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Ever Encounter an Outdoor Mystery Like Iceland's Lagarfljotsormur (Giant Worm)?

A new name is trending on the Cryptozoology Top 10:

• Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch)
• Nessie (Loch Ness Monster)
• Abominable Snowman (Yeti)
• Bunyip (Australia)
• Chupacabra (or "goat sucker" of Central and South America)
• Giant Squid
• Birdzilla
• Swamp Monster
• Donald Trump's hair
• Lagarfljotsormur

Lagarfljotsormur is the name of an alleged lake-bound giant worm filmed by a seemingly rational, salt-of-the sheep farmer, Hjortur Kerulf, in a remote area of Iceland. His story and worm video are featured in this account reported on ABC Nightline (sorry for the unavoidable commercial lead-in).

Occurrences such as this inevitably stir up debate. Are such creatures, or cryptids (whose study is indeed known as cryptozoology) mere folklore? Myths? Entertaining storytelling legends?

Skeptics claim the image in the video is just a stray fishing net. After his experience, Hjortur the Icelandic sheep farmer is not entirely sure. Neither is a bright, clear-eyed, sharp-minded engineer, Wayne Dimmig, who oversees a hiking club for Boeing employees here in the Pacific Northwest. 

Last year I wrote a story for The Seattle Times about Wayne, his club and the countless hours he has spent in the Cascade Mountains backcountry within a few hours of Seattle.

Late one night near a trailhead, Wayne recalled spotting a large, shadowy, 2-legged figure in some trees maybe 100 feet away. It turned, bashed its way through the brush and vanished. Sasquatch? "That or a survivalist," Dimmig said, realizing that to some he might sound like a loon for uttering such speculation. He just shrugged.

In my hundreds of nights in the backcountry I've heard some mysterious things go bump in the night but have yet to see anything monstrous (other than my own reflection in a pond) or legendary. How about you? Does even a small percentage of your brain think Sasquatch or Nessie or other such creatures inhabit the outdoors?  Ever cross paths with something you couldn't (and maybe still can't) explain? Do tell.

Posted on at 7:06 PM

Tagged: Cryptids, Iceland, Loch Ness, bigfoot, cryptozoology and giant worm

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One night during Army ROTC summer camp in the woods of North Carolina, I saw someone standing in the darkness. We were all lying down in "hidden" sentry positions, and the 82nd Airborne was playing games with us at different times during the exercise. I challenged the intruder, several times. I got not response, and finally decided that I must be looking at a tree because no human being could stand that still for that long. The next morning, we found out that a guy lying not six feet from me had his backpack raided by a raccoon that night. I'm pretty sure that what I saw was that raccoon, climbing down the tree, and it froze when I moved and made noise. It taught me a valuable lesson about how our senses play tricks on us when otherwise deprived of input.

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