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Christianity and Cryptozoology

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posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 11:28 AM
Yet another of my attempts to create a thread compilation. This time, the subject is Christianity and Cryptozoology.

I know this seems like an odd combination of topics, but bear with me. The idea came from my research on the Sea Monk and Bishop-Fish, which I was going to make a thread about. Not to quote wikipedia, but...

The Sea Bishop or Bishop-Fish

The sea bishop or bishop-fish was a type of sea monster reported in the 16th century. According to legend, it was taken to the King of Poland, who wished to keep it. It was also shown to a group of Catholic bishops, to whom the bishop-fish gestured, appealing to be released. They granted its wish, at which point it made the sign of the cross and disappeared into the sea.

Another was supposedly captured in the ocean near Germany in 1531. It refused to eat and died after three days. It was described and pictured in the fourth volume of Conrad Gesner's famous Historiae animalium. - Some more information, includes sighting in 1531, Medieval legend about it making the cross, and states that the Sea Bishop may be a giant squid due to the shape of a squid's mantle.

A sea bishop/bishop-fish type creature:

General structure of a squid:


So as I was going my research I thought to myself, "Raven, isn't it strange how the bishop-fish communicated with the bishops to ask for release and then made the sign of the cross? Raven, isn't it interesting how it "refused" to eat when it was captured and died, like it was fasting?" "Well, Raven, that's very Christian of the cryptid." "But I thought Christians didn't like cryptids."

So I went off to continue my research.

Then I came upon the sea monk or monkfish.

The Sea Monk or Monkfish (But not angel shark)

What we call a monkfish in English is actually an angel shark. I actually did not know this was a cryptid, I thought it was just an angel shark. Apparently not. You might remember monkfish from everytime someone posts an "OMG It's a fish with a face!! Manfish!!!" thread.

Year: 1854
Scientist: Japetus Steenstrup
Now appears in: The Search for the Giant Squid by Richard Ellis
In the 16th century, two naturalists, Rondelet and Pierre Belon, produced descriptions of animals they termed the Sea Monk, or monk-fish. Centuries later, a very talented naturalist, Japetus Steenstrup, gave a presentation in which he compared Rondelet's illustration (on the left) and Belon's illustration (on the right) to the likeness of a squid captured in 1853. He also took into consideration a 16th-century description of the Sea Monk by Conrad Gesner. Steenstrup made an amazing deduction: "Could we, given these bits of information of how the Monk was conceived at that time, come so near to it that we could recognize to which of nature's creatures it should most probably be assigned? The Sea Monk is firstly a cephalopod." (cool website, by the way).

Yet again, probably a squid of some sort. I can see the connection, I really can.

Sea Monk:


I actually saw the connection more with "bishop" than monk. The mantle is the same as the shape of the bishop's hat. For monk, perhaps with the hood up it also looks similar to the mantle, and the long robes make folds that appear like tentacles.

But I really thought that Christians weren't fans of cryptozoology, why would they want to be linked to it? And the story about the sea bishop flashing a cross... that seems like they almost revere these creatures.

Let's do some research. *gets hardhat and pick axe*

A Christian View of Cryptozoology

Selections from "A Christian View of Cryptozoology" by Alan Lawrence, 1998.
(The entire text is available at the link. I didn't nitpick things that proved my point, I just skipped past the packing peanuts. But you can check if you don't believe me.)

...Yet I believe that CZL is something for Christians to look into, as it can often turn up things that disagree with claims of evolution, though not necessarily disprove anything. (Creation can be more easily agreeable to various unknown animals.) This is the main point of this Christian view of CZL, which may or may not be truly the Christian view.

...The best place to start learning about them is the pretty sizable pile of literature on the subject. Nearly all of it that I've read is evolutionary in outlook, and some is nearly occultic, so caution is needed.

...Coelacanth - 1938 - Definitely the "poster fish" of a Christian view of cryptozoology. It's proof that evolutionary assumptions relating to fossils can be quite mistaken. (Disappearance of an animal in the fossil record does not conclusively prove that animal's extinction.)

...It seems that people are raised nowadays to believe that science (and therefore also scientists) has all the answers. A relevant example: if one believes that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, they know there can't possibly be any still alive today. So any reports of dinosaurs alive today would obviously not be true. Any evidence given must have some other explanation.

