Tag Archives: Cryptids

A Review of “The Nun” + Some Ghost Stories & Elisa Lam’s Mysterious Death

This is a review of the horror movie, “The Nun,” but we also get into a lot of real life Ghost Stories in LA, the mysterious death of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel and the Bell Witch Cave in Tennessee.

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Meet the Monsters of MST3K’s “Every Country Has a Monster”

It did take me a while to finally getting around to giving the Netflix reboot of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” a chance.  I love Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as much as the next guy and had no doubt the show would be done the ‘right’ way.  Still, I had a good year of hesitation before I finally dove in.

In addition to being a worthy follow-up, the very first episode featured a song about cryptids!  The first movie of their season is a Danish monster movie called “Reptilicus.”  The song goes on the premise that, hey, Japan doesn’t have exclusive rights to big, dumb monster movies.  After all, as the refrain goes, “every country has a monster they’re afraid of!”

So, I decided to go through the lyrics and dive into the creatures mentioned in the song.  To my surprise, there were quite a few I hadn’t heard of!  Feel free to check out the video above and follow along in my abridged version of the lyrics (if they don’t mention a ‘monster,’ I skipped ahead).  All images are clickable so you can see them in their full spooky glory (when possible, I link to the original artists post)!

Jonah: Name a land

Servo: Belize

Jonah: Oh, geez; easy peasy, mes amis. See, in the Yucatan you can meet El Cadejo. In Belize they believe in him.

ElCadejo

  • El Cadejo’s name comes from the Spanish word for “chain” since this massive (roughly cow-sized) goat or dog-like creature with flaming red eyes is said to drag a chain behind it. It’s a creature that travelers are most likely to come across, but it’s not always bad news as there is also a “good Cadejo” that helps or protects lost or vulnerable travelers. However, stumbling across the evil Cadejo can get bad quick as merely talking to the creature will cause you to go insane. Some reports are right out of modern-age, dog-man sightings, where witness have encountered the creature standing upright on its hind legs. Bonus Creepiness: His diet consists of newborn puppies.
Servo: Scotland?

Jonah: Nessies livin’ up in a loch

  • I won’t spend much time on this as we’ve all already heard of the Loch Ness Monster. Weak pull, MST team. We’re looking for the deep cuts!
Servo: How ’bout Poland?
Jonah: A scary scarecrow named Bubak.
Crow: Huh; so…it’s not just Godzilla?
Servo:Well, duh, Crow; there’s a lot that could kill ya’Bubak
  • This is more of a Boogeyman than a mythical creature. The Burbak is an utterly creepy scarecrow that resides along riverbanks. It will mimic the sound of a baby in distress. Once a good Samaritan shows up to help, they become the next victim. What becomes of the victim? Their souls become the material he weaves into cloth. Bonus Creepiness: He rides around in a cart pulled by black cats.
Servo: What turned the musk deer’s guts to spaghetti?

Jonah: Was it in Tibet?

Servo: Yep

Jonah: I bet he met a yeti!

  • Another all-too-common monster here that you’ve already heard of. The Yeti or abominable snowman is an ancient species though as even by the 1700s, there had long been talk of a “Glacier being” that was referred to as God of the Hunt.
Crow: Australia?
Jonah: There, drop bears will impale ya.
Servo: Then they’ll sell ya hella-touristy paraphernaliadropbears
  • Don’t let the visual similarities fool ya. Though they look like cuddly Koala Bears, they are blood thirsty carnivores! Imagine walking through the subtropical paradise that is Australia when a Koala the size of a leopard seems to fall from the sky, landing on top of you with a heavy impact. Before you even realize what just happened, the Drop Bear is already quick at work, eating you alive. Bonus Creepiness: They’re racist (or at least xenophobic)! Covering yourself with Vegemite and talking with a convincing Australian accent may keep you safe.
Jonah: Chupacabra‘s chewin’ up cattle down in Mexico…
  • We’ve all been aware of the “Goat sucker” of Latin lore for what seems like forever, but did you know that this cryptid is modern? The first attack took place in 1995 and the term “Chupacabra” was coined by a comedian who was describing (a very real) incident where eight sheep were found with three puncture wounds, fully drained of blood.
Déélgééd‘s horn is gorein’, battling the Navajo.
  • As is commonly the case, Native American lore is tightly guarded. Déélgééd is only mentioned by the brief description of being a “horned monster” in all written accounts. It’s actually a small part of a much bigger parable. In respect to their culture, this story is apparently only supposed to be told in the winter, so I will hold back (meanwhile, shame on you, MST3K, writers! This episode came out in the spring. If the show doesn’t get a season two, I think we can blame it on an [indigenous persons] curse!).
…Congo’s kongamato is a mongo flying dino. I know I don’t want to die, but when I do, he’ll be the guy.

