But with the field of cryptozoology having such a wide scope, and continuing to grow, it’s also safe to bet that there are a lot you’ve never come across.
Here are 10 lesser-known cryptids which most people haven’t heard about:
Our first entry takes us deep into the heart of the Amazon Rainforest where some fairly credible investigators have gone to check out the existence of the Mapinguari and come back baffled by the evidence they got.
The Mapinguari is said to be a gigantic ape-like or sloth-like creature. It has long, reddish-brown hair, it’s said to smell, and the natives say it has only one eye and, more interestingly, a mouth in its stomach.
It has very long, large claws, similar to that of a sloth and its back feet are reportedly “backwards”, leaving bottle-shaped prints.
In Brazil, they say that the Mapinguari used to be a shaman. He found a way to immortality, which angered the gods. As punishment, they transformed him into a beast for the rest of his immortal days.
There have been several reports that the creature is aggressive. Its name when translated means “roaring animal”, which makes sense because there are reports of it roaring so loudly that the trees shook. There have also been reports of it ripping entire roofs off huts, breaking people’s jaws, and generally mauling them.
Here’s where stuff gets really interesting: the evidence. In 2008, Josh Gates with Destination Truth conducted a night-time investigation. They heard a lot of trees snapping and found that entire trees were snapped the next day. They also recorded a roar and played it for a former zookeeper and he was unable to identify it.
In 2011, Beast Man’s Pat Spain did an investigation in which he blasted out a sloth call, which resulted in a call back. It was deeper than the call he blasted, but still sloth-like. Also in 2011 on Man V. Monster, Richard Terry caught an image of something on a night-vision camera which no-one has identified as yet.
You’re probably already thinking “that sounds exactly like a giant ground sloth!” and you might be right. That’s one of the theories. They were around for millions of years and did happen to inhabit the area apparent Mapinguaris are being sighted in.
In particular, a type of giant ground sloth called the Megatherium was native to the Amazon. However, according to some of the sighting reports, the Mapinguari is too small to be a Megatherium..
But there are other types of giant ground sloths and generally when shown pictures of them, no matter the variety, the native peoples identify the animals in the pictures as being the Mapinguari.
9 Ebu Gogo
In Indonesia, it is said that there are tiny little humanoid creatures called the Ebu Gogo. The name roughly translates into “grandmother who eats anything”.
They are claimed to be around 3-4 feet tall with exceptionally wide, flat noses, wide faces, pot bellies, long arms and fingers and very hairy bodies.
If you’re imagining a tiny caveman, you’re on the right track. The Ebu Gogo have been described as Indonesian Rainforest Hobbit Cannibals. (Try saying THAT 3 times fast!)
They don’t seem to be as advanced as humans or speak languages like us. Instead, they are said to be able to repeat what is said to them, much like a parrot. They are reportedly very good at walking, running and climbing, but are never said to have been seen holding rocks or using tools. They also apparently don’t know how to cook (more on that later).
Most of the Ebu Gogo are said to have been exterminated around seven generations ago; wiped out because they started coming into villages and stealing not only food, but children.
They were reportedly initially hoping that the children could teach them to cook, but it didn’t work. The children easily outwitted them and escaped. However, there were also said to be cases where they tried to eat the children.
The Ebu Gogo subsisted off raw foods — fruits, vegetables, meat and even human meat if they could get it. The villagers tolerated them raiding their crops, but for obvious reasons didn’t tolerate having their children stolen and eaten.
According to an article in New Scientist, the natives tricked the Ebu Gogo by giving them palm fibers and telling them that they could make clothes from them.
The natives then waited until the Ebu Gogo took the fibers into their caves, then threw fire in to set the caves alight. They were all reportedly wiped out, save a couple of them who apparently ran into the forest and are purportedly where the current descendants came from.
A few years ago, skulls were found in the Flores region of Indonesia, which were smaller than that of a human. This new species was dubbed homo floresiensis.
It isn’t related to humans and has no characteristics in common with humans, but could possibly be a cousin. Could these skulls be proof of where the legend of the Ebu Gogo came from?
8 Mongolian Death Worm
You’re probably thinking “What’s impressive about a worm? Just the ‘death’ part? It’s probably just a poisonous worm.” You’d be wrong.
What’s impressive about this worm is that it can reportedly reach up to 7ft long and has some pretty impressive forms of attack.
