A FEW WEEKS AGO WE ASKED VARIOUS BLOGGO REGULARS TO TELL US WHAT WERE THEIR TOP THREE FAVOURITE MYSTERY ANIMALS... AND WHY
It is always a pleasure to welcome a new guest blogger, but this is a special pleasure, because it is the first time that we have had two generations of guest bloggers in the same family. Georgina, who was pivotally involved in the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau during the glory years, is also the mother of bloggo regular Fleur Fulcher.....
First how to define cryptid, and then how to define favourite, well - mm? Let's see - I'm told a cryptid is either and animal that should be extinct but isn't , an animal that might have existed ,but might not or an animal that definitely exists but is in the wrong place. ( no anti - immigration comments please !). And favourite, is that the one I like best or would most like to see re-established?
For me the best of all has to be Mokele Mbembe. To start with it ticks the most important box, it is supposedly huge! ( note - why don’t we get excited about crptid ants ? - oh well I suppose Max would ). To imagine a gigantic sauropod stamping about in the steamy forests of Africa, gobbling up all the veg for miles round is just too good to be true, it would be better if it was gobbling up all the humans of course but you can’t have everything. Roy Mackal mounted an expedition to find this chap but had as little luck as when he was looking for Nessie.
I don’t know why, but ever since I read Tim Dinsdales’ The Leviathans which must be at least forty years ago, one story in particular has stuck in my mind. It is an account of some Soviet geologists who were, in 1953, on an expedition to the Sordongnokh Plateau in Eastern Siberia. It is an area even today that is very sparsely populated, in 1953, the nearest inhabited spot to the lake in question was 75 miles away. What the geologists saw was a beast whose head measures 6ft across with wide set eyes, it had what seemed to be a dorsal fin on its’ back which was swept backwards. It was grey in colour with two light coloured patches on the side of its’ head. It moved through the water in a series of ‘leaps’ . On enquiry , the inhabitants of the Plateau confirmed that they knew of the beasts existence , it had taken hunting dogs and once chased a fisherman’s raft. They called it the ‘Devil’. Maybe a giant crested frog ? - Makes crested newts look a bit lame !!
One Russian scientist said that the plateau was covered in swamps, where long red moss grew. He thought this was the bog moss of the tertiary period and that maybe some fauna from that period still existed there. (CFZ expedition fodder?)
One further thought, for my third cryptid I have decided on an animal that was common in this country up until the late 1960s. It hung on in rural areas during the 70s and 80s. But now I think you would be hard put to find it except maybe on a few Scottish islands. This animal was often to be found in the woods, where it often made dens, and especially by streams and muddy areas. Although it would usually return to the family nest for its’ nourishment, it would often graze during the day on berries, nuts, apples etc. - I am of course talking about the country child. The country is still there, the children are still there - what has changed.
Is it stranger danger? We’re told that most abuse and harming of children is committed by friends and family. Why can’t we let children roam the countryside as they used to. Children today must read Swallows and Amazons with disbelief. For those of us privileged to live in the countryside, why have we robbed the young of our species of their birthright?