Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Professor Irwin Horace, Cryptozoologist...

Professor Irwin Horace has researched many things in his long career, but growing weary of the normal, he turned to the unusual and paranormal. At the ripe age of 68, he took an interest in Cryptozoology. "Whoa, what is that?" you ask. You can read all about the study of Cryptozoology in the column at the right hand side of this page.

Professor Horace has become a mystery himself, as it is rumored he has met many of the legendary and mythical creatures he ventured out to find. It is said he made each creature a promise he would never tell a soul about their existence. So, what Horace knows or doesn't know has become part of a larger myth and legend.

It has been said that he journeyed out one starlit night in his bi-plane and roamed the world over seeking the creatures. Rumor has it he swam with the Loch Ness Monster, toasted marshmallows with Big Foot, and witnessed the flying winged serpent called The Ropen.

A book has been published based on what experts believe was the journey of Professor Horace and his exclusive meetings with creatures during his interest in Cryptozoology. While the Professor denies any of it to be true, this page dedicated to the only man known to actually meet with the mythical and legendary creatures stands as a tribute to the unknown.

Order the book today!
24 Colorful, Rhyming Pages!

ABOVE: Professor Horace enters Loch Ness to meet the Monster.
Professor Horace toasts Marshmallows with Big Foot.
Professor Hoarce sees a Ropen in flight.
BELOW: Readers will have to pay close attention while reading the book,
as mythical and legendary creatures will pop up everywhere

Some Famous Mythical Creatures

THE LOCH NESS MONSTER is an alleged animal, identified neither as to a family or species, but claimed to inhabit Scotland's Loch Ness. The Loch Ness Monster is one of the best-known animals studied by cryptozoology. Popular belief and interest in the animal have waxed and waned over the years since the animal came to the world's attention in 1933. Learn more about this creature more by clicking on its photo.

BIGFOOT, also known as Sasquatch, is an alleged ape-like creature said to inhabit remote forests, mainly in the Pacific northwest region of the United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia. In northern Wisconsin, Lakota Indians know the creature by the name Chiye-tanka, a Lakota name for "Big Elder Brother." Learn more about this creature more by clicking on its photo.

The ROPEN is a flying Pterosaur-like cretaure alleged to live in the vicinity of Papua New Guinea. According to the book Searching for Ropens, it is "any featherless creature that flies in the Southwest Pacific, and has a tail-length more than 25% of its wingspan. On Umboi Island the word "ropen" refers to a large nocturnal creature that glows briefly as it flies. The ropen is the subject of folklore (like a man but also like a spirit) but it's believed by some natives to be a real animal. Learn more about this creature more by clicking on its photo.

In Zulu mythology, TOKOLOSHE or Hili (from the Xhosa word utyreeci ukujamaal) is a dwarf-like water sprite. They have only one arm and one leg, the face of an old man on a boy's body. They are considered a mischievous and evil spirit. They can become invisible by swallowing a pebble. The Tokoloshe, according to the Zulu shaman Credo Mutwa, has been known to take on many forms. Learn more about this creature more by clicking on its photo.

Mainstream science and cryptozoology

Discoveries of previously unknown animals are often subject to great attention, but cryptozoology per se has seen relatively little interest from mainstream scientists. As historian Mike Dash notes, few scientists doubt there are thousands of unknown animals, particularly invertebrates, awaiting discovery. However, as Dash notes, cryptozoologists are largely uninterested in researching and cataloging newly-discovered species of ants or beetles, instead focusing their efforts towards "more elusive" creatures that have often defied decades of work aimed at confirming their existence.

The majority of mainstream criticism of cryptozoology is directed towards the search for megafauna cryptids such as Bigfoot, the Yeren, and the Loch Ness Monster which appear often in popular culture, but for which there is little or no scientific support. Scientists argue that mega-fauna cryptids are unlikely to exist undetected in great enough numbers to maintain a breeding population, and are unlikely to be able to survive in their reported habitats due to issues of climate and food supply.

