Isn’t he just delightful? Maybe kind of creepy. At least that’s what I was aiming for. He’s called the Grinning Man, and you’d be able to find him in the thrilling pages of the Mothman Prophecies.
That’s exactly what I wanted to discuss today since it’s Inspiration Tuesday today. I often talk about teachers, or artists, or television shows that inspire me on Tuesdays. Today, however, I want to change gears a bit. I want to talk about the exciting world of Cyptozoology and Fortents.
Cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unknown creatures. It quickly became a part of the Fortean spectrum and has made waves in today’s culture. Anything Fortean is regarded as pseudoscience, but that seems to be a key part in entertainment these days. We’re ravenously craving the whimsical and the absurd, at least when it comes to entertainment, but I digress.
Once again this is something that stems from my childhood. While a child, I wanted nearly nothing more than to become a paleontologist when I grew up. I read tons of books about dinosaurs and could name more than most elementary school kids should even fathom. It was an obsession, I suppose. I believe it was this fascination that may have stemmed the similar fascination with zoology and it’s less accepted brother, cryptozoology.
Anyone who visits here probably has no idea that even though I have shown a clear pursuit of the arts, I have struggled with an interest in natural sciences. During college I had frequently considered changing my degree of study, though I remained with the arts.Perhaps it is my hankering for story that drew me to it in the first place.
I repeatedly talk about how a story is what I am interested in. I want to convey a good story, somehow. That facet, I believe, is what is so inviting about the nature of things we don’t know or understand. I am not coming to you today to preach that I believe all of these mysterious accounts are real, or to force you to believe. Rather I am trying to say that it is enchanting.
There’s nothing about fantastical creatures that isn’t alluring in some respect. You have to admit it, at some point you’ve watched something about ghosts, or Bigfoot, or the Montauk Monster. Why? Why in the world would they be so fascinating? Because the “why” behind what they are is either unknown, easily misunderstood, or ignored. When there are holes in something our spectacular brains fill them in.
It is this, I believe, that makes it so exciting to see something that shouldn’t be. Regardless of what it really is, we are excited to create a story about it. Even if you are certain you are not religious in any sense, humans are a superstitious creature and that superstition can weave some colorful tapestries.
Sometimes these tapestries can be a good tool for story telling. The more brilliant they become, the easier it is to set the hook. Before long you’re being reeled in, convinced that Abraham Lincoln fought vampires, or those pesky lights in the sky are from another world. Before you know it, there are strange robotic men in your living room, and a Grinning Man peeking into your bedroom.