Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lesson twenty-six: Guest theorist

Theories on Pedal Arrangement and Seasonal Adaptation in the Yeti
by Dr. Bhasmati Rhyce, University of Utter Pradesh

In my opinion, western science has to date failed to take into account some plausible theories regarding the Yeti and why no specimens have so far been captured. I believe the answer to this question is twofold: that this hominid possesses a unique foot arrangement and further undergoes chromatic seasonal changes. 

I now accept the Sherpa legend of the Yeti having its feet pointing backwards to be quite plausible, despite the fact that this phenomenon is as yet unknown among any of the Earth's biota. It can quite conveniently explain why tracking this creature has so far yielded no positive results – those tracking it have been going in the wrong direction! Indeed, during my 2009 expedition to the Himalayas (accompanied by Dr. Guptil Singh of the University of Mysore and Prof. Baba Rum Raisin of Sacred Cow College) my colleagues and I were continually confounded by positively-identified Yeti tracks leading absolutely nowhere. One might even speculate - given these hominids presumed intelligence - they may engage in a hearty horselaugh by misleading their presumed captors in such a manner.

I further believe the Yeti exhibits chromatic variance according to the seasons, much as do other alpine taxa such as the ermine and ptarmigan. That is, the Yeti's hide is brown in summer and white in winter. Based on this speculation, we may now accept reports dismissing Yeti sightings as Himalayan sun bears to be false. This should have already been evident as no Yeti has the distinctive “Y”-shaped chest marking characteristic of these bears, nor do they possess an obscenely long tongue.

Taking these new theories into account, my colleagues and I are planning another Yeti expedition to Nepal in the winter of 2013, this time dressed entirely in white and planting our transect lines while walking in reverse.

Dr. Rhyce during his failed 2009 expedition
to sight a Yeti in Nepal

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lesson twenty-five: Assault of the Crystal Fiend

Last night our camp was raided by the Crystal Fiend. It is indeed a type of cave-dwelling Sasqutach.
"El Demonio Vitreo"

The creature upturned our tents, tore through the camp and made off with some of our most valauble supplies.

My right hand man, Renny managed to get a photograph of the beast just before it put him in a mighty sleeper hold. Renny survived the assault, and the rest of the crew is shaken but unharmed. 

I, however, am furious: the Crystal Fiend absconded back into its cave with our last batch of Otter Pops. 

I'm going in after it, in the name of science... and frozen snack treats.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Lesson twenty-four: Cave of Crystals

Do you recognize me without my pith helmet?

I'm writing from the cave mouth of Mexico's Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals.) It's a sort of south-of-the-border Fortress of Solitude, very reminiscent of Superman's home away from home in the film series.

The cave contains some of the world's largest known natural crystals — translucent beams of gypsum as long as 36 feet (11 meters.) I'm told there's no limit to the size the crystals in this cave can reach.

I am here with my team, Monk, Ham, Renny, Johnny & Long Tom, who I affectionately call, "The Fabulous Five." Our mission is to spelunk into the cave and uncover evidence of a heretofore unknown (to outsiders) crypid locals call, "El Demonio Vitreo,"(the Crystal Fiend.)

Villagers have described this creature as being tall, bipedal and covered in long white hair. It is my presumption that the Crystal Fiend is a relative of the Wood Ape; a type of Sasquatch.

More on this as it progresses.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Lesson twenty-three: Mad science

The Two Million Year Old Boy special on the National Geographic Channel was very informative.  Not only did it outline what occurred at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, but it brought light to the ugly competition that goes on in the world of science.

Scientists hoard their discoveries, rarely sharing with others. There is backbiting, rumor mongering and generally impolite behavior. 

Many scientists libel each other to gain points with their financiers and followers, knowing full well that doing so works in opposition with the betterment of the very cause of science.

I've lost my train of thought... was I writing about scientists or politicians?

