Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » Paranormal » Cryptozoology

Strictly speaking, cryptozoology refers to the scientific study of hidden animals or those which, although thought to be extinct, may have survived into modern times and await rediscovery by scientists.

By that definition, entities like shadow people, werewolves, or vampires may not fit the definition of cryptids. While serious cryptozoologists would object to their inclusion, there are those who would object to the notion of serious cryptozoologists. However, for the purpose of categorization, we will be using a broader definition here, referring to the study of beings whose existence has not been proven, or the study of evidence of creatures whose existence is uncertain, including the search for such entities. The exception to this will be religious or spiritual entities, as we have included another category for Spiritual Entities.

The purpose of a web directory is to categorize websites, and, in this case, the broader definition more closely fits that of the web sites that are devoted to cryptozoology and cryptids. Indeed, the authors of many cryptozoology websites do not themselves conform to the stricter definition of the word.

Animals of interest to cryptozoologists are known as cryptids. We cannot know whether a cryptid is an unknown species of animal, an animal thought to be extinct, a misidentification of a common animal or inanimate object, a figment of the imagination, or a hoax until evidence is gathered and accepted.

Some animals once through to be cryptids have later been proven to exist, either as a newly discovered species or as a species previously thought to have been extinct. Once a species is precisely identified and accepted by conventional zoology, it is no longer a cryptid, in much the same way that a flying object is no longer a UFO once it is identified.

Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans coined the term cryptozoology in the 1950s, although a French author, Lucien Blancou, was the first to use it in print, in a book dedicated to Dr. Heuvelmans. Originally, cryptozoology was defined as the scientific study of hidden animals or unknown animal forms about which only testimonial or circumstantial evidence is available, or material evidence considered insufficient by some. Later, the definition was expanded to include the possible existence of known animals in areas where they are not supposed to occur, either now or in the past, as well as the unknown persistence of presumed extinct animals to the present time or to the recent past. It is the unexpected that makes an animal of interest to cryptozoology.

To most people, cryptozoology is viewed as the study of the more spectacular cryptids, such as Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, and other legendary sea serpents. However, these more sensational cryptids represent a minority of hidden or uncatalogued cryptids that have intrigued cryptozoologists since long before the word was coined.

In 1985, J. Richard Greenwell proposed a system of classification for cryptids that included the following seven groups:

1. Individuals of a known, living species whose form, size, color, or pattern is extraordinary for the species (e.g. giant anacondas, spotted lions, etc.).
2. Extant and well-known species unrecognized as living in a particular area (e.g. kangaroos in North America).
3. Presumably extinct species, not fossil forms, known only from limited organic evidence (skin, bones, feather, etc.), but without a complete type specimen.
4. Known species presumed extinct within historical times (e.g. the thylacine), which may have survived much longer and perhaps to the present day.
5. Representatives of fossil forms (e.g. dinosaurs) presumed extinct during geologic times, which may have survived into historical times or to the present day.
6. New species known from anecdotal evidence, for which no known organic evidence exists.
7. New species not reported previously or known to aboriginal people, which may be accidentally discovered. A case in point is the megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios), unknown and unsuspected before the first specimen was hooked near Oahu, Hawaii, in November 1976. Greenwell notes that this final group is not cryptozoological in the complete sense of the definition.

Skeptics of cryptozoology argue that every part of the Earth has been thoroughly explored and mapped, even if not settled. However, cryptozoologists note that more than seventy percent of the planet is covered by water, much of which has yet to be thoroughly explored, and that nearly fifty percent of the Earth's surface is wilderness or uninhabited islands, which could yet hide unknown or uncatalogued animals, particularly those who do not wish to be found.

Few cryptozoologists would argue against the existence of hoaxes among reported cryptids, but their minds are opened to the possibility that we haven't already learned everything there is to learn.


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Feature Article

Cryptozoology: The Djinn Connection


What if many of the cryptozoological creatures you've heard about turned out to be the same entity? That's what some people believe, including Rosemary Ellen Guiley, who authored the book, The Djinn Connection, in which she makes an interesting case for the argument that archons, demons, extraterrestrials, the Men in Black, the Nephilim, reptilians, shadow people, and other entities of no known earthly origin, may all be representations of the Djinn, which are spiritual creatures found in the Qur'an and other Islamic texts who inhabit dimensions beyond that inhabited by human beings. The Djinn, you see, are an ancient race of shape-shifters, and they have a grudge against the human race. The Djinn, according to Guiley, may also be responsible for reports of hauntings and poltergeist activity.

Well known in Middle Eastern tradition for thousands of years, the Djinn were created with free will, like human beings. Some of them are good, some are evil, and many are somewhere in between. Not all Djinn are malevolent but, as a race, they tend to be hostile toward human beings. According to Islamic tradition, they inhabited earthly dimensions before humans were turned out of the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve, representing the human race, were given dominion over everything on the face of the earth, this was intended to include the Djinn. Considering themselves to be superior to humans, the Djinn refused and, as a consequence, were banished to other dimensions. Understandably, they are resentful of the human race. Many of them want the earth back, and have carried on a campaign to that end for centuries.

