Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois
Curve-In, Fairview Avenue

Monday, July 12, 2010

Loren Coleman

There I am, during my freshman year at MacArthur High School. I was happy, and was coming off a great time at Roosevelt Jr High. Over there, I had a crush on Tracey Boyle, I recall, but was so shy that Gary swooped in to steal her heart. It worked out for the best, as I probably was meant for the many seasons of New England, not the hot American Southwest. :-)

Anyway, during my four years at Mac, I dropped into variously being a nerd, invisible, the smart guy in class, or talking about Abominable Snowmen in several venues. I know this because of some of my classmates' comments in my yearbooks and vague senior (the new kind, not the 1965 ones) memories. I skipped having my senior picture taken, due to more reasons about my family life than anything about what I wanted.

Obviously, my Yeti awareness turned into a lifelong passion that did good things for me. I picked SIU-Carbondale because of reports and folklore of hairy apes in the southern swamps of the area.

Therefore, yes, today, on my birthday in 2010, I, Loren Coleman, can proclaim that I am known as one of the world's leading cryptozoologists, some in the media even say "the" leading. I especially like it when they say I'm the "leading living cryptozoologist," for that day I don't have to check my pulse. Certainly, I am acknowledged as the current writer who has most popularized cryptozoology (the study of hidden, as yet-to-be-discovered new species of animals) in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Starting my fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, I decided to begin writing to share my many experiences.

Obtaining an undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, I majored in anthropology, minored in zoology, and did some summer work in archaeology. I received a graduate degree in psychiatric social work from Simmons College in Boston. I was admitted to the Ph.D. programs, and took doctoral coursework in social anthropology at Brandies University, and in sociology at the University of New Hampshire's Anthropology/Sociology Department. But my dedication to being a present father made my decision to raise my sons, teach, and write, (and not complete either Ph. D.s), any easy one.

My first cryptozoology magazine article was published in 1969, when I was 21 years old. My first book was published in 1975. In between, I did two years of alternative services as a C.O. during the Vietnam War.

Today, I've written more than 6000 columns and articles, as well as over 30 books. I have appeared frequently on radio and television programs, and have lectured throughout North America, as well as in London and at Loch Ness. My cryptozoology columns, since the 1970s, have included "On the Trail" in the London-based Fortean Times, "Coleman's CryptoCorner" in TAPS Paramagazine, and "Mysterious World" in Fate Magazine, as well as regular contributions to The Anomalist, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Magazine, and Fortean Studies. My unique signature column, "The Cryptozoo News," was published in Strange Magazine, Mysteries Magazine, and now appears as my blog at

I have been both an on- and off-camera consultant to Travel Channel's "Weird Travels," History Channel's "Deepsea Mysteries," NBC-TV's "Unsolved Mysteries," A & E's "Ancient Mysteries," History Channel's "In Search of History," Discovery Channel's "In the Unknown, " Discovery Science Channel's "Critical Eye," History Channel's "Deep Sea Detectives," Animal Planet's "Animal X," Discovery Kids' "Mystery Hunters," Animal Planet's "Twisted Tales," and other reality-based programs such as "Current Affairs" and "Evening Magazine." In 2000, I served as the Senior Series Consultant to the new "In Search Of..." program which was broadcast on Sci-Fi (now SyFy) Network.

During 2008-2010, I was a frequent interviewee and behind-the-scenes consultant for History's website and broadcast episodes of "MonsterQuest." I also started appearing on Animal Planet's "Lost Tapes," and will appear on that program, at least, through 2011. I've been on G4TV's "Attack of the Show" a couple times, and because of that have been to Santa Monica, a beautiful city, twice in recent years.

Of course, due to repeats, I am on television cable channel reruns a lot.

In 2009, I appeared on the "Paul O'Grady Show" on London's ITV-4 (enjoyed that they flew me to London to do the show) and, in 2010, in Animal Planet's "Beasts of the Bible." I was filmed by the US Navy for a spot shown to sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was on television shows in Ireland and Italy, all in 2010.

lorens many books

After penning magazine articles during the late 1960s and early 1970s, I wrote two books with Jerome Clark, The Unidentified (1975) and Creatures of the Outer Edge (1978), (both published by Warner Books - and since republished by Anomalist Books in 2006, with a new introduction).