Dinosaurs alive today would not contradict a biblical Christian view, so anyone who truly believes the Bible can be an objective judge without a need to bend over backwards to disprove something. Being human, and limited in understanding, Christians are not always objective judges. I hope that by reading this introduction to CZL, your understanding of unknown animals has been expanded. If so, may it be a beginning to greater objectivity in all areas of life.

My Rebuttal

Ahem. So not to, you know, whatever... I've never heard cryptozoology abbreviated at CZL before. But aside from that, let's quick assess this. Primarily, I believe that many cryptids actually help support evolution because of adaptations, natural selection, fossil remains, DNA testing, biogeography, etc. But I guess you can see it either way. I also don't see how the author's criticism of literature on cryptozoology as "evolutionary" is valid, just because I don't think the authors of that literature are trying to convert Christians to science. I think they're stating the evidence as it is. And in regards to it being "occultic" well, I disagree.

The Coelacanth. I disagree, again. How can a fish who was lobe-finned, which puts it in the same group as the lungfish, proving an evolution of fish out of the water, be a posterchild for Christian cryptozoology? I don't think the fact that the fish was not extinct makes evolution less believable, I think it makes it more believable. Science doesn't profess to have all the answers. Just because I find a fossil of a cat in my backyard doesn't mean that all fish are extinct. It just means cats were around at whatever time the fossil was from.
( Coelacanths are awesome. Check them out. But generally yes lobe-finned fish were the last step before amphibians evolved. And uh, I don't think you can just ignore that and say "They thought it was extinct, they're wrong, they're wrong about everything.")

In terms of the dinosaur argument, if scientific proof turns up that says dinosaurs are still around, they wouldn't have all become extinct. We know they all didn't, because we have birds and chickens which evolved from them. I don't know if the author is trying to support cryptozoology or not, he seems that he will support it under his own conditions.

The Christianity Knowledge Base's Take

I found some more information on the subject on the Christianity Knowledge Base (

Cryptozoology has captured the attention of many young earth creationists (YEC); that's because many of the animals (called cryptids) investigated by cryptozoologists strongly resemble extinct animals such as dinosaurs and pterosaurs

... Young Earth Creationists hope to shed doubt on accepted dates for the Age of the Earth, or validate a literal Genesis Flood, by proving life forms thought to be long-extinct to be, in fact, still alive.

One criticism of the Young Earth position is that ...they do not extend credit towards cryptids that may strengthen evolutionary positions like Bigfoot or the Yeti.

...Most YEC cryptozoologists seem to lack college degrees in biology, and they can be criticized for that lack; but cryptozoology (what colleges teach that?) differs from biology:

...the discovery of the Coelacanth fish, for example, did not overthrow standard models. ... In fact, some creationists mention the Coelacanth as evidence against the General Theory of Evolution.

...Jonathan Whitcomb, who explored Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, looking for ropens in 2004, is a Young Life Creationist (YLC): He promotes living-pterosaur investigations and discoveries to support the Genesis-Flood model and the concept of recent life (Garden of Eden), without regard to the age of our planet or the age of our universe.

My commentary and research continued in Part II.

[edit on 6/1/2009 by ravenshadow13]

posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 11:29 AM

My Commentary

So generally, this group of Young Life Creationists likes the ideas of living dinosaurs because... why? Because if humans and dinosaurs are around together now, they may have been around together since creation? It doesn't make sense to me because evolutionarily I can see how a dinosaur population could have survived extinction until humans evolved. Like, you know, horseshoe crabs did.

They want to accept the dinosaur cryptids, but not bigfoot cryptids. I like this author, he seems to agree with me that the Coelacanth isn't evidence for creationism but for the opposite. By the way, Loren Coleman teaches Cryptozoology at University of Southern Maine, I believe.

And I do understand why creationist cryptozoologists would not want to take classes about evolution like, you know, biology... or zoology... but um. I just don't see how you can pick apart the subject to fit your needs. It's called "Cryptozoology." That included zoology. It's not called "Crypto-religious-evidence-to-make-evolution-wrong." If I could avoid the whole, you know, $200,000 bucks for an undergrad degree in the sciences, I totally would, believe me. But then I wouldn't be able to call myself a cryptozoologist. Because I simply wouldn't know what I was talking about.

Christians Want Bigfoot Taught In Schools?
And not in the good way, either. I guess their idea is that if you can teach such nonsense like evolution, you should teach about Elvis (meh), UFOs (getting touchy...), and Bigfoot (what? You're kidding me.)