Regardless, kudos to Lee R. Berger for his discovery of Australopithecus sediba and for sharing his findings in the name of science.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lesson twenty-two: Mistaken identity?

While in search of the Abominable Snowman in the Baba Ghanoush region of the Himalayas, my Sherpa shouted, "Yeti! Yeti!" and directed my attention to a nearby bluff. There, to my delight, I saw a large, hairy bipedal beast. 

For a better look I scanned the area with my field glasses and that's when I realized the creature was a Tibetan blue bear, standing upright in search of food in a hollowed out tree.

I rapped my Sherpa on the head with my walking stick and said in broken Nepalese(नेपाली), "That's a bear, you swarthy oaf!"  After looking through my field glasses he confirmed his assessment and asserted, "Yeti! Yeti." He then gently removed my pith helmet and conked me on the head with my own walking stick.

As it turns out "Yeti" is actually a corruption of the word "myeti", a regional dialect term for "bear".

Ethnic Tibetans fear and worship the bear as a supernatural being. Could it be that all this time the Yeti has been nothing more than a case of mistaken identity?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lesson twenty-one: Bigfoot blogs

The place to go for Bigfoot news
I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, but the best among them is the Bigfoot Evidence Blog. The articles are informative and the reader comments are entertaining and hilarious(particularly mine.)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lesson twenty: The Ultimate Cryptid

Creation of the Big Man?

Is God a cryptid?

Before anyone gets offended let’s examine what God has in common with the most famous of all cryptids, Big Foot.

  1. Many people believe yet there is little evidence.

  1. Has passionate devotees and skeptics.

  1. Goes by many names yet followers have not settled on one.

  1. Up to ten feet tall with flowing hair.

  1. Wrathful, merciful, vengeful and forgiving.

  1. Never there when you need them.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lesson eighteen: Crocodile caverns

In Madagascar's Ankarana reserve lies a treacherous place known as the Tsingy rocks. The Tsingy rocks are an enormous limestone formation created over millions of years through the reaction of acidic rain with calcium carbonate that slowly wears away the rock leaving behind razor sharp ridges. 

There are varying reports on the Malagasy meaning of "Tsingy", they range from "Singing," due to the wind songs produced when fast moving air passes through the rocks, to "Jesus Horatio Christ my feet are bleeding!"

A network of underground rivers flow through the caverns beneath the Tsingy rocks. In these dark caves is where a subspecies of the Nile crocodile lives. According to local villagers the Tsingy crocs are enormous, blind, and especially "bitey."

Due to a lifelong fear of the dark (and enormous blind crocodiles,) I have no plans to visit the Tsingy crocodile caves, but according to the Madagascar Tourism Office they are "an excellent place for family rafting adventures with unwanted wives and children."


Don't cry, Poppet, just close your eyes and think of England!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lesson seventeen: Mr. Know-It-All

Another entry from graphic novelist Yog*  Yog's excellent comic Flowers of Evil can be found here: 

*the opinions expressed in Flowers of Evil do not necessarily reflect those of the Naturalist.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lesson sixteen: Origin of Species

Today's entry comes courtesy of graphic novelist, Yog.  His comic, Flowers of Evil can be found here:


Friday, January 27, 2012

Lesson Fifteen: Pukana


The aardwolf is New Zealand’s apex predator. As the name suggests, it is part aardvark and part timber wolf; possessing the most terrifying attributes of both creatures. Native New Zealand islanders, known as the Maori, tell tales of this bloodthirsty beast raiding their villages to steal their sons & daughters. 

It is well documented that the aardwolf needs the soft flesh of Maori children to feed to its own ravenous offspring, which nest in the swaying branches of the baobab tree.

The Maori have developed display threats to protect themselves from this predator, including the stamping of feet and grimacing of face; the latter of which is known as “Pukana.” The fearsome-looking Pukana face features bulging eyes and an extended tongue, and was designed after the heinous visage of the aardwolf itself.