First is the yellow acid poison that it’s claimed to spit out. To do this it’s said to raise about halfway out of the sand and then do something where it looks like it inflates itself before it explodes a corrosive, poisonous substance all over its unsuspecting prey.
This not only kills the victim on contact because it’s so poisonous, it stains them a corroded yellow. The substance even reportedly corrodes metal.
Secondly, the Mongolian Death Worm can reportedly generate electricity and use it to attack, shocking its victims in bursts.
The natives call the worm Olgoi-Khorkoi which means “intestine worm” because they think it looks like intestines due to its bloody red color.
Ian Mackerle studied the region and came to the conclusion that the Mongolian death worm was more than just a legend because so many people had seen it and there were so many strange deaths.
The creatures in the Tremors movies are supposedly based on the Mongolian Death Worm.
It is said that the worm hibernates underground until June or July and also come out whenever it rains and the ground is wet. So, maybe stay out of the Ghobi Desert in June, July and whenever it rains.
7 Beast of Bray Road
The Beast of Bray Road is America’s most famous werewolf — a bipedal wolf-like creature that inhabits rural regions of Wisconsin. The Beast is said to transform into itself from human form.
Once transformed, standing up on its back feet it’s said to be around 7ft tall and has been approximated to weigh from 400-lb to 700-lb.
When people have reportedly encountered it from afar, they often assume it’s a bear because of its large, bulky, hairy frame. However, when standing on its hind legs, eyes glowing yellow, it would for obvious reasons be pretty apparent that it’s anything but.
Some people classify The Beast as a Bigfoot because they think a werewolf is too far-fetched. A canine cryptid seems far more plausible, based on the descriptions.
It was initially reported in 1999, but upon telling of the story, tales of sightings from the 80s arose and some which are said to go back as far as the ’30s.
In 1991, several animals were reportedly mutilated and thrown into a ditch with their feet bound. Some of their necks were apparently cut open, some of their heads cut off, some of their stomachs sliced leaving their entrails hanging out, but most disturbingly — some of their chests were said to have been ripped open and their hearts were taken out.
Officials reportedly assumed that this was some sort of cult or ritualistic killing, but it could have been something far stranger — the Beast of Bray Road.
6 Atmospheric Beasts
Atmospheric beasts are purported strange, flying creatures with no wings. They’re not solid and often said to be quite see-through.
They can reportedly change their size and structure, sometimes solid, sometimes seemingly metallic, and sometimes becoming bigger or smaller, glowing, or vanishing.
They are often said to sort of resemble a combination of whales and clouds and act as one might think a whale/cloud would, being that they move in ways that ordinary clouds can’t. However, others are said to be extremely small and hard to make out with the human eye.
Author Ivan T. Sanderson posits in a book about the beasts that they’re extremely light-weight creatures who live in the clouds and that maybe a great deal of UFO sightings are actually atmospheric beasts.
Some think they’re native to this planet, others think that the beasts are extraterrestrial in origin. Believers assert that if an atmospheric beast touches the ground, it will surely die.
When an atmospheric beast dies, it reportedly falls to the ground in a form of jelly-like substance that vanishes very quickly. This is called pwdre ser, which is Welsh for “rot from the stars”.
The movie The Blob is said to be about an atmospheric beast that instead of dying on contact with the ground, turns to jelly that does not dissipate, but instead lives on by consuming other lifeforms and growing.
Sightings of apparent atmospheric beasts are rare, but have been reported all over the world. So the next time you see something odd in the sky, look closely. It might just be an atmospheric beast.
5 Maryland Goatman
The goatman is in large part exactly what it sounds like: a half-goat, half-human hybrid. Its body is more human, but its head and legs are said to be goat-like in appearance.
The beast is said to roam woods using an ax as a weapon, and is an urban legend that has been going around for centuries in Maryland.
It started as a creature reportedly spawned by the Devil himself, but other stories include that there was a scientist doing DNA experiments on goats which didn’t quite go as planned and resulted in the scientist becoming the goatman.
After that, for some reason, he started roaming around back roads and attacking cars with his ax. Local officials in Maryland say that the goatman is only a legend and that it’s kept alive by “bored teenagers” who bring it up every so often in an attempt to warn others of the dangers that can be found on lovers’ lanes.
However, reportedly in the 1960s there was a large group of children, accompanied by adult chaperones, who went hiking in Goatman’s territory. A total of 14 people were said to have been killed, 12 of whom were children.
