The highlight of the year for many Cryptozoologists, the Convention for Poisonous Cryptid Enthusiasts in Prague once again gathered over 200 academics, conservationists and explorers to present their findings and exchange ideas. Over the weekend there were presentations and panels, wild stories and even multiple art installations. Some of the highlights included the six-part lecture series “Creatures as potion ingredients through the ages”, the release party of the legendary adventurer Alba Maria Ferreiro’s long-awaited autobiography, “50 years of fangs and stingers”, and a life-size boomslang statue built entirely out of shed scales.
The ever-ongoing debate about the name of the convention was also alive and well: many insist that it should mention “Venomous Cryptids” instead, or possibly “Poisonous and Venomous Cryptids”. Indeed, the weekend seemed to cover more venomous creatures than poisonous ones, but every year the founders of the event adamantly state that the name is a part of a proud tradition, and refuse to change it. Nevertheless, mixing the two terms is a certain way to get into a fight in this place.
What was also noteworthy this time was the low amount of injuries during the convention. Someone getting bitten or poisoned is such a common occurrence that many attendees place bets on it. Double digits are not uncommon, but this year only two casualties were reported. Last year the number was seven, which was already considered a great success. This time one of the contestants in the poison-brewing competition had to retire after trying to be their own test subject, and one of the attendees got attacked by a blue-ringed octopus, though it’s still unsure where the octopus came from. Both victims are reported to be recovering well.
“We have 5 specialized Healers on standby at all times, and we keep what’s probably one of the most extensive collections of antidotes in the world”, says Jaroslav Hájek, the chairperson of the convention committee. “This hobby comes with its risks of course, but we’re well prepared. A bit of danger shouldn’t keep you from doing what you love!”