Burning Man 2023: Celebrating the Animal Kingdom with a Cryptozoology-Themed City


I wish I could go and see it in person as I have never been to Burning Man, this year the event will take place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert between August 27 through September 4. This theme is “ANIMALIA,” and the festival will celebrate both real and imaginary animals and explore the curious mental constructs that allow us to believe that imagined animals are real, real animals are imagined, and that mankind is somehow not part of the animal kingdom.

The festival organizers will creatively alphabetize the radial streets of Black Rock City (BRC) with a cryptozoology theme inspired by the “Animalia” theme of Burning Man. The street names will be named after legendary creatures from around the world.

Here are some of the street names for 2023:

  • Afanc – a lake monster from Welsh mythology that is variously described as a crocodile, demon, or beaver hybrid.
  • Bigfoot – a legendary race of ape-men found (or not found) around the world, from the Sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest to the Yeti of the Himalayas.
  • Chupacabra – the dreaded “goat sucker” of the folklore of the Americas, a meter-high reptilian monstrosity said to have greenish-gray skin, sharp spines running down its back, and a taste for goat meat.
  • Dingbat – a fearsome critter from the tales of lumberjacks of North America from the 19th and early 20th centuries, described as a large bat or bird-like creature, with a short feathered body, large wings, and short deer-like antlers on its head.
  • Encantado – pink-skinned Brazilian weredolphins that shape-shift into smartly dressed humans.
  • Frogbat – a large fire-breathing playaphibian with bat-like wings and explosive digestion native to the Black Rock Desert.
  • Grootslang – literally “big snake,” a legendary cryptid that is reputed to dwell in a deep cave in the Richtersveld, South Africa.
  • Hodag – a folkloric animal of the North American state of Wisconsin.
  • Ipogogo – a lake monster rumored to dwell in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.
  • Jackalope – an animal of North American folklore, described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant’s tail.
  • Kraken – a colossal legendary sea monster said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland.

Burning Man is a place where myths grow fast in the desert, but not without the seed of hearsay. So, feel free to discover, invent or embellish your own cryptid legends for future denizens of Black Rock City. However, please do not steal the street signs, and wait until Exodus to take them.

Whether you are interested in cryptozoology or not, Burning Man 2023 promises to be a fascinating event with its theme of celebrating the animal world and our place in it. This year, tens of thousands of people will descend upon Black Rock City, bringing with them their mythic beasts, imagined animals, and animal spirits that populate their dreams. The festival will be a unique and unforgettable experience that celebrates the beauty and diversity of the animal kingdom.

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