The Oxford Dictionary defines cryptids as animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the yeti. Everyone has heard of a yeti, though, alongside Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and Mothman.
But, there are other creatures out there that are just as mysterious and illusive, which may or may not actually exist. In fact, some of them are so strange that they’ve been subjects in horror movies (Mothman Prophecies, anyone?).
The following cryptids list contains creatures you might not have heard of, but you definitely do not want to encounter (if they exist):
Akkorokamui is a giant octopus-like creature from Japanese folklore. According to one account, a fisherman saw a creature that was round in shape, and emitted a dark fluid which had a very powerful and terrible odor. It has been reported that its body can reach up to 120 meters (393 feet) in length and be a vivid red color. It’s said that with this description, it is most likely a giant octopus or giant squid, even though neither of those have proven to be nearly 393-feet long. Still, if you see a giant creature in the ocean, it’s probably best to not approach it.
2. Melon Heads
This one can be classified as both an urban legend and a cryptid. Originating in parts of Ohio, Michigan, and Connecticut, melon heads are small humanoid creatures with bulbous heads that attack passersby from the woods. Often involving cannibalism, the folklore surrounding the melon heads is contradicted with a pretty depressing backstory. The melon heads are said to be children with hydrocephalus who were abused by their doctor at a nearby mental institution in the 1960s. They escaped and became feral mutants in the nearby woods. Because of their abuse and lack of social skills, attacking people walking or driving by was the only way to get food, which sometimes involved eating the victims. Officials have disputed this claim, though, by saying there haven’t seen institutions in the areas with the most sightings, but are they covering something up? *insert ghost sounds*
There are many, many terrifying creatures in Australia that have been PROVEN to exist, it’s amazing that the bunyip hasn’t been classified scientifically as an actual animal. Living in swamps, riverbeds, and creeks, the bunyip is a mashup of every water-dwelling animal in the Outback: dog face, a crocodile head, dark fur, a horse-like tail, flippers, and walrus tusks. First “spotted” in the early 19th-century by European settlers in Australia, the fossils and bones are now said to be fossils of hippopotamuses or manatees. Just to be safe, don’t go to Australia. Real or speculated, something will try to eat you.
Coming from the Philippines, the sigbin is a creature that sucks blood from animals from the shadows. They have a putrid smell, long back legs, long ears they’re able to clap, and a whip-like tail. It has been speculated that this is an actual creature, but rarely-seen, and it’s a marsupial related to the kangaroo. Possibly the most fashion-forward of the cryptids, legend says they emerge during Holy Week looking for children to kill, steal their hearts, and fashion those hearts into necklaces. It is also said their poop is made of gold. So, they have that going for them.
5. Pope Lick Monster
Beneath the Norfolk Southern Railway trestle lives the Pope Lick Monster. Part man, part goat, and part sheep, the Pope Lick Monster is said to use hypnosis or mimicry to bring people onto the railroad before an oncoming train comes to kill them. There are many versions of the creatures origins. Some say it was a runaway circus freak, some suggest a train derailed and he was a monster living inside and escaped, but my personal favorite is the story of a farmer who sacrificed goats in exchange for Satanic powers and was reincarnated into the Pope Lick Monster. It’s only my favorite because I like the idea of Satan playing a prank on a farmer and turning him into the goats he needlessly slaughtered, but maybe that’s just me.