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On August 22, 564, some historians say Columba, a Christian leader, reported seeing the animal that would become known as the Loch Ness Monster in Loch Ness, Scotland. Columba was an Irish priest (later a saint) who was visiting Scotland, and reportedly compelled the monster to not attack one of Columba’s followers.
 
The Loch Ness Monster is probably the most famous target of cryptozoology, the study of animals whose existence has not been proven. Cryptozoology is not a science.
 
Cryptozoologists search for mythical creatures called cryptids. Thousands of cultures all over the world report cryptids. Besides the Loch Ness Monster, other lake cryptids include Champ (in Lake Champlain, United States and Canada); Issi (in Lake Ikeda, Japan); and the Lagarfljot Worm (in Lagarfljot Lake, Iceland). Other cryptids include chupacabras, blood-sucking creatures that threaten livestock throughout Latin America; bunyips, which lurk in Australia’s swamps; dingoneks, “jungle walruses” found in lakes and rivers in central Africa; and, of course, Bigfoot, who stalks old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest.
capture
Verb

to take or control.

Christian
Noun

people and culture focused on the teachings of Jesus and his followers.

compel
Verb

to force or cause something to be done.

cryptid
Noun

animal or other organism, usually mythic, whose existence has not been proved.

cryptozoology
Noun

study of animals or other organisms whose existence has not been proved. Cryptozoology is not a science.

Noun

learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

evidence
Noun

data that can be measured, observed, examined, and analyzed to support a conclusion.

existence
Noun

state or continuance of life.

fantasy
Adjective

imaginary.

historian
Noun

person who studies events and ideas of the past.

jungle
Noun

tropical ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

Noun

body of water surrounded by land.

Latin America
Noun

South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

livestock
Noun

animals raised for human use.

lurk
Verb

to hide in order to attack or for other evil purposes.

mythical
Adjective

having to do with a legend or traditional story, not fact.

old-growth forest
Noun

collection of trees and shrubs that has not been harvested for timber or other uses in about 200 years, although definitions vary. Also called a primeval forest, primary forest, primal forest, or ancient woodland.

priest
Noun

title of religious leader in many faiths.

religious
Adjective

having to do with spiritual belief.

reportedly
Adverb

according to rumor or last evidence.

saint
Noun

holy person in Christian religions.

suppose
Verb

to assume or believe.

Noun

land permanently saturated with water and sometimes covered with it.

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