In the 1980s, I wrote my classic Mysterious America (1983), then Curious Encounters (1985), and Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti (1989), all bestsellers for Faber and Faber.

In 1999, I co-authored two books: one with Patrick Huyghe entitled The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide (Avon/Harper Collins); the other with Jerome Clark, Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature (Simon and Schuster/Fireside).

My completely updated Mysterious America: The Revised Edition (2001), was published by Paraview Press.

After I wrote an introduction to the republished Hunt for the Buru for Linden Press, they published. in 2002, the updated biography, Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology.

During 2002, I was featured in the Sony Studios' documentary, Search for the Mothman, available on the deluxe DVD of the movie The Mothman Prophecies. I served as the Screen Gems' national and international publicity spokesperson for their Richard Gere-Mark Pellington movie. The studio wanted to see my book, Mothman and Other Curious Encounters, rushed to publication in January 2002, so I could appear on 300 radio interview and news shows discussing the reality behind the movie.

My special appreciation of my fellow researchers and friends has made me the source of biographical insights, and my obituaries and living commentaries on the leaders of the field (as noted in Cryptozoology A to Z) have been published and broadcast widely. National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," for example, called on me to speak in tribute of Dr. Grover Krantz, who died on Valentine's Day 2002.

In 2003, I continued my fast-paced examination of cryptozoology with two books, Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America (NY: Paraview Pocket - Simon and Schuster) and The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, coauthored with Patrick Huyghe (NY: Tarcher-Penguin).

In 2004, I was given a nice tribute by Will Pfeifer and Richard Corben as the comic book character "Coleman Wadsworth" chasing an Abominable Snowman and in turn being chased by the title creature in the Swamp Thing comics (#7 and #8). Using me as the model, I inspired other recent comic book "cryptozoologist" characters, as well, by the artists such as Hunt Emerson, Charles Berlin, Peter Loh, Allan Gross and Jerry Carr writing and drawing for Fortean Times, Professor Wexler's Adventures, Crypto-Man, Cryptozoo Crew, and more.

Introductions to others' works have resulted in contributions to books by Janet and Colin Bord, D. L. Tanner, Linda Godfrey, Ben Radford, Joe Nickell, George Eberhart, Tony Healy, Paul Cropper, and other cryptozoologically-oriented authors. With the 2004 publication of Mark A. Hall's book, Thunderbirds: America's Living Legends of Giant Birds, Cosimo (formerly Paraview Press) began to publish a series of cryptozoology books under the umbrella "Loren Coleman Presents...." In 2007, A. C. Oudemans' The Great Sea Serpent and Philip Henry Gosse's The Natural History of Animals appeared in this series, introduced by me. In 2008, Cosimo, with a new introduction by me, published the first hardback edition of Ivan T. Sanderson's Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life since 1961. Other titles in their "Loren Coleman Presents..." series has followed.

I am one of the coauthors of Weird Ohio (2005) and Weird Virginia (2007), am a contributor to Weird USA (2004), and am profiled in Joseph Citro's Weird New England (2005).

In 2006, I saw the appearance of other coauthored works, including new editions of The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates and The Unidentified and Creatures of the Outer Edge from Anomalist Books.

In the meantime, I was also taking on the role of being an instructor, assistant/associate professor, research associate, and documentary filmmaker, in various academic university settings, since 1980. I gave perhaps the first credit course in the USA on cryptozoology in 1990, and examined cryptozoology films in my popular documentary film class at the University of Southern Maine from 1989 through 2003. I furthermore have written extensively in the social sciences, having authored, coauthored, or edited several books, including the critically acclaimed Suicide Clusters (Faber and Faber, 1987), appearing on "The Larry King Show" discussing it. My work on the suicides of baseball players has been covered in Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, ESPN, EPSN Classics and major media and wire services from 1986 to present. My newest book on such topics examines the role of media and cyclic violence in The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines (NY: Paraview Pocket - Simon and Schuster, 2004).

