The Cryptozoologist > Loren Coleman

The following interview with Loren Coleman appeared in Haunted Pages on April 11, 2000.

Loren Coleman: An Interview
Interviewed by Stacy McArdle

Introduction taken from The Cryptozoologist website:
Loren Coleman is one of the world's leading cryptozoologists. An honorary member of several international cryptozoological organizations, he is a Life Member of the International Society of Cryptozoology. Coleman has written books and more than two hundred articles on the subject, has appeared frequently on radio and television programs, and has lectured from Idaho to London. He has been both on- and off-camera consultant to NBC-TV's "Unsolved Mysteries", A&E's "Ancient Mysteries" "In Search of History", Discovery Channel's "In the Unknown, " and other reality-based programs. He contributes a bimonthly cryptozoology column, "On the Trail," to the London-based international magazine Fortean Times, and "Mysterious World" to Fate.

STACY: I understand your new museum in Portland, Maine should be completed sometime later this year. Can you tell us about any of the interesting artifacts that have been donated for it thus far?

LOREN: Actually, the Cryptozoology Museum is scheduled for 2001 or 2002, depending upon permits, funding, and other matters. It will contain the results of forty years of collecting artifacts in the field, cryptozoo souvenirs worldwide, and gathering other items of cryptozoological interest. Footcasts, unusual carved representations of cryptids, and several surprises await the visitors. I also plan to arrange to have my 10,000 book library available, on site, to qualified researchers.

STACY: You grew up in Decatur, Illinois which has a long history of black panther sightings. To your knowledge, are such sightings in the area still being reported?

LOREN: Yes, black panther sightings are still occurring in Decatur, Illinois. I've posted an article about some of the recent incidents on my website.

STACY: Have you gone back there recently to conduct research?

LOREN: I have not returned to Decatur since my father died there in 1985. But I'm sure I'll return again someday.

STACY: You have written over 200 articles to date on Cryptozoology. How did you feel when your first article on the subject was published?

LOREN: When television stations started interviewing me in the 1960s about my fieldwork, I was still a teenager, and quite taken aback that this would interest the media. I got my first article published, I believe, when I was 21. I was excited when that March 1969 magazine contribution ("Mystery Animals in Illinois") was published, as I was glad I could add some new information to the field of cryptozoology on such a broad scale. I never imagined that beginning, one in which I was merely discussing the findings from the field, would be the precursor to all my chronicles of cryptozoology. Before the days of the internet, seeing each new article come out was great, and I loved connecting with readers via letters. During the 1960s, I had about 400 correspondents. Today, I get 400 emails PER day. Life has changed, but I still try to keep in touch with other researchers and my readers through direct communications as well as the columns and articles.

STACY: You probably knew from a very young age what you were going to do for the rest of your life.

LOREN: I did not know what I was going to do for the rest of my life, as my wish was to work in a zoo or be a naturalist. Being a cryptozoologist, however, has been my focus for 40 years, and I'm very happy with it.

STACY: You have traveled quite a bit in your lifetime. What research related trip(s) is most memorable and why?

LOREN: The most recent one, of course. Going to Scotland with my sons, Malcolm and Caleb, will be a lifelong wonder. Nevertheless, searching in northern California for Bigfoot, going through the swamps of Florida looking for the Skunk Ape, boating through the bayous some distance from New Orleans looking for the Honey Island Monster, and many other adventures are all good memories.

STACY: Can you tell us a bit more about your trip to Scotland?

LOREN: Dan Scott Taylor did not have his minisub ready or his expedition there. I nevertheless decided to go for two weeks, do several surface searches, and talk to the locals. Additionally, I met many researchers at the first International Cryptozoology Symposium to be held at Loch Ness. I was a speaker there.

STACY: Of all the Cryptids, which ones fascinate you the most (besides the Yeti / Abominable Snowman)?

LOREN: They all interest me ... Mystery Felids, Sea Serpents, Almas, Sasquatch, whether moas and thylacines survive, and many many more.

STACY: You have conducted many expeditions. Have most of these hunts turned up significant finds?

LOREN: Down through the years, the list is a long one, and includes footprint finds, screeches, eyewitness accounts, teeth marks in fences, and other tangible evidence of these cryptids.

STACY: The Lawndale Thunderbird (of Illinois) sounds similar to a legend out of Crivitz, Wisconsin (north of Green Bay). There is an area known as "Thunder Mountain" in Crivitz. According to legend, Indians claimed to have seen an extremely large bird, similar in description, on the mountain. What are your thoughts on this?

LOREN: Yes, "thunder" is a common theme in Native American folklore that often is related to Thunderbird traditions. It sounds like you've found another one.

STACY: Wisconsin and Illinois have had reports of kangaroo sightings since the 1970s. I recall one story in particular where 2 Chicago police officers witnessed one of these. No one could explain how it got here. In your opinion, how do you think it got here?

LOREN: In my new book, The Field Guide to Bigfoot..., I place them into the context of the reports, for centuries, of a large, tailed, baboon-like creature that leaps about. It has been seen throughout the Midwest.

STACY: I am very excited to hear that you will be releasing a cryptozoology journal next year! Can you tell us more about that?

LOREN: The Cryptozoologist, which will be out late in 2001 or 2002, will be strictly about the people doing the searching, researching, and pursuing of the cryptids, i.e. the cryptozoologists.

STACY: Where can people send their submissions?

LOREN: Anyone with a biographically-oriented piece, should write me at:
Loren Coleman
PO Box 360
Portland, ME 04112

or email me

Copyright © 2000 by Stacy McArdle