Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hiding In The Bushes of our Minds?

Another "giant squid" was hauled up out of the Gulf of Mexico...less than 20 feet long; the cryptozoologists went "ho hum". Cryptozoology, the exploration to find "hidden animals", attracts a variety of adventurers. Some of these are pretty conventional. They want to know if the Ivory-billed Woodpecker still exists or is really extinct...or if that "cougar" spotted in Michigan means that the beasts are really expanding their territory beyond what anyone thinks...or even if that squid was really that big. Other cryptozoologists are out there going for the Big Strike--The Loch Ness "Monster", "Bigfoot", The Abominable Snowman, Mokele Mbembe [the African Dinosaur], The Giant Octopus, or The really Giant Squid [these 20 to 40 footers are just "shark bait"]. This group wants the BIG ONE but only if the big one is physical--that is, biological, and in that sense "ordinary". The third group is "All-the-way-Fool". Pookhas? Leprechauns? Mothmen? Disappearing Glowing-eyed Black Cats? Bring them on. As you can guess, it's an uneasy alliance, if at all. I know people in all camps and a few who are all three explorers in one head. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Not long ago, there were rumors and sightings of a big cougar-like cat prowling about northern Mexico. It had gotten the name of the "Onza". Professional biologists generally said it didn't exist, as usual, but local farmers/stockmen insisted otherwise. Finally the local people killed one and still no "professional" agreed. Five or so kills later, they finally admitted that something [either a "new" species or some cross-breed] DID exist. One of those dead Onzas is in the top right photo. It seems to take a lot of killing things to get the biology establishment to risk saying anything exists. It would be rare dark humor if we had to kill every one of a hidden species before "science" would say that they were alive. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Out-sized black cats seem to be running loose all over the place, particularly in England. Some cryptozoologists have almost made speaking and writing about them a cottage industry. Who knows what's behind all this, but a "recent" suggestion has been that some kind of probable(?) mutant or overly large [and retrogressed ?] cat tribe has arisen. A picture of this thing, the so-called Kellas Cat, is middle right above. But what of all the really weird cases? The glowing-eyed black stalkers, the uncanny Pookhas, the Vanishers? For most "respectable" cryptozoologists they are better left unsaid. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Frankly, I like Pookhas myself, but one of my rare attempts to do cryptozoology was a bit more academic than that. I was studying Egyptian mythology [well, why not?] and noticed that all the "theriomorphic" [animal-formed] gods were, when in their "animal head/human body" forms, representative of known animals except one. That one was a rather important one: SET. The dark lord of the south, the slayer of Osiris, and the forerunner of the image of the Christian Satan "didn't fit" the pattern. This turned out to be a matter of debate among Egyptologists, the vast majority of whose ideas I felt were obvious poppycock. Some baled out entirely and said , well they just made him up [when all others were real]. I said:B.S. Others tried to identify him with the most ridiculous of solutions, ridiculous because they never came close to matching the representations of the beast [sometimes being so far off that one wondered what medicines the guys were taking who suggested it--a lot like certain UFO theorists by the way]. I thought that if this was the best they could offer I could at least be forgiven for trying. Looking at a few dozen representations of SET across several dynasties, the vast majority of living animal candidates quickly fell away. Reading the religious texts which [surprisingly] described animal-like behaviors for SET, I became convinced that we were dealing with a real [at least at the time] animal, and not a myth. The animal was one of a very few choices: 1). an extinct violent wild dog breed, structured somewhat like a hound; 2). an early partly-tamed cross-breed hunting dog [old texts indicate a fear of bred dogs with certain SET-like characteristics]; or 3). a type of Hyena, with longer snout than today's, now probably hunted to extinction. I got valuable coaching from biological professionals so that my remarks weren't howling errors, and even got the paper published. SET was a Cryptid [I believe]. It was a dangerous man-killing, meat-eating thing and it was no myth. Though no longer hanging around the pyramids [if it ever were that far north], it could still be out there somewhere "just around the forest path" in sub-Saharan Africa. I wait in hope of someone discovering it...without being eaten of course. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Although my SETian foray was in the conservative area of cryptozoology [Hey, that's where the data led], my leanings, as you might guess are right past the liberal and onto the spiritually radical. Oddly, while dealing with this major spiritual icon [SET] I ended up grounded in the desert. But I don't believe the deep interest in the subject lies there, and there will be more about Pookhas later.

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