The Adventurous World of Cryptid Hunters

The field of cryptozoology deals with hidden and unknown animals, also called cryptids. Cryptid hunters are the adventurers and researchers who actively search for evidence of these elusive creatures. These expeditions into remote corners of the world are not for the faint of heart, but can lead to amazing discoveries.

As discussed in our in-depth look at cryptids, these creatures have sparked myths and legends across cultures. Cryptozoology focuses on documenting evidence of their existence, driven by our fascination with the world of mythical creatures.

someone hiking through a forest

An Introduction to Cryptids and Their Hunters

Cryptid hunters seek creatures like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and Yeti that have sparked stories and legends worldwide. Cryptozoology categorizes cryptids by their habitats – on land, in the air, or in the water. Cryptid hunters feel driven by curiosity, the desire to prove a cryptid’s existence, or the need to protect their environments. Tracking down these animals is challenging, but also pure adventure.

Cryptid hunters focus on searching for hard evidence of cryptids. This includes collecting sightings, photos, videos, footprints, hair samples, and other physical traces. To find the clues, cryptid hunters conduct expeditions into remote wildernesses and set up elaborate equipment to monitor areas of interest. They also thoroughly interview witnesses and pore over historical texts for leads. Good cryptid hunters have persistence, research skills, and a scientific mindset.

someone interviewing a witness

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” – Amelia Earhart

Famous Cryptid Hunters Throughout History

A few intrepid individuals have made their mark in the cryptid hunting field. Here are some notable figures, with their achievements and controversies:

Ivan T. Sanderson – The Eccentric Founding Father

Ivan T. Sanderson was a biologist and adventurer in the 1940s who founded the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained (SITU). He traveled the world investigating odd reports and claims, including searching for Yetis in Asia and seeking sea monsters in North America.

Sanderson wrote several popular books about his globetrotting expeditions in search of cryptids. While he brought public attention to cryptozoology, some criticized his sensationalized writing and tendency to exaggerate anecdotes.

Grover Krantz – The Controversial Bigfoot Expert

Grover Krantz was a professor of anthropology who focused his research on the legend of Bigfoot or Sasquatch. He collected and studied evidence like footprints and hair samples, trying to take a scientific approach.

Krantz published several academic books and journal articles that argued for the existence of Bigfoot. While respected in cryptozoology circles, his Bigfoot theories were too fringe for mainstream science. He even lost his job over his controversial Sasquatch obsession.

Loren Coleman – The Celebrity Cryptozoologist

Loren Coleman has been involved with cryptozoology since the 1960s, first as a teacher and later as a field researcher. He investigated sightings of creatures like Thunderbirds and the Dover Demon early in his career.

In recent decades, Coleman has hosted conferences, organized expeditions, and opened the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. He helped popularize cryptozoology through his TV appearances, books, and lectures.

Table comparing the three famous cryptid hunters:

cryptid hunters
NameRegionMain CryptidsEvidenceImpact
Ivan T. SandersonGlobalAbominable Snowman, sea monstersFootprints, eyewitnessesFounded SITU
Grover KrantzPacific NorthwestBigfoot/SasquatchHair samples, footprintsAnthropology studies
Loren ColemanWorldwideMothman, ThunderbirdsSightings, museum exhibitsConferences and books

The Toolkit of a Cryptid Hunter

Tracking down unknown animals requires a diverse set of tools and techniques. Here is an overview of the methodology used by cryptid hunters during their investigations and expeditions:

Motion-Activated Cameras

Strategically placed trail cameras can potentially capture images of a cryptid if they walk by. Some cryptid hunters leave cameras for months in remote areas hoping to get lucky.

Drones and Aerial Scanning

Using drones allows cryptid hunters to scan large swaths of territory from above looking for clues. Thermal imaging and other sensors help maximize the chances of spotting something unusual.

Audio Recording Equipment

Specialized microphones are used to record sounds like howls and calls that could come from an unknown creature. These recordings can provide evidence and give insight into behavior.

DNA and Hair Analysis

If possible, collecting hair, fur, or scat samples for DNA analysis is a top priority. Identifying an unknown genetic profile would be slam dunk evidence for cryptid hunters.

Mapping and Software

Software helps cryptid hunters map sightings and model the potential habitat range of cryptids using geography, vegetation, climate and other factors.

Footprint Castings

Finding footprints and making plaster casts preserves crucial trace evidence that provides estimates of size and anatomy. Dermatology studies of castings look for subtle clues.

Camping Expeditions

To search for cryptids, cryptid hunters conduct camping trips and hikes into remote wildernesses. Base camps allow teams to thoroughly scour areas where cryptids are rumored to dwell.

cryptid hunting equipments

Tips for Amateur Cryptid Hunters:

  • Use a buddy system for safety when hiking and camping
  • Learn wilderness survival skills before extended expeditions
  • Consult local authorities to understand site regulations
  • Avoid disruption to habitats and wildlife

Challenges and Controversies of Cryptid Hunting

The adventurous field of cryptozoology has skeptics and critics, in addition to ardent supporters. Cryptid hunters must navigate various challenges:

  • Lack of mainstream scientific acceptance and limited funding for research
  • Wariness from government wildlife agencies about amateur investigations
  • Remote terrain and unpredictable weather/wildlife during expeditions
  • Misidentifications and hoaxes that must be ruled out using forensic techniques
  • Ensuring good practices to avoid disruptions to environments and animals

Some factions engage in cryptid hunting just for thrills or financial gain, rather than scientific curiosity. TV deals and sponsorship sometimes bias the research and ethics of high-profile hunters. Cryptid hunters strive for responsible methods to study these mysteries without negative impacts.

