In the field of crypto zoology, there are some legendary creatures who quite simply have been made up to frighten outsiders or as an inside joke to locals. Examples of this range from the “Wild Haggis” to the Western “Jackalope.” These creatures hold a dear position in local folklore, but unless belief alone can cause these creatures to manifest physically, they are most certainly false. Even so, they occasionally somehow make their ways into paranormal circles when their origins are clearly known.
Haggis is a dish derived from organ meat of sheep, and is quite possibly one of the most notorious of all meats sold in Scotland. When visitors ask what Haggis is to a butcher, one with a sense of humor will often tell the visitors of a strange creature called the “Wild Haggis” which has one leg longer than the other and lives on hilly slopes, but is unable to turn around due to its deformity. The creature is described as being similar in appearance to a skunk crossed with a sort of badger. When visitors to Scotland were surveyed, a full one third of them believed the Wild Haggis was a real creature, or a cryptid when in fact it is merely a joke played on tourists.
The Wild Haggis, of course is nothing in comparison to the bizarre Drop Bear of Australia. The Drop Bear isn’t actually a believed creature of Australian folklore, but rather a creature designed by locals to attract or frighten tourists. “I’d be careful going out that way. This is Drop Bear season. Maybe I should go along to protect you,” or “You go off and get us some snacks. We’ll guard the camp against Drop Bears.” The Drop Bear is allegedly a large carnivorous Koala that hides in trees until an unsuspecting victim walks beneath them, when the Drop Bear simply Drops onto its victim injuring them with their massive weight and then eating them as they’re paralyzed. Some versions of the story are that whenever traveling through the outback under trees, you should always hold your knife or machete straight up in the air to kill any Drop Bears as they fall on you. Other suggestions to keep away Drop Bears is to spread toothpaste behind the ears, or tie pieces of cutlery into your hair. Drop Bears have been in a number of fictional outlets including television commercials, comics, and even a popular tabletop roleplaying game.
The hoop snake is another creature of lore, this one hailing out of the American Southwest. Hoop Snakes are said to find their mobility for hunting and escaping prey by moving to the top of a hill, and then clutching the tip of its tail in its fangs then expanding its body into a hoop allowing itself to roll down a hill like a wheel. The hoop snake is said to be able to also jump as it rolls along by contracting, then expanding its wheel shape. Raymond Ditmars a naturalist and scientist put $10,000 into a New York Bank Trust account as a prize to the first person who could bring him conclusive evidence that the hoop snake was real.
It’s important to keep the real from the fictitious in the realm of paranormal investigation, even if both are entertaining. The partition between reality and fiction is not always clear, but when told stories of the Wild Haggis in Scotland, you’ll certainly not be part of the unenlightened third that thinks it’s real. Of course you never know what possibilities there are when you take into account the possibilities of the infinite dimensions layered over this one.