Over the years, the Djinn have been able, to varying degrees, to access the earthly realm, appearing in the demonologies and myths of Sumeria, Babylonia, and Assyria, as well as in Islamic and Jewish lore. They were not a creation of Islam, but were absorbed into Islamic tradition. An entire surah of the Qur'an discusses the Djinn and their creation story. The Qur'an says that the Djinn were created at the same time as the angels, who were not given free will.

There are different levels of Djinn, among the lowest being the corpse-eating, ghastly ghul of the cemeteries, which we know of as ghouls. Even lower are the hinn, who take human-beast form, appearing like black dogs. It is said that the Djinn are usually invisible to human beings, although they can see us. Some animals can see them, but no man has ever seen the true Djinn form. They can shape-shift into whatever form they please, and they frequently choose the form of animals and reptiles, such as spiders, snakes, toads, black cats or dogs, jackals, goats, and camels. Often, when they assume the form of an animal, their eyes will be glowing red, or they may have snake-like eyes.

However, they commonly opt for forms unlike any known earthly creatures. One such form is a small, goblin-like creature with a bald head and long ears, which may have been the inspiration for the goblin myths, as well as early descriptions of creatures thought to be extraterrestrials. Before the chupacabra scares of the 1990s, a variation of the creature was reported in South and Central America, where they were known as chupa-chupa. Guiley suggests that both the appearance and characteristics of the chupa-chupa and chupacabra are found in the Djinn, such as a taste for blood.

Djinn can also assume human form, from ugly to beautiful, particularly when they aim to seduce a human. In some such forms, they assume multiple limbs or horns, or as other animal-human hybrids, which may account for several reported sightings of mysterious creatures. When in an attractive human form, there is usually some distinctly non-human characteristic, such as cloven hooves or claws.

A frequent form is one that is not quite a form, and that is the one that people have come to know as shadow people. In this form, they appear as menacing black forms, in which they invade people's bedrooms where they have been known to stand and watch sleeping people, bending over them, and sometimes even physically attacking them. In that form, they come and go at will, walking through walls, closet doors, and from under beds. Interestingly, in the form of shadow people, they are often seen wearing long dark coats, hats, or hoods. Blacker than the night, they stand out against the darkness of a bedroom at night.

For many, there is a connection between shadow people and alien abductions or sighting of the extraterrestrials that have come to be known as grays. Many of those who have reported having been visited or abducted by grays had previously experienced shadow people, and Guiley believes that they both are Djinn. In fact, she suggests that it is largely a matter of interpretation and experience, noting that sightings of extraterrestrials have taken the place of the gods, angels, demons, elves, goblins, and faeries that were observed by people in earlier centuries, and that what another generation may have perceived as a goblin or a faerie is thought to be an ET today. In the early 19th century, visitors from outer space were unheard of, so is reasonable that such a sighting would be identified as something other than an extraterrestrial. It is also possible that all of these entities are Djinn.

The reports of shadow people have a strong similarity to Men in Black, as the reports of Men in Black resemble shadow people, except with features filled in. Men in Black have a long history of negative interactions with human beings, which are characteristic of the Djinn. Men in Black are also closely associated with UFO experiences, as are appearances of shadow people.

The myths and tradition of faeries very closely shadow that of the Djinn. Both are said to have been early inhabitants of earth who lost their dominance to humans. As a result, both harbored resentment toward human beings, and consider themselves to be superior to the human race. Both faeries and Djinn are hidden from human sight most of the time. Both have long life spans, but are not immortal. Faeries are also shape-shifters. Both Djinn and faeries are organized into societies and families. Both are territorial, and easily provoked. Interestingly, both are believed to be weakened by iron. Perhaps on person's faery is another person's Djinn.

There is a long history of accounts of humans who shape-shift into wolves. These stories reached a peak during the 16th and 17th centuries, when werewolves were linked to witchcraft and the Devil. Some confessed werewolves said that they got their powers from a tall man in black, who was sometimes identified specifically as the Devil.

Unlike recent depictions, particularly in film, of vampires as attractive, dignified beings, the original reports of vampires were of horrible creatures who were described a ghastly figures who looked like corpses. Since Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897, vampires have come to be depicted as tall men in black capes.

From mid-November of 1966 to mid-December of 1967, a wave of sightings of a creature that became known as Mothman took place in the Ohio River Valley, centered around Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Mothman was described as a dark, winged humanoid with glowing red eyes. Several UFO and extraterrestrial sightings were reported in the same area during this time, as well as reports of Men in Black.

