; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Creepy Cryptids

The following descriptions detail a few of the creepiest documented cryptids. Is there a possibility that one or two of these unconfirmed beasts actually exist?:

The J'ba FoFi, also known as the Congolese Giant Spider is a cryptid said to exist in the Congo. The eggs are a pale yellow-white and shaped like peanuts. Native claim the hatchlings are bright yellow with a purple abdomen. Their coloration becomes darker and brown as they mature. Some of the natives indigenous to the regions in the Congo where the J'ba FoFi has been seen assert that the spider was once quite common, but has become very rare.

Famous naturalist and cryptozoologist, William J. Gibbons, his shared his experience with the J'ba FoFi:

"On this third expedition to Equatorial Africa, I took the opportunity to inquire if the pygmies knew of such a giant spider, and indeed they did! They speak of the Jba Fofi, which is a "giant" or "great spider." They described a spider that is generally brown in color with a purple abdomen. They grow to quite an enormous size with a leg span of at least five feet. The giant arachnids weave together a lair made of leaves similar in shape to a traditional pygmy hut, and spin a circular web (said to be very strong) between two trees with a strand stretched across a game trail."

"These giant ground-dwelling spiders prey on the diminutive forest antelope, birds, and other small game, and are said to be extremely dangerous, not to mention highly venomous," Gibbons states. "The spiders are said to lay white, peanut-sized eggs in a cluster, and the pygmies give them a wide birth when encountered, but have killed them in the past. The giant spiders were once very common but are now a rare sight."

The Tsuchinoko is an oddly-shaped snake-like creature from Japan. They are reported to be between 30 and 80 inches long. The name "tsuchinoko" is used in Western Japan, however it is known as "bachi hebi" in Northeastern Japan. The tsuchinoko has a thin head and tail, and a wide girth in between. It reportedly has fangs and venom, similar to some snakes. Some accounts also describe the tsuchinoko as being able to jump up to a meter in distance.

According to legend, some tsuchinoko have the ability to speak and a propensity for lying, and is also said to have a taste for alcohol. Legend records that it will sometimes swallow its own tail so that it can roll like a hoop, similarly to the mythical hoop snake. It is also referenced in the kojiki, the oldest book about the history of Japan.

An Olitiau is a gigantic cryptid bat (or flying reptile) said to exist in Central Africa. Olitiau are said to have 6–12 ft (2–4 m) wingspans. Their body is allegedly black, though their wings have been described as either dark brown or red. Their lower jaws are said to contain 2-inch (50 mm) long, serrated teeth with equal spacing between each tooth.

There are stories of these bats from the local tribes in the forests of Cameroon, in West Africa, but the first story to reach the western world came from the biologist Ivan T. Sanderson in 1932. When Sanderson reported his encounter to the native guides he was with, they became excited and attributed it to what they called the Olitiau, which is a combination of the words “ole” and “ntya,” and which they named after a type of ceremonial mask that was carved in the shape of a demon. According to them, the Olitiau lived in nearby caves and came out at night to feed. There have been no other reported sightings.

The Minhocão (name means "big earthworm" in Portuguese) is a giant subterranean worm-like cryptid reported to dwell underground in the South American forests. These creatures are described as enormous limbless beings with scaly black skin, a readily visible mouth and a couple of tentacle-like appendages protruding from the head. According to at least one witness, it also has a pig-like snout. It has been reported to prey on large surface animals, including cattle, by suddenly capturing them from below the water.

According to Karl Shuker, the Minhocão is more likely a caecilian than an earthworm. Caecilians are amphibians that resemble overgrown worms, except for the fact that they have eyes—and teeth. People who claim to have seen the Minhocão say that it has massive teeth, black skin covered in scales, and two tentacles protruding from its head. There haven’t been any Minhocão sightings for over a hundred years.

Shaped like a monstrous elephant with the tail of a snake, the Grootslang feeds on trespassers and fiercely guards a stash of thousands of diamonds and gemstones. At night, a cryptid is supposed to emerge from the caves in the desert Northern Cape province of South Africa and lure prey back into its lair. Somewhere in this vast desert is what the locals refer to as the Bottomless Pit...a massive cave system that has never been fully explored.

In 1917, British explorer Peter Grayson was lured by the stories of diamonds in the Bottomless Pit, Grayson took a small team of men to find the cave. On the journey to the cave, tragedy struck: two of his men were killed by a lion, one was bitten by a venomous snake, and another became sick. The final two team members carried him back to the nearest town, leaving Grayson alone to continue the quest. He was never heard from again, and locals came to believe he had been killed by the Grootslang.

One supposed witness claims to have found mysterious footprints a meter wide that eventually disappeared at the edge of a river.

The Ahool is a flying cryptid, possibly a giant bat, or by other accounts, a living pterosaur or flying primate. Named for its distinctive call A-hoooool, it is said to live in the deepest rainforests of Java. It is described as having a monkey/ape-like head with large dark eyes, large claws on its forearms (approximately the size of an infant), and a body covered in gray fur. Possibly the most intriguing and astounding feature is that it is said to have a wingspan of 3 m (10 ft). This is almost twice as long as the largest (known) bat in the world, the common flying fox.

An inquiry focused on an 'Ahool' encounter in Lee County, Florida. Here is the email that was forwarded to me:

Hi - I recently had an encounter with a bird-like creature but I know it wasn't a bird - it looked to be a flying person. I know it sounds weird and crazy but I know what I saw. Well here's the whole story. On Feb, 5th around 11:30pm my older sister and her husband were taking me, my little sister, my mom and my two nieces to eat at Denny's in a near town (Fort Myers, FL). Well as we were driving on I75 out of nowhere through the windshield I see a person with wings fly over our car. It went over two times back and forth. I got a good look - it looked like a person with wings but then again it also looked like a pterodactyl (pterosaur). My brother-in-law also saw it and agreed with me. He says it was not a bird! Well that was my encounter with the creature.

My nephew also witnessed a person-like creature. He was walking to his girlfriend's house late at night and by her neighbor's house there are some trees. He said he saw a person / figure standing in the trees looking at him. He asked his girlfriend if she also saw it - she said that its always there. He then started to walk closer to get a better view of it when the creature jumped off the tree onto his girlfriend's neighbors fence causing it to make rattling noise. The dogs started barking and then the creature flew off in front off his eyes. It then ran into his girlfiend's house scared it would come back but it didn't. My nephew's encounter happened in Lehigh Acres, FL a couple of days before my encounter happened! We have no clue as to what it is or why it would be following us?! It is very mind boggling!!

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