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Blackened Paper

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT
 

 

What sparked your interest in Cryptozoology?

While on a trip with my family, we caught a marathon of Animal-X in a hotel room. It immediately caught my attention – I was very young and Bill Kerr’s dramatic presentation stood out to me. I don’t remember the particular episodes that I saw, but that was the inception of my fascination with Cryptozoology. My parents definitely helped to foster my interest and we travelled to conferences and even Point Pleasant (home of Mothman), meeting many incredible researchers.

What is your favorite Cryptid to research?

I absolutely adore thylacines. I always cite them as my favourite animal – it’s always a great conversation starter! I find them so fascinating. Part of my interest in thylacines as a Cryptozoology topic comes from my hope that they still exist out there. That’s a huge hope of mine.

Do you live in a place that may accommodate its own cryptid?

I live not far from Lake Simcoe, Ontario, which houses its own lake monster, Igopogo. Admittedly, I’m not very familiar with it, although I’ve heard John Kirk talk about the creature previously. There are also scattered reports of Sasquatch in northern Ontario – there are certainly enough wild forests up there to sustain a population.

If you could travel to one of the locations in your book to research, where would it be?

Aside from the obvious answer (Tasmania), I would love to visit Sri Lanka to research the Nittaewo. I found that story particularly fascinating, but many primary sources only exist in physical form in archives on the island. A visit to these archives to see if there’s any hope of digitization or preservation would be great – I’ve been told that the documents are “crumbling,” which is concerning.

Which cryptid within your book do you feel is the most likely to exist?

Probably the Orang Pendek of Indonesia. There’s some scientific basis for it and the area it reportedly lives in is remote and dense enough to hide a hominid.

How about the least likely?

There’s one section of the book focused on the row, from Indonesia. It’s only mentioned in the 1939 book Cannibal Caravan by Charles Miller and is very fantastical, incorporating parts of various dinosaurs in a tale reminiscent of King Kong and other such “lost world” media that was typical of the period. Besides the cryptid itself, I actually couldn’t verify the existence of Charles Miller himself, even after consulting with several specialists on literature from the time period. It’s a very strange tale all around but leads me to discredit the entire report of the row.

How much do you feel that local legend and folklore, and the art of passing stories down plays into some of the descriptions of the creatures/entities?

I definitely think the answer is “a lot” – while it’s not a central focus of the book, I do include the discovery that the Cyclops of Greek mythology derived from people finding elephant skulls and trying to make sense of them. I think a lot of cryptids covered in the book derive from similar circumstances. Imagine trying to make sense of the sounds you hear at night when you have a very limited frame of reference. It’s not surprising, in that regard, that several of the cryptids described in the book largely stopped being reported as worldwide contact became more frequent.

Blackened Paper

Carol Scott

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