Created By: SharleeD on September 18, 2011 Last Edited By: SharleeD on October 3, 2014
Troped

Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious

Elusive, non-supernatural creatures that are alleged, but not proven, to exist

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The biological equivalent of UFO sightings, cryptids are creatures rumored to exist in Real Life, in isolation or in hiding, yet unrecognized and regarded as implausible by mainstream science. Some may be relict survivors of species believed to be extinct, or known organisms displaced into inappropriate habitats; others are unlike any known species, with characteristics that border upon the supernatural. Overtly supernatural entities, such as ghosts, are generally not classified as cryptids. Aliens usually aren't either, unless they've been on Earth long enough to "go native" and be sighted in the wilderness.

Whatever their theoretical origin, all cryptids are mysterious by definition. Some of them are, however, sufficiently well-known from legend as to merit their own tropes:

Those cryptids that haven't received as much media attention, so cannot be classified under the subtropes above, may be included here. Works that feature a wide variety of cryptid types, or follow cryptozoologists' attempts to investigate them, also fall under this trope. Series that only have a Cryptid Episode usually leave their existence open to question, whereas cryptid-themed works generally do reveal their creatures to the audience (if not the characters), sooner or later.

Subtrope of All Theories Are True. Compare Our Monsters Are Weird, which is for creatures that are too bizarre for even cryptozoology (the study of cryptids) to claim they're for real.

Examples:

Comics
  • The Cryptids
  • The Perhapanauts follows the exploits of a team of cryptids and other otherworldlies within a super-secret intergovernmental agency known as BEDLAM investigating other cryptids and other otherworldlies.
  • Angus Og had Kelpies, Mermaids, and various other cryptids, all exist in Scotland's Western Isles. Thanks to water purification, the Kelpies even turned up in the River Clyde running through the middle of Glasgow.

Live Action Film

Literature
  • In The Spy Who Haunted Me, the rival spies are tasked to investigate several well-known tabloid-style mysteries, including the Loch Ness Monster and an Arkansas Bigfoot-sighting. And subverts them all, by attributing them to unnatural forces indigenous to Green's Verse, rather than whatever cryptozoologists assume them to be.
  • InCryptid by Seanan Mcguire is all about a family of cryptozoologists who look after cryptids who exist but are still thought to be rumor by the world at large.
  • Many cryptids in the Harry Potter universe are acknowledged to be magical creatures, including the Yeti (a troll-like monster) and Nessie (a shapeshifting Kelpie disguising itself as a sea serpent). Funnily enough, the wizarding universe has its own cryptids, such as the Nargles and the Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, in which nobody believes except for Luna Lovegood.
  • One Encyclopedia Brown mystery involved Encyclopedia investigating a "Skunk Ape", the Idaville version of an abominable snowman. Of course, it's only Bugs Meany again.

Live-Action Television
  • MonsterQuest and Destination Truth are cryptozoology-themed programs in the style of ghost-hunter shows.
  • The X-Files used dozens of cryptid-based stories, and may even have started a few legends about them.
  • Lost Tapes features plenty of cryptids in its stories.
  • A lot of Syfy Channel movies are based on examples of this trope.

Tabletop Games
  • Cryptids make up a large part of the Conspiracy X and Dark Matter settings and several of them have their origin with the alien races that populate the settings.
  • d20 Modern includes a variety of Cryptids from around the world on its "Menace Manual" book, including the Mongolian Death Worm and the Montauk Monster (a trans-dimensional hostile Energy Being race that was attracted to Earth by the Philadelphia Experiment).
  • In Shadowrun, the Awakening brought many cryptids out of the closet, some as paranormal animals developed from normal ones (e.g. mermaids as Awakened seals) and others as previously-shy beings that didn't feel the need to hide any longer (sasquatches).

