This is the fourth post in a series examining cryptids (“hidden” animals said to exist based on local testimony), namely lake monsters, in terms of the folklore, tradition, and native tales of these creatures.
What can we make of folklore tales that cryptozoologists use to support claims that an unknown animal has been historically reported and remains to be identified?
It is convenient to look back on the rich nature stories of Native American folklore and retro-fit today’s cryptids into their pantheon of spirits. That’s a mistake.
Bigfoot proponents commonly point to Native stories support the tales of the hairy man of the woods. Or historic names are used to refer to the monster of the lake. Even recently, the South Carolina media trotted out an unsupported (from what I could tell) tall tale about the local natives knowing of a man-like creature with a tail in order to give the Bishopville Lizard Man some additional credibility. It seems logical to look for additional evidence from history.
But it’s not as logical as it seems. Instead, to make such a claim is overly simplistic, shows a lack of knowledge about folklore and culture, and is disrespectful as well as being a bad argument to support crypto-claims. This post provides additional support for why using native folklore to support cryptids is not sound. To remove these beasts from their native context is to do them a great injustice. Continue reading