Before I dive in to this topic, a disclaimer:
I am incredilby, phenomenally BORED right now.
I am awaiting knee surgery next week so I am mostly useless in helping to provide curbside service (I’m relegated to answering phones and preparing print jobs). On an exciting day, I get to draw on bags for patron pickups. And after surgery, I will be out of work for a month as I recover.
My brain needs something to challenge it. Work is not currently challenging. Therefore, we end up here….
….talking about my idea to see what primary sources I can locate for cryptid encounters.
If you’re not familiar, a cryptid is a cryptozooglical creature, aka a creature whose existence is rumored but not confirmed or widely factually supported. Think Bigfoot, Mothman, The Jersey Devil, etc.
One of my personal interests is paranormal phenomenon, not necessarily because I believe in it but for the same reason I’m interested in true crime – the human psychology behind them. With crytpids, I am especially fascinated by individuals who make official reports at the risk of potential detriment of their own reputations (or, perhaps motivated by the potential for infamy?).
Something often mentioned in disucussion about cryptids is police reports made or newspaper articles published at the time related to sightings. Some locations, like Point Pleasant in West Virginia, curate their own collections of such primary sources in museums to serve as tourist attractions (for the unfamiliar, Point Pleasant is home to most Mothman encounters). But in general, there’s not really a complication of primary sources related to those who witness cryptid phenomena. I’m curious what primary sources do exist? How does one begin combing around for primary source materials related to cryptids?
I’m playing around with the idea of falling down this rabbit hole as a fun way to learn more about securing primary documents and conducting research when removed from visiting a physical location. It sounds like a challenge and a fascinating one at that. Especially as a public employee who has interacted with the Freedom of Information Act from the other side, I’m curious what the process of making the requests is actually like.
To be continued….?