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Werewolves to Bigfoot and Beyond:
Which Monsters are Most Likely to Exist?

Some monsters, like the ones under your bed, really are all in your head. Others, like the infamous Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, seem to have one foot firmly planted in reality, at least according to those who have seen them.

Just in time for Halloween, we delved into the murky histories surrounding some of the world's most notorious monsters, all to find out which ones may actually exist.

Bigfoot1. Bigfoot

There are thought to be roughly 2,000 to 6,000 Bigfoots in North America, according to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO). Bigfoot, also called a Sasquatch, is thought to be a large, hairy, human-like primate that lives primarily in forested areas.

Reportedly, even President Teddy Roosevelt described a "sasquatch-like animal" in his 1890 book, The Wilderness Hunter, that stalked two trappers in an area that's now Wyoming or Montana.

BFRO maintains the only collection of Bigfoot reports from across North America that has been investigated by researchers to determine credibility. There are hundreds of verifiable Bigfoot sightings listed on the site.

The famous photo of Bigfoot at right was filmed by Roger Patterson in 1967 in Northwest California. The film has yet to be discredited.

Loch Ness Monster2. Loch Ness Monster

Since 1933, countless people claim to have witnessed a long, humped serpent-like creature swimming in Loch Ness, Scotland, and even walking around on the nearby land.

Some have speculated that the Loch Ness Monster, also known as Nessie, could be an ancient swimming reptile called a plesiosaur.

Though no hard evidence exists, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence and some strange research findings. For instance:

  • In 1987, expedition "Operation Deep Scan" used 20 sonar-equipped boats to send a curtain of sound through the loch. It found "three underwater targets that could not be explained."

  • In the early 1990s, Nicholas Witchell of the BBC organized Project Urquhart, a study that examined the biology and geology of the loch. During the project, sonar operators picked up a "large, moving underwater target and followed it for several minutes before losing it."

  • In 1999, NOVA broadcast "The Beast of Loch Ness," which documented a three-week expedition into the loch, using state-of-the-art sonar and sensitive underwater cameras to track down the Loch Ness Monster. During the expedition, the team's sonar expert, Arne Carr, found a moving target that "appeared to be biological in nature, and was about 15 feet long -- the size of a small whale."

Werewolves3. Werewolves

Historically, werewolves were thought to be people who could transform into a wolf or wolf-like creature in the light of a full moon. Also called lycothropes (from lycanthropy, the delusion of being an animal), werewolves have been described since ancient times, including during the Middle Ages when there are recorded histories of people being put to death for being werewolves.

Modern-day theories explain werewolves as a type of mental illness, in which a person believed he was an animal, or committed murders, crimes or other behaviors that he had no control over because of a type of psychosis.

Meanwhile, according to a 2003 report in the journal Medical Hypotheses, certain "paranormal" beliefs, including lycathropy, warrant more investigation.

"The inability of existing paradigms to explain these observations does not negate them; rather, it elucidates a need for more research," the report says.

Yeti, abominable snowman4. Yeti (The Abominable Snowman)

Reports of a large, human-like creature have been reported in the Himalayas since 1832. This creature is called a Yeti. Some believe it to be the same creature as Bigfoot, but it resides in the frozen Himalayas instead of North America.

Anecdotal reports of encounters, track sightings, howlings and scat from the creature exist. The photo to the right is reportedly a Yeti footprint, and is thought to be among the best Yeti evidence there is. It was taken by a team of mountaineers in 1951 in the Nepal-Tibet border region of the Himalayas. The photo was sold at a London auction in September 2007 for nearly $5,000.

Chupacabra5. Chupacabra

Chupacabra, which is Spanish for "goat sucker," is a small, reptile-like creature with fangs that is said to suck the blood from livestock. It was first reported in Puerto Rico in the early 1990s, but sightings have since spread to the United States, Mexico and South America.

Though it can walk upright on two legs, the Chupacabra is said to hop more like a kangaroo.

In July 2007, a Texas woman was said to have found a chupacabra near her ranch that had been killing her livestock and drinking their blood (it had been hit by a car). She reports that 12 of her chickens had been left without blood, with the meat still on them.

A state mammalogist theorized that the animal was actually a grey fox with mange, but DNA samples were taken to be sure (the results are still pending).

The photo at right reportedly shows a chupacabra chasing a deer, but it has not been verified.

Related Articles

What's REALLY Scary About Halloween: The Volume of Candy Given Away & Other Halloween Statistics

So You Want to Perform an Exorcism: Here Is What it Takes


Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization

NOVA Online: The Beast of Loch Ness

Medical Hypotheses 2003 Jun;60(6):864-8 September 26, 2007

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