Cryptids: When spooky folk tales and myth become reality

Pinky, the St. Johns River Monster | Photo Courtesy of The Pine Barren Institute

Kaysea Suzana | Assistant Entertainment Director

From strange shapes in a forest to giant fins in lakes, cryptids have lurked the Earth as long as there have been people to witness them.  

Cryptozoology, defined as “the study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals (such as the Sasquatch) usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence.” by the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, denotes the probability of rumored beasts.

As such, creatures such as the American Bigfoot as well as the Himalayan Yeti or the Chupacabra of southwestern North America classify as cryptids.

It is no surprise that the global presence of these supposed beings also extends to South Florida.

Creatures such as the six-legged Wampus Cat, originating from rumors intermingling with Cherokee folklore, as well as the Skunk Ape (cousin to the Sasquatch), are commonly associated with Florida’s flavors of cryptids.

However, there are lesser-known monsters.

The first one in Florida was an aquatic beast reported to be large enough to eat other fully-grown sharks, and have enough jaw force to pull in SUVs and Jeeps from the shore.

The hammerhead shark is also noticeable due its numerous scars, hacked by encounters and fights with fishermen as it tormented the waters of Tampa Bay.

Rivaling the famous lake monster Nessy, is Florida’s own Pinky, a draconic creature said to roam St. John’s River.

Known for its pinkish appearance and its skin resembling that of a dinosaur or dragon, Pinky is reported to have a large flat head with a thin long neck and an emaciated appearance. 

More ferociously is the ghastly named Jake, the Alligator Man, a reported half-man and half-alligator creature rumored to have been in several occupations such as a performer.

Diagrams of Jake | Photo Courtesy of Marsh’s Free Museum

The Marsh’s Free museum apparently owns an alleged mummification of Jake, showing the supposed corpse in a display.

These cryptids are only just scratching the surface! Stay tuned for an upcoming podcast on cryptozoology and cryptids.

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