It certainly seems to be the Year of the Cryptid here in Canada. Television is teeming with crypto shows and the public interest in general is increasing. Although actual sightings don't seem to be statistically more than usual, we are getting a lot of "old" reports. These are reports from folks who have experienced something from their childhood or even "last summer on holidays". We can't run out and investigate those sorts of reports, but they are quite valuable. Each report gets archived in our database for use in the study as a whole or for additional evidence should a new sighting occur in the same location. Paranormal Studies and Investigations Canada (PSICAN) is holding its first-ever Crypto Day in Toronto on Saturday (August 13, 2011), open to the public, hoping to help meet the demand for information and education. This week's blog is abbreviated due to our commitment to that event and time constraints.
Additionally, the Royal Mint in Ottawa has begun issuing cryptid-themed coinage for collectors. The first in the series, Sasquatch, is shipped with a map of where the creature was "last seen" which is the first indication that the Mint didn't do much research. The second in the set, Quebec's Memphré, is slightly better researched but the information seems to come from only one source which is troubling. To the Mint's credit, it is marketed under the Nature and Wildlife category rather than something more disrespectful to witnesses and researchers. Sadly, the subcategory is Mythical Creatures and they are marketed as collectibles for kids. This is a three coin set and collectors are speculating that the third coin will be Ogopogo.
Is this set a good thing for Cryptozoology? Will it have any impact at all? Certainly it is not prevalent enough to make an impact worldwide, but putting these coins in hands of collectors is one way to spark interest. Hopefully many who purchase this collection will do further reading and get more factual information than is handed out with the coins. How wonderful it would have been to see a complete set (a better representation of the "beasts" of Canada) issued as circulating coinage.
The Memphré Coin did, however, catch our attention and will lead to an upcoming blog about the creature.