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One extremely random and little known fact about me is that I am obsessed with Nessie (formerly known as the Loch Ness Monster, but that feels a little too technical for my taste). My love started in high school when my friends and I were kind of doing a group project in Spanish class on Nessie – I couldn’t tell you why Nessie was a workable topic for a Spanish project or how we came up with it at first, but here are we. We spent a weekend delving into late internet search results: imperceptible footage of alleged sightings, various articles of questionable credibility, and random documentary clips that found their way onto YouTube. However, regardless of the quality of the research, I was hooked. And while I don’t necessarily spend a lot of time consciously searching for it these days, I still get a huge frenzy if Nessie, or cryptozoology in general, ever shows up.

First, let’s define cryptozoology. It’s a subculture and pseudoscience that focuses on proving the existence of cryptids, creatures that supposedly exist based on anecdotes or folklore. My beloved Nessie aside, creatures considered cryptids include the Bigfoot, Yeti, the Chupacabra, and more. At the same time, the definition seems to generally exclude various mythological creatures and spiritual or supernatural beings (e.g. no pegasus or unicorns or any of the yōkai from the Japanese folk tales I grew up with). Cryptozoology began relatively recently with roots that can be traced back to the 1940s and 50s. Her founding characters were Bernard Heuvelmans and Ivan T. Sanderson, zoologists whose interests extended to unknown creatures. Both have written extensively on the subject, and Heuvelman’s book On the Trail of Unknown Animals is considered an extremely influential text in cryptozoology. However, the study itself has no basis in scientific method or folklore (a branch of anthropology), but is instead related to other pseudosciences such as ufology or ghost hunting.

So, to get rid of the itch of exploring the unknown (for who of us doesn’t have the occasional Finding Bigfoot-type show on the History Channel?), This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather aims to represent the wide range of books by Fiction to non-fiction and for readers of all ages.

Nonfiction books about cryptids

Cryptozoology from A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Hole Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

Loren Coleman is a leading American cryptozoologist who has written many books on the subject and even founded the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. Co-authored with Jerome Clark, another author specializing in the mysteries of the universe, this encyclopedia provides an overview of various crypts, recently discovered animals, and the researchers who study them.

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In the valleys of the noble afterlife: In Search of Sasquatch by John Zada

The Great Bear Rainforest on the central and north coast of British Columbia is the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest and is home to a rich and diverse ecosystem. In addition to the countless species that live there, the residents believe that the Sasquatch also calls the area home. Writer and journalist John Zada, attracted by his childhood obsession with Bigfoot, speaks to a variety of local people, each with their own stories and experiences to share. However, what is revealed through his investigation is something far more complex than finding a crypt that deals with issues of science, human perception, and more.

Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide by Kelly Milner Halls and Rick Spears

Targeted at the middle class, this fun, illustrated guide provides information on 50 cryptos for readers to speculate on. Each entry contains eyewitness accounts or other possible evidence of the creatures and will no doubt pique the curiosity of aspiring investigators.

Behind the Legend: The Loch Ness Monster by Erin Peabody and Victor Rivas

Here is a series of books for young readers too, but this time as deeper insights into one creature after another. Each book in the Behind the Legend series focuses on a different creature or monster from history, analyzes it through a scientific lens, and considers its potential existence based on reports of sightings and other documentation. Nessie and Bigfoot are among the various subjects of this book series, which include a variety of mythological beings beyond the crypts.

Fiction about cryptids

Dear Yeti by James Kwan

This sweet, warm-hearted picture book follows two young hikers who hike into the forest in search of yeti. They write him letters to lure him out of his hiding place, but Yeti is shy and does not reveal himself. As the hikers’ trek continues, a snow storm approaches and they find that they are not as prepared as they should be. However, Yeti proves to be a trusted friend and finds a way to secretly help the hikers while he stays hidden.

The Cryptid Files series by Jean Flitcroft

This middle school trilogy is about Vanessa, a young girl who comes to terms with her mother’s death. Her mother was a cryptozoologist, and Vanessa longs to continue her research in an attempt to prove the existence of certain cryptids. In the first book, a family trip to Scotland gives Vanessa the opportunity to explore Loch Ness. In the second, Vanessa visits her friend’s ranch in Mexico and encounters the secrets of the Chupacabra. And in the final part, a journey to a remote island off the coast of Canada takes Vanessa face to face with mysterious sea snakes.

Dakwäkãda warriors by Cole Pauls

In this quirky YA graphic novel exploring themes of colonialism, protectors Ts’ür’i and Aghay use the revival of language to save the earth from evil pioneers and cyborg sasquatches. A Tahltan First Nation artist, Cole Pauls wrote this bilingual comic in English and Southern Tutchone to preserve the ancestral language.

City of Animals by Isabel Allende

When Alexander Cold’s parents have to leave home because of his mother’s cancer treatment, he is sent to New York to stay with his eccentric grandmother, Kate. Kate is a magazine reporter and takes Alex on an expedition into the Amazon in search of a crypt known as the Beast. This is the first in a YA trilogy that follows the adventures of Alex and his girlfriend Nadia as Kate pursues extraordinary stories around the world.

Wild Life by Molly Gloss

Charlotte Bridger Drummond is an independent, adventurous, free-thinking mother of five who made a living writing adventure stories for women in the early 1900s. One day, a little girl gets lost in the woods and Charlotte decides to join the search, only to get herself lost and face a gang of Sasquatches. Written as Charlotte’s diary entries, this novel explores questions of what the real differences are between wilderness and civilization.

Devolution by Max Brooks

This horror novel follows a reporter’s investigation into a bloody massacre that occurred in a small, remote community in Washington. While residents of the city sought refuge after a Mount Rainier eruption, Sasquatches emerged, revealing not only their existence but also their terrifying and wild nature. The narrator presents the recovered diary entries of Kate Holland, a resident of the city, along with his own research and interviews with various experts to create a report on the incident.

For more books with beings beyond crypts, check out these posts on Books With Fantastic Creatures and Books About Unicorns.