When I was a small child in the 1950’s my older brothers would watch the Saturday afternoon scary movies. They were actually quite fun. One that we watched was called The Abominable Snowman. The movie took place in snowy mountains.  We lived in south Texas and at the time I knew very little about snow, or mountains for that matter. I had never heard of the Himalayas and had no idea what the word abominable meant. I did not like the movie much.

Years went by, actually many, until a movie came out in the 1970s called Sasquatch. Something about a big hairy creature in the northwest mountains of North America. In time, I learned he was also called Big Foot. I now realize many such creatures have been spotted all over the world. It was the 1980s that I realized the Abominable Snowman was in essence the Big Foot of the Himalayas. He was referred to as Yeti.

I wanted to place Yeti on the game board of Treasure Trove because it gave that part of the world a sense of mystery, something many young imaginative minds would find intriguing. Although players in the game are trying to capture treasure, it is fun to infuse a sense of adventure while traveling the world in search of fortune. Encountering strange creatures such as the Yeti are all over game board. The world we live in has so many fascinating things to experience.


Abominable:  Discusting, unpleasant, disagreeable.

Yeti:  Ape like creature said to live in the Himalayas.  Also referred to as Snow Beast.  One of the more well known cryptids throughout the world.  English exploreers and mountain climbers trying to conquer Everest in the early 20th century heard stories of such  a animal from the people of Nepal and Tibet.  The legends of such a beast had been passed on for generations.

Abominable Snowman:  In the early 20th century an English newspaper writer living in India misinterpretted some language from the people when they used the term “metoh,” to describe a Snowman or Snow Bear.  The writer thought the word “metoh’ meant filthy, and hence he used “abominable” to decribe the Yeti.  His article on the Abominable Snowman became quite popular in the western world.  The inaccurately translated term abominable remains associated with the Himalayan Snow Beast.   It captured the imagination of the world  for well over half a century.  By the 21st century fewer and fewer people were still believing in the Yeti, much less searching for him.  It does make one wonder if at one time time there was any truth to the legends that big hairy creatures exist in the high altitudes of the snows of the Himalayas.

Amazon Beast


I love watching the TV show River Monsters.  Jeremy Wade does a very good job of creating suspense as he ties together fish stories and legends from around the world with actual reality.  Jeremy treks across the globe entertaining us with the facts behind the legendary stories of monstrous fish and most of the time proves that legends and myths often have a foundation to them.  He almost always catches something to prove his position.  His fish catches would individually be the catch of a lifetime for me.  He makes it look almost routine, that is, I have gotten to where I expect him to catch something interesting and often quite large each episode.  Even the episodes that sound like they would not be any big deal often turn out to worthwhile viewing.

            One week I hesitated to watch because the opening dialogue spoke of his visiting Japan to catch a huge man eating catfish.  That sounded a bit much to swallow(pardon the pun), and for a moment thought he was stretching the viewer’s interest when he shared how Japanese fishermen of old times actually believed gigantic catfishes caused earthquakes and tsunami’s.  I shook my head as I laughed, but………….recent research reveals that catfish are more active and act differently shortly before an earthquake.  I would never have known the difference in catfish activity, but I do not fish for a living.  On the other hand, someone who fishes for them daily on a particular location such as the same large lake each day would be more discerning of catfish behavior.  Japan’s fishermen of ancient times were obviously onto something.  However, what does that have to do with a catfish large enough to swallow a man, especially in Japan which I would have envisioned as a place long ago as fished out of any huge fish.  A place where if it swims, it can be eaten.

            Jeremy then tied in the past stories of catfish coming out of the water to grab children.  Yea,…….. right I thought.   Well, here are some of the facts.  As it turns out, Japan is home to several species of giant salamanders.  You know, the slithery creatures we would catch as kids.  Not just giant as bigger than the four inch wet lizard like animals I played with but gigantic as in four to six feet long, if not bigger.  He actually caught a four footer.  In ancient times if I had seen one of those coming out of the water at night I would have been scared too.  I would actually be quite unsettled even today.  Especially if I did not know what it was, and all I knew was that it came out of the water and had a head like a catfish.  So the legend of catfish being able to swallow someone is loosely based on the reality that a child may have indeed been eaten by one of these he huge salamanders. It actually made for a very enlightening episode.       