P.S. Apologies if there are any inaccuracies in today’s entry: My Internet connection is down and I am “going commando” with the facts.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lesson Fourteen: Knowing vs. proving

No caption necessary

Had my great grandfather not made the world aware of the existence of the gorilla would this majestic beast be on the brink of extinction today?  Probably not.

When humans become aware of something they are compelled to assimilate it, and resistance, as they say, is futile.

A notion for Bigfoot hunters: perhaps the Wood Ape is better off existing only in the recesses of the human mind...


Monday, January 23, 2012

Lesson Thirteen: The Platina Timber Giant

A grubbing Wood Ape

I'm en route to Platina, CA on an nostalgic expedition of sorts: my first encounter with the Wood Ape was a sighting off HWY 36 when I was a young lad.  The creature was grubbing a rotten log as seen in the photo above.

Platina is in Shasta County, home of volcanoes, toothless drifters and more meth labs per square kilometer than anywhere in the western hemisphere. Wish me luck.


Lesson Twelve: The language of Sasquatch

Actual conversation
I have read the reports and listened to audio files of the Wood Ape supposedly speaking in a Samurai-like chatter.  This is not only incorrect, but undoubtedly insulting to the Samurai.

In my experience with the creature it speaks perfect Punjab but only understands phrases delivered in Haiku format, regardless of the language. 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lesson Eleven: The Face on Mars: Reality or Rubbish?

Note: I am on distant expedition with inventor Joseph Cavor, so today's entry is courtesy of my esteemed colleague, Prof. Bernard Quatermass. Thanks for the help, Bernie!  RVB

Prof. Bernard Quatermass endeavours to explain to Nancy Grace that the face on Mars is not guilty of any crime .

In 1976, satellite photos taken in the Cydonia region of Mars first revealed what appears to be a human face etched on the surface of the Red Planet, leading to numerous theories on its origin and purpose.

An examination of the relevant literature on the subject shows the current consensus of opinion to be that the most plausible explanation for this phenomenon is an alien construct intended to attract the attention of earthlings, with the least likely being a random geological artifact having no significance whatsoever.

Some leading authorities have even seen a resemblance between the face and known terrestrial figures such as Elvis “The King” Presley and various Jim Henson Muppets, including Grover. While skeptics are wont to reject these parallels as no more scientific than a Mexican peasant seeing the visage of Mother Mary left in the pattern of a burnt tortilla, they can't be entirely dismissed, either. Indeed, why should the face appear human at all if not to invite the attention of our species? Surely if the face were representative of an alien race one would expect multiple eyes, antennae or perhaps tentacles at the very least.

Until such time that manned missions to Mars can verify the true nature of this enigma, we will, as always, subject this or any unexplained phenomenon that comes to our attention with the most rigorous scientific method.

- Prof. Bernard Quatermass

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lesson Ten: the Ampullae of Lorenzini

Marine biologists often describe a shark attack as "a case of misidentification."  Their reasoning is that sharks confuse humans with seals or sea lions and that the attacks are accidental.

This is a preposterous notion.  Are marine biologists meaning to say that an animal bestowed with the Ampullae of Lorenzini, which enables sharks to sense electromagnetic fields so keenly that they can detect half a billionth of a volt, can't tell the difference between Jeff Spicoli and a lardaceous pinniped?  

It's time for humans to accept that when venturing into the wild they are on the menu and the dinner bell is a-ringin'.


AKA "The Naturalist"

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lesson Nine: Mofongo

Artist's rendering

We are all aware that the Congo is swarming with sauropods, but what of the jungles of Puerto Rico, what cryptids might exist there?

Many years ago my trusted guide, Mofongo and I peregrinated the El Yunque National Forest collecting the park's greenest bananas. Mofongo carried over one-hundred pounds of the ripening fruit on his strong back while I urged him along with my riding crop.

