‘Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back’

The next big election is Yeti v. Nessie.

“Cryptid” is a catchall term for those elusive creatures that exist only in rumor, legend and myth. Cryptozoologist George Eberhart (the foremost expert on cryptids, if such a thing exists) identifies two major criteria an animal must meet to earn the title:

  1. It must be “big, weird, dangerous or significant to humans in some way.”
  2. Controversy must surround its realness (i.e. there must be “vociferous claims” both for and against its existence).

Interestingly, Eberhart also identifies a couple of things that specifically disqualify a creature from cryptid status:

  1. “Bizarre humans” (like zombies) are not cryptids. Nor are aliens.
  2. Supernatural creatures are cryptids only if they assume animal shape (like a werewolf). Angels and demons do not count. Of course.

Here we’ve gathered some of the most famous fake animals and ranked them using a precise, stringent rubric.

7. Giant Anaconda

Snakes…I hate snakes. Anacondas are, according to official reports, an average of 19 feet in length. That’s giant enough for me. But there have even been reports of snakes that EXCEED THE 32-FEET MARK, and some claim that the snakes can grow far beyond that. Though there’s never been a confirmed sighting of a 50-meter snake (that’s just over 164 feet, if you’re doing the math), some South Americans claim they exist. Others say these oversized serpents can shapeshift into a man or woman in order to attend parties.

6. Chupacabra

The chupacabra is a nasty piece of work. It’s half vampire, half furry lizard, and has been spotted all over Latin America killing goats and other livestock. The creepiest part? Some accounts have it walking upright, like a tiny reptilian man. Gross.

5. Loch Ness Monster

No cryptid list would be complete without Nessie. She’s survived Japanese scientists trying to blow her out of the water and she’s managed to stay off social media (except for a blurry candid shot now and then).

4. Yeti (et al)

The Yeti is a big, hairy humanoid rumored to dwell in the Himalayas. Some traditional Nepalese folk tales include stories of local men drinking and fighting among themselves with the hope that a monkey-see-monkey-do situation would cause Yeti infighting and lead to extinction. No word on how that worked out for them.

Then there is North America’s answer to the Yeti, another hirsute bipedal called Sasquatch (or Bigfoot). Same thing, really, but less of an abominable snowman and more of an abominable…man.

3. Werewolf

If George Eberhart says they count, they count. Werewolves made it this high on the list for one reason: A consistent showing in pop culture. I mean, Remus Lupin vs. Fenrir Greyback is enough — never mind masterpieces like “Teen Wolf” or the so-bad-it’s-good vamp/werewolf fight in “Van Helsing.”

2. Unicorn

Taking the second slot is the unicorn. Unlike its cryptozoological brethren, this regal beast is almost never a creature to be feared. It’s weird, sure — after all, it’s a horse with a single horn growing out of its face. But it’s got healing powers, and Lisa Frank likes it, so.

1. Kraken


What’s cooler than a giant version of a giant squid that can single-handedly take down a pirate ship? Nothing.