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Loch Ness Monster photo on Apple Maps?

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Does this image of Loch Ness from Apple's Maps app depicts Nessie or the wake of a small boat? Unfortunately, I think it's the latter as we all know the Loch Ness Monster more closely resembles a pleiosaur than a giant catfish. (Forbes)

1970 cryptozoology paperback cover painting found at yard sale

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Untitled Above is the original glorious painting, artist unknown, used for the cover of the pseudonymous Warren Smith's 1970 book Strange Abominable Snowmen. Having been lost for decades, it recently turned up at a yard sale. I only wish I was the lucky duck who found it. Loren Coleman has the news along with a gallery of other fantastic cover art from vintage cryptozoology paperbacks of that era.

This time it's real, says Bigfoot hoaxer

O RICKDYERBIGFOOT 570 Rick Dyer claims to have killed a Bigfoot after luring it with some pork ribs he purchased at WalMart. "Every test that you can possibly imagine was performed on this body -- from DNA tests to 3D optical scans to body scans," Dyer says. "It is the real deal. It's Bigfoot and Bigfoot's here, and I shot it and now I'm proving it to the world." If Dyer's name sounds familiar, it's because of his impeccable reputation in the Bigfoot research community! He's one of the perps behind the 2008 Bigfoot hoax involving a rubber suit with freezer burn. Besides, everyone knows that Bigfoot is kosher. (KSAT)

Is the yeti related to an ancient polar bear?

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Is the yeti actually some hybrid of ancient polar bear and brown bear? University of Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes has analyzed DNA from what's purported to be yeti hair samples.

Read the rest

Snorkeler Drags "Sea Serpent" Carcass to Shore

Photo: Catalina Island Marine Institute

Jasmine Santana, a science instructor with the Catalina Island Marine Institute, was snorkling off the California coast when she made a very strange discovery: the carcass of an 18-foot long oarfish.

These are very odd fish.

Read the rest

The Michigan Dogman

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The Grand Haven Tribune's Kevin Collier reports on the Dogman, a cryptid that apparently rears its ugly head from time to time in West Michigan. "Legendary Dogman seen in Ottawa County?"

Big Data meets Bigfoot

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Big Data meets Bigfoot in Penn State PhD candidate Joshua Stevens's visualization of nearly a century of Sasquatch sighting reports in the US and Canada. Stevens mapped and graphed more than 3,000 sightings included in the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organizations's database of geocoded and timestamped reports. Stevens writes:

Right away you can see that sightings are not evenly distributed. At first glance, it looks a lot like a map of population distribution. After all, you would expect sightings to be the most frequent in areas where there are a lot of people. But a bivariate view of the data shows a very different story. There are distinct regions where sightings are incredibly common, despite a very sparse population. On the other hand, in some of the most densely populated areas sasquatch sightings are exceedingly rare.
"‘Squatch Watch: 92 Years of Bigfoot Sightings in the US and Canada" (Thanks, everyone!)

LEGO introduces female scientist minifig! (And Yeti too!)

Legoooo LEGO's new Minifgure Series 11 includes its first female (lab) scientist character and a Yeti. Both are excellent additions to the minifig universe! I also appreciate that the scientist is holding Erlenmeyer flasks while the Yeti is gripping a popsicle.

UPDATE: Maia Weinstock writes that she "she's not the first (LEGO) female scientist... she's the first female LAB scientist." More background in Maia's SciAm piecec, "Breaking Brick Stereotypes: LEGO Unveils a Female Scientist"

Bigfoot by K-tel

The reason you really know this was a seventies TV commercial? Children playing outside.

Jersey Devil or… something else?

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Is this the elusive Jersey Devil as some Redditors have speculated? Perhaps it's the dreaded Chupacabras? Or a bastard cousin of the Montauk Monster? The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation claims it's just a furless squirrel. But then, that's what they'd want us to think. "Mystery Solved" (NJ.com)

Monsters and Legends: kids' monster book now in the USA!


Back in April, I reviewed Monsters and Legends, a wonderful illustrated kids' reference book from London's Flying Eye Books. At the time, it was only available in the UK, but now Americans can get it too! Here's my original review:

Monsters and Legends is part of the fabulous debut lineup of titles from Flying Eye, a kids' imprint spun out of London's NoBrow (they're the publishers of recently reviewed books like Welcome to Your Awesome Robot and Akissi). The book, written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Garbiella Giandelli, is a fascinating reference work for kids 7 and up about the curious origins of the monsters of the popular imagination. The book recounts the odd history of stories of mermaids, chupacabras, cyclopses, dragons, the Loch Ness Monster, and other cryptozoology favorites. It's a great balance between fascination with monsters and lore and a skeptical inquiry into how widespread beliefs can be overturned by evidence and rational inquire -- a real "magic of reality" book.


