Follow TV Tropes


Cryptid Episode

Go To
He also met a big foot once, but that's another story.

A cryptid is an animal which is not yet known to modern science, such as Bigfoot, The Mothman, or the Loch Ness Monster. Sometimes, a show that is not usually focused on them will have an episode or two about them.

This type of episode can be used as a characterisation exercise, establishing some of the characters as believers and others as skeptics.

Possible plots for this kind of episode include:

  • The characters spend the episode trying to find the cryptid. In a Slice of Life series, they generally don't succeed, conclude that it must not exist, and go home. (Sometimes it will be revealed to the audience that the creature is Real After All, but the characters discovering a cryptid could permanently change their lives forever, and that's BAD).
  • The characters find a cryptid early in the episode, and spend the episode trying to look after it/hide it/help it find its way home.
  • Characters are traveling on holiday and encounter one. (Abominable Snowman seems to be the most common one for this, what with mountain getaways and Christmas Episodes providing plenty of snowy settings).
  • A show with a Monster of the Week format will have a cryptid as one of said monsters.
  • A crime show may come across a murder or other crime allegedly committed by a cryptid. The characters usually find out that there's a more reasonable explanation, but the end of the episode may reveal the creature is Real After All.

If done clumsily, this can easily result in a Bizarro Episode. See also Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious and Alien Episode.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Engaged to the Unidentified has an episode where the cast leave the city for a while and may or may not have found an analogue to Nessie.
  • Kagewani showcases cryptids being investigated by Profesor Banba in a monster of the week format. It also shows their aggression towards civilians caught up in their attack.
  • Lupin III: Fujiko's singing voice attracts the Loch Ness Monster, Lupin is tasked with collecting tears from a yeti, the entire gang goes after a mermaid's treasure... this sort of plot has happened a few times... In the anime Lupin III, at least.
  • Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel has an episode based around a sea monster.
  • Magu-chan: God of Destruction: Gu La is introduced when Kikyo's occult research club investigate reports of a dangerous creatures that "only" turns out to be another being of chaos.
  • In an episode of The '90s Sailor Moon, they find a sea monster while on vacation. It doesn't have any connection to the magic of the show.
  • The official Touhou Project manga have indulged in this a few times, since Gensokyo is a Fantastic Nature Reserve. Forbidden Scrollery had a chapter where Remilia's missing pet turns out to be a chupacabra, while Wild and Horned Hermit had a chapter where Reimu discovered a mysterious puffball that was eventually identified as a keseran-paseran.
  • One series of mini-corners in Yo-Kai Watch had Komasan and Komajiro recruited in a series to explore legends and mysteries, some of which were finding cryptids. The man that recruited them (poorly) faked them all only for Komasan to witness their existence as they leave. When the cameras were off and Komasan was alone, though...

    Comic Books 
  • Gravity Falls: Lost Legends: The fourth story, "The Jersey Devilís In The Details" is about a young Stan and Ford hunting for the titular creature in their hometown of Glass Shard Beach, due to Ford believing that it stole their fatherís favorite gold chain. In reality, it was Stan who took the chain-to have it decorated for a Fatherís Day present. They do actually find the creature, but end up letting it go.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Frog Dreaming (also known as Go-Go Kids and The Quest in some markets) is about a young American boy whose family has relocated to Australia, and who becomes obsessed with Australian cryptids and specifically about finding out about a Bunyip-esque monster called "Donkegin" that is supposed to live in the local lake. It turns out that Donkegin is in fact an old Donkey Engine (a type of excavator or steam-shovel) used in construction work, and the pond is in fact a flooded quarry.