Video Games
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3, the members of Mission Control are all really into "UMAs" (Unidentified Mysterious Animal, apparently the normal term in the Metal Gear universe for a cryptid) and frequently talk about them to Snake. There is also a Tsuchinoko in the game which you can capture (or eat), and bringing it back alive is a much easier way of netting the Stealth Camouflage than completing a perfect Stealth Run. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker also has a cryptid Otaku used to justify the Cross Over with Monster Hunter.
  • Bracken Tor, the sequel to Barrow Hill, will evidently involve cryptid sightings of mysterious predatory beasts in Cornwall. (That is, if it actually does get out of Development Hell...) The game's promotional website displays comments allegedly posted by people who've encountered these creatures.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow includes several cryptid monsters that the player will encounter and must defeat during the game.

Western Animation
  • The whole premise of The Secret Saturdays was finding and dealing with cryptids.
  • Ben 10 features an alien called Big Chill who's appearance is based off the legendary cryptid known as "the Mothman".
    • To make it even better, they had a crossover with the above mentioned Secret Saturdays where they joined forces in cryptid hunting.
  • Detentionaire features a creature known as "the Tatzelwurm", based on the cryptid of the same name.
    • This is lampshaded in one episode where Lee refers to it as "the Lochness Monster's first cousin".
  • Gravity Falls frequently features investigations of cryptids and other alleged creatures in various episodes.
  • While most monsters on Scooby-Doo have been made up from scratch for the franchise, the various movies have featured the likes of the Loch Ness Monster and chupacabra.

Real Life
  • Globsters: Unidentified organic masses of skin and organs that wash up on beaches from time to time. Globsters such as the "St Augustine Monster" are often assumed to be cryptids, although necropsies may prove them to be known animal carcasses rendered hard to recognize by decomposition.
  • The UK has a history of mysterious big cats of various sorts, usually blamed on pet big cats being released in the 60s/70s after the laws were changed to stop people owning big cats and keeping them in their own home. However, a lot of the stories pre-date that by quite some period of time (in some cases centuries). They were mentioned a fair bit in the news in the 80s and 90s, but have the stories have sort of faded in the last few years. They still crop up from time to time though.
  • A number of Real Life animals, such as the okapi or the Komodo dragon, were once thought to be this trope until their existence was verified by hard proof.

Community Feedback Replies: 52
  • September 18, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    Does this include some animals thought to be extinct, whose extinction is somewhat disputed? For example, some people think that the Loch Ness Monster could be a pleisiosaur.

    For Australian cryptids, Yowies And Bunyips And Drop Bears Oh My.
  • September 18, 2011
    JonnyB
    Needs a better, non-Snow Clone name.
  • September 18, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
    We had an index of cryptids proposed here a while ago. Ah, here it is. It didn't go anywhere as an index, but a Super Trope for cryptids/cryptozoology might be useful for collecting them and the general usage of cryptozoology in media.
  • September 19, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw

    I'd also include a list of works that use cryptids frequently, preferably as part of the premise.
  • September 20, 2011
    SharleeD
    OK, if there's already a Cryptozoology Index trope in progress, then let's make this one a place for those cryptids that don't fall into one of the existing categories named above. Also for works that, as Papercut says, use a wide variety of cryptids.
  • September 20, 2011
    unclerupee
    Globsters: An unidentified organic mass of skin and organs that wash up on beaches from time to time. For example, go check out the "St Augustine Monster" on The Other Wiki.
  • September 20, 2011
    JesusSaves
    In Harry Potter: Crumpled-Horned Snorklaks and other magical creatures only the Lovegoods seem to believe in.
  • September 20, 2011
    SharleeD
    > That'd be more of an in-universe example, at most. A cryptid should be something that at least some people in Real Life believe in, IMO, otherwise just about any hidden critter in a Verse that's got a Masquerade would qualify.
  • September 20, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    So, what's your stance on the allegedly extinct/ Misplaced Wildlife cryptids? Would works featuring them make the page or not?
  • September 20, 2011
    SharleeD
    >Sure, if it's a creature that a cryptid Urban Legend has arisen from. Even ex-cryptids like the okapi might be included as Real Life examples, although works in which the "cryptid" turns out to be a fake or an escaped zoo animal ought to be (possibly spoilered) subversions.
  • September 20, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    ^Okay... I currently have a YKTTW about Tasmanian Tigers, which are thought to be extinct, and are now classified as cryptids. However, it only has seven examples, which don't show any clear trends, so most people are calling Not A Trope. It's looking unlikely to get launched at this stage, so you might want to take some examples from it and put them here.
  • September 20, 2011
    Abodos
    ^^^^^^^^^Yeah, that's the one I proposed. After putting it up, I realized too late that it wouldn't really work as an index because there currently aren't that many cryptid-specific tropes. It might work better as a Super Trope, though.
  • September 21, 2011
    SharleeD
    ^^ Checked your examples, Papercut, but I'm not sure which of them actually rate as cryptids, and which are cases where extinct-in-real-life animals are a commonplace feature of their setting. Do any of them actually call them cryptids, or have characters being astonished that a tiger is still around?
  • September 21, 2011
    FoolsEditAccount
    Kind of a loose interpretation of the trope, but probably worth a mention:
  • September 21, 2011
    TairaMai
    Don't forget to mention Public Domain Artifact, it's why these guys are popular.
  • September 21, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    ^^^Actually, that's a good point. Nearly all the examples are anthropomorphic and were-thylacines... it's kind of odd that fiction doesn't really treat it as a cryptid, considering that it's one of the most widely believed-in ones in Australia. Rule Of Cool, I suppose.

