Japan. 1990. In the deep and dark icy waters, researchers onboard government vessels are reporting on mysterious sightings, haunting their ships and causing fear and panic to spread among the crew. Working on deck one night, one particular crewmember noted a strange beast rising from the depths below. Some mammoth monstrosity that caused the crew to scramble up onto the deck to catch a glimpse of what they, initially, thought was a ‘foreign submarine’, floating ominously on the water. It was dark, so it was hard to tell. But as they approached the object, it became evident that they were not dealing with a submarine, but an enormous, living, breathing giant. The crew stared in awe until the creature submerged, taking plenty of photos. But where are these photos? We’re not sure. Some think it’s suspicious that those photos have disappeared. These conspiracists argue the government have suppressed the evidence and buried the truth. Just what did the crew see?
The vast oceans are full of strange little oddities, many of which have never seen the light of day. Many cause spectacular reaction among the public when human eyes are first laid on these curiosities. But newly discovered gargantuan species are so rare that anything the size of what the researchers saw is surely fiction, right? Regardless, what they saw appears to fit the bill. And many others have seen it, too. A creature of the name Ningen…
The ‘Ningen’, translating as ‘human’ in Japanese, was the very name given to the creature by the researchers. But sightings go way, way back, to the 1960s. Some strange white beast, between 60 and 90 feet in length, a blubbery, whale-like creature. Its smooth, pale form vaguely resembles the head, torso and appendages of a human being, hence the name. Some see two hind legs, whilst others swear they see ‘hands’ complete with five fingers at the end of tendril-like arms. Others say it has a ‘mermaid-like’ tail. It’s also reported they have no facial features, except for two, huge eyes and a mouth-like slit. They only come out at night and one thing is for sure: they’re very weird, aren’t they?
Many suspect that, whatever it is, it’s been hiding in the colder arctic waters. Perhaps it is nothing more than some albino ray, but eyewitnesses all say the same thing: it is like no ray they’ve ever seen before. It’s hard to tell just what people are looking at. Encounters only ever happen at night and the photographs we do have suggest nothing more than a vaguely human looking lump of ice. The more convincing photos, believers argue, are hidden in government vaults as they ‘don’t want a secret getting out’. It’s almost mythical in the devotion many have to following its trail, desperate to uncover the truth…
In a November 2007 edition of MU magazine, a Japanese publication devoted to the study of paranormal phenomena, they speculated on the possibility of numerous unidentified creatures stalking the waters of the southern seas. Yet they also admitted that ‘no solid evidence’ had ever been found to confirm the existence of the Ningen.
As soon as this account was published, the internet exploded. News of the enigma spread across the world like wildfire and a pop culture phenomenon was born. Excitement over the ‘new creature’ reached fever-pitch in the same month, with photographs and articles all claiming to have ‘proof’ the Ningen was real. Experts were confounded. They were sure it did not exist yet here were all these people stating otherwise. Were they jumping on the bandwagon or did they have the proof they so claimed?
Most weren’t quick to believe this deluge of grainy photos and second hand accounts, but those who believed in the Ningen were not dissuaded. Some even suggested the Ningen were corporeal life-forms, whilst mainstream scientists suggested albino whales or manta rays, optical illusions of ice, rocks or similar topographic features. Odds are that the relatively new legend of the Ningen is little more than a fisherman’s tale, rather than aliens or a Japanese government cover-up, but we don’t know for sure.
Whilst the origins of the Ningen are only vaguely traceable, it seems most likely that this is a tale of the sea, combined with the makings of urban myth. All mixed together with a wandering mind on a cold and icy night, convincing you that what you are seeing is real. Regardless of the truth, the Ningen remains an intriguing enigma of the dark and icy seas…
So I’ll give this cryptid a 76 on my patented Cryptid-o-Meter, putting it 62nd in the list of 73, with The Pope Lick Monster still bottom and The Beast of Gévauden still holding top spot.
The Ningen. A fascinating cryptid indeed.
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