Cryptozoology: The study of "hidden animals," includes Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monsters, Yeti, Myakka Skunk Ape, and hundreds of other cryptids.

 
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The Top Cryptozoology Stories of 2003
By Loren Coleman
Author of Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology

  1. Hawaii's Year of the Big Cat
    One of Maui's most talked about stories of 2003 was the year long reports and sightings of an over-100 pound Black Panther, an animal that is not suppose to be found on the Hawaiian islands, of course. The local media dubbed it the Year of the Big Cat. Frequently sighted in lower Olinda, Maui, the mysterious melanistic feline left behind paw prints the size of a man's fist, long scratch marks on trees, dead deer killed with the modus operandi of a jungle cat, and an ongoing pursuit in cryptozoology.
     
  2. Multiple Nessie Sightings on One Day June 8, 2003, was a date for the cryptid record books, especially, as it turned out, for multiple sightings of Scotland's Loch Ness Monsters. There were as many encounters, three, on this single day as there were for all of 2002.  
     
  3. Bigfoot and Skunk Ape Sightings Continue In January and February, hairy upright creatures or evidence of them were found in several locations in the United States, including Buffalo Mountain, Colorado (footprints), the San Juan National Forest, California (8 feet tall Bigfoot-human encounter), and the Florida Everglades. The two female Florida eyewitnesses noted the Skunk Ape they saw had an twelve-inch long erection, a topic that is often taboo for discussion among Bigfooters (see "Sex and the Single Sasquatch" in Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America). On August 15, a Bigfoot was seen in Derry Township, Pennsylvania. An unknown ape was said to be roaming Campbell County, Tennessee, most of summer and fall. Other sightings popped up elsewhere.
     
  4. Chilean Blob Beached In July, the worldwide media were excited by news out of Chile of the stranding on a beach of a mysterious blob. These have frequently been seen in other parts of the world (see Patrick Huyghe's discussion of "Globsters" in The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents.) Final analysis of the Chilean sample revealed this one was the remains of a whale.
     
  5. Canadian Sea Serpent Sighting In Frenchman's Bay, off the Atlantic Coast of Canada, lobsterman Scotty Briggs had a classic Sea Serpent sighting on October 1st. He said this watery monster had a body about 20 feet long, with a mane or fin the full length of the thing's body. At first he said it looked like the "biggest cusk he had ever seen." This brown-colored fish has been used before in reference to sightings of Cassie, the Casco Bay Sea Serpent in the Gulf of Maine. Briggs' creature raised its body out of the water near his boat, and said it appeared to look like it had a Rotweiller's head.  
     
  6. Yeren Encounters In July, a new Yeren investigation was begun after the June sightings of one of these "Wildmen" in the forests of central China. It was described as being covered in gray hair with longer black head hair, and stood a little over 5 feet tall.  
     
  7. Big Year for Lake Monsters Besides all the activity in Loch Ness, sightings of a long list of lake monsters around the world, including, but not limited, to Norway's Lake Seljord's Selma, Newfoundland's Crescent Lake Monster, and a creature in a lake in China. Champ researchers working at the Button Bay, Lake Champlain, Vermont, reported their sensitive sonar equipment recorded underwater sounds similar to those emitted by a cetaceans.  
     
  8. Expedition News Active expeditions, mostly underfunded, journeyed to the corners of the Earth, in pursue of, for instance, China's Yeren, Scotland's Nessie, and Norway's Selma. Meanwhile in Sumatra, expedition members found hair samples and footprints of the island's Orang Pendek.  
     
  9. New Animal Discoveries Various research and field work continued globally, and many new species were discovered. A newly identified shrew, Notiosorex cockrumi, which weighs less than a nickel, was found in southeastern Arizona and northern Sonora. The Cuban solenodon, long thought extinct, was rediscovered. The Wangi Wangi white eye, a new bird species, probably in the genus Zosterops, was discovered in by a team that includes zoologists Nicola Marples and David Kelly, of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and Martin Meads, a freelance researcher, during the summer.  
     
  10. Museum News ABC News, About.com, and other media outlets reported "Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman opened the Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, to house his collection of four decades worth" of cryptozoological artifacts.

    Popular Culture Moment: Mothman Death List.
    About.com noted that mid-year saw the unveiling of the Mothman Death List, a list of events and deaths linked to the original series of Mothman sightings of 1996-1967.
 
Passing:
Paul Freeman, 59, longtime Bigfoot hunter died, April 2, 2003, at his Airway Heights home, located near Spokane, Washington. Paul Freeman was a part of the Bigfoot scene since June 10, 1982, when, near Walla Walla, Washington, he first encountered a hairy, reddish-brown Bigfoot, nearly 8 feet tall. The muscular, bearded, 6-foot-4-inches tall, 265 pound Freeman was working as a watershed patroller for the U.S. Forest Service. The footcasts he found with dermals greatly influenced Dr. Grover Krantz, who died in 2002.

Robert G. Everett, 69, the director of the Northern California Bigfoot Organization of Hyampom, died Saturday, October 11, 2003, at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California. Born April 10, 1934, in Lansing, Michigan, Everett moved to Trinity County in 1991 from Santa Barbara. He was a career Marine and Army veteran, worked as a Trinity County veterans service officer representative, and was a hunter education safety instructor for the state Department of Fish and Game.
Loren Coleman 2003-2004  

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