Cryptozoology to me is one of the more fun, less controversial and less damaging areas of fringe science or pseudoscience (depending on your stance). After all: Cryptozoologist do not offer more or less useless advice on your life (like the people gazing into crystal balls do), peddle magic water (homeopaths) or drag you into weird conspiracies. OK, some cryptozoologists are also a little on the conspiracy side but that is another story.
Cryptozoology has a lot to offer to Steampunks, I believe. Think about it: In a way, many explorers of the great explorers of the past centuries were to a certain degree cryptozoologists. The Okapi and the Mountain Gorilla were for a long time dismissed as fanciful tales by primitive natives until some civilized European shot one and brought the carcass home… Well, isn’t civilization just great?
Of course I do not endorse wasting your time in fruitless pursuit of the Loch Ness Monster, the Ogopogo or the Sasquatch. If they do exist, you better leave them in peace. The Dodo and others could tell quite a tale about the benefits of discovery if they had not been extinct.
Besides, I consider the chance Nessie or Ogopogo actually existing to be zero and Sasquatch is only slightly more likely. I would love Sasquatch to be out there, don’t get me wrong, it is just the fact that after so many years of people looking for it, not a single piece of tissue, no fur or other physical evidence has been found.
Still, the cryptid of your area is one fun reason for a Steampunk day out. Get a few friends together, gear up and explore the woods, caves lakes or whatever geographical feature there is in style. But please: Be careful! Caves can be dangerous and nature has no concept of “leisure time”. The avalanche will come down no matter if it is your day off or not. Just saying.
And: Bring a modern camera along! Would this not be one great scenario:
A handful of Steampunks in full outdoor gear (pith helmets, parasols, belts with lots of satchels etc.) sneaking through the woods and all of a sudden encountering a band of Sasquatch. Be prepared, you never know, it could just happen.
And if you do not actually encounter a cryptid on your day out, you at least had a fun day out, good company and a nice pick-nick. No matter what happens: You win.
I would love to tell you more but Mr. Books has just very politely pointed out this might actually not be in my best interest.
Ah well, I still have not finished reading De Vermis Mysteriis, I better do that now.