I was trying to remember a creature that was mentioned in an old Alfred Hitchcock horror anthology for a short story I am working on at the moment. I like to litter my stories with references to other characters, events, places etc. and this half remembered story about a guy who is pursued by a creature (or was it a family of creatures?) who can only be seen as movement from the corner of your eyes seemed strangely apt for this particular story. Only trouble was, all that I can remember is that the story was from an anthology which might have been called "Stories That Scared Even Me". That anthology name is correct since I looked it up but I couldn’t find the story in the table of contents for that anthology – at least, I didn’t find a name that rang a bell 🙁
Since I couldn’t find the exact creature I wanted, I decided to widen my search and simply look up mythological creatures in the hope of hitting upon the same creature while searching from a different angle. I didn’t succeed there either but I did dig up a lot of information on something that had interested me a lot in days gone by – cryptozoology. In case you’re not aware of it, cryptozoology is the study of animals which are presumed to exist but for which there is no conclusive proof of existence. This also covers animals which are believed to be extinct but the presence of which is sometimes reported even now. The creatures studied under cryptozoology are referred to as cryptids. Some of the more famous cryptids are the Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.
The problem with cryptozoology has always been the lack of conclusive evidence and the human tendency to believe in anything fantastic. It’s strange but we’ll grab on to a fantastic story about a lost humanoid race skulking around in the jungle much more readily than we’d believe that somebody might be duping us to think that there is such a race. Of course, given that there isn’t enough evidence to conclude one way or another, I guess the best course of action would be to keep an open mind. The world we live in is a strange and wonderful place and as the not so sensational areas of cryptozoology has sometimes proven, there are still creatures in existence that we thought had long perished or we knew nothing about. But does that mean that the Loch Ness Monster is real? I really don’t know …