Within the arena of Cryptozoology there are a number of stories of people having allegedly been killed by strange creatures. True? False? Legend? Hoax? Let’s take a look at some of the cases on record. And we’ll begin with the matter of the Loch Ness Monster. St. Adomnán’s Vita Columbae (in English, Life of St. Columba) is a fascinating Gaelic chronicle of the life of St. Columba. He was a 6th century abbot, also of Ireland, who spent much of his life trying to convert the Iron Age Picts to Christianity, and who, like Adomnán, was an abbot of Iona. In 563, Columba sailed to Scotland, and two years later happened to visit Loch Ness – while traveling with a number of comrades to meet with King Brude of the Picts. It turned out to be an amazing and notable experience, as Vita Columbae most assuredly demonstrates. Adomnán began his story thus: “…when the blessed man was staying for some days in the province of the Picts, he found it necessary to cross the river Ness; and, when he came to the bank thereof, he sees some of the inhabitants burying a poor unfortunate little fellow, whom, as those who were burying him themselves reported, some water monster had a little before snatched at as he was swimming, and bitten with a most savage bite, and whose hapless corpse some men who came in a boat to give assistance, though too late, caught hold of by putting out hooks.”
It should be noted that we could make a rational case that the story was simply a parable, a fable; perhaps one designed to demonstrate the power of the word of God over the domain of evil. After all, St. Columba, as noted above, spent years trying to convert the Picts to Christianity. So, what better way than to suggest that God had the power to repel deadly, Scottish lake-monsters? On the other hand, however, it’s decidedly intriguing and curious that of all the large bodies of water in Scotland that the story should have been set in, it turned out to be none other than Loch Ness – which just happens to be the home of a creature of the deep. Or, to be totally accurate, it was the River Ness; an approximately twelve-mile-long body of water that flows out of the loch’s northern end.
Numerous lochs in Scotland have legends attached to them of what were known centuries ago as Kelpies. Loch Ness has such legends, too. Within the folklore of Loch Ness and much of Scotland, there are centuries-old legends and myths concerning supernatural, violent, shape-shifting creatures known as Kelpies. Or, in English, water-horses. It should be noted, though (when it comes to Kelpies and Nessies) that although the creatures are assumed by some researchers to be one and the same, there is one noticeable difference between the tales that specifically refer to Kelpies and those that talk about water-horses. Typically, water-horses are far more at home in deep, sprawling lakes, while kelpies prefer pools, rivers, marshes, and lakes of a particularly compact kind.Legend has it that numerous people have been killed by the Kelpies. Then, there is a variant of the Kelpie known as the Each-Uisge, which is a far more murderous monster than the Kelpie, but which is clearly of the same supernatural stock. And the Kelpies can take on the image of beautiful women. They’ll be the last things you’ll see when you’re dragged into the depths.
How about Bigfoot being a killer of us? Over the years, such claims have been made. Right now, there’s no hard evidence. If there was, of course, we would know all about it. Unless, that is, you buy into the theory that “the government” is hiding it all away. I don’t! It’s not every day that a U.S. president makes comments and observations on what just might have been a Bigfoot. But, as incredible as it might sound, President Theodore Roosevelt may have done exactly that in the pages of his 1890 book, The Wilderness Hunter. He wrote: “A grizzled, weather beaten old mountain hunter, named Bauman who, born and had passed all of his life on the Frontier, told it the story to me.” Roosevelt added: “When the event occurred, Bauman was still a young man, and was trapping with a partner among the mountains dividing the forks of the Salmon from the head of Wisdom River. Not having had much luck, he and his partner determined to go up into a particularly wild and lonely pass through which ran a small stream said to contain many beavers. The pass had an evil reputation because the year before a solitary hunter who had wandered into it was slain, seemingly by a wild beast, the half eaten remains being afterwards found by some mining prospectors who had passed his camp only the night before.” Something monstrous was in the area.
The creature – or whatever it was – was soon after Bauman and his friend. The two made a camp and bedded down for the night. It was a bone-chilling time: “At midnight Bauman was awakened by some noise, and sat up in his blankets. As he did so his nostrils were struck by a strong, wild-beast odor, and he caught the loom of a great body in the darkness at the mouth of the lean-to. Grasping his rifle, he fired at the vague, threatening shadow, but must have missed, for immediately afterwards he heard the smashing of the under wood as the thing, whatever it was, rushed off into the impenetrable blackness of the forest and the night. And the mysterious activity showed no sign of slowing down. In fact, things only got worse. But, you guessed that, right? There was more to come.
“After this the two men slept but little, sitting up by the rekindled fire, but they heard nothing more,” Roosevelt wrote, adding: “In the morning they started out to look at the few traps they had set the previous evening and put out new ones. By an unspoken agreement they kept together all day, and returned to camp towards evening. On nearing it they saw, hardly to their astonishment that the lean-to had again been torn down. The visitor of the preceding day had returned, and in wanton malice had tossed about their camp kit and bedding, and destroyed the shanty. The ground was marked up by its tracks, and on leaving the camp it had gone along the soft earth by the brook. The footprints were as plain as if on snow, and, after a careful scrutiny of the trail, it certainly did seem as if, whatever the thing was, it had walked off on but two legs.” Worse was to come. Indeed, it was when the two chose to part for a while that things turned terrible. And fatal.
At first Bauman, having left his friend for a while, could see nobody; nor did he receive an answer to his call: “Stepping forward he again shouted, and as he did so his eye fell on the body of his friend, stretched beside the trunk of a great fallen spruce. Rushing towards it the horrified trapper found that the body was still warm, but that the neck was broken, while there were four great fang marks in the throat. The footprints of the unknown beast-creature, printed deep in the soft soil, told the whole story. The unfortunate man, having finished his packing, had sat down on the spruce log with his face to the fire, and his back to the dense woods, to wait for his companion. While thus waiting, his monstrous assailant, which must have been lurking in the woods, waiting for a chance to catch one of the adventurers unprepared, came silently up from behind, walking with long noiseless steps and seemingly still on two legs. Evidently unheard, it reached the man, and broke his neck by wrenching his head back with its fore paws, while it buried its teeth in his throat. It had not eaten the body, but apparently had romped and gamboled around it in uncouth, ferocious glee, occasionally rolling over and over it; and had then fled back into the soundless depths of the woods.”
Killed by a raging Bigfoot? Maybe? The description didn’t seem to fit that of a bear. The mystery is unlikely ever to be resolved. I should stress that I have a few other cases of alleged killings by Cryptids. None of them are particularly impressive. I have three friend-of-a-style cases from Puerto Rico. They were all provided to me on my first expedition on Puerto Rico in 2004. The tales were near-identical, but there were no names, no specific locations and…well, you get the point. The stories revolved around people having been slaughtered, somewhere deep in the huge El Yunque in the late 1990s, and drained of blood. The authorities supposedly covered the whole thing up. Of course. An amazing story. But, there was nothing in the way of proof. Not even a bit. So, in light of all the above, what can we say for sure? Well, we can’t say anything for sure. All we have are rumors, legends and folklore. I should stress that doesn’t mean people haven’t (or have) been killed by Cryptids. But, we need far more evidence than we have now to make a solid case.
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