Over at Vice, Tamlin Magee chronicles his strange journey to the center of a Cryptozoological heart of darkness — which is to say, he signed up for a sketchy Facebook ad offering an "official" online degree program hunting imaginary creatures.
As I sped through the normally $270-dollar Centre of Excellence course at a tempting discount of $40 ("A great alternative to a diploma," according to its website), I learned snippets about the "Giant Anacondas of South America" through to "The Future of Cryptozoology." But there was very little in the way of practical field research advice.
The course itself resembled an interactive encyclopaedia, with 10 modules in total ("up to 150 hours to complete", according to the Centre of Excellence). These included units on the Loch Ness Monster, legendary sea monsters, Bigfoot, and the Mothman, to name a few. Each contained the history behind the cryptids in the popular imagination, and detailed the various debunkings or hoaxes, but ultimately left it up to the student to decide if there was something to these Yetis, Chupacabras, and Mothmen or not.
As Magee speaks with experts in the field through his course of study, he realizes that the recently-discovered Kipunji monkey was once believed to be a mythological creature, too — so that perhaps the field of cryptozoology is not so pseudoscientific after all.
Of course, by the end of his course of study, he is deep in the end in honing his technique at Bigfoot hunting by learning to mimic the fabled creature's mating call.
Facebook Ads Told Me To Become a Certified Cryptozoologist, So I Did [Tamlin Magee / Vice]
Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commond