kongamato

  • This one’s wild, because it isn’t a cryptid – it’s a real life creature that may have overlapped with humans before extension. Some theories speculate that the Kongamoto, which translates to “Breaker of Boats,” was a dinosaur (as referenced in this song), but the other leading possibility is the Saddle-billed stork, which is still alive and thriving. In the ‘30s and again in the ‘50s, scientists observed a foul tempered bird (not sorry about the pun) that attacked boats and people alike. The wingspan was 4 to 7 feet wide. Bonus Creepiness: people have been hospitalized with severe wounds, leading to this actual quote on Wikipedia, “No film has ever been taken, nor have any bodies been examined, leaving all of the stories to rely on large wounds…” Also, when asked to draw pictures of the animal that attacked them, victims draw an image that “resembles a pterosaur.” It’s not often that people are admitted to hospitals with ‘cryptid wounds.’
Servo: Kropermann is a monster from Luxembourg.
Crow: Who’s actually the size of Luxembourg.Kropermann
  • I don’t know where the talk of this creature being the size of a city comes from unless you’re accounting for the ubiquitousness of water because this sea monster can appear anywhere water exists. From the deepest lake to…. Your toilet! Bonus Creepiness: the creature “spears children” who end up getting to close to it. Usually folkloric tales that involve dead children have a lesson tied to it (“eat yer broccoli or the Kropermann’ll get ya!”), but this one doesn’t have that. The only logical conclusion: this is a real beast that just like young meat!
Crow: Egypt’s got mummies like Tutankhamun.
Servo: Leprechaun on the lawn in Boston Common.

Boston-Celtics-logo

  • Probably the furthest stretch on the list, we all know that leprechauns are no monster. Mythical creature, sure, but if they’re cobblers who grant wishes, tend to a pot o’ gold and adorn Larry Bird’s jersey, they’re no monster.
Jonah: And by that I mean Jiu Feng and Peng, giant Chinese birds, and one of them turns into a fish.

nineheadedphoenixchina

  • Jiu Feng, considered the Chinese Phoenix, was a 9-headed bird, honored from 475-221 BC. Indeed, the Peng is a creature that transforms from a massive bird to a massive fish. It is a literary creature, perhaps more in line with Paul Bunyan than thought to be a real life monster.
Anyway… Gnus, …

Catoblepas-gnu

  • The gnu is not a cryptid in and of itself… it’s a wildebeest in southern Africa. However, after a little digging, I was able to find ancient reports of a massive gnu-like creature in Ethiopia called a Catoblepas. It’s horned head was so heavy, it always faced the ground, which was a good thing because its gaze, or even its exhale could permanently turn you to stone.
killer shrews

Killershrews_MST3K

  • I love this in-joke for all the “MSTies” out there as “The Killer Shrews” is a classic episode of MST3K.
…and the loup-garou.
  • We’re talking your basic, run-of-the-mill werewolf here, just in its French translation.  An interesting lesser-known way to become cursed with lycanthrophy is to not observe Lent for seven consecutive years.  Considering that we’re talking about religious rules here, it seems pretty lenient that you can be a bad Catholic 6 years out of 7 and still be okay.
Baba Yaga