The Djinn possess abilities unlike those available to human beings. Invisible to humans most of the time, they can appear and disappear in a number of guises or forms, sometimes switching rapidly. It might seem to a human observer that there are several different types of entities present when, in fact, there may be just one. By some accounts, the Djinn can transport themselves through the air and through inter-dimensional doorways, moving instantly from one place to another. They can also enter human and animal bodies, exerting an influence over thoughts and emotions. They can also invade dreams.

It is possible that there is an association between the Djinn and the Devil. Certainly, there are similarities. Christian tradition portrays the Devil as ugly, deformed, and reptilian, which could easily be a Djinn form. Satan, like the Djinn, is a shape-shifter, preferring to appear as a tall black man or a tall man dressed in black, particularly in early Christian literature. Satan also appears in a variety of animal shapes, commonly choosing to be represented as a black dog or a black cat, a serpent, or a goat, all of which are among the favorite animal appearances chosen by the Djinn. Satan is also frequently depicted as assuming a human appearance, but with cloven hooves, another common Djinn shape.

Christians have long had trouble reconciling the Christian tradition that Satan and his demons were angels who rebelled against God with the assertion that angels were created without free will. After all, if angels did not have the capability of free will, how could they rebel? However, the story makes sense when the rebelling entities are identified as Djinn rather than as angels. Although apocryphal, in 2 Enoch, God is said to have rejected Enoch's plea for mercy for the Watchers, whom Christian tradition describes as fallen angels. In 2 Enoch, God declares that the Watchers will be considered evil spirits, and will dwell on the earth and in the earth. The Djinn roam the earth, moving in and out of their own dimension, and they also favor underground dwelling places, such as caves and tunnels. The Nephilim also possess many of the traits of the Djinn. They are imposing and monstrous in size. They seize power, spread corruption, and the consume human flesh and drink the blood. Some types of Djinn are flesh eaters, such as the ghul.

The Bible does not refer to the Watchers as angels. Rather, the Bible refers to them as "Sons of God," As one of God's creation, the Djinn could be referred to as such. Could the fallen angels, and Satan himself, have been Djinn? According to the Qur'an, the first creatures created by God were angels and Djinn. The Djinn had access to heaven, and were able to fraternize with the angels and to get to know their ways. If the Djinn can shape-shift however they please, would they not have been able to mimic the forms of angels? In 2 Corinthians 11:14, the Apostle Paul says that Satan could disguise himself as an angel of light.

Might there have been Djinn in the ancient world who came to be known as angels later? In today's culture, we tend to think of angels as being the protectors of mankind, and completely benevolent beings. We think of smiling, winged humanoids with cherubic faces. However, in Biblical times, angels were feared, as they were often fierce and as capable of dealing out punishment as reward. The appearance of an angel was not necessarily a comforting experience. On the contrary, angels often invoked fear and trembling. Could it be possible that the beings we identify as angels are not truly angels, but Djinn?

In Genesis, a serpent tempts Eve into eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. She, in turn, enlists Adam, thus resulting in the Fall of humanity from grace, and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. As a punishment, God sentences the serpent to crawl upon its belly. The obvious implication is that the serpent did not travel on its belly prior to this event. Genesis does not give us a description of the serpent, except that the serpent spoke to Eve and exhibited intelligence and wile. Since it did not slither on the ground until after it was sentenced to do so, we can assume that it may have walked upright.

Jewish legend depicts the serpent as a tall, very intelligent creature with arms and legs, but having the appearance of a reptoid, or a reptilian. An Islamic tradition is that Iblis, the leader of the Djinn, slipped into Eden for the purpose of finding a way to prove that mankind was inferior. A female serpent, who walked on four legs, and lived in the Garden of Eden, agreed to help him. Iblis promised to protect her against Adam and his offspring as a reward for her help. Iblis hid himself between the fangs of the serpent, so that both of them spoke to Eve simultaneously. Adam and Eve repented of their sin and were forgiven by Allah, while Iblis was cast out and the serpent was condemned to slither on her belly. Iblis and the serpent married, and had Djinn offspring. Iblis also mated with other being and produced demonic entities such as Lilith.

Throughout history, the gods and supernatural beings, demons, and other cryptozoological creatures could simply be representations of Djinn. It is impossible to determine how many types and races of entities are involved in activities taking place on earth. Guiley believes that the Djinn are participants in every aspect of paranormal and supernatural experiences we have, from hauntings to inter-dimensional beings, and other mysterious creatures. If some of these are separate creatures, it is possible that the Djinn cooperate with some, spy on others, and are working against others.

The Djinn are territorial, and do not like humans to invade their territory. They have been known to take up residence in houses and buildings, as well as in forests and otherwise deserted places. While in homes and buildings, they create hauntings, which are subsequently blamed on ghosts, in order to scare people away. Others move into occupied homes where, remaining invisible, they eat, sleep, and live alongside the human occupants. Some Djinn are content to coexist with humans, and may remain unseen, while others will bring chaos and discontent to the households of the humans who occupy a home with them.

When evil enters your household, did it enter through an open door or did it come through a wall? Could it be that it has been there all along?

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