           Even though his journey that week was to a populated area such as Japan, it is still his treks to remote destinations that draws my initial attention.  Jeremy has had presentations on all the continents and of course what would a show like River Monsters be without the occasional visit to the Amazon.  There is just something about the Amazon that intrigues, fascinates and scares us.  And I think rightly so.  I loved watching one episode where he seemed to be going up river more and more as the hour show progressed.  As he got deeper into the jungle I anticipated his catch would eventually be even bigger, and perhaps nastier with intimidating teeth and jaws.  As I said he always catches something worth looking at, but I’ll let you tune in to decide for yourself.

When I was deciding where to place treasures for South America on the game board of TreasureTrove I also wanted to place items of danger that one might encounter in their quest for lost fabled wealth.  Who knows in a journey deep into the wilderness outback one might encounter an exotic animal, a creature of huge dimensions, or even a cryptid.  I choose to place Amazon Beast in South America because I think it captures the imagination of all of us, especially a child.  By the way Amazon Beast was on my game board long before I had ever heard of a show called River Monsters.

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logoCryptid is a term I was not familiar with until recently and that is because it is a word that has was not in existence until very recently.  The word was coined  in the 1980’s by John Wall who I believe derived the word from cryptozoology. The Greek word kriptos means hidden.  “Hidden,” + zoology together form the study of hidden animals, thus cryptozoology.  I like the way it sounds and I like the word cryptid.  It has that catchy mysterious sound.     yeti drawing

Cryptozoologists study and often travel the world in search of animals whose existence has not been proven physically but exist in folklore, myths, and legends.  Animals whose classification does not seem to fit within mainstream biological texts.  Many scientists are skeptical of cryptozoology believing it relies too heavily on anecdotal information, doubtful actual eyewitness accounts, and not enough true scientific methodology in their investigate research efforts.  Yet, a lot of people including myself find it quite interesting to hear about strange and exotic animals such as Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster.  I love watching TV shows such as Monster Quest.  There was a TV show in the late 1970’s that I recall watching named “In Search Of”‘ that featured unusual animals.

bigfootI know very little about the origins of cryptozoology.  The little research I did on the subject points to the efforts of a small group of zoologists and paleontologists starting in the 1950’s compiling lists of exotic creatures. They reviewed the writings of previous authors who many years before them had tried to chronicle tales of strange and hard to find animals. Their efforts resulted in the term cryptozoolgy coming into use and in 1982 the International Society of Cryptozoology(ISC) was founded in Washington D.C.   The ISC evaluated unverified animals, that is, animals that have been reported as being sighted but not scientifically proven to exist.  Due to financial problems the ISC ended in 1998, but the interest in cryptids has continued as evidenced by the popularity of shows such as Monster Quest.

I included a number of crypids on the board game of Treasure Trove because in the process of traveling the world in search of treasure it is fun to encounter mysterious creatures.  As you know by now all these photos posted here have been proven to be hoaxes.  In the meantime happy trails to you on your life’s journey.

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lake okanegan


Let the hunt begin.   I must admit the prospect of spotting a legendary animal of the wild is intriguing, especially one with a cool name like Ogopogo.  When European explorers began entering Canada’s western lands in the early 1800’s, the native Indians spoke of a monster in a lake. They called the sea creature Naitaka.  Today the large body of deep fresh water is called Lake Okanagan in British Colombia. The first documented sightings of the lake monster by European colonists was in the 1870’s.  I’m not sure who started it or when the name Ogopogo began but it seems to bogopogoe here to stay.

When playing Treasure Trove participants travel the world in search for fabled treasure such as Blackbeard’s Booty or Capt. Kidd’s treasure chest.   In their journey they also are in the hunt for the earth’s strange and exotic animals such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot.  All of us have heard of Scotland’s “Nessie,” but that is actually a recent phenomena that started in the early 20th century.  On the other hand, Ogopogo had been part of the Indian legend a long time before white people entered the area.

In the late 1980’s when I was looking for interesting monsters to place on the game board I had to spend hours searching library books.  I ran across Ogopogo which I had never heard of.  Twenty years later I happened to be watching a Monster Quest episode on TV that covered Ogopogo.  I enjoyed inviting my wife to join me in watching the hunt for the mythical Ogopogo.  They speculated the creature to be a large lake sturgeon or perhaps a primitive serpentine whale.  In the late 1970’s a TV show called In Search Of aired an episode on Ogopogo that I do not recall seeing, although I remember the series.


In 1990, the Canadian government issued a postage stamp with an artist’s depiction of legendary Ogopogo.  I would love to travel to British Colombia and try to spot the creature but I would be plenty happy to just enjoy the scenery around the beautiful lake.

ogopogo stamp

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