
The Kikiyaon roams the plains of Africa and is said to resemble a large owl. Big deal, right? Well, yeah, when you consider the meaning behind the Kikiyaon’s name –- The Soul Cannibal. Well, goddamn. The Soul Cannibal supposedly has huge teeth and talons, which it uses to tear its victims to shreds after it swoops down on them on the African plains. But even worse than that is the psychological terror the Kikiyaon inspires. Making noises that range anywhere from a disturbing low grunt to the sound of a man being strangled to death, the Kikiyaon’s terrifying voice can be heard for miles around on the African savannah and it is said that even if a victim manages to escape they will later die of some mysterious illness. If that’s not bad enough, some African tribes believe that the Kikiyaon can actually kill people in their dreams. Yes. It would seem that the Kikiyaon is basically the Freddy Krueger of cryptozoology. Well hell, I guess that explains the whole Soul Cannibal name. From terrifying people and then swooping down from above like some mutant death angel to cold killing people in their sleep, the Kikiyaon has earned the number one place on this list. Soul Cannibal. Good Lord.
Originally published on June 22, 2011.