Hunting Specific Cryptids Around the World

The most dedicated cryptid hunters focus their careers on pursuing a particular creature. Here are some of the most sought-after cryptids and hot spots to search for them:

Map showing cryptid hot spots

Chasing Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest

The forests of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia harbor reports of massive, hairy, ape-like bipeds dubbed Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Cryptid hunters in this region collect plaster casts of huge footprints and set up trail cameras hoping to capture the perfect shot. Some even attempt to lure the giants with wood knockings. A few rogue hunters try to obtain DNA samples, sparking debates.

Bigfoot evidence

Lurking in Loch Ness for its Monster

The dark waters of Loch Ness in Scotland have long inspired tales of a dinosaur-like beast with a long neck and humps. Underwater cameras and sonar searches for “Nessie” continue today. Teams of cryptid hunters use boats and scuba gear to explore the loch’s hidden crannies, hoping to spot the famous creature surfacing.

Loch Ness Monster Evidence

Seeking Point Pleasant’s Mothman

This ominous, winged humanoid was sighted around Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the 1960s. Beyond the eyewitness accounts, Mothman hunters dig through old newspapers for further leads and clues tying the creature to the area’s bridge disaster. They interview witnesses and historians, mapping the locations of all reports on the enigmatic cryptid.

Point Pleasant

Table summarizing evidence collected for major cryptids:

CryptidType of EvidenceSample Findings
BigfootFootprints, DNAMidtarsal break, dermal ridges, unidentified hair
Loch Ness MonsterSonar contacts, photosLarge underwater objects, disputed “Surgeon’s Photo”
MothmanEyewitness accountsRed eyes, wings, gray feathers

Impacts and Ethics of Cryptid Research

Cryptozoology occupies a strange space between fringe pseudoscience and genuine biological discovery. Cryptid hunters believe their field could lead to groundbreaking findings if conducted responsibly. Here are some potential positive impacts:

  • Documenting unknown species to advance ecological understanding
  • Protecting habitats and promoting conservation of new wildlife
  • Boosting public interest and funding for science
  • Discovering biological connections between known and crypto species
habitat conservation

However, some cryptid hunters clearly prioritize profits, entertainment value, or ego over ethics. Good practices in the field include:

  • Avoiding disruption of habitats with intrusive expeditions
  • Preventing unethical handling or harm to wildlife
  • Seeking proper permissions and permits for sites accessed
  • Balancing curiosity with caution
  • Upholding high standards of evidence

With integrity and responsibility, cryptid hunters can explore mysteries while also advocating science and conservation. Their dedication pushes the boundaries of known zoology.

cryptid sightings by year

Sightings of cryptids appear to be on the rise worldwide

Cryptid Museums and Learning Opportunities

For those intrigued by cryptozoology, several museums provide educational exhibits and conferences related to cryptid research:

  • International Cryptozoology Museum – Portland, Maine
  • Expedition: Bigfoot Museum – Cherry Log, Georgia
  • Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition – Drumnadrochit, Scotland
cryptid museum

These facilities allow the public to view evidence collected by cryptid hunters and learn about different cryptids. Temporary exhibits detail the latest findings and theories. The museum gift shops offer books, t-shirts, and souvenirs for budding cryptid enthusiasts.

Cryptid Hunting FAQs

Curious about cryptozoology and those who study it? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What kind of training do cryptid hunters have?

There are no formal qualifications, but many have backgrounds in anthropology, biology, wilderness skills, and research methods. Experience spending time outdoors is valuable.

How exactly do cryptid hunters search for unknown creatures?

Methods include analyzing eyewitness accounts, camping in remote areas, conducting surveillance with cameras and drones, collecting samples for DNA analysis, and searching for footprints or other physical traces.

Have any cryptid hunters actually found solid evidence?

Some compelling but controversial evidence includes the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film, the Himalayan Yeti scalp, and samples of unidentified DNA. But hoaxes, false leads, and mistaken identity hold the field back from wider acceptance.

Is it dangerous to go looking for cryptids?

Yes, there are risks due to remoteness, weather, wild animals, accidents, and accidents. Responsible cryptid hunters take safety measures like training, communications gear, and the buddy system when in the field.

Do cryptid hunters make a living from this work?

There is little money in it. Most rely on their own funds, donations, museum revenue, and occasional TV deals or sponsorships. Some critics believe the role of entertainment biases their research.

Why don’t mainstream scientists support cryptozoology?

Scientists require solid, irrefutable evidence before recognizing a new species. Cryptid findings to date have been too inconclusive or controversial to satisfy the demands of science. But technology advances may yield new data.

Conclusion: The Call of the Unknown

For decades, bold cryptid hunters have ventured into wilderness areas around the globe, motivated by curiosity about mysterious creatures. They use an array of tools and tactics to gather film, photos, DNA, footprints, and other forms of evidence that might confirm the existence of a new species.

someone exploring the wilderness

Though often considered fringy pseudo-scientists, the passion of serious cryptid hunters cannot be denied. Their findings have the potential to advance science and conservation, if conducted ethically. But carelessness and profiteering harm the field’s reputation.

Responsible cryptid hunting requires a balance between Remaining open-minded but skeptical, these adventurers choose to follow the call of the unknown. With luck and persistence, they may someday find success in proving a legendary cryptid is more than myth. Their spirit of adventure is an inspiration.