Their bodies were reportedly half-eaten and hacked up. The survivors described the attack being perpetrated by the Goatman and they said that he mutilated his victims with his ax.
In 1971 a dog got decapitated and it was theorized that the goatman did it, bringing up the old stories. The night the dog disappeared, two girls were said to have seen a large creature walking on its hind legs and heard some pretty strange noises.
Because there’s been no concrete evidence, it’s up to you to decide whether some deranged person decapitated a puppy, or whether the goat man gave it the ax.
According to African folklore, Pongo is an apelike creature that stalks jungles and said to be very violent with magical powers.
The creature is somewhat cannibalistic, reportedly liking the taste of human flesh and frequently raiding villages to either eat or rape people.
It’s said pongos could interbreed with humans, producing hybrids that looked human, but were violent and cannibalistic like the pongos. They could even reportedly shapeshift, with stories of female pongos transforming into beautiful women to seduce human men.
The world was shocked in 1847 when the pongo was reported to definitively exist — and was actually what we now know as the gorilla.
However, gorillas don’t have magical powers and aren’t shapeshifters. So, were the natives just making up stories about the monsters they thought gorillas to be, or was there really something else in the forests?
The Emela-ntouka is a large, rhinoceros like cryptid said to be the size of an elephant — about 10.5 feet tall and weighing 13,000-lb.
It’s reported to inhabit the Congo basin and is said to be greyish in color, with a bulky body on short, stumpy legs, and a single horn on its head.
The Emele-ntouka is said to be semi-aquatic and eat mostly plants but its name means “elephant killer” and it’s reported to be very violent, killing anything that gets in its way.
It may seem like an insubstantial thing, but what its horn is made out of is hotly debated. For example, if it was found to be made of bone it could be a reptile and may be some sort of dinosaur-like cryptid.
However, if it was made of ivory it would be more accurately called a tusk, like an elephant, while if it was made of keratin it would be similar to rhino.
Knowing about the horn would allow us to more accurately describe what type of animal this could be, but until one is actually caught we’ll just have to speculate.
Imagine a creature the size of a bear with white, wooly hair, a pointy, dog-like head, saber-teeth, horns, paw-like limbs as opposed to hooves and a hairless tail like that of a possum. You’ve just envisioned a sheepsquatch.
Sightings and reports of the sheepsquatch come from all around West Virginia, but seem to be centralized to Southwestern West Virginia. It is said to have a strong smell, which some attribute to sulfur spawning stories that it came from the TNT area in Mason County.
The sheepsquatch seems to be aggressive, reportedly charging people, screaming at them and attacking cars. Most people seem to be able to get away, but one can imagine how hellish a sheepsquatch attack would be to witness!
1 Melon Heads
There are three different varieties of these, and they vary by region.
Ohio: The melon heads in Ohio seem to stem from a story about a doctor in Kirtland who took in abandoned, orphaned children and then experimented on them.
He was said to have injected chemicals into their brains until their skulls grew to a large size. Because of this, they developed hydrocephalus and suffered mental disabilities or went insane.
Because everything had gone so wrong, the doctor reportedly then killed the children and burned down the facility. However, some of them were said to have escaped, killed the mad scientist/doctor and are, according to legend, still running around in the woods.
Michigan: These Melon Heads are said to have originated from the Junction Insane Asylum, near Felt Mansion in Allegan County — which, despite rumors, officials have repeatedly claimed never existed.
They were also reportedly children who had hydrocephalus, but after years enduring horrors at the hands of a crazed scientist they became feral mutants and were released to roam the woods.
They were later said to have come back to murder their oppressor but with nowhere to hide his body legend says they cut it up and buried it in various places around the asylum.
Connecticut: There are two stories here. One is that an insane asylum burned down in the 1960s and 10-20 patients escaped, fleeing to the woods. They then reportedly had to resort to cannibalism to survive the harsh winters in the region and that, coupled with inbreeding, led to hydrocephalus.
The second story says that the melon heads come from the Shelton-Trumbull family, who were banished due to allegations of witchcraft. They fled to the woods and inbred, resulting in children with hydrocephalus.
There are a few things that are universal to all of the stories of the melon heads. One is hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain”. The other is the fact that melon heads reportedly kill and eat anyone they come across.
There are plenty of stories about them, and across many different regions, so is it possible that melon heads actually exist or have existed?