"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser



Crypto-zoologists seek to discover the unlikely

The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and Mongolian Death Worms may just be flights of fancy for some, but for others they require serious scientific investigation.

Cryptozoology is the search for hidden animals. At one end of the spectrum it might mean hunting for a new species of bat, and at the other it might mean globetrotting to find Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

Richard Freeman and Jonathan Downes are two men who have dedicated their lives to finding them.

Their latest trip had Mr Freeman searching for Russia's equivalent of Big Foot.

And while there is no solid evidence of its existence, the team has managed to collect eyewitness testimony.

"One farmer who said one of these large creatures had killed his dog with a club," Mr Freeman said. "It just walked non-chalantly into his house and picked up a large Bulgarian cheese. What it wanted with the cheese we don't know. It looks and tastes like rubber."

The passion for cryptozoology caught both men at an early age. For Mrr Downes it was when he was just seven-years-old.

"It blew me away," he says. "I already liked animals and to think there were monsters in Loch Ness, it was one of the big three epiphanies of my life. The other was when I learnt boys were different to girls, and the other when I heard the Sex Pistols."

Some of Earth's contemporary creatures such as Big Foot or the Almasty are too big for many to swallow - there is simply not enough evidence.

But for Mr Freeman, Mr Downes and many others, they live for this stuff.

In Mr Freeman's case, he reckons that he almost had an encounter with an Almasty at 2:30am in a small, secluded Russian cabin.

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