Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.1 Peter 5:8-10
With Spooky Season upon us, it’s time to do a little more myth-busting. Looking around, it sure seems like some age-old spirit beasts which inhabit the loneliest places, sometimes called cryptids, are increasingly making their presence known – while also evading all attempts at authenticating their existence. It may seem like this belongs in the realm of crazy people, but the testimonies of those who have experienced unexplained encounters with cryptids (and UFO’s) cannot be wholly discounted; it is often credible people reporting incredible things.
The sightings of cryptids, from, Bigfoot to Chupacabra to Mothman to the Jersey Devil and much more, share common features:
The Most Well-Known Example
Sasquatch, AKA Bigfoot, just might be the most popular cryptid out there (or not out there…). Lots of people choose to believe in Bigfoot, and some are absolutely convinced he/they exist.
Bigfoot researchers (and believers) argue that there are still species which we have not yet discovered. They point to the 2003 discovery of a new species of ape in central Africa (the Bili Ape) as evidence that large undiscovered primates can exist. However, the Bili Ape has been observed at length, with reports dating back almost 100 years that include photographs, DNA samples and contact with the apes. There is still no definitive proof of Bigfoot. Further, large primates live in family groups of 5-50. For even a fraction of the sightings to be real, there would have to be tens of thousands in North America alone – all somehow undiscovered. Large primates also leave obvious traces behind, like nests, dung, food remains, tools and carcasses – yet no physical evidence has ever been documented.
Surprisingly, in many accounts, both a Bigfoot and a UFO were observed in the same time and place! Researchers also note that domestic or farm animals react with inordinate fear: the most ferocious dogs refuse to bark, appear to freeze and attempt to hide. In some cases, they refuse to eat normally for days. Additionally, many Bigfoot sightings include phenomena traditionally associated with demonic activity, including the stench of sulfur or rotten meat.
So, Maybe Cryptids Are Not What We Think?
Believers in cryptids are hampered by the lack of physical evidence – but skeptics are hindered by the very large body of reliable witnesses. Both sides reject a third possibility, however: that the creatures are from another dimension…
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but… against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:12
There is a tremendous diversity in shapes and sizes of cryptids reportedly appearing in various cultures with a wide variety of beliefs – yet all of them share in common that they only appear under cover of darkness, barely seen and unverifiable. Similarly, UFO’s, which share tremendous diversity with their cryptid counterparts, would seem to suggest that the earth has been visited by countless civilizations from countless galaxies. Yet, just like cryptids, they always appear in remote locations to just a single individual or a few people in remote locations – and always under cover of darkness.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.John 3:19-20
Renowned UFO researcher John Keel, who wrote The Mothman Prophecies, coined the term “Men in Black” and did not write from a Christian perspective, wrote this: “The UFO manifestations seem to be, by and large, merely minor variations of the age-old demonological phenomenon.”
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.1 Timothy 4:1
The Prince of Darkness
The paranormal view of a world controlled by unseen forces, called gods, spirits, demons and various other names across time and culture, is as old as time. And it is all a deception by the Father of lies, the Devil.
His goal is to plunge the world into darkness and chaos, bringing about the destruction of souls. This paranormal view shows itself in nearly all religions, and promises reincarnation and spiritual advancement – an evolution of self which promises untold riches of enlightenment and love. But the reality is that it offers a stark universe in which one is completely and utterly alone, destined to lose everything.
(The devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.John 8:44
Monsters Are Real… And They Are Real Monsters
Satan, the enemy of mankind, and his minions the demons, are all too real. And anything they can do – through temptation, fear or misdirection – to distract you from the good things of God is a victory for them. And you do not want to mess around with the demonic realm.
Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.1 Samuel 16:14
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit.Luke 4:33
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.Mark 9:20
Immediately there met (Jesus) out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore you by God, do not torment me.” For (Jesus) was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So (Jesus) gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the pigs, and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned in the sea.
And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.Mark 5:1-20
We need to be willing to see things for what they really are. We are at war with the spiritual realm of darkness, and the enemy seeks to deceive anyone he can to keep them from God’s love – we need to be ready, and we need to be active.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:11-12
We Need to Put Our Trust in Jesus
There is an aspect of paranormal experiences which is not often reported, but significant: Top alien abduction researchers across the country have admitted to hearing cases where someone who was in the midst of an experience called out in the name of Jesus – and the experience abruptly stopped.
They admitted they did not report these cases for fear it would affect their credibility. Isn’t it amazing that talking about alien abduction in our culture is more credible than talking about Jesus or demonic activity? Yet these cases number in the hundreds – and increasing…
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.Romans 10:13
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.Colossians 1:13-14
Believe It… Or Not
Again, how amazing is it that people will believe in Bigfoot, UFO’s and ghosts, but not God? According to one study, 58% of Americans believe in the paranormal, while 53% believe in God.
Whether we want to believe it or not, monsters are real – and monsters are dangerous. But they are masters in the art of deception. The point is, while it may be fun to watch a Bigfoot-hunting show or the X-Files from the safety of your living room, you probably don’t want to have your own close encounter. But if you do find yourself frozen in terror, remember to call upon the name above all names: Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.Colossians 2:6-10
- Dailey, Timothy. The Paranormal Conspiracy. Chosen Books, 2015.
- Engelbrecht, Edward, and Robert C. Baker. The Lutheran Difference: an Explanation & Comparison of Christian Beliefs. Concordia Pub. House, 2010.
- Kinnaman, Scot A., and Laura L. Lane. Lutheranism 101. Concordia Publishing House, 2015.
- Pieper, Franz. Christian Dogmatics. III, Concordia Pub. House, 1950.