First of all, for anyone not sure, here’s a quick definition of a cryptid - A living thing suspected or reported but not confirmed officially or scientifically. I use the term ‘living thing’ because, even though animal cryptids are most popular, plants can be cryptids, too. Famous examples include Bigfoot, unicorns, sea serpents, and chupacabra.
Does Vic Challenger run into cryptids? She does. Like Vic novels in general, there was no grand plan to begin, it just comes pouring out. The cryptids just show up. So far, (books 1-5) Vic has encountered a thunderbird, death worm, Nessie, great apes where they shouldn’t be, drop bears, bunyips, thylacines and cannibals.
There may be some argument about that last one - cannibals. Humans are living things and if they are in or near populations of other humans but unknown (living among us!) does that count? Sort of a rhetorical question, since the answer doesn’t really matter, but it is the kind of question that consistently pops up in the research for Vic Challenger novels.
There is a categorization of cryptids called ‘Eberhart’s Classification’, proposed by George Eberhart of the American Library Association. Here is a brief version:
1. Distribution anomalies
2. Undescribed, unusual, or outsized variations of known species
3. Survivals of recently extinct species
4. Survivals of species known only from the fossil record into modern times
5. Lingerlings, or survivals of species known from the fossil record much later into historical times than currently thought
6. Animals not known from the fossil record but related to known species
7. Animals not known from the fossil record nor related to any known species
8. Mythical animals with a zoological basis
9. Seemingly paranormal or supernatural entities with some animal-like characteristics
10. Known hoaxes or probable misidentifications
You can read more about it here:
Cryptids do sometimes turn out to be real. Check this out.
|Until 1901 scientists thought the Okapi was a myth.|
Here is another great resource. Lists 50 cryptids and reference books for further delving.
In case you are wondering, things like the coelacanth fish are not cryptids. To be a true cryptid the existence of the creature must be disputed. For those who aren’t aware, the coelacanth is a species thought to be extinct for millions of years - until fishermen caught one in 1938, and more have been caught since. That made me ask another question which I haven’t checked. Has the coelacanth been added to the endangered species list? If I caught one, could I mount it and show it off over the mantle? Great site to learn all you want to know about the coelacanth (a Smithsonian site)
|Scientists thought the coelacanth became extinct millions of years ago. Then one was caught in 1938. Now 2 distinct species of living coelacanths have been identified.|
The question has been asked, “Will there always be cryptids in Vic Challenger novels? Since there is no true formula or plan, it is hard to say always, however, yes, always- Vic meets up with both cryptids and bad guys in all her trips. If interested, here is a another list of cryptids to begin your deeper research. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cryptids
Also, the reference notes for each Vic Challenger novel always include the references used for cryptid info, It’s at the website http://www.vicplanet.com
Many of the “monsters” Vic runs into are cryptids so I’ll be writing more about specific cryptids in future postings. Let me know what you think of cryptids and I would especially be interested if you have ever seen one.
Thanks for reading.