Monkey Man and Other Sightings

robert.burns@latimes.com

India's Monkey Man has been creating quite a stir in New Delhi, attacking people in their sleep and generally being a pain in the madras.

Bad monkey.

Some people accuse Pakistan of sending Monkey Man to India. He's been seen with steel claws. Others report he's wearing a motorcycle helmet. Give him a ukulele and he could be a lamp base at Cost Plus.

And Monkey Man isn't even the latest of mythological creatures to crop up. In northeast India, Bear Man has appeared, with more than a dozen people claiming they've been attacked. Like they need to make up problems?

There isn't a lot of stuff about Monkey Man on the Web, but you can read his entire saga, plus that of Bear Man, at Ananova (http://www.ananova.co.uk/news/ index.html?keywords=Monkey+man&nav;_src=more_on).

People who get into these fantastic beasts--such as the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, Yeti and our own Chupacabra--call themselves cryptozoologists, a term that loosely translates into: "You may laugh at us, but we're going to spend our lives trying to hunt down and kill something weird to prove it exists."

John D. Wooldridge's Cryptozoology Links (http://www.angelfire.com/weird/cryptozoo) has links to dozens of sites focusing on various "cryptids," once you get past John's penchant for animation and Angelfire's penchant for slow-building ads. Plus you must really, really--no, we mean really--promise not to plagiarize anything from his site. Some creatures that surprised us: the Oklahoma Goatman, Oliver the Mutant Chimp and Bighead, who probably should mate with Bigfoot to achieve offspring with proportion.

CryptoWeb's (http://come.to/the_cryptoweb) introduction starts with an explainer of why cryptozoology shouldn't be discredited as pseudoscience and leaves us with the hope that "if even one of the major cryptids (cryptological animals) were discovered, the science could leap over into the mainstream and become a full part of 'normal' zoology." Maybe, if the discovery is a flying pig.

Cryptozoology.org.uk (http://www.cryptozoology.org.uk) tries to focus on the lesser-known cryptids, since everyone is all over Oliver the Mutant Chimp.

The Crypto Chronicle (http://freespace.virgin.net/brian.goodwin/home.htm) has information and links to newsletters. It also has the same photo as a lot of these sites: the Tasmanian tiger, a real animal believed to be extinct since the 1930s or '40s. Guys, you need a new poster child. Finding an animal that hasn't been seen for 70 years isn't going to make anyone shout, "Whoa, dude, there must really be a Mothman too!"

The Northwest apparently is a hotbed for cryptids. There's Bigfoot, of course. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (http://www.bfro.net) is "the only scientific organization probing the bigfoot/sasquatch mystery." You know it's true because they have maps.

There's also the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club (http://www.ultranet.ca/bcscc), which is looking for a mega-serpent near Vancouver. But then, who isn't?

From down South is that old goat-sucker, the Chupacabra. He gets thousands of hits on the Web. There's the Chupacabra Homepage (http://www.princeton.edu/~accion/chupa.html), which has a timeline tracing the jet-setting beast's path from Puerto Rico to Mexico to the United States. IChing's Chupacabra page (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Vault/1259/chupacabra.html) even has photos, although we swear one is just a constipated Yoda.

We'll leave you with the Cryptozoology Underground (http://www.crosswinds.net/~mothman/index2.htm), which promises "cryptozoology with an edge." We hope it's not a sharp one.

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Robert Burns is an assistant Business editor at The Times.

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