Cryptids are fascinating because they exist in a pseudo-realm of science nobody can really prove exists. References to impossible creatures have been found for centuries in ancient cultures, including in Indigenous Australian relics and the stories of Native American peoples. Some tales are so eerily similar to others across the globe it would be unfair to rule out the possibility these creatures did exist, even if evidence is scarce today. To track the spread and popularity of cryptids across the globe today, SavingSpot recently partnered with illustrator Laimute Varkalaite to create a gorgeous new map charting the world by each country’s most famous mythical creature.
You can check out the map in full glory below:
The obvious question is why a finance website is tackling the dark intricacies of the world of cryptids. Counterpoint: why not?
Cryptids remain an intriguing area of study and their continued popularity across modern media is a testament to their endurance in the public conscious. Everyone loves cryptids, and in each country you’ll find historical evidence, conspiracy theories and reports of mysterious (and varied) creatures that go bump in the night.
Australia’s most popular cryptid, according to Saving Spot’s map, is the humble Bunyip. This creature originates in Indigenous Australian myth and is said to occupy local watering holes and swampland. While there’s debate over whether the bunyip is strictly harmless, it appears to be most known for its howling cry, twisted seal-like appearance and its ability to ‘eat’ Canberra.
Going further afield, you can see the biggest cryptids around the world include North America’s Sasquatch, Dragons in China, Vietnam, Korea, Hong Kong, England and Wales, the Baba Yaga in Russia and Vampires in Eastern European countries like Serbia, Kosovo and North Macedonia.
The creatures were selected based on the popularity of their Google results by nation, with the highest ranking creatures named as the country’s most popular cryptid. These search results include historical evidence and modern tales, but also newer reports like Queensland’s recent rash of alleged Yowie sightings or New South Wales’ Lithgow Panther appearances. (Sadly, big cats have missed out in the cryptid rankings this go around.)
It’s a gorgeous map filled with fascinating details — like the popularity of dragons across multiple global regions and cultures, or the appearance of similar ‘vampire-style’ creatures across Eastern Europe and Asia. (The Philippines’ Aswang ties closely into vampire mythology.) There’s plenty of insights if you look closely, and you might even see where the inspiration for some your favourite supernatural mysteries comes from.
If you’re looking to get more in depth with the data shared by SavingSpot, you can also check out a state-by-state map of cryptid popularity in the U.S. here. It includes several famous cryptids now enshrined in modern pop culture including the Jersey Devil, the Wendigo and our personal favourite, Mothman.
Long may these cryptids reign.