BabaYaga You should definitely click on this image.  Lots of detail to see.
  • We head back to the middle ages in Slovenia to find this skeleton-thin witch in folklore.  Her exact purpose isn’t fully known, and like nature itself, she can be good or bad.  Perhaps the most interesting things about her are her surroundings.  Rather then flying on a broomstick, she shuffles around the forest in a giant mortar and pestle she operates like a rowboat.  That is, when she’s not traveling in her house itself, which stands on fully functional chicken legs. Bonus Creepiness: among her entourage are three pairs of disembodied hands that she can control, which she nicknamed her “soul friends.”  Also, when her house is in motion, it emits a horrifying scream.  While it’s stationary, it’s guarded by a fence made of bones, including fire-eyed skulls.
Jorōgumo and the…

Jorōgumo

  • Hats off to the Japanese for perhaps the most creative and creepy entry on this very creepy list.  What happens when a golden orb weaver spider (which is a real thing and I do NOT suggest doing a Google Image search for it just before bed) turns 400 years young?  Well, it becomes a shape shifting woman, of course!  When not an arachnid, it is a siren-like woman who pulls men into the dangerous currents of a waterfall.  Bonus Creepiness: Another story tells of the Jorōgumo handing a baby to a man.  The man looks down to discover that the blanket he’s holding does not contain a baby, but rather, thousands of hatching, man-eating spider eggs.  Oh, and those baby spiders… they breathe fire.  Real life spookiness: The Golden Orb Weaver is big enough to feed on birds and snakes.  Dear God, I did not intend to learn so much about this horrifying real life creature.
impundulu.  Now you guys realize the surprising size of all the worldwide daikaiju

HamerkopImpundulu

  • There is an adorable real life bird called the hamerkop.  However, if you were to ask tribes in South Africa, they would tell you that this is the shape-shifting impundulu.  This bird is highly feared as it is believed to be a familiar to a witch, doing her bidding.  The creature has the power to shoot lighting from its beak and talons (impundulu translates to “lightning bird”) while also being vampiritic, feasting on the blood of humans and other birds alike.
  • Word of the day:  The Japanese word “daikiju” translates to ‘large, strange beast.’
Gypsy: Sasquatch!

Jonah: That’s Canada!

  • We all know who Sasquatch is… and he’s more closely associated with the Pacific Northwest of America than Canada.  However, Bigfoot is sighted all across Canada and the United States.
Servo: Tatzelwurm for the Swiss!

Tatzelwurm

  • This cryptid is found throughout the Alps, but the Swiss would actually refer to it as “Stollenwurm.”  We went through a lot of folklore to finally find ourselves back to a cryptid.  This reptile creature has a long snakelike body, stubby arms and legs and a cat’s face.  Accounts of exactly how many limbs the creature has range from zero to so many it was ‘like a caterpillar.’ Sightings of the Stollenwurm were rare but not unheard of rom the mid 1600s through the mid 1800s. Naturalises of the time theorized that these were real life creatures who had died out.  Bonus Creepiness: Some eye witnesses reported dizziness and headaches after the creature hissed at them, leading people to theorize that it may have poison breath.
Crow: Scandinavia!

Jonah: Kraken!

  • The Kracken is so synonymous with pop culture that it’s easy to forget that this is a real cryptid with first sightings dating back to the 1200s.  It’s possible that this is a real creature that’s misidentified due to its surprising size.  We all know how untrustworthy eye witness testimony is when a manatee can be confused with a mermaid.  The Kracken could be a colossal squid or a giant squid (real animals that approach 50 feet in length, the colossal squid peaking at over 1,600 pounds with eyeballs over a foot and a half in diameter).  There are also known now-extinct squid species that were even larger.
Servo:  Kinga!

Felicia-Day-mst3k

  • It took me way too long to realize that Servo was insulting one of the new “mads” with this comment as Kinga is the name of Felicia Day’s character.   She’s no monster – she’s way too adorable!