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Interview: Alex CF of The Merrylin Cryptid Collection

 Alex

For going on ten years the curator and custodian to the Merrylin Cryptid Collection, Alex CF, has been surrounded by species unknown to the general public. The collection contains numerous artifacts claiming to prove, beyond a shadow of doubt, the existence of cryptids. You’ve probably heard the word cryptid before. Mainly it is used in connotation to folklore, and in the stories of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and more. Alex has dedicated his life to uncovering and presenting the work of cryptozoologist Thomas Merrylin. Alex claims that Merrylin’s findings can be proven through scientific tests, tests that they have already been conducting. We at Diabolique are not claiming to have the knowledge to either prove or disprove the Merrylin Collection, but nonetheless find the Merrylin and Alex’s work intriguing. In the spirit of investigation and keeping an open mind we contacted Alex, asking him to share with our readers what the collection entails, and discuss their plans for the future: opening a museum for public viewing. Before passing judgement, read what Alex has to say, it just might change how you see the world…..

Diabolique: How did you come to be involved in the Merrylin Cryptid Collection?
 
Alex CF: In 2005 I was employed to take charge of assembling a time line, to collate all of Merrylin’s diaries, amongst a plethora of other work by individuals associated with Merrylin who had donated their own research to him. My task is to build a greater understanding of both Merrylin, the collection, and the bigger picture, which appears to paint the specimens as almost a byproduct of his life long search for some unobtainable goal.
 
D: Prior to taking on the role of Curator/Custodian did you believe in the existence of cryptids?
 
ACF: I definitely had an interest in unknown things, but much of cryptozoology lacks the physical evidence that gives a species a natural history, a biology. I think the quality that attracted me to this work was Thomas. His diaries are filled with detailed analysis, annotated studies, and drawings of each of his finds. He stumbled upon unknowable things that speak of sciences and experiences we are yet to know, and species that seem to only exist within this collection. Yet there are the physical specimens that are his legacy. I have always been attracted to the idea that there are certain individuals who can look upon the world and see beyond. Like HP Lovecraft, Merrylin writes of greater and more terrible things than our species and our anthropocentric ideas. But it was also Merrylin who could look at the world and find new and exciting things in it. No one can ignore the fact that his keen eye discovered things that the rest of us can only dream about. 
 
D: At the time of the conversation, how many cryptids have been discovered and studied?
 
ACF: Hundreds, although we have collated many of the disparate specimens into specific species, many of them have a classification and a genus. The species quickly lose their peculiarity once they fit within known evolutionary biology. We can take, say, Homo Lupus, or the Lycanthrope and find that its DNA is almost identical to that of humans (bar the existence of the Lupus viral strain, which is responsible for its physical appearance.) The virus triggers inheritable mutations that aid the host. Humans are herbivores, where as Lycanthrope are not. The virus adjusts the biology to suit its own ends. In this case, high levels of iron are needed so that the viral cells can metabolize. It’s really quite fascinating. 
 
D: Are there any specimens in particular that you are most partial to? Care to share with our readers the history of one in particular that has stuck with you?
 
ACF: The collection boasts many amazing specimens, of species that often terrify me as much as they fascinate me. But there are also many artifacts, relics of forgotten cultures or trappings of nefarious scientists. There is however one object that stands out – the Alabast. This is probably the most fascinating artifact within the collection; even more so considering it is yet to be found. We have about 1500 crates left to sort through and so far only endless diary entries about it. The Alabast is the source of Merrylin’s longevity. It is the reason his father died; that his sister went missing. It is also quite possibly the reason why the specimens exist here, and why there is no evidence outside of the collection that these species ever walked the earth. The object is about a foot long, shaped like a rams horn, made of a clear glass like substance, and emits tones that “sound like a human voice.” The most bizarre quality of the object is that Merrylin describes it as a “sentient artefact. [SIC]” 
 
D: How are new specimens uncovered?
 
ACF: The moment the collection was found, all of the crates were quickly moved to a facility where each of them could be unpacked and analyzed at length. There are geneticists, paleontologists, botanists, a whole host of experts who are tasked with identifying species, and gleaning an understanding of what exactly had been found.
 
D: You have just launched a crowd-funding platform to open a museum that would house the collection. Can you tell us a little about this project, and why the horror community should be paying attention?
 
ACF: Its something I have wanted to do for a long time and pleaded with the Merrylin Trust to let me set up such a place. My passion is in showing people these incredible species, to offer a visceral glimpse of the flesh and bone behind the many mythologies of the earth. Long before the advent of novels and indeed horror film, we had stories that held hidden ideologies, tales of coming of age, and cautionary tales. It was the threat of unseen things that made us fear the dark, they taught us the nature of things. Thomas Merrylin wanted to pull back the curtain of ignorance and show the world what lurked there. He found things, hidden things, creatures insidious and terrifying, great unknowable truths, beautiful delicate things that challenge our perception. It is the unknown that frightens us. It is that horror that is, the most basic, most primordial, which fascinates me. 
 
D: What do you think the general public can gain from having access to these specimens?
 
ACF: They can let their imaginations run riot, they can accept it, and revel in it. They can dismiss it and mock it. It is there to be seen and to be enjoyed; there will be lots of information, lots of interesting things to learn about. Who hasn’t wanted to stand in the presence of a vampire, or watch the light through the membranous wings of a Dragon? I hope that people will be able to step back from a time when we think we know all, and embrace a time of wonder and trepidation.
 
D: Working hands on with these specimens, how has your view of horror in art, literature and films changed? Do you have a favorite fictional monster?
 
ACF: I love all of it! Many things that exist in the natural world exist in all forms of art, and I am a huge fan of horror. I don’t think my work has affected my love of such things. Although, knowing the species, it always frustrates me when I see certain ones portrayed incorrectly on screen. Take Werewolf transformation in film:  Merrylin wrote,  “the notion that a species can spontaneously mutate from one thing to another, through the influence of celestial movements is absurd. Lycanthrope are born Lycanthrope. A human, unlucky enough to be infected with the symbiotic pathogen that resides in the blood of the Lycanthrope, will experience something quite terrible – weeks of excruciating pain as the body realigns to suit the habits of this vicious virus. Bone, muscle and skin are stretched and made malleable, resulting in coma and in most cases, death. Those unlucky enough to survive will be malnourished and incapable of speech. They will also never be accepted into a Lycanthrope family group. They will also never transform back into a human on a full moon. To be made werewolf is a fate worse than death.”
 

To donate please follow this link: igg.me/at/cryptidmuseum

Draco Fluminis (Chinese River dragon)

Draco Fluminis (Chinese River dragon)

Eldritch studies; the preserved remains of dread cthulhu spawn

Eldritch studies; the preserved remains of dread cthulhu spawn

Press Release:

The Merrylin Cryptid Museum is expected to open in East London with the venue under wraps for now. Supporters can donate to Alex CF’s campaign via igg.me/at/cryptidmuseum and expect to receive free museum membership or even a rare specimen in return depending on the amount they give. 
Launched this week, Alex CF said: “I have been working tirelessly over the past 10 years cataloguing this fascinating collection. Now is the time to bring these creatures of the night into the light. With the public’s help I hope to be able to do this.” 
 

Learn More Here:

 

About Joe Yanick

Joe Yanick is a writer, videographer, and film/music critic based in Brooklyn, NY. He is the former Managing Editor for Diabolique Magazine, as well as a contributing writer for Noisey.vice.com, and Stagebuddy.com. In addition, he has worked with the Cleveland International Film Festival as a Feature reviewer. He is currently a Cinema Studies MA Candidate at New York University.

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