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In Focus

My Among Us group likes to have themes each time we play our online game. One night was different names for poop. The irony was that was the same day as my infusion for my Crohn’s disease. Oh, the irony.

Recently, I suggested cryptids.

Cryptids are animals that are based on rumors and folklore that haven’t been proven by science to exist or have existed. For example, group members chose Sasquatch (Bigfoot), I was “Nessie” after the Loch Ness Monster, another chose the name “social security”.

Anyway, this got me thinking if there were Minnesota-specific cryptids. Everyone has heard of Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, the Jersey Devil and the Moth Man among the seemingly endless list. Some are variations of the same creature depending on where you live.

There are many variations of Bigfoot or Sasquatch. In the Himalayas it is called a Yeti, in Australia, a Yowie, a Yeren in China and the state of Florida has the Skunk Ape. Arkansas, Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma have the Ozark Howler and there’s the Cumberland Beast (Wisconsin’s Bigfoot). And the list goes on. You can argue they are different, but they are all large, ape-like creatures. South Carolina has a Lizard Man, bipedal, but not ape-like.

Some states have recognized an interesting way...such as being a protected species in Washington. Oklahoma opened a hunt to capture Bigfoot alive and unharmed and you can receive a $2 million bounty in return. Otherwise, head to Texas where you can shoot them.

There have been prevalent sightings of this creature across the U.S. The Patterson–Gimlin footage of a supposed Bigfoot captured in northern California in 1967 is the most well-known footage available.

I use to watch a television show called MonsterQuest where they would follow up on cryptid and supernatural sightings. They came to Staples to investigate a close encounter when a girl allegedly hit one with her van (Season 3, Episode 8 if you are curious). So, what happens when you are chauffeuring your drunk boyfriend and drunk roommate home after a party in Motley? You are forced to drive down “that road” in Staples that was in the episode to look for Bigfoot. That pretty much ended with “Get your drunk @$$ back in the truck!”

Bigfoot is definitely on the list for being a Minnesota cryptid as well. Supposedly, Moth Man, whose appearance typically coincides with a disaster, was sighted after the 35W bridge collapse.

After some searching, I found a few interesting ones I have never heard of before. Memegweshi are little hairy men that hang around the Boundary Waters. They are supposed to be friendly to kids. The Great Lakes Merman or The Lake Superior God of the Waters is blamed for thousands of shipwrecks dating back to the time of the voyagers. There is also the Lake Superior Cave Monster, most often described as looking like a massive aquatic snake. Another is the Mishipeshu or Great Lynx or Underwater Panther, a dragon/cat mix with long horns, large scales, and amphibian qualities with the ability to change the weather. The Wolf Deer is described as the size of a gray wolf with four extremely thin deer-like legs with very large footpads, a deer-like head, is reddish-brown in color, and has a horse-like tail. A more recent sighting was the Giant Bird of Webb Lake, seen in 2005, a silvery bird that stood seven feet tall.

There is a lot of lore based on Native American legends such as the Thunderbird on the West Coast. We have the Thunder Horse.

I don’t have enough room to elaborate on the lore of other cryptids, but I find them interesting! It’s hard to say if the sightings are real or not. It is possible that a common animal could have a genetic defect that may make people think it looks like something else. It also makes you question if some of these witnesses were coherent or sober.

Do I think cryptids are real? Sure, in a sense. Maybe there is something out there we just haven’t discovered yet? New species are found all the time. I don’t think we are going to find an aquatic chimera-like cave monster, but in my opinion, an animal such as Bigfoot that could be intelligent enough to avoid humans is always a possibility.

Anyway, as a side note, Bigfoot and Yeti are the names of two of my polydactyl cats. Fitting names for cats with big paws I’d say!

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