Road weary, I gazed into the forest canopy to daydream, and that's when I spotted the head & shoulders of an Indricotherium, that is to say: a 50-foot tall, long-legged rhinoceros. "How can this be?" I wondered aloud, "This creature went extinct eons ago."

Before I could answer my own question, the Indricotherium's foot came crashing down on top of Mofongo and my bananas, not necessarily in that order. The creature escaped as I came to Mofongo's aid, but alas he, and my bounty, were squashed flat as a johnny cake.

I miss that old obsidian bastard, with his grimacing smile and stories of back pain and cramping legs.  But I can always remember him by enjoying the signature dish of Puerto Rico, which I named after him:


3 cups canola oil
3 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 plantains, peeled and squashed flat


Fry the squashed plantains until golden and crispy, but not brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer the fried plantains into a mortar with the garlic and olive oil. Toss to coat. Violently mash the coated plantains with the mortar and pestle until smooth. Season with salt before serving.

Bon appétit,

AKA "The Naturalist"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lesson Eight: The mighty Bearcat

Binturontis inverticus

I am not a man who categorizes his interests into favorites but, if pressed, I consider my favorite animal to be the Binturong. My loyal basenjis, Angie-Bambi & Hoss von Beringe are excluded from this exercise because I consider them family.

The Binturong, also known as the "Bearcat", is neither bear nor cat.  Rather, they are a member of the same family as other small carnivores including Civets, Fossas, and Mongooses. They are excellent climbers and are well-aided by their agile bodies, (semi) retractable claws and prehensile tail. These features are truly amazing, but my fondness for these creatures is due to their most remarkable adaptation: they smell exactly like freshly buttered popcorn.

Who could resist cuddling up on a chofa with Finding Bigfoot and a Binturong? Certainly not me. This is why I have smuggled a Binturong into the Country and onto my estate in Champion, NY.  Please welcome the newest member of my family: Orville von Beringe (pictured.)

Angie-Bambi and Hoss are not pleased about this.


AKA "The Naturalist"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lesson Seven: Amargosa Sandsquatch

Rich AKA Sandsquatch 

While searching for the Sandsquatch in Death Valley my comrades and I happened upon a queer little place called the Amargosa Hotel & Opera House. We were exhausted so we decided to stay the night.

Local legend says the Amargosa is haunted by the spirits of poorly-treated mine workers from a bygone era. Ah, I do enjoy the rubbing elbows with the spirits of revenge-minded commoners.  

Rich, the Amargosa's handyman gave us open access to Spooky Hollow (well, he took a fistful of cash for it actually), the hotel's most haunted area.

Rich left for the evening and we set up base camp there at ghoulie ground zero. Almost immediately my investigators began getting astonishing results; class A EVPs, shadow people, audible moans, groans and chattering chains coming from all around us. In a few recordings our names were even mentioned! Intelligent hauntings are the pièce de résistance for paranormal investigators so I whispered "Eureka", with as much restraint as I could muster.  

Actually I shouted, "Yahtzee!" like a little schoolgirl, but who's counting?

I Yahtzeed too soon, though.

As it turns out the haunting wasn't intelligent after all: one of my crew spotted handyman Rich, covered in a bed sheet, shimmying through one of the floor's many crawl spaces.  He was armed with chains, a piece of construction paper rolled up like a megaphone and a kazoo. "Get out", "this is the house of the devil", and "I am beetlebub" he moaned in a weak, unconvincing voice.

"Beetlebub?" Seriously? At least he could have done some research.

Rich didn't know he'd been found out so when he retreated we followed him home to his filthy doublewide. We were all surprised when, after a few minutes, he emerged wearing a Konga mask and Ghillie suit. He hooted at the moon and beat on his chest before charging off into the desert.

Are you telling me that one portly hoaxer is responsible for all the paranormal activity in the 5th largest National Park in the U.S.A.? Are you telling me that we were almost fooled by a tactic used in nearly every episode of Scooby Doo Where Are You?  Are you telling me Rich is the Sandsquatch?