  • Goosebumps uses either stock monsters (vampires, werewolves, mummies, etc.) or original ones, the sole exception being The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena.
  • Nick Velvet: In "The Theft of Silver lake Serpent", Nick is hired to steal a serpent that has been sighted in the lake near a resort. The 'serpent' turns out to be a fake, designed to generate publicity for the resort. Nick manages to steal the fake serpent anyway.
  • High Rhulain, one of the Redwall books, contains the Slothunog, an obvious Loch Ness Monster expy. It's notable for being the only instance in the entire series where Brian Jacques deviated from his rule of only using real animals, though one could argue that it's based on a prehistoric sea reptile.
  • In the short story "The Convenient Monster", The Saint uncovers a murder that looks like the work of the Loch Ness Monster. At the end of the story, the murderer is killed by the actual Loch Ness Monster.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The A-Team episode "Timber!", Murdock's obsession du jour is Bigfoot, and a lot of his scenes in the episode involve him attempting to catch one, either with a camera or with a trap. He fails in catching anything but B.A.
  • A mid-season revamp of Baywatch Nights had every episode switch between this, a Paranormal Episode or an Alien Episode willy-nilly. Bear in mind, the original concept of the show was veteran lifeguard Mitch Buchannon and his cop friends quitting the beach life and opening a private-eye agency. The show ended up being cancelled shortly afterwards because this attempt to Follow the Leader that was The X-Files got too strange for the audience to care about.
  • The Bones episode focusing on El Chupacabra uses it as a way to explore the differences between Bones highly logical and scientific worldview and that of Agent Booth's as a devout Catholic more open to believing in the paranormal and superstitious.
  • The Coroner: In "The Beast of Lighthaven", Beth is camping with friends overnight on the moors, and is frightened by animal noises and discovers a savaged sheep. Posting a picture on social media arouses the interest of local journalist Ben Fairhead of the Lighthaven Star. Fairhead believes the picture will convince the locals and police of his belief that a big cat is loose on the moors. Then Fairhead turns up dead on the moors...
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor has met up with Yeti in "The Abominable Snowmen" and the Loch Ness Monster in "Terror of the Zygons".
  • The Endeavour episode "Prey" has Morse and colleagues investigating a series of mysterious deaths which are eventually found to have been caused by an actual tiger that's on the loose in rural Oxfordshire; it had been kept by the gamekeeper of a stately home whose owners had wanted to convert some of their land into a drive-through safari park, but had escaped.
  • The Goodies:
    • In "Scotland", Tim, Bill and Graeme decide to go to Scotland, where they hope to be able to catch the Loch Ness Monster for the zookeeper to put into the Monster House.
    • In "Big Foot", The Goodies go in search of Arthur C. Clarke, who has gone missing, but get more than they bargained for when they find that Bigfoot is on their tail.
  • One episode of The Greatest American Hero has Ralph wanting to use the supersuit to hunt for a legendary sea serpent, but soon getting diverted into dealing with some human villains. Similar to the X-Files example below, the serpent puts in an appearance (of sorts) at the very end of the episode, seen only by the viewer.
  • Heartbeat had one episode with the cops searching for some legendary big cats that were killing sheep on the Yorkshire moors. Turned out to be incompetent sheep rustlers instead.
  • How I Met Your Mother had a "cock-a-mouse," part cockroach, part mouse, and capable of flight.
    • Also one cut to 2029 references this in a Background Gag, with an older, balding Marshall standing in front of a newspaper clipping reading "NYC Lawyer Captures Nessie". Marshall is consistently shown to believe in Nessie and Bigfoot (whom he is convinced are both gentle giants), though this is the only indicator that they genuinely exist within the show's universe.
  • iCarly has an episode centering around the hunt for Bigfoot.
  • The Invisible Man (the Sci-Fi/USA TV series) did a Big Foot episode. Big Foot turns out to be naturally invisible. And a female.
  • The Love Boat: One storyline involved a group of anthropologists on board the boat who were searching for a Malayan Bigfoot "Missing Link", although it eventually turned out to be a complicated con involving a down-on-his-luck actor in a bad wig and stage make-up.
  • MacGyver (1985) encounters Bigfoot in the third season episode "Ghost Ship".
  • A latter-season episode of Miami Vice has one of the characters being kidnapped while investigating a cult and the rest of the cast rushing to find her, only to find out that they have run into an honest-to-God Alien Abduction plot with honest-to-God aliens (the leader of whom is played by James Brown). A good example of the "Bizarro Episode" variant.
  • Midsomer Murders: "Secrets and Spies" - After a break-in at Causton Museum where an animal skull was stolen, ex-spy Brenda Packard tells Barnaby that Allenby House, owned by testy ex-spymaster Malcolm Frazer, is a safe house for agents. Geoffrey Larkin, a visiting former agent, has a bitter argument with Frazer, who accuses him of treachery when they were spying in Berlin during the Cold war. Larkin threatens Frazer with a dossier marked "Wolfman" and next day is murdered, seemingly by a wild animal, the legendary Beast of Midsomer.
  • Neal on The Newsroom would occasionally try to submit a story about Bigfoot being real. For obvious reasons, he was never taken seriously.
  • While most of the creatures in Primeval weren't connected to any real-life mythology, occasionally one would turn out to be the source of a legendary creature or cryptid. The most notable examples were the Dracorex (a dinosaur mistaken for a dragon), the "Mer-creatures", the gremlin-like "camouflage creatures", and the Pristichampsus (implied to be the inspiration for the Egyptian monster Ammut).
  • The Psych season 7 episode "Lassie Jerky" involves Shawn and Gus joining a pair of student filmmakers who are trying to film a documentary about Bigfoot in the woods of California. The Bigfoot they're tracking winds up being a ex-soldier in a ghillie suit who lives in the woods.
  • Sherlock season 2 episode "The Hounds of Baskerville" centers around a mysterious "hound" that apparently killed the client's father in his childhood, near the Baskerville military installation. Sherlock and John chase this strange creature for the majority of the episode until it's realized they were suffering under the effects of a powerful hallucinogenic vapor that was being disseminated in a nearby wooded area. The client's father was killed because he figured out what was happening in that area and a researcher working on the project, a man he thought was his friend, had to silence him.
  • The infamous The Six Million Dollar Man episode where Steve Austin fights with Bigfoot.
  • An episode of Gerry Anderson's Stingray has the submarine and crew shipped to Scotland to find the Loch Ness Monster.
  • Interestingly enough, Supernatural completely averts it: in the course of six-and-a-third seasons, the main characters have encountered angels, zombies, demons, and everything in between, but any hunter worth his rock salt knows that Bigfoot is a hoax.
  • The X-Files had enough cryptid episodes to stuff the Berlin Zoo full with them. And often subverted (and double subverted) them. A rampaging lake monster turns out to be a killer alligator while at the end the lake monster surfaces, unseen by anyone and a group of greys walking down a hill at an environmental spill turn out to be misidentification of men in hazmat suits.