    Come to think of it, is there a trope for people rediscovering thought-to-be-extinct critters at all?
  • September 23, 2011
    SharleeD
    C'mon, folks, there's gotta be more cryptid stories out there!
  • October 1, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    ^Made a YKTTW for Survived The Extinction, which could be a related trope.
  • October 1, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    The UK has a history of mysterious big cats of various sorts, usually blamed on pet big cats being released in the 60s/70s after the laws were changed to stop people owning big cats and keeping them in their own home. However, a lot of the stories pre-date that by quite some period of time (in some cases centuries). They were mentioned a fair bit in the news in the 80s and 90s, but have the stories have sort of faded in the last few years. They still crop up from time to time though.
  • October 1, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    Perhaps we could make this into a Cryptid Series page, since there's another YKTTW for a Cryptozoology index. The index would link to this, the individual cryptid pages, and Cryptid Episode.
  • October 9, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    Bump. I'm currently working on the Cryptzoology Index.
  • October 11, 2011
    pcw2727
    The Other Wiki has a list of cryptids.
  • October 11, 2011
    pinkdalek
    In Metal Gear Solid 3, the members of Mission Control are all really into "UMAs" (Unidentified Mysterious Animal, apparently the normal term in the Metal Gear universe for a cryptid) and frequently talk about them to Snake. There is also a Tsuchinoko in the game which you can capture (or eat), and bringing it back alive is a much easier way of netting the Stealth Camouflage than completing a perfect Stealth Run. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker also has a cryptid Otaku used to justify the Cross Over with Monster Hunter.
  • October 13, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Anyone ever go "Snipe Hunting?"
  • October 13, 2011
    SharleeD
    ^ Doesn't really count, I think. Birds called snipes actually do exist, they just don't allow themselves to be caught in the way that pranksters claim they can be. Some other countries do use cryptids as the object of "snipe hunt" pranks, however, and those would qualify.
  • September 19, 2014
    jormis29
    • The Perhapanauts follows the exploits of a team of cryptids and other otherworldlies within a super-secret intergovernmental agency known as BEDLAM investigating other cryptids and other otherworldlies.

    • Cryptids make up a large part of the Conspiracy X and Dark Matter settings and several of them have their originate with the alien races that populate the settings.

