It is always nice to be able to introduce you all to a new guest blogger. Possibly the nicest thing about the CFZ bloggo is that it is a living, breathing community, and new people arrive on a regular basis. I can't tell you anything about Liz, apart from the fact that she bought some books from us at Uncon, briefly spoke to Richard, and had a charmingly old-fashioned habit of referring to me as `Mr Downes`, when everyone else calls me `Jon` or `Hey You` (or somethimes something more scatological), until I told her not to. She is obviously one to watch...
Without a doubt the cryptid that most fascinates me is Bigfoot (as well as his other legendary relatives, whose many names would take too long to type). This tall, rather hairy gentleman has such charm about him and if real, could be a much closer relative of the human race than ‘known’ apes. My first introduction to him was as a very small girl, leafing through a book of my Mum’s that showed a still from the controversial Patterson-Gimlin film. My second was through watching the silly but lovely film Harry and the Hendersons. Then I heard the legend of Monkey Town (Heywood, Lancashire near where I grew up) and from there it became one big obsession. If ever the CFZ proves the existence of our most interesting cousin I will personally throw him a party at my house (all invited)!
The next cryptid on my ‘to meet’ list is the Alien Big Cat, alternatively known as the phantom black cat. It seems particularly likely that this chap does, indeed roam the British countryside, though in a more fleshy form than some legends would indicate. I am particularly in love with ‘black panthers,’ however; a catch-all phrase for big cats that produce too much melanin. This is for little other reason than that I saw one in Chester Zoo as a four-year-old, decided it was much more impressive than Bobby, our black tom at home, and from then on, I wanted one. They are beautiful and majestic. The idea that there could be one in the park in my home town (so my friend Annette and a lady in the library claim) is VERY exciting.
Finally, the Kraken is a wonderful example of legend based upon fact, which is what cryptozoology is all about. This Nordic creature is purported to strongly resemble a gigantic octopus and attacks/ attacked ships, dragging them down beneath the sea. The Kraken has captured the imagination of countless artists, writers and film-makers; the most recent addition to the squiddly canon being the middle Pirates of the Caribbean film, Dead Man’s Chest, but the best, arguably, being Jules Verne’s 20 000 Leagues Under The Sea. In the real world, it is widely held that the kraken legend was borne out of sightings of the Giant Squid, which has been known to reach up to forty-three feet in length and which has been known to attack sea-faring vessels but by no means could be expected to drag Johnny Depp or the Black Pearl to a watery grave.