I’ve always been an interested skeptic. Stories of the yeti and the Loch Ness monster fascinated me, but also made me laugh! As a scientist, I could never get behind the idea that those things existed without us knowing. That all changed a few years ago. In 2014 I was in Vietnam doing my master’s research on silvered langurs. On a tour around the city of Hanoi my friend told me the story of Cu Rua, the sacred turtle of Hoan Kiem lake. He said it was a turtle the size of a car that had lived in the lake for hundreds of years and was sacred to the people of Hanoi. I looked at the relatively small, dirty lake with little in the way of plants or animal life, and dismissed the story. What an interesting legend I believed it was, but obviously not a real animal. What would it eat? Why don’t people see it every day? Just a story.
In January 2016 I happened across a news article. The sacred turtle of Hoan Kiem was dead. A turtle of almost 400 pounds and over six feet long had washed up on the shores of the river. It was a type of giant river turtle known to inhabit parts of Asia. I was floored. I was wrong. It existed. In that moment I was ashamed. Ashamed I was a scientist who had dismissed the possibility, and ashamed I was an anthropologist who had failed to listen to local people. From that moment on I vowed never to dismiss a cryptid again.
I retain my healthy skepticism. If you are seeking someone to blindly accept all cryptids, I’m not it. I will present my ideas on various cryptids and address new possibilities with an open mind. With a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, ecology, and evolutionary biology, a master’s in primatology, and a doctorate in anthrozoology in the works (yes, I’m not done with my PhD and therefore not a full doctor yet, but it was a catchy title) I have lots of ideas! So prepare to enter the wonderful world of cryptozoology and learn about this crazy planet we all live on!