If they're going to teach it in schools, at least be realistic. Or make the connection that if you believe in bigfoot, you are in the same area of study as believing that dinosaurs are still around, which would ideally help your case. I'm really not just posting this because of Anderson. Promise.

YOEST: I'm not afraid of my kids knowing about any controversy that is out there, as long as you put the evidence on the table and consider what -- what the debate is. That's what education is all about, is having a vigorous debate. [emphasis added]

Oh. So you let your kids debate about religion too, right? Or is that not okay?

About 35% of Americans believe the following :

Bigfoot is real
UFO's exist
Elvis Presley is still alive ( "The King, the King !" )

Any of you 35% want to come cry in my room with me?

Cryptomundo's Take

I also found some information on the topic on Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman's amazing website of love and perfectness.

"Misunderstandings come on the Right from the creationists, and now comes the subtle assaults from Roman Catholics on the Left.

...So much for any open-mindedness among the Catholic progressives.
First it was the creationists and now it is the Catholic progressives that seem ready to assault cryptozoology. Is this evidence that cryptozoology really occupies the excluded middle and is surely damned, as per the Fortean “damned,” at least?"

I went and checked out the sources Loren had put on his site for myself. I'd love to share. Really.

Catholic Sensibility

“Cryptozoology” keeps the viewer perpetually off balance, refusing to draw distinctions between fact and fiction. Many of the featured animals are total inventions, but you’d never know it from the serious, scientific way the artists portray them....

“Cryptozoology” poses a question: Could a renewed sense of nature’s wonder erode the domineering anthropocentrism that underlies our destructive, perhaps disastrous, relationship with the natural world?

Using big words didn't even make that look good. I couldn't tell but I think they're talking about the Fuji mermaid (you can check out the link to be sure.) Anyone here still believe the Fuji mermaid is real? We all know it's not. Anyone with even an hour's experience in cryptozoological studies knows it's not. Yes, it's a historic HOAX. Yes, it is a part of cryptozoology. But we all know it's a fake. It looks like the taxidermy exhibit was actually trying to make fake cryptids. If we're reduced to idiots gluing stuffed animals together, then I guess I should go cry in my room again.

Loren Coleman on Kent Hovind

Loren Coleman mentioned (yonder: about the Creation Science Evangelism and the Dinosaur Adventure Land deal. Apparently the guy who owned it went to jail. Loren agrees with me (yes!) and says thus:

As many people know, Kent Hovind has been backing the search for Mokele-mbembe for years, as he felt if he could prove that a living dinosaur species existed, it would overthrow evolution. Of course, such a discovery would do no such thing, and there are many “prehistoric” species that exist little changed today. But that’s the reason that these folks are routinely involved as “creationist cryptozoologists” as they feel such quests support their view of the world.

Loren also talks about (in some other blog entries linked on the previous link) that Dr. Kent Hovind had been interacting with many people who had experiences with the Mokele-mbembe.


In summation, creationist Christians seem to like cryptozoology on their own terms. They like to ignore parts of it, and take the parts that they think support their ideas. I understand that some readers may take this as offensive. I don't mean it that way, at all. But when zoologists are out there working hard to study cryptids like the Coelacanth, or Mokele-mbembe, and actually um... carbon dating fossils. And doing DNA testing on Tasmanian Tigers. And looking at phylogenetic trees.

And other people are nitpicking through information about humans and dinosaurs that others have worked hard for, and then criticizing the study of cryptozoology as "fake" and reducing us to sewing together Fuji mermaids, I mean, I'm hurt. Not horribly hurt because I do think that I'm right.

Apparently cryptozoology wasn't always so complex. An animal may be around. You go try to find what it is. You can't just say "Oh gosh, whales. Whales used to live on land and now they don't and before they lived on land they were lobe-finned fish and then became amphibians but that's not creationist so I'm going to pretend whales don't exist." It doesn't work that way. In ten years I know we will have discovered new species. We can't just choose which we want to present to the public. But regardless, maybe someone should tell these guys that a few hundred years ago the popular thing was that a cryptid squid flashed some Bishops a cross symbol.

(/rant and Part II.)

[edit on 6/1/2009 by ravenshadow13]

posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 01:40 PM
reply to post by ravenshadow13

WOW....Simply stunning work
(Applause time anyone?)

