Cryptids are unknown or hidden animals.
There are many explanations. Some more mundane than others. often there may be more than one factor involved. Misidentification is probaby the commonest cause followed by fabrication or hoaxing.
< Click on the diagram to explore the strange
There have been a number of cryptids found over the last hundred years which have been new species that science had not described. Examples include XXXXXXXXx. Even more impressive are the strange new and unexpected biospheres deep in the ocean that contain strange creatures surviving in extreme conditions.
In this scenario, a creature which is thought to be extinct is discovered alive. This is relatively uncommon. The best known example of this coelacanth. This is also likely to be the case with the Tasmanian Tiger sightings, namely, a few, small islolated populations have survived in a couple of particular locations on the Australian mainland and Tasmania. The large man apes and sea serpents could also be examples of legacy populations remaining lingering onto the present day, although most biologists regard it as unlikely that any large creatures such as these could survive from prehistoric times.
This is probably the commonest cause. This includes misidentification of known species and even of inanimate objects such as logs floating in water.
This is all too common. Some of the best examples include the Surgeons Photo, the Piltdown Man Hoax and our old friend the mermaid
Read more in our hoaxes section.
Hallucinations occur in people with major mental illness, in some drug & alcohol affected individuals and with confusional states with medical illness. By and large hallucinations are not a common reason for people seeing cryptids, pink elephants excluded.
The mind is a funny thing and at times people see things, or at least misinterpret what is really there. There is a tendency to see what one expects or wants. Light does play funny tricks sometimes. Many lake monster photos for example, could simply be curved pieces of wood.
Native peoples around the world have many traditions related to cryptids, be they big hairy men or lake monsters. In many cases they regard them as part of the spirit realm. Modern day folklorist point out how stereotypic many of the modern sightings are, mirroring those of indigenous peoples.
It is not impossible that some cryptids could be aliens of the extraterrestrial variety. There is purported to be some correlation with ufo sightings, bigfoot type entities and periods of 'high strangeness'. Lumping them together like this is usually interpreted as being evidence for them not being real. On the other hand, in the case of the big hairy men, maybe the Wookie is simply going for a walk!
Termed coined by John Keel, the American journalist who wrote the Mothman prophesies, to describe the origins of the Mothman, UFFO's and other strange phenomena. Ultraterrestrials tune in through the EM spectrum and manifest in our reality for a period time, often along with other weird stuff known as 'high strangeness'. There behavior towards humans resembles that of those capricious Greek Gods, making false prophesies, tricking people and then vanishing without a trace. In essence a modern reworking of the spirit world.
The Spirit world presents a number of possible XXXX. That's assuming there is a spirit world.
I use this term to describe the ability to either form a thought in anothers head, essentially telepathy or an actual ability to manifest a form in the real world, somehow. Both are non scientific and speculative, but they have the appeal that they could explain a number of strange phenomena