Burning Man's 2023 Black Rock City street names inspired by cryptozoology

Tens of thousands of people will descend upon Nevada's Black Rock Desert this year between August 27 through September 4 for Burning Man. The theme this year is "ANIMALIA," which the Burning Man Journal describes this way: 

The Black Rock Desert can appear at first glance to be lifeless—other than, of course, the silly humans who build a city there every summer—but this is far from the truth. Anyone familiar with the high desert knows that even out on a dry lakebed, the skies carry soaring ravens and buzzing insects, the fairy shrimp slumber below ground waiting for rain, and countless other species roam the transition zones where the playa edges into scrub and wetlands. But all that life pales in comparison to the endless menagerie of imagined animals we bring with us every time we come to Burning Man. The mythic beasts we carry with us in our minds—imagined or idealized, objects of fear or fancy, the animal spirits that populate our dreams and are so often brought to life on the playa: boars and horses and bears, wild geese and giant bison, snakes and squids and space whales, oh my! 

And, of course us humanimals, a species of ape noted for complex language, advanced tool use, and lording it over the rest of the biosphere like we're special.

This year's Burning Man theme will celebrate the animal world and our place in it—animals real and imagined, mythic and remembered—and explore the curious mental constructs that allow us to believe that imagined animals are real, real animals are imagined, and that somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, mankind is somehow not part of the animal kingdom.  

In 1997, Black Rock City named its first street, Esplanade," and in 2006 the practice of "creatively alphabetizing" the radial streets of BRC began. This year, inspired by the "Animalia" theme of Burning Man, the streets will have a cryptozoology theme. Burning Man Journal revealed this year's names:

Afanc – a lake monster from Welsh mythology that is variously described as a crocodile, demon or beaver hybrid. Any two of which would be scary.

Bigfoot – a legendary race of ape-men found (or not found) around the world, from the Sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest to the Yeti of the Himalayas. Enkidu, from the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BCE), arguably marks the beginning of this "wild man's" grand genealogy.

Chupacabra – the dreaded "goat sucker" of the folklore of the Americas, a meter-high reptilian monstrosity said to have greenish-gray skin, sharp spines running down its back, and a taste for goat meat. BRC has reportedly not been spared from this cryptid's attacks (seen here in the Black Rock Gazette from August 26, 2003).

Dingbat – a fearsome critter from the tales of lumberjacks of North America from the 19th and early 20th centuries, described as a large bat or bird-like creature, with a short feathered body, large wings, and short deer-like antlers on its head. It is also described as resembling "a very fast owl."

Encantado – pink-skinned Brazilian weredolphins (what?) that shape-shift into smartly dressed humans. In the guise of men they walk the countryside listening for the sound of beating drums to guide them to the nearest party, since they love to dance and make love to human women. Their dapper chapeaux cleverly conceal their singular un-transforming feature: the blowhole. (WHAT?!)  

Frogbat – native to the Black Rock Desert and possibly a distant cousin to the dingbat, the frogbat is a large fire-breathing playaphibian with bat-like wings and explosive digestion. Not even the firing squad of a well-regulated militia has managed to put this fearsome critter down for good. 

Grootslang – literally "big snake," a legendary cryptid that is reputed to dwell in a deep cave in the Richtersveld, South Africa.

Hodag – a folkloric animal of the North American state of Wisconsin, it has "the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end." 

Ipogogo – not to be confused with the Ogopogo – a lake monster reported to live in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada – the Ipogogo is instead a lake monster rumored to dwell in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.

Jackalope – or Lepus temperamentalus, is an animal of North American folklore, described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant's tail. Not to be confused with its winged Bavarian cousin the wolpertinger.

Kraken – a colossal legendary sea monster said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland, with the unique cryptid category of "massive."

Okay, that's it for this year. Feel free to discover, invent or embellish your own cryptid legends for future denizens of Black Rock City. Because myths grow fast in the desert, but not without the seed of hearsay. And thanks in advance for not stealing the street signs, trash pandas. (At least not until Exodus, okay?) 

I've never been to Burning Man and will probably never go–it's really not at all my scene–but I love cryptozoology, so I fully support these street names (and learned about a couple of new cryptids I'd never heard of before!).