I have heard of "ETs and Christianity" but never EVER "Cryptozoology and Christianity", this is some great stuff for real, really original. Maybe I need to come to this board more often, I didn't realize the threads were so good,lol I always remembered them being some youtube video and a paragraph OP. I totally agree with you on how Christians (especially Catholics) are notoriously bad at twisting real science to fit their own needs(see "Big Bang" theory). I am in NO WAY bashing Christianity because I am one, I am just pointing out facts.

It seems like you really know your stuff here Raven, great job. In no time you'll have that flag bar full if you keep this up. I always thought I knew a little bit about Crypto, but I guess not,lol.

PS: I see you took the advice on the signature ads,lol.(good choice)

[edit on 6/1/2009 by jkrog08]

posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 02:36 PM
reply to post by jkrog08

Thank you so much for the compliments, jkrog. I did take your advice, I think it's working (I hope!). I always kind of assumed Christians didn't generally approve of cryptozoological studies just because the evidence for evolution there is kind of obvious. I had no idea they were so... involved in specific parts of it.

Some of the threads in the forum are a cool picture or video, but a good portion of them are detailed research. Check out the new one on whether dinosaurs are still around by TheMythLives. That's the kind of work I want to see going into this forum, because it means the most to me.

This topic means the most to me. That's also why I work really hard for it, and also why I chose this topic- to defend the subject area.

posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 02:46 PM
reply to post by ravenshadow13

That's great to hear (and I already did check it out,lol), it looks like you might be well on your way to an FSME of the Crypto forum.

posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 06:03 PM
She's done it again.

Way to trump my Thylacine thread

Great idea for a topic, and once again incredible presentation and research.

A++++ (Oh, and S + F)

Originally posted by jkrog08
this is some great stuff for real, really original. Maybe I need to come to this board more often, I didn't realize the threads were so good,lol I always remembered them being some youtube video and a paragraph OP.

That was the old days

There is a (small) group of us working at the moment to transform this forum into an archive of valuable threads and research about every cryptozoology topic you could ever think of.

Raven is leading the way.

Bringing this forum back from the stale 'post 2 lines with video and abandon' stigma is far from an easy task, but I think it is starting to show signs of life.

[edit on 1-6-2009 by fooffstarr]

[edit on 1-6-2009 by fooffstarr]

posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 01:40 PM
reply to post by fooffstarr

I thought your Thylacine thread was way more organized, visual appealing, and well-researched than my own.

It's cool though, I mean, we both get recognized less publicly than others who post more um... shocking... threads.

But we need the scientific edge. We need to actual information. We need to discuss cryptids and issues that haven't been discussed before. And if I see one more mkoele-mbembe thread I'll jump out a window...

That's just me though.

I want something ornithological now. That isn't a thunderbird. I'll be back in a few hours with something new and fascinating...

Edit- Actually, I have a better idea. Bear with me guys. I think it will help improve the forum, too...

[edit on 6/2/2009 by ravenshadow13]

posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 01:52 PM
reply to post by ravenshadow13

Hey start a Crypto thread saying "NWO,Obama,Bilderberg, Jesus, and The Reptoids are ALL BIGFOOT-LOCH NESS-DINOSAUR Hybrids on their way here from Universe Omega!!!" LOL............Dont forget the [MUST READ] either.

Really though this forum has really been cleaned up, you and Fooffstarr are Crypto experts IMHO, even if you both don't have the FSME tag.

posted on Jun, 7 2009 @ 11:38 PM

Thank you for this very thought-provoking thread. I always found cryptozoology incredibly interesting. Until today, I never really bothered to search ABS for anything relating to Cryptozoology, but this thread and a few select others, using the search feature, have me thirsting for more knowledge these days haha. I'm looking forward to finding and scouring the Cryptozoology forum and reading more posts by you and users like you. Thank you again for this gem

posted on Jun, 9 2009 @ 07:38 PM
reply to post by ngoogs

You are quite welcome!

I'm glad to have sparked your interest.

posted on Jun, 10 2009 @ 02:09 PM
This hoax has been pulled before (the one with the fish).
A christan magazine claimed that it had been found, but it was proven to be a hoax

posted on Jun, 10 2009 @ 02:44 PM
reply to post by mjl_says

I'd never even heard of it before! I think they probably were comparing a bishop-shape with the shape of a squid, way back when. It's almost a tabloid thing now, I don't think it would be likely. "Fish makes sign of cross to holy men."

