From Bigfoot to Loch Ness: 15 Cryptid Legends That Refuse to Die

Mythical creatures have fascinated people for centuries. Stories about these beasts date back through history, and while most have never been proven, the legends refuse to go away.

Those creatures have a name: cryptids. The study of their possible existence is known as cryptozoology. People who claim to have witnessed any of these animals are often mocked, but secretly, we like to think they exist.

From all periods of history, here are legends of mythical beasts that refuse to die.

1. Bigfoot

Bigfoot puppet in North American folklore, Bigfoot or Sasquatch are said to be hairy, upright-walking, ape-like creatures that dwell in the wilderness and leave footprints.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

From grainy TV footage to big-budget documentaries, Bigfoot fascinates us most. A giant biped with ape-like features, this mythical creature has only been sighted in North America, although other nations have similar cryptids. A Bigfoot-like creature has existed in Native American lore for thousands of years.

Alleged sightings by white people and the discovery of giant footprints date back to the 1800s, but no definite evidence of Bigfoot has been found.

2. Yowie

Image Credit: By Somersetpedia.paul – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, WikiCommons.

There are similarities between Bigfoot and Australia’s Yowie. Both are tall bipeds resembling giant apes, but the Yowie is said to have more human qualities.

No clear evidence has appeared, but this creature’s habitat is vast. If an elusive cryptid does not want to be discovered, the 5.6 million square kilometers of the Australian Outback offer plenty of hiding places.

3. Queensland Tiger

Image Credit: IFAMOUSSHREK/DeviantArt.

Could the Queensland Tiger also take advantage of Australia’s enormous landscape? The creature, also known as the Yarri, is said to be no bigger than a dog, but its sharp teeth and long tail attract comparisons with big cats.

The Queensland Tiger is also said to be a marsupial. The first documented sighting of a Yarri was in 1871, although the creature had already been part of indigenous folklore.

4. The Beast of Bodmin

Image Credit: By Y-Rex – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, WikiCommons.

The UK currently has no native big cat species, but there have been many sightings of large feline-like creatures. The most notorious cryptid legend in this category is the Beast of Bodmin, with stories dating back to the 1970s.

Along with those sightings, there are tales of mutilated sheep, but if the creature did exist, it’s likely to have passed on. The Beast of Bodmin was said to resemble a panther, and some remain hopeful it will reappear.

5. Wampus Cat

Image Credit: By Todd Dwyer, CC BY-SA 3.0, WikiCommons.

America has its version of the Beast of Bodmin, known as the Wampus Cat. Cynics suggest the beast is a product of pure imagination, as sightings claim it has six legs and glowing green eyes.

Some date the cat’s origin back to Cherokee folklore, but there are disputes over this point. In the 1920s, a spate of livestock killings was attributed to the Wampus Cat, but coyotes are the most likely suspects.

6. Mothman

Point Pleasant, West Virginia / USA - September 2, 2019: Silver Mothman Statue Backlit on Cloudy Day
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Many watched the 2002 movie The Mothman Prophecies without realizing it was based on alleged true reports. In cryptozoology, Mothman appears ahead of catastrophic events, including the Ohio Silver Bridge collapse in 1967.

As you probably guessed, the mothman is part human, part moth. To learn more about the creature, visit Point Pleasant in West Virginia, where a museum is dedicated to the myth.

7. Jackalope

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Unlike most of the creatures on this list, few people believe in the existence of the jackalope. The beast is likely to have originated as a taxidermy prank, and similar acts keep the myth alive.

The jackalope is a jackrabbit with antelope horns and is a product of North American mythology, where it continues to leak into popular culture.

8. Yeti

Yeti or abominable snowman 3D illustration
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Drawings show distinct similarities between Bigfoot and another mythical creature. The Yeti is also known as the abominable snowman due to its habitat in the Himalayan Mountain Range.

Popular culture shows the beast as pure white, but the Yeti often have brown or gray hair. Documented sightings of this legendary creature date from 1832 until now.

9. Chupacabra

Calico, California / USA - August 23, 2015: A chupacabra in a showcase in Calico Ghost Town, Calico, California, USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Legends relating to the chupacabra date back centuries, but the beast passed into modern folklore thanks to a group of farmers in the 1980s. The name translates from the original Spanish as “goat sucker,” and those farmers in Puerto Rico found their livestock to be mysteriously devastated.

The chupacabra has vampire characteristics, and there are claims that dead animals have been sucked dry. It’s allegedly resident across the Americas but is another creature that has escaped detection so far.

10. Orang Pendek

Orang Pendek
Image Credit: Tim Bertelink – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Indonesia has its version of Bigfoot. Orang Pendek translates as “short person,” which gives us a clue about its appearance. It has features similar to the Australian Yowie but much shorter.

Alleged sightings place the creature at a height between three and six feet. It’s an established legend of Indonesian folklore, but attempts to prove Orang Pendek’s existence have been unsuccessful.

11. Mokele-Mbembe

Image Credit: By JNL, FAL, WikiCommons.

The Mokele-Mbembe and the Loch Ness Monster share similarities. Both are considered leftover dinosaurs, and each is said to inhabit a large body of water.

The legend of Mokele-Mbembe originates in the Congo River Basin, but could there be a simple explanation for reported sightings? The creature is said to have a single horn and may actually be a black rhinoceros, but the myth still endures.

12. Mongolian Death Worm

Image Credit: By The original uploader was Pieter0024 at English Wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 1.0, WikiCommons.

The name conjures images of a fearsome creature that should not be approached. If you come across a Mongolian Death Worm, run the other way. The creature is said to be highly venomous, and the legend is that touching the beast results in instant death.

Its habitat is the Gobi Desert in Asia, so like many other legends on this list, there’s plenty of space for the Mongolian Death Worm to avoid detection.

13. Thunderbirds

Totem pole topped by thunderbird, Thunderbird Park, Victoria, BC, Canada
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Picture the pterodactyls flying like giant, murderous beasts, and you have a good idea of what a thunderbird looks like. These mythical cryptids hit the headlines in 1977 when an attack was said to have occurred in Lawndale, Illinois.

Two giant birds appeared from nowhere and attempted to carry off a 10-year-old boy. Multiple witnesses stepped forward, but the thunderbird disappeared back into legend.

14. Dragons

Image Credit: By Petar Milošević – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, WikiCommons.

Today, we accept that dragons are pure fantasy, but for generations, people believed these beasts were real. The myths surrounding dragons date back to ancient times, and centuries ago, many were convinced they’d found genuine evidence.

Before dinosaurs were identified, people assumed that giant bones were those of flying, fire-breathing creatures. Fantasy productions such as Game of Thrones help to perpetuate this ancient myth.

15. The Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster
Image Credit: Marmaduke Arundel “Duke” Wetherell/Wiki Commons.

From Bigfoot, we arrive at one of the most ancient and puzzling cryptid legends. Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster date back to about 500 A.D. and continue to the present day. Among the many theories relating to the myth are suggestions that “Nessie” is a Plesiosaur left over from the age of the dinosaurs.

Loch Ness is a giant body of water and is deeper than the ocean in places, so there’s enough space for the monster to have remained undetected for centuries.

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