June 7, 2023

Tens of hundreds of individuals will descend upon Nevada’s Black Rock Desert this yr between August 27 via September 4 for Burning Man. The theme this yr is “ANIMALIA,” which the Burning Man Journal describes this fashion: 

The Black Rock Desert can seem at first look to be lifeless—apart from, after all, the foolish people who construct a metropolis there each summer season—however that is removed from the reality. Anybody aware of the excessive desert is aware of that even out on a dry lakebed, the skies carry hovering ravens and buzzing bugs, the fairy shrimp slumber beneath floor ready for rain, and numerous different species roam the transition zones the place the playa edges into scrub and wetlands. However all that life pales compared to the infinite menagerie of imagined animals we convey with us each time we come to Burning Man. The mythic beasts we supply with us in our minds—imagined or idealized, objects of concern or fancy, the animal spirits that populate our goals and are so typically dropped at life on the playa: boars and horses and bears, wild geese and big bison, snakes and squids and house whales, oh my! 

And, after all us humanimals, a species of ape famous for complicated language, superior instrument use, and lording it over the remainder of the biosphere like we’re particular.

This yr’s Burning Man theme will rejoice the animal world and our place in it—animals actual and imagined, mythic and remembered—and discover the curious psychological constructs that enable us to imagine that imagined animals are actual, actual animals are imagined, and that one way or the other, regardless of all proof on the contrary, mankind is one way or the other not a part of the animal kingdom.  

In 1997, Black Rock Metropolis named its first road, Esplanade,” and in 2006 the observe of “creatively alphabetizing” the radial streets of BRC started. This yr, impressed by the “Animalia” theme of Burning Man, the streets may have a cryptozoology theme. Burning Man Journal revealed this yr’s names:

Afanc – a lake monster from Welsh mythology that’s variously described as a crocodile, demon or beaver hybrid. Any two of which might be scary.

Bigfoot – a legendary race of ape-men discovered (or not discovered) around the globe, from the Sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest to the Yeti of the Himalayas. Enkidu, from the traditional Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BCE), arguably marks the start of this “wild man’s” grand family tree.

Chupacabra – the dreaded “goat sucker” of the folklore of the Americas, a meter-high reptilian monstrosity mentioned to have greenish-gray pores and skin, sharp spines working down its again, and a style for goat meat. BRC has reportedly not been spared from this cryptid’s assaults (seen right here within the Black Rock Gazette from August 26, 2003).

Dingbat – a fearsome critter from the tales of lumberjacks of North America from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, described as a big bat or bird-like creature, with a brief feathered physique, giant wings, and quick deer-like antlers on its head. It is usually described as resembling “a really quick owl.”

Encantado – pink-skinned Brazilian weredolphins (what?) that shape-shift into neatly dressed people. Within the guise of males they stroll the countryside listening for the sound of beating drums to information them to the closest social gathering, since they love to bounce and make like to human girls. Their dapper chapeaux cleverly conceal their singular un-transforming characteristic: the blowhole. (WHAT?!)  

Frogbat – native to the Black Rock Desert and probably a distant cousin to the dingbat, the frogbat is a big fire-breathing playaphibian with bat-like wings and explosive digestion. Not even the firing squad of a well-regulated militia has managed to place this fearsome critter down for good. 

Grootslang – actually “massive snake,” a legendary cryptid that’s reputed to dwell in a deep cave within the Richtersveld, South Africa.

Hodag – a folkloric animal of the North American state of Wisconsin, it has “the top of a frog, the grinning face of a large elephant, thick quick legs set off by big claws, the again of a dinosaur, and an extended tail with spears on the finish.” 

Ipogogo – to not be confused with the Ogopogo – a lake monster reported to dwell in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada – the Ipogogo is as a substitute a lake monster rumored to dwell in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.

Jackalope – or Lepus temperamentalus, is an animal of North American folklore, described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and typically a pheasant’s tail. To not be confused with its winged Bavarian cousin the wolpertinger.

Kraken – a colossal legendary sea monster mentioned to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland, with the distinctive cryptid class of “huge.”

Okay, that is it for this yr. Be at liberty to find, invent or embellish your personal cryptid legends for future denizens of Black Rock Metropolis. As a result of myths develop quick within the desert, however not with out the seed of rumour. And thanks prematurely for not stealing the road indicators, trash pandas. (A minimum of not till Exodus, okay?) 

I’ve by no means been to Burning Man and can in all probability by no means go–it is actually by no means my scene–however I like cryptozoology, so I absolutely assist these road names (and realized about a few new cryptids I would by no means heard of earlier than!).

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