Are Cryptids Lurking in the Forests of Big Sur?

Dark Watchers are the new Bigfoot

Big Sur
What mysteries lurk in the woods of Big Sur?
F Cary Snyder/Unsplash

What places do you think of when you think of cryptids? Loch Ness is likely at the top of most people’s lists. The woods of the Pacific Northwest abound with sasquatches in some stories; there’s also the presence of the yeti in the Himalayas, according to many accounts.

A recent SFGATE article by Katie Dowd suggests that there’s another cryptid hotspot waiting to happen, and it happens to be in one of the most scenic parts of the United States. That would be Big Sur, a place beloved by surfers and Jack Kerouac devotees alike. According to Dowd’s article, the woods in Big Sur are home to the Dark Watchers — towering creatures that have called the forests home for centuries.

The history of the Dark Watchers goes back centuries, and began with the Indigenous people who were the region’s first inhabitants. The Spanish colonizers in the 18th century also detected them, and sightings of the mysterious figures continued in the years that followed. One notable believer was John Steinbeck’s mother, who would leave gifts for the Dark Watchers and reportedly found flowers in return. Dowd writes that Steinbeck himself alluded to the Dark Watchers in his short story “Flight.”

Dowd’s article offers a number of explanations for the Dark Watchers, including a human tendency to project figures into shadows and a quirk of the climate in the Big Sur region — one which could distort existing shadows into something more mysterious. It’s always possible, though, that there’s something in the woods in Big Sur beyond what we can imagine; the world can be a stranger place than we sometimes believe.

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