If so please stop because it's depressing.

Me teach, you learn.

AKA "The Naturalist

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lesson Six: Bigfoot versus

Photo courtesy of Todd Standing

I once spent Christmas in Florida. Sounds delightful doesn't it?  It wasn't.  I was holed up in a backwater burgh known as Homestead, a featureless little community with a population as genetically diverse as the Ozarks.

To relieve my ennui I drove through the nearby Everglades, stopping at roadside attractions which boasted of their superior gator wrassling and palmetto bug jam.  I tried neither, but it got me wondering about the Everglade's version of Sasquatch, the skunk ape.  While we all known the skunk ape's diet consists mostly of armadillos and key lime pie, do any of us understand how the beast avoids the snapping jaws of the area's crocodilians?

And furthermore what would happen were Hillbilly Sasquatch to square off against an alligator?  Who would emerge victorious?

No one can know for certain, but the video below might begin to tell the tale.

My pleasure to inform, as always.


AKA "the Naturalist"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lesson Five: Communing with the dead

Embrace the darkness

I spent last night in the notoriously haunted Rialto church. The church is no longer a place of worship, but a museum of sorts. The museum contains dubious relics from as far back as 200 years, or as Americans will tell you: the beginning of time.

I was joined by a group of California's most elite paranormal investigators. The group's leaders, Peaches & Herbert, toured us single file through the creaky old place; I had grand hopes of catching glimpse of a full-bodied apparition, a floating cabeça, a swirling vortex or anything extranatural - alas the nearest thing to a dimensional portal I saw was the prodigious backside of the investigator in front of me.

Inspired by one of my reader's suggestions, I organized a séance to commune with dear old grandpa von Beringe. The word "séance" comes from the French word for "seat," or "sitting," and sit we did, in a "mystic circle", lit by candlelight and EMF detectors.

The group joined hands as I called out to my father's father, "Friedrich Robert von Beringe: Rap on a table; it's time to respond. Send us a message from somewhere beyond!"

That's when I heard a familiar voice in my ear. It was the original RVB himself, "Ron Ron!" he snarled, "How dare you besmirch the family name by associating with grotesques such as these? Amongst the obese, misshapen and socially outcast is no place for a von Beringe, dear boy."

I smiled apologetically to my oversized companions then let the old man have it: "Screw you grandpa, these are my friends and I'm having fun!"


AKA "The Naturalist"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lesson Four: Grandpa Von Beringe

The Von Beringe equation

I will never forget the day when I was a child and my grandfather, the esteemed Naturalist Robert Von Beringe, took me by the hand and asked, "What the Hell are you doin' in the bathroom day and night? Why don't you get out of there and give someone else a chance?"

As many of you don't know, Robert Von Beringe was the first human on planet Earth to lay eyes on what we now call, "The gorilla."  At the time he insensitively referred to them as "Mbielu-mbielu-mbielu", translated into the Queen's English as: "black man of the forest who won't listen." He was also the first human on planet Earth to shoot and kill a gorilla then take a picture of himself standing on it as if he were posing for the label of Captain Morgan's rum.

He was an intelligent, gentle man but prone to outbursts of ignorance and cruelty. "Rash" some called him; some also said a rash was the reason for his outbursts - grandpa was known for his dalliances with prostitutes while bivouacking in Swaziland.

Before you judge Robert Von Beringe too harshly consider this: without him we would not know of the gorilla, for who else would have identified the most famous of the great apes?  Or as grandpa once noted, "The indigenous peoples of Africa certainly weren't going to discover them."

Thank you for enjoying this lesson.


AKA "The Naturalist"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lesson Three: the Mummy's Ghost

Kharis and Dr. Zak Bagans

Spirits or "ghosts", as some of you mistakenly call them, have been a mystery to mankind for a millennium.