  • The Hamish and Dougal episode "The Monster in the Loch" has the characters accidentally burn the log that gullible tourists mistake for a monster, and then learn that it's Real After All.
  • One episode of The Navy Lark has the Troutbridge crew reassigned to find the Loch Ness Monster.

    Video Games 
  • In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, you can find various newsletters from "UMA News" that give hints about three rare cryptids (the Yeti, the Mothman and the Flying Humanoid). The said cryptids only appear in one room and require specific Souls to draw out/defeat.
  • In Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, the journalist Marcel sends you to get pictures of three different cryptids, which are a Cave Troll AKA Chupacabra, a Jersey Devil and a Yeti.
  • Criminal Case: Supernatural Investigations has a case centered around the Chupacabra, with the eponymous creature serving as the murder weapon after the killer learns to control it.
  • Granblue Fantasy: One "Grand Blues! Radio" quest has Lowain, Lyria and Vyrn teaming up with the Lumiel Knights in a quest to find the rumored Loch Crabess as its meat can be used to make exquisite dishes. As it turns out, Crabess is a large crab capable of imitating the voices of those who enter its lair. While they did manage to defeat and cook it, consuming its meat allows one to temporarily change his/her voice.
  • Cryptid-related sidequests show up fairly often in Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance's "Snake Tale E - External Gazer" is a story about Snake being sent by Otacon to photograph a weird sea monster that's been spotted in New York. Otacon is curious about what this means for the sciences, Mei Ling wants it in a zoo, and Snake doesn't believe it exists (and has to fight it, obviously). The sea monster is a giant version of the Mook soldiers you fight in the main game with a fin on its head, though this is never mentioned in the plot.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, it is possible to capture the Japanese cryptid the tsuchinoko, which causes Zero to order you not to eat it and to bring it back home. If you successfully return it you get the rank 'tsuchinoko' and stealth camouflage to use. (If you eat it, it tastes delicious.) Only one exist in the game.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker contains a chunk of Monster Hunter-pastiche missions where the player gets to fight and harvest meat from dinosaur-like monsters referred to in-universe as UM As, including Gear Rex (a non-"metal" version of Metal Gear REX). It also contains ghost photography missions where you must detect and photograph ghost guards.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes has a mode where you play as Raiden to fight aliens.
  • Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, in the second episode Nelson encounters Bigfoot who helps in destroying the lunacy machine.

    Visual Novels 
  • A Dating Sim H-Game Club Life has a cryptid route. In this route, the main character and his love interest save a lake monster, obvious Expy of Nessie, from a crazed hunter.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: The Strong Bad Email "myths & legends" had Strong Bad do a mockumentary on the Bear Holding a Shark, acting like the cardboard cut-out lurking behind Strong Badia's fence is based on a real creature of mysterious myth and/or legendary legend.


    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Bedtime Stories (YouTube Channel) has an episode entirely about the Mothman, a Winged Humanoid-type cryptid that terrorized people in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in the mid-1960s. Later episodes include possible bigfoot encounters in North American and Canadian forests, and the so-called "Blackbird of Chernobyl" (heavily implied to be one and the same as the Mothman), among others.
  • TierZoo did a Cryptid Tier list as an April Fools' Day joke. It's actually surprisingly well-made for an April Fool's joke, detailing why certain cryptids such as the Chupacabra and Jackalope were low on the tier list due to being diseased animals, while others such as the Loch Ness Monster and Mokèlé-mbèmbé were high on the tier list due to being living prehistoric reptiles.

