|This is an overview article, focusing on background information and cross-game comparisons. See articles on the right game-specific information.|
Cryptids (from the Greek κρύπτω, krypto, meaning "hide" or "hidden") are a subset of animals and other creatures that are mentioned in local folklore and other accounts, but whose actual existence is questionable. This does not apply to anything that is widely acknowledged as existing. For example, the deathclaw was presumed to be a rumor or hoax in New California around 2161, but other regions of post-war America had many confirmed sightings beforehand.
Cryptids were largely assumed to be superstition by the majority of the populace, with cryptozoologists, like Shelby O'Rourke, being taken as seriously as a child in a lab coat. But many cryptids actually existed before the Great War, and both the United States Armed Forces and United States Intelligence (like the Sugar Grove Sigint) kept records on any cryptid encounters up until the Great War. While considered to be hoaxes and superstition, cryptids still played a large part of the culture before the war as well, with examples of this cryptid craze coming from Point Pleasant erecting a Mothman statue, Vault-Tec University's football team called the Fighting Wendigos, Tales from the West Virginia Hills focusing on a different cryptid for each of its stories and Grafton holding a local holiday where the "Grafton Monster" would appear in the parade (and the real Grafton Monster appearing in it after the Great War).
After the Great War, cryptids began to appear far more often than they ever had before. This was noted by Shelby O'Rourke from her shack in The Mire where she theorized that the near extinction of the human race made room for cryptids to come out of hiding.
The Beast of Beckley
A dangerous albino wolf known to roam Appalachia since before the Great War. Intrigued by reports of a shredded bear and sightings a "pale monster" near Beckley, Janelle Priblo set off to find and trap the Beast. Raymond Priblo showed up later to assist Janelle, but disregarded her warnings and was killed by the Beast. Soon after, desiring revenge for Raymond's death, Janelle attempted to leave the area to assemble a hunting party but was caught unaware when the Beast attacked and killed her too.
The chupacabra (Spanish for "goat-sucker") is a legendary creature of Puerto Rican origin. In Fallout: New Vegas, No-bark Noonan calls an invisible nightkin a chupacabra, after it has killed several brahmin around the town of Novac.
Zetan aliens tasked with capturing test subjects for experimentation, Flatwoods monsters are stealthy kidnappers, grabbing victims and teleporting away before they knew what hit them, their mere presence telepathically warping the mind of all but the most iron-willed.
In pre-War West Virginia, near the town of Flatwoods, many claimed to see a dark, mysterious figure with glowing eyes. A Flatwoods monster purportedly took Colton Pickins onto its spaceship and performed experiments on him, however, that account was disbelieved by the responding police force. Post-War, however, these accounts are becoming more and more real, with accounts of wastelanders being taken away and subjected to vile experimentation; a blinding light their only memory of the ordeal.
The spirits of the dead that have been trapped in our earthly plane that had unfinished business or failed to attain something valuable to them. Not much is known about the function of ghosts, as the only examples of ghosts are Anna Winslow whose spirit became trapped in the Den after dying, kept on the mortal plane in agony due to the theft of her locket by a petty thief, and Lucy Grandchester who haunts the Grandchester Mystery Mansion for unknown reasons. Based on Anna Winslow's actions in her quest, after attaining the item they need most, the ghost will disappear with the item, leaving only a pile of bones.
The Grafton monster, once a cryptid associated with West Virginia, was made flesh by West Tek's experiments at their Huntersville facility. Using the FEVS-006458 strain on October 23, 2077, scientists created a stable - if horrifying mutation. Based on the snallygaster strain, researchers tweaked the genome, producing a giant that shattered the containment unit, but was otherwise stable (excepting the absence of a discernible head). The mutant was sedated and transported off-site via truck, with the Great War sidetracking the convoy and allowing the monster to escape into the wild due to a nuclear detonation blinding the driver.
The resulting monster is headless, hairless and has a grayish color skin with a leathery texture. It stands around 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) tall and has an oversized chest. The mutations that turned it into a powerhouse have also turned its skin and led to the development of glands that can eject globs of corrosive, oily substance in a wide area around it.
The jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore (a fearsome critter) described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns. The word jackalope is a portmanteau of jackrabbit and antelope. All jackalope taxidermy mounts are simply novelty items or hoaxes, as they are mounted made with deer antlers. Taxidermied jackalopes have been a part of American culture since the 1930s and continued to be popular up until the Great War.
Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster is a legendary creature of Scottish origin, said to dwell in Loch Ness. In Fallout: New Vegas, Jenny DeSoto, an employee at H&H Tools Company couldn't attend a weekend event, due to having to partake in a play recounting the life of St. Columba, specifically in having to work the Loch Ness Monster puppet.
Before the Great War, Isaac Garrahan owned several sloths at his family's estate. They are recorded to have escaped the enclosure on at least two occasions, and the lack of sloth remains in the cages at the Garrahan Estate implies they escaped again following the War.
