In the 1940s, the Scottish-born zoologist Ivan T. Sanderson began using a word he coined, “cryptozoology,” to describe a new subdiscipline of zoology that studied hidden, as yet-to-be-discovered large animals. In the late 1950s, after a decade of correspondence with Sanderson, Belgian zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans began formalizing “cryptozoology.”
Today, Sanderson’s and Heuvelmans’ precise approaches to the passion and patience of the field has grown into a more scientifically-aware cryptozoology, resulting in 21st century establishment of the International Cryptozoology Museum and the ICM’s annual conferences. A history is being written about cryptozoology, as it grows older, year to year.
The Year of 2018 happened to have many pieces of news, so in this overview of cryptozoological events, we shall share the endings and discoveries that made the year memorable.
(1) Cryptozoologists Deaths.
In a year of too many obituaries, January 2018 began, right off the bang, with the death on the 17th of wildlife biologist and Sasquatch researcher John Bindernagel, who was 76. The year saw the passings of people like Sandra Mansi and Al Hodgson, and ended with Bill Dranginis. See here for other cryptobits.
(2) Alaskan Bigfoot and Thunderbird Sightings.
Breaking news occurred during the tsunami alert of January 22, 2018, when three Native families said they saw “Bigfoot-like creatures heading up the hills to higher ground.” They said multiple tracks were seen. This was quickly followed by Alaskan Thunderbird reports. On February 2, 2018, the Juneau Empire detailed how “several eyewitness reports” had told of a large bird with a wingspan about the “width of the Mendenhall Loop Road” being recently seen. See here.
(3) Unusual Colored Animals.
Although not strictly cryptid-specific, several 2018 releases of the photographs of different color phases of birds and mammals were of interest to cryptozoologists who track such sightings. Such animals may be confused with cryptids, and keeping a running list of such appearances are important to weed out misidentifications. A “one in a million” yellow cardinal was spotted and photographed around Alabaster, Alabama in February 2018. (Jeremy Black Photography) Late in 2018, a photograph (later determined to be apparently from 2013) from a camera trap in Brazil showed an image of a white (leucistic) puma in the Serra dos Órgãos National Park. In December 2018, a white reindeer photo from Norway went viral.
(4) Bigfoot Stomps on a Mattress
Cliff Barackman, one of the hosts of Finding Bigfoot, has been on the trail of Bigfoot for 20 years. In 2018, he recovered giant footprints from an abandoned mattress in a forested area of Oregon. Photos showed the barefooted prints, measuring 13 inches long by five-and-a-half inches wide, impressed upon the fabric in mud. The stride, the distance between one footprint and another, heel to heel, was 48 inches – suggesting a truly giant gait. Barackman, 47, said the prints were found in Alderwood State Wayside Park, Oregon – a place where Bigfoot sightings are common.
(5) The End of Finding Bigfoot
Finding Bigfoot premiered on May 29, 2011. The program followed four researchers and explorers investigating potential evidence of Bigfoot, an unknown hominid or hominoid sighted in the wildernesses of the United States and Canada. While the Finding Bigfoot team never captured photographic evidence of the creatures existence, the program had a successful run due to high ratings and was a top earner for Animal Planet. The series finale and the 100th episode was broadcast on May 27, 2018. The hosts were James “Bobo” Fay, Ranae Holland, Matt Moneymaker, and Cliff Barackman. (The International Cryptozoology Museum and Maine were featured in 2015.)
Other television programs have come forth to fill the gap, we learned in 2018, including wildlife biologist Forrest Galante’s Extinct and Alive on Animal Planet and biologist Pat Spain’s Legend Hunter on Travel Channel, beginning on January 8, 2019. Spain’s Beast Hunter is currently being shown in Australia under the retitled name, Beast Man. Animal Planet may have broadcast only three episodes of Galente’s program, but have placed all online.
(6) Loch Ness Monster and Ogopogo Sightings
A reported sighting on April 13, 2018, occurred at Fort Augustus, Loch Ness, Scotland, of a 20 ft long “something coming up, undulating, going down, then coming up again.” A group of Italian tourists were involved, and a woman fainted. Allegedly a photo was taken. But this was revealed on May 23, 2018, to be a probable hoax. Sightings were rare in 2018, at Loch Ness.
Meanwhile, at Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, in October 2018, there were three sightings. One photograph seemed to show a seal-like creature propelling itself through the lake. Maybe it was a seal?
(7) A Few Sea Serpents May Be Whale Penises
The Public Domain Review tweets in July 2018 about Olaus Magnus’s Sea Serpent of Norway, citing a 2014 article of theirs. This creates a Twitter storm when I post that the modern cryptozoological explanation points to the misidentification of a whale’s penis. It takes little imagination to visualization the similarities. (Darren Naish had also posted on this theory too.)
(8) New Species and Lazarus Discoveries
Lazarus events, when extinct species are rediscovered, continued to happen in 2018. The Zanzibar leopard was officially declared extinct 25 years ago, but the classification was called into question after Forrest Galante wildlife biologist caught the elusive predator on a trail camera. This was revealed in Galante’s new show, “Extinct or Alive,” on June 10, 2018.
The ultra-rare Wondiwoi tree kangaroo was rediscovered. It last was recorded by scientists in 1928, and researchers only had drawings to go on. It has now been photographed in a remote New Guinea mountain range, it was announced in September 2018. Source.
Nearly three feet long legendary Siren (or some say “Giant Salamander”) – Siren reticulata – discovered in swamps of Florida & Alabama – largest new species found in USA in 100 years.
Other new species were discovered, as well.
(9) Virginia Congressional Race Becomes Involved With Bigfoot Erotica
Republican Denver Riggleman, a former Air Force intelligence officer and owner of the Silverback Distillery outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, who ran a short-lived campaign for governor in 2017, found himself mired in a Congressional campaign with Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a well-known documentary filmmaker (Guns, Drugs, and the CIA; From the Killing Fields) and investigative journalist.
Other 2018 Lists