The illustrations in this book represent a range of engaging styles, and they bring it to life for even younger readers. My five year old and I spent several bedtimes on this, flipping through the pages, and stopping when a picture caught her eye. I had to interpret the text for her -- the language was often over her head -- but the stories absolutely grabbed her and it's become a family favorite.

As a one-time monster kid who's doing his best to raise another one, this one gets my unreserved stamp of approval.

MONSTERS AND LEGENDS [Flying Eye]

Monsters and Legends [Amazon]

Incredible pipe cleaner thylacine and other animals

Artist Lauren Ryan creates incredible animal sculptures entirely from pipe cleaners. My favorite is her palm-sized thylacine, a Tasmanian "tiger." The last confirmed thylacine died in 1936 but some crytpozoologists think they may not be extinct after all. Lauren Ryan's "Chenille Stems" (via The Anomalist)

Why are Britons seeing large, muscular black cats?

Thousands of Britons have reported seeing "beasts" in various places, usually described as a large, muscular black cat -- possibly a melanistic leopard. Some have taken photos and found footprints, as well as animals torn apart on moors. However, the boring science people annoyingly keep pointing out that the photos could be housecats, the footprints come from housecats and domestic dogs, and the animals were torn apart by badgers and crows.

Still, there's something weird and interesting going on here -- the thousands of similar eyewitness reports point to a kind of "beast fever" fuelled by (what else?) the Daily Mail's printing of stories that, for example, described a beast with "great fangs jutted from its huge jaw, gleaming in the afternoon sun" (it was revealed to be a "putrefying seal").

George Monbiot writes about this in his new book Feral, which comes out next week and was excerpted in today's Guardian:

The age of terrestrial exploration and encounters with peoples unknown to us was ending; planet Earth was perhaps a less exciting place than it had been. Aliens and their craft filled a gap, while promising that we too would achieve the mastery of technology we ascribed to extraterrestrials. Today, perhaps because our belief in technological deliverance has declined, we hear less about UFOs.

Could it be that illusory big cats also answer an unmet need? As our lives have become tamer and more predictable, as the abundance and diversity of nature has declined, could these imaginary creatures have brought us something we miss?

Perhaps the beasts many people now believe are lurking in the dark corners of the land inject into our lives a thrill that can otherwise be delivered only by artificial means. Perhaps they reawaken vestigial evolutionary memories of conflict and survival, memories that must incorporate encounters – possibly the most challenging encounters our ancestors faced – with large predatory cats. They hint at an unexpressed wish for lives wilder and fiercer than those we now lead. Our desires stare back at us, yellow-eyed and snarling, from the thickets of the mind.

Big-cat sightings: is Britain suffering from mass hysteria? [George Monbiot/The Guardian]

(Image: 20120413, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from tomascosauce's photostream)

The rogue reptiles of the River Thames

The Fortean Times' Neil Arnold surveys the current monstrous inhabitants of the Thames and its tributaries, and the not-so-cryptozoological creatures that they might turn out to be: "There have even been reports of alligators." Rob

Monsters and Legends: kids' reference book on the origin of monsters


Monsters and Legends is part of the fabulous debut lineup of titles from Flying Eye, a kids' imprint spun out of London's NoBrow (they're the publishers of recently reviewed books like Welcome to Your Awesome Robot and Akissi). The book, written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Garbiella Giandelli, is a fascinating reference work for kids 7 and up about the curious origins of the monsters of the popular imagination. The book recounts the odd history of stories of mermaids, chupacabras, cyclopses, dragons, the Loch Ness Monster, and other cryptozoology favorites. It's a great balance between fascination with monsters and lore and a skeptical inquiry into how widespread beliefs can be overturned by evidence and rational inquiry -- a real "magic of reality" book.


The illustrations in this book represent a range of engaging styles, and they bring it to life for even younger readers. My five year old and I spent several bedtimes on this, flipping through the pages, and stopping when a picture caught her eye. I had to interpret the text for her -- the language was often over her head -- but the stories absolutely grabbed her and it's become a family favorite.

As with other Flying Eye titles, this one is out in the UK right now and coming to the US on June 11 (here's a pre-order link). As a one-time monster kid who's doing his best to raise another one, this one gets my unreserved stamp of approval.

MONSTERS AND LEGENDS [Flying Eye]

Monsters and Legends [Amazon UK]