Freaky Friday: Cryptozoology, a Primer (or There’re Werewolves Down The Road From Me!)

On the left is the Evil Queen of Puppydom (and her cat). On the right is a Tasmanian Tiger, aka the Thylacine (a name co-opted from the two parts of its scientific name). My husband says these two things look just like the other, especially when the EQP’s mouth is open.

Though it is (or was, since it’s thought to be extinct) a carnivorous marsupial, with its mouth closed, the Thylacine looks pretty much like a weird fox/dog/coyote cross with a slender muzzle and a tiger-striped rear. When it opens its mouth, however, everything changes, and it becomes something out of a monster-governed nightmare: its jaw unhinges and its mouth gapes wide (much like a snake’s). It was pretty much fearless and exterminated by ranchers in the 1800s as a pest. (Okay, so the Thylacine is a lot like the EQP – who will never be exterminated because she’s far too entertaining in her peskiness. *grin*)

The Thylacine is also considered a cryptid (literally “hidden” animal) even though it did once (there are real taxidermied specimens) and may still exist.

Cryptozoology is the study and investigation of hidden (or mysterious) animals that have never been documented before by science. When you think about it, the majority of (what we now consider) normal, everyday critters were cryptids before they were discovered by Darwin and the rest of the explorers a century or three ago. Today “cryptids” are generally considered to be animals that remain mythical or legendary – like Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti, the Drop Bear, and hundreds of others from every culture on earth. Like the Thylacine, however, many cryptids actually exist or did once. Their rarity simply makes them difficult to locate – and perhaps far more cautious than the majority of animals we’re familiar with these days. Like any remaining Thylacines (there are a few pieces of videos footage out there), they’ve learned to survive where other extinct creatures have not.

As to the werewolves down the road from me… yes, actually, there’s an entire investigation into the Michigan werewolves (and I’m not talking about the ones living in my made up ‘verse of Brokenoggin Falls. *huge grin*) Over not far from my sister’s place (she lives up the road from me) at least one Were has been spotted on numerous occasions by area residents (my brother-in-law swears he’s never seen it nor has he been masquerading as it without telling us – I’d kill him if he didn’t let me in on it and he knows it). Still the area around us has been the subject of research into werewolves by Linda Godfrey in one of her books, and makes for fascinating reading.

Do I believe in werewolves as portrayed in movies and on television? I think the science is skewed when it comes to movies and television.

But do I believe in shapeshifters and shapeshifting and the projection of spirit? Simply put, yes.


About Terese Ramin

Terese Ramin is the award winning author of eleven novels and numerous short stories. Her autobiographical essay, “Two-Puppy Theory”, is included in the anthology The Sound and the Furry, sales of which benefit the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The Cured, her most recent release with author David Wind, is her first suspense-thriller. Her next release will be a paranormal romantic suspense with writing partner Dawn Johanson, published under the pseudonym Cathryn Marr. Aside from writing, Terese works as an editor, ghost writer, book doctor, and reiki master. She is the Central Coordinator for Novelists, Inc., the international organization for multi-published fiction writers, and is certified in Gateless writing and training. In her spare time she rescues dogs, knits, and is a veteran paranormal investigator. She lives in Michigan with her husband and a bunch of rescued dogs.
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