1 Yeti, Himalayas

A creature that also goes by the name of ‘the Abominable Snowman’ might not immediately strike paralysing, pant-peeing fear into our hearts, but yeti sightings have been doing the rounds for hundreds of years – and the myth just won’t die, with ‘evidence’ piling up over the centuries.

‘Found’ in the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet, the yeti was worshipped in pre-Buddhist times by several communities. But it was in the early 20th century that legend of the beast swept the West, as explorers began scaling the mountains of the region. Hysteria peaked in 1951 when distinguished Brit mountaineer Eric Shipton photographed large animal prints in the snow as he attempted to climb Everest.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the lore lives on. Recent sightings have placed the yeti roaming as far east as the highlands of Thailand and Laos, and in 2007, the team behind US TV show Destination Truth claimed to 
have stumbled upon 25cm-wide footprints – complete with five toes 
– in the Everest region of Nepal. That said, the show has also pursued mermaids, werewolves and the Mongolian death worm, so it might not be the most trustworthy source.

If you fancy mounting your own yeti-hunting expedition in the Himalayas, be sure to swing by the Khumjung monastery in north-eastern Nepal, where what is purported to be the scalp of a yeti is proudly displayed in a glass case.

However, it seems the yeti may have started to stray further north. The Daily Mail reported in October 2011 that an international team of scientists was mounting an investigation into the yeti in Siberia, following a rise in sightings around the Kemerovo region, 3000 miles east of Moscow. The pesky biped had apparently been making a nuisance of itself, stealing scores of sheep and hens from villagers.

Still, for your best shot at spotting the beast, the snowy peaks of Everest and Annapurna have produced the most sightings. Trek there if you dare …


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2 Ogopogo, Canada

This lake monster was first spotted by Canada’s Aboriginal peoples in the 19th century, and is said to measure 50ft in length.

Swimming in the waters of Okanagan Lake (pictured), in British Columbia, the creature is most unusual for producing a group sighting in 1926, when 30 people claimed to have seen Ogopogo all at once.

No word on whether they’d eaten 
a heap of mushrooms for lunch.


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3 Nessie, Scotland

The Loch Ness Monster first went public in 1933, when a Londoner who had been holidaying in the Scottish Highlands told the local rag about “the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen”.

The Surgeon’s Photograph (pictured) – snapped in 1934 – has long been established as a fake, although a sonar image showing a 5ft-wide unidentified object in the loch landed the monster back in the headlines last month.


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4 Bigfoot, California

Also known as Sasquatch, this 6-10ft tall (depending on whose account you read) shaggy-haired ape has been largely ‘encountered’ in the Pacific north-west of the US.

The most famous sighting was in Bluff Creek, California, in 1967, when Bigfoot enthusiast Roger Patterson caught the beast on film – lucky, seeing as he’d self-published a book about Bigfoot only the year before. Most sightings have been concentrated around this part of northern California.


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5 Tatzelworm, The Alps

Locals in the Swiss, Bavarian, Italian and Austrian Alps have been reporting sightings of this 2-5ft worm-like lizard since the Twenties.

The worm is apparently as thick as an arm and has a cat-like head. In the Fifties, farmers as far south as Sicily complained of a serpent with a feline head that had attacked their pigs.

So, either ski with an eye out for the hole-dwelling creature, or ask the Sicilian farming community for a few slugs of the homemade hooch they must’ve been chugging.

thealps.com; bestofsicily.com