In the modern era we consider the world around us to be basically fully mapped and familiar. Stories of monsters hiding in the wilderness beyond human understanding seem to come from another tie, and all the ancient dragons are now gone, replaced by motorways, skyscrapers, and the internet.
But it would be unwise to take our prowess and mastery of the landscape for granted. Much of the world, especially in the depths of its oceans, remains mysterious to us, and new discoveries come to light all the time. It would seem that the dense jungles, the dark forests, the deep oceans and the vast uninhabited deserts still keep some secrets.
What then could be living out there still? Here are ten of the strangest creatures said to live in the wilderness, undiscovered by man and unknown to science.
1. Loch Ness Monster
Possibly the most famous cryptid of them all alongside Bigfoot in the United States, “Nessie” has captured the imagination of the world. A supposed sea monster living in the cold waters of Loch Ness in the far north of Scotland, sightings of this monster date back almost a century.
First reported in 1933, although earlier sightings were recorded and came to light later, the monster varies in its description. Sometimes it is a roiling sea serpent, with great loops visible above the water. Sometimes it is more akin to an extinct plesiosaur.
Could something like Nessie be out there? Certainly the waters of Loch Ness are deep and uncharted, and with access to the sea it is possible that something from the vast oceans might occasionally pay a visit to terrify locals. But the loch itself would seem too small to host a sustainable population of giant sea monsters: whatever people are seeing, it cannot survive hidden in the loch.
2. Orang Pendek
In 2018 an entirely new species of Orangutan was discovered, in the remote jungles of Borneo. This news would come as no surprise to the people of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, who have known about their own mysterious ape man for generations.
Superficially similar to the local orangutan species, this creature, known as “Orang Pendek” or “short man” differs from them in that it walks on its hind legs like a man. It would seem to be a ground-dwelling great ape, distinct from all known animals in the area.
Much of the territory Orang Pendek is said to inhabit is remote indeed, and if there is an unknown great ape, this is the kind of place it could hide. And with well-attested sightings from both locals and settlers for at least 100 years, it seems that there may, in this instance, be something out there.
Cadborosaurus is another Loch Ness Monster, but a marine animal this time, from the Pacific coast of the continental United States. It has the standard features of a sea monster, with a horse-like head and a long sinuous neck which may in fact be its entire body.
Like Nessie, various photographs survive which purport to show this monster. However, unlike Nessie, there is also evidence of carcasses of Cadborosaurus, washed up on beaches and put on display. The specimens are usually unidentifiable blobs of decayed flesh, but they were strange enough for local fisherman, seasoned men of the sea all, to take notice of.
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Many suggestions have been put forward for what Cadborosaurus could be, usually proposing that it is a large, known marine creature like a basking shark or an oarfish. Nonetheless, the people who found Cadborosaurus felt she was something they had never seen before.
4. The Wendigo
Native American folk tradition fills the forests and great plains of the continental United States with many weird and terrifying creatures. Some are famous in their own right, such as the great Thunderbird said to inhabit storm clouds. But none are as terrifying as the Wendigo.
This foul smelling humanoid is said to lurk on the edges of settlements, waiting to prey on the population. Often said to be capable of possession or otherwise able to hypnotize its victim like a snake, the Wendigo can drive men mad.
Those attacked by the Wendigo develop a great desire for human flesh, and become maddened cannibals, attacking their friends and foes alike. Was the Wendigo a personification of madness? Or was there something out there beyond the light of the camp fire, waiting to ensnare and enslave the unwary?
5. Indrid Cold
Something strange happened in the town of Point Pleasant in West Virginia in 1966. Towards the end of the year, reports began coming in of an oddly inhuman figure, man-sized but with a giant cloak which gathered around him like wings, and two giant, red-glowing eyes.
This creature, which became known as the Mothman, apparently predicted a disaster on the Ohio River after which the sightings ended. However, there was another strange creature luring about the same area at the time. Dressed in glistening green clothes and constantly grinning, this was Indrid Cold.
