Following on from last Friday’s mention of ‘Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon’ (it kills in cold blood) here is a post about… Cryptozoology, it’s just something of interest.
The study of hidden animals or cyptids, then. This lesser-known scientific field comprises both the hunt for all your staple creatures of folklore such as the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, the aforementioned Yeti as well as any and all Lost World type arrangements with extant dinosaurs. As well as animals considered extinct, and those who may never have existed, cryptozoology also includes looking for animals that are considerably far from their natural habitats.
Obviously, I’m pretty sure that in the eyes of many scientists, it falls right off the end of the purity of subject scale and it is viewed by most as a pseudoscience. Now, just so we don’t get mistaken – I’m not suggesting otherwise – however, reading around the subject, despite all the hoaxes and lack of non-anecdotal evidence does turn up some interesting things. For example, the legend of the griffin (the eagle-headed and winged lion) could quite possibly have stemmed from the discovery of a Triceratops skeleton. The skull on one of these quite conceivably looks like that of a bird, albeit a huge one attached to a four-legged animal and thus: griffin. It’s also interesting when creatures like the okapi where concerned fake until little over a hundred years ago.
Not only does cryptozoology chuck out some interesting discoveries, but it also makes a pretty good backdrop for some awesome art and design books. The Beasts! books were something that I stumbled across whilst shopping for designer vinyl toys in London. I found one of them in a shop in London, bought it on a whim and immediately had to buy the other. Each book contains an amount of material at the beginning and end, often related to cryptozoology (interviews with proponents of the study, etc), along with some 70 or 80 individual pieces of different cryptids.
The typical layout is a short piece of writing on the left hand side describing certain physical characteristics along with personality quirks and other beliefs held about the beast in question, and then the picture on the right hand page. Each piece of art in the book was done by a different artist, giving more or less free rein to depict the creature how each one saw it. They are very cool and the books are definitely worth picking up; fantastic coffee table stuff. The hook here is that we’re intending to use a very similar format for the Steampunk Fables photo book, with a two page spread on each character: the gorgeous photo on one side, the accompanying darkened fluff on the other. Good times all round.