Cryptozoology is a subject I was really interested in for a good part of my life, and something I still think about occasionally. Hours spent looking through poorly designed websites on geocities and angelfire at different peoples write ups about different cryptids as well as books at the local library.. Some are fairly well known creatures like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Mothman, and Chupacabras, but there also looking at the lesser known ones as well like Mokele Mbembe, and the Wendigo. Some of those with more grounded and realistic explanations than others.
For the most part the existence of most of the these creatures is completely explained away by science, and investigations that have been done. They've scanned all of Loch Ness and there is no way there is a monster somewhere in the lake. First of all they would have found it in the scans, and second of all even if they somehow missed it, there's not enough food in the environment to support a creature of that size. Big foot is in a populated enough area that is visited by people and scientists regularly and one of them should have been found. Or at least a corpse or further decayed remains. There are some creatures sighted in remote enough areas that could host such a creature. The Amazon basin has a lot of unexplored area and there are remote areas in the Congo as well. Mokele Mbembe would have enough foliage to support itself, unfortunately that area has no archeological record of sauropods living there so there is no way for it to get there in the first place. But maybe they somehow avoided those explorations.
There are three big draws to cryptozoology in the modern world. First is the thrill of finding something new that nobody else has discovered. There's still lots of chances to do this in the jungles, deserts, and depths of the oceans as we haven't full explored those, but a lot of those lack the excitement of the discoveries that cryptids present. Species that are discovered are generally new insects or variations of animals we already know about.. There are many animals we know of and consider normal that were once just folklore creatures that Western scientists didn't acknowledge because they ignored the stories of the locals. Some of them were still exaggerated, but that was caused by either the lack of research or the accounts from explorers. Gorillas, Okapi, and Tasmanian Devils are all animals that were originally considered cryptids that were proven to be real. It's the kind of discovery that really draws attention to your work and gets your name out there so you can be profiled in magazines or get interviewed on tv, and maybe prove that you're not wasting your time.
Secondly there's the idea of having knowledge that most people don't have. There really is no reason to have that knowledge since it's probably all bullshit, but its a fun topic to know, and be able to talk about. The draw of having secret knowledge is very potent and a big factor into what made cryptozoology so interesting to me. Mothman and Bigfoot may have movies about them that got people interested in the subject, but that just made a convenient gateway to getting into the topic and letting more people write about it. But having that knowledge wasn't enough there was still the hope that maybe these creatures were real.
The biggest draw of cryptozoology, especially the view of cryptozoology that myself and the internet focuses on, is that the creatures of folklore are really cool. It would be awesome if the Loch Ness monster is real and we found a living sauropod hanging out in a lake. The existance of Coelacanth's still existing despite being thought to have gone extinct sixty million years ago offers that glimmer of hope that maybe dinosaurs have survived and are still around. Some of the cryptids could still be real. Most of the ones that fit into this category are larger versions of animals we already know exist. Giant Anacondas would be a great example. Scientists have already found versions larger than they though possible and the Amazon has plenty of space for large snakes to have remained hidden so far. Any cryptid that lives in the ocean could still be hiding in the depths that we haven't explored yet. The giant squid used to be a myth that was mocked until one was caught by a fishing net and brought to shore. Maybe there are more creatures waiting to be found.
This feeds into the same kind of feeling that I have about ghosts and other paranormal phenomenon. I know, intellectually that they aren't real. We've done too much research in the areas that the cryptids live in for them not to have been found. But the fun comes from retelling the stories, and hoping that one of the creatures will be real. Its easy to invest too strongly into these hopes and making a belief in Bigfoot a cornerstone of your personality isn't really healthy. I'll happily watch an episode of hunting sasquatch or some random documentary about chupacabras. I know in the end nothing will be conclusive and all of the stories are going to be pretty sketchy hearsay, but that's how lots of stories started and maybe, just maybe we'll get a story that has the real proof about the cryptid existing. I remember the story of the two hunters who alleged they had found a big foot carcass and had stored it in a cooler and brought it in for testing. It turned out to be a costume they had frozen, but I remember hoping it was real, while preparing for it being fake. Although what their end game of taking a costume to a bunch of experts is still really confusing to me. But maybe the next one won't be a hoax.
So Big Foot probably isn't hanging out in the forest waiting to be found by some team of hunters setting up trail cameras and using sasquatch calls to lure him out, but its exciting to hold onto the hope that he is. Maybe there are still large species of animals waiting to be found by humans yet. Maybe there are dinosaurs that somehow survived the extinction event beside just some fish. Maybe there really is a reptile that sucks the blood out of goats. Maybe.