In fairness, Indrid Cold could have just been a human. But his appearance at the same time as the Mothman, his alarming demeanor and the fact he was seen by multiple people who all found him disturbing, suggests that something was out there. Was there a link to the Mothman?
6. The Jersey Devil
Upstate New York and New Jersey have some truly inhospitable terrain. Known as the “Pine Barrens” this stretch of forest is vast, uninhabited and highly inaccessible, especially in winter.
This is the landscape said to be inhabited by the Jersey Devil, a large flying creature which stands taller than a man. The creature sounds like nothing more than a Judeo-Christian devil, with leathery wings, cloven hooves, horns and a forked tail.
The creature was first known as the “Leeds Devil” as it tormented the Leeds family in the mid 18th century. The family patriarch, Daniel Leeds, had been interested in occult Christian teachings and some see it as no coincidence that the creature that attacked his family so closely resembled the descriptions in his published works.
7. The Portlock Sasquatch
The town of Portlock, in Alaska, was a remote riverside settlement built around a salmon processing plant. However, Portlock today is a ghost town, and all the residents fled in the 1940s after being attacked by a mysterious creature.
Dubbed the Portlock Sasquatch, this man-eating creature apparently lived in the hills above the settlement. The problems started when local hunters seeking the wild sheep in the area started to go missing.
Soon, bodies started to wash up on the shores of the river than ran past Portlock. The men had clearly met with some extreme violence in the wilds around the town, and the bodies were torn to pieces and almost unrecognizable.
The town remains uninhabited to this day, with the question as to what attacked the locals still unanswered. Could there be a local monster living in the remote wilderness around Portlock? It seems nobody is brave enough to find out.
Chupacabra, which literally translates to the “goat sucker” is Latin America’s own cryptid. A small, goblin-like creature standing on its hind legs, it earned its name for its supposed vampirism, preying on goats and sucking their blood.
First reported in Puerto Rico since the 1970s, Chupacabra has been tied to livestock killings in the same way as the British Beast of Bodmin Moor (often suspected to be a feral cat escaped from a zoo). Hundreds of animals and pets were reported to have died and been drained of blood, and the local communities firmly placed the blame on Chupacabra.
Many believe the Chupacabra attacks to be actually the work of wild dogs or coyotes attacking the sheep and goats, but the locals are adamant that these attacks are different. And with more sightings occurring across Latin America, who is to say they are not right?
9. Vietnam Rock Apes
In the Vietnam war, US soldiers reported apes in the forest which would attack patrols and soldiers as they moved through the dense undergrowth. Dubbed “rock apes” by the GIs for their habit of throwing rocks, they were such a nuisance and so prevalent in the area around one base that it became known as “monkey mountain”.
There is only one problem with these stories: there are no large apes in the Vietnam jungle. Whatever the soldiers were seeing in the jungle was unknown to science, but the sightings were so common that many soldiers were surprised to find this out.
What were the soldiers seeing in the jungle? Were they so spooked by the enemy soldiers that they were literally jumping at shadows? Or was there something else hidden in the jungles, appearing to attack the US forces who were destroying their home?
Mokele –Mbembe is said to inhabit the vast forests of central Africa. Looking like a dinosaur and said to be semi-aquatic, this large monster only exists in the deepest undergrowth and the most remote regions.
But many locals have observed Mokele-Mbembe, and most agree on what it looks like. A large smooth skinned animal with a long neck and sturdy legs it stands taller than a man but poses no threat, being vegetarian.
Many will see the same features for a lot of these creatures, noting the remote locations, the eyewitness accounts lacking supporting evidence, and react dismissively. But aren’t these exactly the places which might hide these strange creatures. Some may be a case of mistaken identity, or a hoax. But some may really be out there.
Top Image: Here are just the top ten mysterious creatures. Who knows what else could be hidden out there? Source: lidiia / Adobe Stock.
By Joe Green