  • September 19, 2014
    Snowy66
    I love this. Also include the Mothman who doesn't seem to have a trope. Real life I suppose.
  • September 19, 2014
    bitemytail
    As mentioned above, someone being sent to find one of these is on a Snipe Hunt.
  • September 19, 2014
    bejjinks
    Some past cryptids wound up being proven to exist. The platypus and the okapi used to be classified as cryptids until they were discovered to be real.
  • September 19, 2014
    DAN004
    Also the Tsuchinoko urban legend in Japan.
  • September 19, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    D 20 Modern includes a variety of Cryptids from around the world on its "Menace Manual" book, including the Mongolian Death Worm and the Montauk Monster (a trans-dimensional hostile Energy Being race that was attracted to Earth by the Philadelphia Experiment).
  • September 19, 2014
    SWFMax
    I don't think this is ready to be launched yet, but I think it is very tropable, and will soon be ready to launch.
  • September 19, 2014
    Snowy66
    • Western Animation/Ben10 features an alien called Big Chill who's appearance is based off the legendary cryptid known as "the Mothman".
      • To make it even better, they had a crossover with the above mentioned Secret Saturdays where they joined forces in cryptid hunting.
  • September 20, 2014
    Snowy66
    Since Mothman doesn't have a trope of it's own:

    Live Action Film Real Life
    • Mothman: A legendary creature sighted in Point Pleasant Virginia in 1966. Accounts vary in description but all of them describe it as being a winged, bipedal creature with two glowing red eyes. Some reports have stated it had no visible head and the eyes sunken in its chest, as well as its feathers ranging from black to gray. It has been theorized to have some paranormal connection as some victims allegedly experienced premonitions. It has also been tied with the collapse of the Silver Bridge, and visits from Men In Black after encounters.
  • September 20, 2014
    Snowy66
    Also there's a lot of Swamp Monster cryptids. Perhaps put at the top:

    I also remembered the Tatzelwurm

    Western Animation
    • Detentionaire features a creature known as "the Tatzelwurm", based on the cryptid of the same name.
      • This is lampshaded in one episode where Lee refers to it as "the Lochness Monster's first cousin".
  • September 20, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    Needs a link in the description to Cryptid Episode.
  • September 20, 2014
    Skylite
    Literature
    • In Cryptid by Seanan Mcguire is all about a family of cryptozoologists who look after cryptids who exist but are still thought to be rumor by the world at large.

  • September 20, 2014
    Snowy66
    Western Animation
    • Gravity Falls frequently features investigations of cryptids and other alleged creatures in various episodes.
  • September 21, 2014
    Snowy66
    Video Games
  • September 21, 2014
    Snicka
    • Many cryptids in the Harry Potter universe are acknowledged to be magical creatures, including the Yeti (a troll-like monster) and Nessie (a shapeshifting Kelpie disguising itself as a sea serpent). Funnily enough, the wizarding universe has its own cryptids, such as the Nargles and the Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, in which nobody believes except for Luna Lovegood.
  • September 21, 2014
    Snowy66
    ^Nice one.
  • September 21, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    Angus Og (page coming soon, why not drop into it's YKTTW and have a look) had Kelpies, Mermaids, and various other cryptids, all exist in Scotland's Western Isles and thanks to water purification, the Kelpies even turned up in the River Clyde running through the middle of Glasgow.
  • September 22, 2014
    SharleeD
    This one's got plenty of hats now, but some people still suggest the description needs work. Suggestions on how to polish it up before launch?
  • September 22, 2014
    Chabal2
    The SCP Foundation has several unusual creatures locked up that aren't established cryptids (and one of the uncaptured ones is Bigfoot, who it turns out are an entire Superior Species who used to reign over humanity).

  • September 22, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    One Encyclopedia Brown mystery involved Encyclopedia investigating a "Skunk Ape", the Idaville version of an abominable snowman. Of course, it's only Bugs Meany again.
  • September 22, 2014
    NESBoy
  • September 23, 2014
    OmarKarindu
    Subtrope of All Theories Are True.
  • September 24, 2014
    SharleeD
    ^^^ ^^ This trope would be more about cryptids that are established in the popular imagination, rather than ones made up from scratch for a work. If the SCP Foundation has some familiar cryptids in custody, or if there were actual two-headed troll rumors that Icebreaker's writers based theirs on, that'd be appropriate for this.
  • September 24, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Fictional cryptids sounds more like Our Monsters Are Weird
  • September 30, 2014
    Snowy66
    Is this thing going to get launched already?
  • October 1, 2014
    jormis29
    I mis-typed with my example, could you change originate to origins
  • October 1, 2014
    DAN004
    Again, compare Our Monsters Are Weird

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=zezgwp4l6g739082fpe17ypg