I don't even see how a fish could make a cross shape with it's fins. If it's a mollusk like a squid I guess the tentacles could make that shape by accident. But... I think if I were more religious I would like that story a lot.

posted on Jun, 10 2009 @ 06:24 PM
In college, I interviewed Bigfoot researcher Jason Valenti for a story I was writing. He lamented the fact that Bigfoot research is more or less dominated, these days, by Christian fundamentalists. I was confused. He explained that, if they can prove that there is another, less-developed primate on earth today, it lends creedence to the idea that humans are genetically-modified primates. Most ATS members are probably familiar w/ talk about ancient astronauts...that's another area of "research" dominated by anti-evolutionists...they're dying to prove that we're anything but terrestrial...

Sorry if that was obvious to everyone, great thread...

posted on Jun, 10 2009 @ 08:06 PM
reply to post by nicholaswa

Thanks Nicholas! I was surprised, too. I really had no idea. I didn't know about the ancient astronauts connection, either.

"Genetically modified primates" as in... evolution and genetic mutations? Obviously not, right?

So God genetically modified us from primates? Just trying to understand. But I don't see what the difference would be. There are many primates on earth today, and a few thousand years ago there were for sure more upright primates. I don't see how them being around now would change anything.

posted on Jun, 11 2009 @ 10:51 AM
reply to post by ravenshadow13

The idea, as it was explained to me, is that Bigfoot might represent the culmination of primate evolution on earth...they're hoping to find an advanced Neanderthal, basically, so they can say, "look! There is no missing link! Homo Sapiens didn't result from evolution, but from interference." Again, the whole extraterrestrial influence...Apparently, anti-evolutionists are quite fond of the idea that our creator was an extraterrestrial astronaut, or whatever...

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 01:33 PM
reply to post by nicholaswa

In my opinion, an extraterrestrial astronaut = God? But I mean, it could. I profess to know nothing.

I think humans are too similar to other primates to be considered different.

I'd like someone who is a creationist to come into this thread and explain their perception of bigfoot to me. Not in a rude way, but I keep hearing these theories about what they think but no one has come out and said "Hi Raven, I don't believe in evolution, and this is how I explain bigfoot without debunking it."

posted on Jun, 26 2009 @ 05:54 PM
Are you aware of the work of Graham Hancock, and his research and so forth concerning many things (Fingerprints of the Gods is the most well known of his works).

In it he describes the coming of white men to South and North America as gods helping the native indian population. Described as robed, bearded, wearing rainments that looked like fish-scales with a 'second face' of a fish on their head (i.e. a Mitre). Quetzlcoatl and many of the Mayan/Aztec/etc gods are described EXACTLY as the first picture of the monk/bishopfish, and its rather odd IMO for it to be a white, bearded male.

Dagon and other gods of antiquity are also described in this fashion, and in ALL of these cases, they never ate, always created religion (with particularly strange use of the cross motif), taught laws etc, through the use of parable or hymns.

posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 03:31 PM
reply to post by ravenshadow13

I believe in God Raven, however that IMO does not discount the belief in Bigfoot to me.

I'm of the opinion that there are a variety of things we might call bigfoot:

1. Misidentified creatures similar to apes
2. Paranormal beings (they were mentioned in the hebrew bible as devils of the desert and are EXACTLY the same as the bigfoot of today, they are also the wildmen, the woodwose or greenman of the UK and many other places - they dislike cities, prefer solitude but are not above mischief and anger)
3. Some sort of 'alien' but IMO aliens are daemons, are faries, they're all the same thing
4. Some sort of collective tulpa IF they existed in small numbers and we've created these imaginary (yet very real) versions ourselves which is how and why they disappear and so forth

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 09:57 PM
Interesting research.

Seems you did a lot of research and spent a lot of time on the subject.

Defintately made me think a bit.


posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 09:54 PM
ej- I'm not actually familiar! Thank you for the information. It sounds very interesting! I know there are some threads in this forum on Quetzalcoatl, but I think it's very interesting that there are so many similar accounts! I also like your views on bigfoot. I'm glad that your religious beliefs alloted for a belief in bigfoot and cryptozoology, as well.

GH- Thank you!

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