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
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.
Live Action Film
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.