By driving though the Navajo reservation, no one would know that the vast tribal land is thought by cryptozoologists to be home to so many outlandish species.
“Navajo stories go way back, for years,” said Leonard Dan, a self-proclaimed cryptozoologist, someone who studies animals thought to be extinct.
“There have been sightings of Pegasus, and of Griffins,” Dan said, referring to two creatures thought by most to come from Greek mythology.
Lately, an unusual number of people on the reservation also have spotted Centaurs, another animal of Greek mythology that is human on top and equine on the bottom.
“I had more reports of Centaurs than Bigfoot this spring,” said J.C. Johnson, Dan’s partner and fellow self-proclaimed cryptozoologist.
Many people, however, fear talking about what they see because of the traditional taboos that surround many creatures.
Just as many common animals have meaning in Navajo spirituality, so too do some of the atypical ones, Johnson said.
Some believe that if a person sees Bigfoot, they will die a year later. If a person sees a miniature tyrannosaurus rex, also believed by some to be alive on the reservation, they might turn to stone.