Cryptids Cooler Than Bigfoot: Wolpertinger
Horned rabbits have a long, mythical history with many parts of the world from the North American jackalope to the Arabian al-mi’raj. Though a bunicorn might naturally seem like the cuddly cousin of the equine unicorn, legends of its brutal ferocity are so common that the creature has even made its way into a famous video game. Still, the difference between these legendary bunnies is one of quantity, and in fact are explained away by the effects of Shope papilloma virus. That’s where pure German ingenuity comes in.
Meet the Wolpertinger, Europe’s answer to bunny science. Not satisfied to just put a horn on a rabbit, the Bavarian people attached whatever animal parts they could come up with, be it wings, fins or even talons. These days, though, wolpertingers are less feared than they are stuffed as German taxidermists have successfully straddled the fence dividing art and creepy hobbies.
If you’ve ever watched a video of a carnivorous plant in action, you’ve no doubt experienced a strange sensation of simultaneous fascination and terror. Plants like the venus flytrap appear so creepy to us because they challenge our notion that flora is more or less a benevolent backdrop within our lives. With their stiff trunks and firmly-planted roots, it might seem that trees are incapable of stirring the same kind of fear. Enter the hungry Ya-Te-Veo.
The Ya-Te-Veo is said to be a tree stump of wriggling tentacles that violently grabs at anything nearby. Literally meaning “I see you, there,” the monster was named for the words it supposedly spoke to its victims before grabbing them. The man-eating tree first appeared in late 19th Century “travelogues” purportedly detailing creatures from the remote Mkodo tribe in Madagascar. Though the author eventually admitted that not even the tribe existed, the cryptid stuck with readers, and today lives on as JK Rowling’s Whomping Willow, the dendritic gatekeeper of one of Hogwart’s many secret paths.
Isshii + Kussie
It would seem that for just about every city near a lake, there is a camera-shy sea serpent lurking beneath the surface. After the world became captivated with Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, America was so jealous that it invented several of its own, including Bessie, Champ, and Ogopogo. Now even Japan is getting in on the action with the friendly-looking Isshii and Kussie.