The mega sloths are three-toed sloths mutated by radiation. Standing much taller than the average human, its body is covered with filthy and shaggy fur with clusters of mushrooms growing in the fur on its back, similar to fungus grew in the fur of pre-War sloths. They have heavily calloused patches of skin and sharp teeth. Mega sloths are much larger than pre-War variants. Similar to those that lived before the war, mega sloths found in Appalachia have mold and mushrooms growing in their fur. These megasloth mushrooms release clouds of spores when the sloth shakes it's body, deterring aggressors that get too close.
Prior to the Great War, the "Mothman" was a mythical creature in local Appalachian folklore that was described as a terrifying half-man, half-moth hybrid that stalked the area around the town of Point Pleasant. The story of the Mothman was sensational enough to create a wide following, ranging from cryptid hobbyists to aggressive conspiracy theorists hellbent on uncovering the deeper mystery of the creature. The Mothman's legend lead to a number of tourist attractions, such as the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. Stories and other popular fiction were sold as novelty holotape recordings.
Ultimately, the interest in the Mothman was generally unserious and not seen as worthy of genuine scientific inquiry by the scientific community. While the legend of the Mothman was seen as a simple folktale, a clandestine following of the creature emerged in secret. The mysterious Cult of the Mothman, its followers fervent in their worship of the Mothman as a divine being, practiced numerous rituals and established numerous hidden shrines that can still be found all over post-War Appalachia.
As the nuclear holocaust loomed on the horizon, the cult attempted to summon the creature to benefit from its cosmic wisdom and earn protection from the nuclear fire soon to rain from the skies. The summoning was complete on October 22, 2077, and visible to just one of their number, Brother Charles, who immediately shared the wisdom he received, speaking of floods to come on the following day. The faithful took it as a signal to gather on the rooftops to avoid the destruction and give praise to the Mothman.
The sasquatch, though more commonly referred to as "bigfoot," is said to be a hairy, upright-walking, ape-like creature that dwells in the wilderness and leaves footprints. Depictions often portray them as a missing link between humans and human ancestors or other great apes. They are strongly associated with the Pacific Northwest (particularly Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia), and individuals claim to see the creatures across North America. The sasquatch would continue to be a prevalent cryptid in popular culture until the start of the Great War, with some magazines even proclaiming titles such as Hardy as a Sasquatch.
A mythical creature stalking Appalachian hills and mountains, the Sheepsquatch was allegedly a bipedal, highly aggressive ram-like creature interested in sheep. Whether existing or not, the Sheepsquatch myth was an obsession for a cryptid hunter named Calvin van Lowe, who devoted his life to hunting it down.
While Calvin could never prove it himself, the Sheepsquatch was a very real thing, even before the Great War. How it came to be is unknown, though a Sheepsquatch was responsible for the deaths of two teenagers near Toxic Larry's Meat 'n Go before presumably being hunted down by Toxic Larry himself.
Although the exact nature of how they were created is an enigma, one of the more popular theories among wastelanders is that an ordinary farm animal was mutated into a Sheepsquatch via radiation. However, such an idea is seen as too basic to some, with radical theorists going so far as to say that they are the unholy result of fornication between a man and a sheep. Some even say it is a hoax, created by a thief in order to hide his identity and easily rob gullible travelers, though that is clearly not the case.
Experiments with recombinant strains of FEV at the West Tek research center in Appalachia produced numerous failed mutations, with two exceptions. The first of these was FEVS-006443 from October 14, 2077, a Phase 2 combination strain that combined traits that resembled a number of different species. The results were considered disturbing by the scientists but provided valuable insights as to the capability of recombinant FEV. Notable changes included a number of ocular organs along the enlarged upper torso, a second set of arms ending in clawed digits, and a large sickle-shaped claw on each inner toe. The living, stable, and functioning subject was sustaining itself normally (a major accomplishment for the program) and was planned for release in Huntersville after the subsequent experiment matured. The mutant was not returned to the area until January 3, 2078, when it escaped containment and the facility. The mutant procreated, leading to the emergence of snallygaster mutants across Appalachia.
Wendigo is a mythical cannibalistic monster native to the northern forests between the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes region of North America. In post-apocalyptic West Virginia, the term is used to refer to a particularly terrifying humanoid monster lurking in the backwoods of the region. Few creatures, real or imagined, terrify West Virginians quite like the wendigo. Possessing alarming speed, razor-sharp claws, and an insatiable hunger for raw flesh, it is truly the stuff of nightmares.
However, this monster is far from a myth. Wendigos are slender, tall creatures but they are usually slouching down or crouching. Their hands are exceptionally large, with long skinny fingers. They are among the most vicious mutants in Appalachia, capable of closing distance and tearing enemies apart with high speed. Despite alleged pre-War sightings, it appears the population of wendigos in the region is descended from a banished head of the Gourmands, a cannibalistic raider tribe, who took shelter in the wendigo cave where he was twisted by the radiation within into a mutant possessed by dark cravings.
After completing Volare! and raising the B-29 out of the water, Mr. New Vegas will air a segment on Radio New Vegas about locals having seen a large "object or creature" surfacing on Lake Mead, and that it has been dubbed "The Lake Mead Monster."