You might be asking yourself, what is a cryptid? You may not know the word, but you have definitely heard of specific cryptids. Does the name Bigfoot ring a bell? How about The Loch Ness Monster? Those are the big name headliners in a field called cryptozoology. To borrow from JW Ocker’s book, “a cryptid is a creature or species whose existence is scientifically unproven.”
Author JW Ocker does not take cryptids as seriously as cryptozoologists do, but he’s all in on the fun of the possibility of cryptids, and I’m with him on that! Wouldn’t it be a wonderful, fun world if all those legends like the Mothman, The Jersey Devil, and the Loch Ness Monster were all true? Let’s get on with the interview!
TPF: How did your interest in the paranormal begin?
JW: As a kid I liked monsters and I was also raised religious, so soul-deep in gods and demons, but it wasn’t until college or thereafter that I really started digging the strange in a real way. Probably at that moment when I got my first real job and a place all my own and was supposed to start getting serious about life. I looked out at that landscape and realized, “Ah. The regular world kind of sucks. Guess I’ll be spooky instead.”
JW: The Mothman. It’s got a great story arc (most cryptid stories peter out, but the Mothman story raises to a climax with the collapse of the Silver Bridge), but also because Point Pleasant supports its creature in a way that has become the template for all other cryptid towns. Plus, you can explore the TNT area where the creature was most often sighted and pretend it’s the late 1960s and it could pop up anytime with its glowing red eyes and freaky motionless flying.
TPF: Which creature would scare you the most if you came upon it in the wild?
JW: The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp or, if you can count them, Gray Aliens. The former is because a humanoid reptile just sounds like it could mess you up more than anything else in cryptid lore (minus the water monsters, which is a totally different fear). The latter is mostly because of the movie Communion.
TPF: What did you do before you figured out that you could make a living writing about interesting oddities?
JW: Oh, I can’t. Not and keep my family in Bigfoot t-shirts. I’m also a strategist at an agency in Boston. That basically means I tell stories for businesses, which is a lot like telling paranormal stories except that the monsters all wear suits and I’ve got to pitch them to rooms full of people with “Chief” in their titles.
TPF: Those monsters sound scarier than anything else we’ve discussed here!
JW: I’m currently working on a book about cults that will come out next year. There’s still a ton of weirdness out there I want to tackle, but after my last three nonfiction books–cursed objects, cryptids, and cults–I might just be out of c-words.
Thank you for your time JW. I’m completely enjoying Cryptids and I’m planning some trips in hopes of seeing a Jersey Devil or maybe a Snallygaster! To my readers, JW is a fun follow on social media and has a website: OddThingsIveSeen.com which is always a fun read. You can also find him on Facebook. In addition to his paranormal subjects, he also has quite a few fiction novels for both young readers and adults. You can find his entire collection on Amazon!
Have a great Saturday everyone, and come back tomorrow for my interview with a demonologist who will be appearing on The Travel Channel in the coming week! ~Phil