Cryptids in Fanworks

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)Monsters, Mythical Creatures, Cryptid AU
Related tropes/genresXeno, Monster Fucking
See alsoParanormal
Related articles on Fanlore.


Cryptids are animals that are claimed to exist, but whose existence has not been or cannot be verified by the scientific community. The study of cryptids is referred to as cryptozoology. Common examples include Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and Mothman. In popular use, the word 'cryptid' is sometimes used to refer to animals, spirits and figures from mythology, folklore and religion, leading to debate over the definition of the term.

In fanworks, cryptids may appear as their own characters, or be used as a basis for alternate universes. Fanworks featuring cryptids are most commonly found in fandoms for works in science fiction, paranormal, horror, and supernatural genres.

Definition

The definition and usage of the word 'cryptid' varies between people and communities. Most formal definitions define cryptids as animals that are claimed to exist but whose existence is or cannot be proven. However, the term may also be used to refer to:

  • Supernatural, legendary, or spiritual beings from urban legends, mythology, religion, and folklore. The use of the word 'cryptid' to describe beings from certain religions, such as Native American religions, is often considered controversial due to concerns of cultural appropriation and disrespecting spiritual beliefs and practices.[1]
  • Animals that are considered considered extinct but are claimed to have survived.[2]
  • Aliens

The word 'cryptid' is also used as a slang term to refer to a person who the speaker considers unusual or elusive. Canon creators and fans whose mannerisms are esoteric, or who rarely make public appearances, have been described as 'cryptids' in this sense.

Examples of famous cryptids

Fanworks

"Cryptozoology" is the canon tag for cryptid content on Archive of Our Own, and it appears to be synned with similar tags such as "Sea Monsters" (sea monster content seemingly makes up the majority of works in the tag). Especially well-known cryptids, such as Mothman and the Loch Ness Monster have canon tags of their own.

Cryptids are commonly found in fandoms with canons that focus on the paranormal, such as Supernatural, BuzzFeed Unsolved, and The X-Files; these stories often feature the characters hunting for cryptids. They can also be found in works for Voltron: Legendary Defender and Boku no Hero Academia. Many cryptids will turn out to be aliens or fantasy creatures, such as in Doctor Who, in which the Loch Ness Monster is an alien (two separate aliens actually).

Note that the cryptid characters in fanworks are not always based off of actual folkloric creatures. Sometimes fan creators will use the term "cryptid" to refer to original species that do not correspond to beings such as Bigfoot/Mothman/etc.

Cryptid AU

A Cryptid AU is an alternate universe in which one or more characters from the source material is portrayed as a cryptid. The character may be a shapeshifter able to blend in with humans, or a non-shapeshifter living in the wild.

Example Fanworks


Art

Fics

References