As such, cryptozoology has never been embraced by the scientific community. Most experts on the matter consider the Bigfoot legend to be a combination of folklore and hoaxes and cryptozoology is considered to be a pseudoscience by mainstream zoologists and biologists. Noted objections to cryptozoology include unreliable eyewitness accounts, lack of scientific and physical evidence, and over-reliance on confirmation rather than refutation.

Cryptozoologists argue that much of the planet remains unexplored, especially deep oceans, so cryptozoological claims about oceanic cryptids should be given more credence. By plotting the discovery rate of new species, C. G. M. Paxton estimated that as many as 47 large oceanic species remain undiscovered. The discoveries of the Coelacanth and the megamouth shark are examples of how deep-sea animals can remain undetected for years.


Cryptozoology supporters have claimed that in the early days of Western exploration of the world, many native tales of unknown animals initially dismissed as superstition by Western scientists, were later proven to have a basis in biological fact, and that many unfamiliar animals, when initially reported, were considered hoaxes, delusions or misidentifications: the platypus, giant squid, okapi, mountain gorilla, grizzly-polar bear hybrid and Komodo dragon are but a few creatures whose existence was denied by reputable scientists, who initially refused to consider the evidence seriously.

Supporters often argue that cryptozoological evidence is evaluated not on its merits or failings, but rather based on ad hominem opinions of researchers, or on prevailing paradigms or world views. For example, biological anthropologists Grover Krantz and Jeff Meldrum have cited what they perceive to be ample physical evidence in support of the existence of Bigfoot. Yet despite the fact that Krantz and Meldrum are recognized experts in their field, their arguments regarding Bigfoot have largely been dismissed by other scientists. Another supposedly well-attested cryptid that was largely ignored by scientists was the so-called Minnesota Iceman of the 1960s, purportedly an unidentified hominid corpse inspected by two cryptologists, Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Huevelmans, who offered detailed descriptions and photos of the creature; despite their efforts towards evangelizing the case, very few scientists expressed an interest. Skeptics of cryptozoology counter[citation needed] that their skepticism regarding the subject prevents an unwarranted flood of misidentified animal sightings attributed to cryptids.

Evidence of cryptids

Supporters claim that as in legitimate scientific fields, cryptozoologists are often responsible for disproving their own objects of study. For example, some cryptozoologists have collected evidence that disputes the validity of some facets of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch phenomenon.

There are several animals cited as examples for continuing cryptozoological efforts:

• The coelacanth, a "living fossil" which represents an order of fish believed to have been extinct for 65 million years, was identified from a specimen found in a fishing net in 1938 off the coast of South Africa. According to Dash, the Coelacanth is a good case for paying close attention to natives' knowledge of animals: though the fish's survival was a complete surprise to outsiders, it was so well known to locals that natives commonly used the fish's rough scales as a sort of sandpaper.

• The 1976 discovery of the previously unknown megamouth shark off Oahu, Hawaii, has been cited by cryptozoologists to support the existence of other purported marine cryptids. Zoologist Ben S. Roesch agrees the discovery of megamouth proves "the oceans have a lot of secrets left to reveal," but simultaneously cautions against applying the "megamouth analogy" too broadly to hypothetical creatures, as the megamouth avoided discovery due to specific behavioral adaptations that would not fit most other cryptids.

• The 2003 discovery of the fossil remains of the "Hobbit"-like Homo floresiensis, thought to be a descendant of later Homo erectus, was cited by paleontologist Henry Gee of the journal Nature, as possible evidence that humanoid cryptids like the orang pendek and Yeti were "founded on grains of truth." Additionally, Gee declared, "cryptozoology, the study of such fabulous creatures, can come in from the cold.

Visit the Cryptozoology Zoo online
A Menagerie of Cryptozoology
Click on the Dragon icon above to go there.