Finally, in 2003, first in my home, and then publicly in 2009,

Loren Coleman

I established my International Cryptozoology Museum, in Portland, Maine, and continue to receive media attention about this location. It has served as the setting for several documentary television programs.

As a museum exhibitor, I contributed the room of nonfiction artifacts and objects, as a reflection of my own collection, to the exhibition "Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale," shown at Bates College Museum of Art (June 24 - October 8, 2006) and at the H & R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute (October 28 - December 20, 2006). I delivered the keynote address, "An Introduction to Cryptozoology," at the symposium at Bates College in October 2005, kicking off the formal exhibition.

I was a contributor/coauthor to the 2006 Bates exhibition catalogue and book, Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale (JRP/Ringier Books, Switzerland, 2006). I, furthermore, wrote the essay "Cryptids" for the massive art tome, Alexis Rockman (Monacelli Press, 2005).

In the spring of 2007, a new updated, greatly expanded edition of my old 1983 classic was published as Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation's Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures by Paraview Pocket - Simon and Schuster.

I am routinely interviewed by news organizations, as, for example, by CNN News on "The Paula Zahn Tonight Show," on June 1, 2007, about new footage of the Loch Ness Monster, or in 2010, by the Christian Science Monitor and AOL News on various "found cryptid bodies."

I made my first appearance in a narrative fiction film, Monster in the Woods (2008), playing myself as a cryptozoologist during a television reality program. It was a really difficult part to play (I'm kidding).

In 2007-2009, I gave major lectures, introducing new audiences to cryptozoology, at the American Museum of Natural History ("Mythic Beasts"), New York's Rubin Museum of (Himalayan) Art ("Abominable Snowmen"), the Royal Alberta Museum ("Dragons in Art and Legend"), Boston Museum of Science ("Mythic Beasts"), Stanley Hotel, Queen Mary, Mount Washington Resort, and other libraries, museums, and venues throughout North America.

During 2009-2010, I spent more time as a consultant during Season 3 of "MonsterQuest" and working on the reunion and the museum. In 2010, two new books will appear, Monsters of New Jersey and True Giants. In the forthcoming years, other books forthcoming are Bigfoot in Maine and Monsters of Massachusetts.

I was married twice, from 1968-1978, and from 1980-1995. Although I was born in Norfolk, Virginia, my family of origins moved back to Illinois when I was only a few weeks old. I've lived in Decatur, Carbondale and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (1947-1973); San Francisco, California (1974-1975); Cambridge, Massachusetts (1974-1983); owned a cabin in Rangeley, Maine for 17 years (1980-1997); and have lived in Portland, Maine, since 1983. My sons, one in Oregon (who professionally referees soccer), and two in New England (one is an associate producer at NESN, the Red Sox flagship, and the other is still in college) are my pride and joy. They have been my life and I am glad they all are following their dreams!

New adventures await me and I look forward to the passion that still exists in living my life.

I got my first car from my parents, a gift sometime during the summer of 1965, after I graduated from MacArthur. It was, as I remember, a 1960 Plymouth, gray, with those pointed fins on it. Must have been a Sport Fury. I went to SIU-C a few weeks after getting it, and never really drove it much. You couldn't have cars at SIU, as a freshman, so I left it behind. I went home once during the fall of 1965, on a break, and discovered my middle brother had totaled it. I'm glad he didn't kill himself, of course, but he never said he was sorry and never replaced it.

Nine years later, in California, I bought my own first car, an orange Datsun pickup truck, about a 1971. My car right now is a 2006 black Chevy HHR, I bought in 2009, because I like the 1940s' look of it. But having always bought and owned Datsuns, Nissans, and Subaru trucks and station wagons, I am still getting use to the HHR.

I just learned that I was picked as one of five people to be profiled for the in-house Chevrolet magazine, as a cryptozoologist who owns a HHR. My wild life continues.

I look forward to saying "hi" to all my old classmates in Decatur, in June 2011.

1 comment:

dac said...

What a wonderful way to get to know one another. It sure beats obituaries. You have lived a wild, adventurous and interesting life following your dreams as well. Now I'll have to look up some of your works.