Sasquatch Also known as Bigfoot, skunk ape, yowie, or Harry. Giant, furry, uncivilized, and smelly, these inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest are often mistaken for jam band enthusiasts. Virtually no social media presence whatsoever. Some guys like to hunt ‘squatch, which I am sure is a euphemism for jerking off with your buddies in the woods, maybe a little hand-lending, nothing too gay. Just men being together and hunting ‘squatch and pulling pud. Sasquatch is not to be confused with a Yeti.
Yeti Not to be confused with a Sasquatch. Basically an ice ‘squatch, like a Snowtrooper is a variation on a Stormtrooper. Also known as the Abominable Snowman, which is just the best name, but difficult to pronounce after even one drink. (A guy named Henry Newman who wrote for a newspaper in Calcutta came up with it; good job, Henry.) Yeti would occasionally raid the villages in search of children to eat, except he lives in the Himalayas and those are Sherpa villages, and those clambering motherfuckers put up a fight. They’re little, but feisty, and they work together: it’s like that video of the otters fighting the crocodile.
Chupacabra First cryptid on the list to sound truly delicious. (An aside: for a second, I thought “What an odd language Spanish is to have a word for ‘goatsucker’ in it, and then I realized that English also has a word for ‘goatsucker,’ which is the word goatsucker.) So far the list has been things that were probably bears, but the chupacabra is probably coyotes or foxes. Although, it might be a monster or some sort of mobile, hungry time cluster. Probably coyotes, though.
Jackalope From the western United States, the jackalope is a bunny with antlers. Closely related to the Australian drop bear, the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, and the snipe. Only one on the list that didn’t start as a misidentified animal: completely, totally, absolutely, 100% begun as a joke to fuck with someone new to the area. Run wild on Route 77; Precarious has run over a number of them (accidentally), and keeps the antlers each time.
Loch Ness Monster Loch Ness’ Nessie is the most famous out of the many monsters named after the bodies of water they supposedly inhabit: Champ lives in Lake Champlain, and Georgie lives in Lake George, and there is also a monster in the Niger River.
Mongolian Death Worm Mongolian death worm fuck you up, boy. Come to your house, spray acid-poop all over your belongings, eat the faces of your pets. Mongolian death worm leave your pets with no faces, radicalize your bathroom: now your shower got a suicide vest on. Mongolian death worm coming to your house, maybe there right now. Never know with Mongolian death worm.
Kraken Much like Bob Dylan, the Kraken shall be released. Reported by Norwegian sailors since there’s been such a thing as Norwegian sailors, the Kraken swallows boats whole and is a whale/squid/octopus deal. Almost certainly real, and I’ll explain why in the next entry.
Megalodon Okay, here’s why: the ocean is not the land. They are different places entirely, although technically there is land under the ocean. On the land, there are roads, and on the roads there are cars, and these cars hit every single thing that lives on earth. Name an animal, and I’ll show you a picture of it as roadkill, including people. You don’t even have to walk across the road to get hit. Look at this poor asshole:
Everything gets hit by cars. Yet, there’s never been a ‘squatch on the side of the road. This fact alone is enough for me, but the ocean is different than the land. There are far fewer cars, for one thing. If you’re swimming at the very tippy-top of the ocean, then you might get smacked by a boat, or if you are very unlucky, you might careen into a submarine; other than that, collisions are not a worry.
Megalodon is Jaws, but the size of a city bus. So: the scariest thing imaginable. The clowns on the side of the road thing is frightening, but a sixty-foot great white shark is so scary that if you saw one for real, the experience would change you. Hair would go white, or you would immediately quit your job and demand to be called The Baghwan Shree D’Brickashaw. You might very well never stop pooping yourself.
The ocean is big, and has more axial planes than the land: you can only live on top of the land, or maybe under it a little tiny bit. But you can live anywhere in the ocean, from the crests of the waves to the depths of the abyssals. We know more about Mars than the ocean. Maybe Megalodon stays deep, and nothing dies in the ocean so much as it makes a violent phase transition into food. The scraps sink to the bottom. The monkeys will never know.
I have now talked myself into believing in giant sharks.
Megaconda Another scaled-up version of a familiar predator, this legendary giant (over 100 feet) snake has been seen in Brazil for hundreds of years and don’t want none unless you got buns, hon.
Jersey Devil This one goes back to Colonial times and involves Benjamin Franklin, I swear to God. The Pine Barrens in South Jersey are a weird and inhospitable place, desolate and spooky even today: it’s the kind of place where a monster would live. Like a man-sized dragon with bat wings, standing on two goat legs. Also a forked tail, because devil. Ironically, would not support the team named after him, being from South Jersey and therefore a Flyers fan.
The best folklorists can figure out is that the stories of seeing creatures in the woods–and I cannot over-emphasize how creepy the Pine Barrens are–got mixed up with a witch story from way back and then Ben Franklin wrote a story throwing the two together and giving the Jersey Devil an origin story: it was the cursed 13th child of a local witch named Mother Leeds, which led to the creature’s alternate name, the Leeds Devil. (Leeds was most likely the name of a political rival of Franklin’s.)
The Jersey Devil emits a bloodcurdling scream, smells like hot fungus, and has already read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography twice and listened to the audiobook.