Region of origin: Medieval Europe
A chimeric beast with the body of a tyger, a creature from heraldry similar to but distinct from a tiger, and the hands and face of a man with curling horns and tusks. It is believed the name may be a corruption of the Persian manticore based on a false etymology and use has become somewhat intertwined, but despite some similar features they are often considered separate beasts, and the mantyger may take its origins from second-hand descriptions of baboons.
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Region of origin: Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Starting in November of 1966 in the area near Point Pleasant, there were numerous reported sightings of a large creature, black or dark brown in color with large glowing red eyes, with descriptions ranging from humanoid to a massive bird to something in-between. Most were just sightings but one couple said it chased their car down the road, keeping pace with them even as they reached speeds of 100 mile per hour. These sightings carried on for thirteen months, accompanied by phenomena like illness in witnesses, animal mutilation, technological malfunctions. One of the most widely-corroborated cryptid sightings, in all there were over one hundred people who had claimed they had seen the creature or otherwise experienced strange anomalous incidents that would get tied into the investigation. The sightings continued but slowed, and largely stopped around the same time as the collapse of the Silver Bridge into the Ohio River in December 1967, a tragic event that resulted in 46 deaths, for which many believe the presence of the strange creature had functioned as a omen or warning, and has since led to claims of similar creatures showing up in the time preceding other large disasters. Origins attributed to the creature range from the demonic to the extraterrestrial, or that West Virginia itself may just be a supernatural hotspot where reality is thin and extra-dimensional creatures like a Mothman may more easily slip through. Alternatively, many also write off the sightings as large bird such as a sandhill crane or maybe a giant owl obscured by the darkness, and connecting all the events leading up to the bridge’s collapse being a form of mass hysteria and apophenia fueled by Mothman coverage in the local papers. Imagined or not, Mothman remains a popular celebrity for Point Pleasant, receiving a statue and an annual festival in the city in 2002. Based on my research, I’m pretty sure everyone on the internet wants to date him.
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Thomas, the Winged Cat of Pineville
Region of origin: Pineville, West Virginia
In 1959, Pineville resident Doug Shelton found a cat out in the woods who possessed a pair of fur-covered wing-like growths extending off its shoulders. It seemed skittish but comfortable around people, so Doug took it home and named it Thomas, where she quickly became a local celebrity and even got some time in the national spotlight, receiving attention from curious reporters and scientists. A neighbor to the Sheltons, Mrs. Charles Hicks, eventually heard of Thomas and came forward to claim it was her cat, Mitzi, that had gone missing a few days before Doug had found her. The Sheltons refused to give up the cat, who they had begun charging curious onlookers a dime to see and had begun generating some decent income for the small family. The case eventually went to court, but ended abruptly when Doug arrived to the courthouse with a wingless Thomas and a box containing her shed “wings,” which had just been protuberances of matted fur, and Mrs. Hicks claiming upon seeing Thomas that it wasn’t her cat, anyways. Thomas remained with the Sheltons, but without her wings she no longer drew in much of a crowd.
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Region of origin: The Congo
An unidentified creature sighted in the waters near the Congo by European explorers in the 16th century, the ambize or angulo was described as a large fish with an ox’s head, human-like hands and a flat paddle-shaped tail. Believed to live in the sea and some rivers and lakes further inland, the ambize was said to never leave the water but would surface to graze on the grass along the shoreline and with some effort could be caught and cooked with meat that tasted comparable to pork. It is largely thought today these stories were early manatee sightings, but according to my cursory research manatees should taste more like beef so that leaves a fairly large hole in that theory.
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Sakhalin Island Sea Wolf
Region of origin: Sakhalin Island, Russia
A Russian island situated between its eastern shoreline and northern Japan, several unidentified animal corpses have washed ashore on Sakhalin Island over the years, most recently in the summer of 2015 when the “sea wolf” was discovered by Russian soldiers. So named because of the canine appearance of the skull, the remains were mostly skeletal save for what appeared to be a thick mat of fur and other rotting matter along its back. The body was removed by the soldiers and never positively identified. Despite its overall serpentine appearance, the remains seemed mammalian, hinting at the creature being a cetacean, most likely a juvenile orca or beluga.
Originally posted on Tumblr on November 21, 2016
Region of origin: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
Per local legend, Stiffy Green was in life the loyal companion to florist and philanthropist John G. Heinl who, when his master passed on, resigned to wait at the mausoleum, refusing food and water until he wasted away and passed himself. The bulldog was then taxidermied and left inside the mausoleum where it was visible through a small window in the door where visitors could peer in and see his eponymous shining green eyes. Since then, there have been reports of disembodied barks in the graveyard late at night and apparitions of the late Heinl taking his beloved dog for a walk. In reality, Stiffy Green is and has always been a concrete statue Heinl owned that was left to decorate his burial site. In the 80s, the mausoleum was vandalized and the dog’s right eye shot out with a pistol, so he was moved and now resides safely in the Vigo County Historical Society.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 18, 2016
Region of origin: Indonesia
A Dutch explorer who extensively documented his travels, Johan Nieuhof, in the then-East Indies, described a rhinoceros-like animal with floppy ears, a pig’s snout and other animals’ features, but most notably a pair of horizontal “tusks” extending out from underneath the eyes. It is likely what had actually been encountered was a babirusa, a porcine animal indigenous to the area, but based on Nieuhof’s writings and possible bad translations from his original Dutch into English, the sukotyro as he described it took on a life of its own, with depictions regularly appearing in engravings and illustrations of wildlife circa 1800.
Originally posted on Tumblr on July 7, 2016