The first recorded instance of mankind's curiosity with ghosts dates back to the time of King Kharis II of Egypt. On a tomb built on the banks of Africa's Turhan Bay archaeologists found a series of weather beaten hieroglyphs. On these markings, mixed in with carvings of tana leaves and ritual sacrifice were three unique images: a human skeleton, whispering lips and a widened eye. I'm sure none of you are surprised to learn that the message translates into, "Did you hear that?", which is, some 2000 years after its inscription, the most commonly used phrase by TV ghost hunters to this day.

You might say that this is ironic, but please don't because it would be a gross misuse of the word.

I teach you. You learn. 



AKA "The Naturalist"

Lesson Two: Non-carbon based unit

The Mono Lake Beast

As many of you don't know 2010 was the year we made contact, not in the fictional work of Isaac Asimov, but in truth, i.e. real world.

Right here on Earth, in the boiling muck of a sludge-filled crater, humans came in contact with an alien life form. This historic event was briefly reported on by the media but then quickly ushered aside for breaking news on the release of Kim Cardassian's line of fragrance and the extramarital activity of motorbike designer Billy the Kid.

The specific location of the event was Mono Lake (pronounced /ˈmoʊnoʊ/ moh-noh,) in the great state of California. The lake, better known for its brine shrimp and biting flies than extraterrestrial life forms, was once visited by Marc Twain who wrote, "lifeless, treeless, hideous desert... the loneliest place on earth." and "The coldest winter I ever spent was a Summer at Mono Lake."

Mono Lake is infamous for being the viral home of the "Kissing disease" AKA infectious mononucleosis.  It is this deadly scourge that claimed the life of the famed American author and humorist often incorrectly referred to as, "Samuel Clemens,"

What if Marc Twain had lived to witness the emergence of the Mono Lake Beast? What would he quip then? Had there not been a media/government cover up what would we know today about this non-carbon based cryptid? Is it enormous enough to swallow a city? Does it exhale concentrated streams of radioactive mist? Does its mouth sport a second inner Pharyngeal set of jaws? Does its exoskeleton boast stealth armor and the ability to take on the visage of its captors?  

Alas, much like the fundamentals of electricity, these are things we'll never know.

As always, it is my honor to have educated you. 



AKA "The Naturalist"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lesson One: What's in a Name?

Gigantopithecus californiensis von beringoni

What’s in a Name? The simple answer is truth. For clear identification a species must be named truthfully: one does not call his dog, “Windy,” nor does he address his wife as, “Feckless,” even if some of those qualities are applicable. Science demands that beasts be named for their most prominent features and/or the place in which they reside.


What I’m getting at is the current nomenclature (that is to say, naming convention) for the mysterious man-beast inhabiting the wilds of North America. “Bigfoot?” That’s the best we can do? Surely a seven foot-tall gorilla should be distinguished by something other than the size of its feet! I wear a British shoe size 14 (measured in barleycorn) and I have never once been cited for the impressive size of my feet.


And the name “Sasquatch” is no better. Contrary to popular presumption, the name Sasquatch is an anglicized derivative of the word "sésquac" which means: "bringer of liquor" in a Salish Native American language. Could this translation actually have the intent backwards, that liquor (or “good burning water” as it is known to the Salish) is the bringer of Sasquatch, rather than vice versa?  This theory is outlined in my published work titled, “North American ape sightings: is alcohol a contributing factor?”

It may surprise you to know that I have had a close encounter with the creature incorrectly referred to as "Sasquatch" (a story for another time) and therefore feel  entitled to give the beast its proper designation: "The North American Wood Ape" or Gigantopithecus californiensis von beringoni.  This designation is official forthwith and calling the beast by any other name will be considered, by the scientific community, as plebeian.

Thank you for enjoying my blog.  It's been my distinct pleasure to have educated you on these matters.



AKA "The Naturalist"