Ever come across a cryptid? If you had, you'd definitely remember and you'd probably be telling your tale to a crowd of laughing sceptics ready to label you a loony.
Usually reserved for the murkiest depths of the darkest waters and the farthest reaches of the spookiest forests, these creatures are the ones that appear out of nowhere ... at the corner of your eye ... when you're by yourself ... at night.
To put it more technically, crytpids are 'hidden animals', or those whose existence has yet to be recognised by mainstream science. They're the fodder for captivating stories with die-hard believers determined to prove they're real, and we're counting down some of the most fascinating around the globe.
- Last seen: 2015 in Utah
- Best sighting location: The Pacific Northwest, USA
Perhaps the most well-known around the globe, this cryptid is a creature of many names. The Yeti, Skunk Ape and Sasquatch are all regional variations. Despite originating in different parts of the world, the descriptions are usually the same: a bi-pedal (walks on two feet) hominid (great ape) creature covered in thick hair sometimes accompanied by a strong foul stench.
Sightings in North America date as far back as the Native Americans. The most famous has to be the Patterson Film shot in 1967 when Bigfoot was so bold as to nonchalantly stroll across the path of Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin's video camera for a full 20 seconds, even going as far as turning around to stare directly into the camera! Patterson steadfastly denied it was a hoax until his death in 1972.
Loch Ness Monster
- Last seen: August 2015
- Best sighting location: Loch Ness outside of Inverness, Scotland
Another famous monster known the world over, the Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) has been lurking beneath the surface of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands since the 7th century. There's some dispute about what she actually looks like, but most who see her say she's a large Plesiosaurs-like creature with a long neck and flippers.
Fascination with Nessie is as strong as ever with tourists still flocking to Scotland hoping to spot her. She has even inspired her own official sightings register. Ranging from unexplained ripples in the water to mysterious monster-shaped shadows just below the surface, accounts are varied and usually attributed to debris. The 'Surgeon's Photograph' is perhaps the most famous, though many consider it to be a fake.
The Queensland Tiger
- Last seen: 2012 in Nimbin Valley
- Best sighting location: Northeast Queensland
Also known as the yarri, the Queensland Tiger is an elusive beast that's rumoured to have a 'savage temperament', so any chances of getting up close for a selfie should be avoided. It's described as a dog-sized feline with a long tail, striped haunches and prominent front teeth. It's thought to be a marsupial lion, with some suggesting that it's a variant of the thylacine.
Indigenous traditions tell of the yarri but the first recorded sighting dates back to 1871, hitting a fever pitch through the 1950s. Though this 'fast and agile' creature prefers to stay away from prying eyes these days, the occasional sighting does trickle down the line.
- Last seen: 2015 in Texas
- Best sighting location: Southern United States and Puerto Rico
This mysterious cryptid has an insatiable thirst for goat blood and is commonly reported to be hunched over some poor famer's goat, draining its life away. Its appearance varies, depending on who you talk to with original descriptions painting it as an alien-looking thing. It's supposedly about the size of a bear with big black eyes, long claws and a row of spines running from its neck down its back and tail. More recent descriptions are somewhat less imaginative though, describing it as more of a hairless dog with pointed ears.
While sightings are pretty common these days, this creature did manage to escape public perception until the mid-90s, savaging its first herd of goats in Puerto Rico in 1995. These days it's popping up all over the place through the southern United States and South America.
The Brosno Dragon
- Last seen: 1996
- Best sighting location: Lake Brosno near Andreapol, Russia
Dating back to the 13th century, the Brosno Dragon is often touted as Russia's version of the Loch Ness Monster. It's sometimes described as a dragon or dinosaur, while others insist it has more of a serpentine shape running approximately four-metres long with large eyes and a huge tail. It is also reported to have an iridescent glow, a penchant for overturning boats and taking local villagers.
Sightings of this cryptid are few and far between, but there's a word for such a sly beast: cunning. In 1996 a tourist from Moscow claims to have snapped a picture of the monster after his young son screamed about a dragon in the lake. One week later, an expedition was carried out to search. Nothing conclusive was found.
The Beast of Dartmoor
- Last seen: July 2015
- Best sighting location: South Devon, England
Of course the moors of South Devon are home to a scary, unidentified animal. They're also rumoured to house pixies and a headless horseman, but that's a whole other story. Legend has it that the beasts of Dartmoor were sent by the devil himself as a pack of black hunting dogs to drag the soul of Squire Dartmoor to hell. These days, though, they're a little less hellish and a little less dog-like but still pretty scary. Many people describe the beast as a big cat that often appears and disappears in a paranormal-like fashion. Not scary enough for you? A pair of glowing red eyes and a blood curdling howl ought to do the trick.
Sightings are pretty common. It's almost guaranteed that if you wander out into the national park by yourself you're bound to see one racing toward you from a distance. Perhaps the most famous, though is footage captured by cameras in the park that appear to show a black lion sprinting through a field.