    Western Animation  
  • A Monster of the Week in American Dragon: Jake Long was The Jersey Devil.
  • In one episode, Angela Anaconda and her friends go looking for a yet- erm, sasquatch.
  • In The Angry Beavers, Dagget meets "Big Byoo-tocks".
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Three Girls and a Little Wharfy", Louise teams up with her classmate Jessica and an older girl named Meghan to track down a sea monster spotted off the coast.
  • One episode of Chowder has Chowder searching for Bigfood.
  • One episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog involved Bigfoot. A subplot involves Eustace capturing said Bigfoot for a reward.
  • In Dan Vs. "Canada", Dan and Chris run afoul of a yeti who is descended from Chris' axe-murderer great-grandfather, meaning him and Chris are related.
  • One episode of Dexter's Laboratory featured Bigfoot while another used the Chupacabra.
  • Earthworm Jim has an episode, "Trout!" where Jim drags Peter on a road trip after seeing a (obviously faked) postcard of a 'Giant Fur-bearin' Trout'. At the same time, Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is on earth searching for said fish, as, for some bizarre reason, Professor Monkey-For-A-Head's newest weapon is powered by fish-hair. Jim almost gives up after going to the maker of said postcard who admitted it was a fake, but is drawn by a vision which actually does lead him to the Giant Fur-bearin' Trout, which he must protect from the queen.
  • In the Futurama episode "Spanish Fry", Fry goes to look for Bigfoot while on a camping trip, which leads to him getting abducted by aliens who steal his nose. Bigfoot actually appears at the end to help resolve the plot.
  • One episode of Garfield and Friends has Jon looking for Bigfeets.
  • An episode of Gargoyles featured a visit to Loch Ness during the Avalon World Tour. Of course within the series, the Gargoyles themselves are technically cryptids too.
  • In one episode of Generator Rex, the creature he is fighting turns out not to be an EVO but is instead a (perfectly natural) chupacabra.
  • In Godzilla: The Series, Godzilla fights the Loch Ness Monster and, in another episode, a cybernetic yeti.
  • The Great North: "Keep Beeflievin Adventure" revolves around Bigfoot and Moon being bullied for believing in him.
  • Two episodes of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures had Team Quest looking for cryptids (the Jersey Devil and Yetis, respectively) and running into people who used the legends to conceal their own misdeeds (In reverse order, thieves and two Feuding Families descended from Redcoats and American Revolutionaries who were still fighting the war (most specifically, struggling over the original version of the Declaration of Independence) and used a Jersey Devil costume to steal children to raise as soldiers). In both instances, it turns out that the cryptid was Real After All.
  • The Lake Nose Monster and the Chupacabra from Phineas and Ferb.
    • On a lesser note, one episode had Phineas telling a story of Bigfoot though the story was just a story until the end.
  • The Real Ghostbusters encounter Bigfoot in episode "Camping Out", whilst Extreme Ghostbusters face the Jersey Devil in the eponymous episode.
  • The "Little Bigfoot" episode of Sam & Max: Freelance Police has Sam trying to rescue a young Bigfoot working as a busboy and return him to the wild. It turns out he wasn't a Bigfoot, just the son of a sideshow freak.
  • Interestingly, the Scooby-Doo franchise usually makes up its own monsters from scratch. When Those Meddling Kids do encounter a famous cryptid such as Nessie or the Chupacabra, it tends to happen in a feature-length story rather than a routine episode.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, the discovery of the legendary Hodag turns out to be a hoax as usual, though it's not an human in a costume, but a trained monkey controlled by a thief.
  • The Secret Saturdays are about a family that both hunt and protect various cryptids, making the entire series an extended Cryptid Episode.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In an attempt to become the world's most lovable billionaire, Mr. Burns goes to Loch Ness to capture Nessie.
    • A sort-of example is the episode "Call of the Simpsons" where Homer gets lost in the woods and is mistaken for Bigfoot.
  • South Park:
    • The episodes "Jakavosaurs" and "Jewpacabra".
    • And Al Gore thinks it's the premise of "Manbearpig", but it really isn't.
      "No one takes me cereal!"
  • Sparkle Friends: The episode "Are We There Yeti" has the gang trying to get a photo of Bigfoot. Who turns out to literally be a single big foot.
  • In one episode of The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, Dr. Harvey and the Ghostly Trio went on a camping trip and Bigfoot scared them away. It turns out Bigfoot was actually Baby Huey.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures inflicted the Big Butt upon its viewing audience. It was the one furry creature Elmyra wanted nothing to do with.
  • According to a short from The Tom and Jerry Show, Bigfoot tracks are actually left by a diminutive hillbilly hermit who lives all alone because he's tired of people making fun of his giant feet.