LOREN COLEMAN- founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum



                  Loren Coleman operates one of Portland’s most appreciated oddities: the International Cryptozoology Museum.  It’s in a new, larger and more airy location, but it still feels packed with unbelievably odd things: a wall full of paintings of Sasquatch and swamp monsters, enormous stuffed Giant Squid, a suspended and lumpy half-human, half-fish figure, a reclined creature in a glass casket with an eyeball hanging from it’s socket.
                  Cryptozoology is the study of hidden animals, and often brings up notions of the Yeti or Loch Ness Monster. But if you consider that not so long ago, animals like the Giant Panda  or Komodo Dragon were considered myths, the ideas behind cryptozoology doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Coleman is the largest name in the field. He has written over 35 books, manages several websites and blogs and been a consultant for film productions. If you watch a TV show on cryptozoology, you will most likely see Coleman.
                  Most of the items in the museum were once in storage, collected from his expeditions and friends in the field. When he greets you at the door, behind him is a display of a study area: a plush leather chair, stacks of artifacts, and a poster from the film that sparked his interest in Cryptozoology. He wrote the books sold in the gift shop. In many ways, the museum is more about Coleman than anything else. It's about a life devoted to mystery, skepticism and discovery.


WHAT IS IMPORTANT?

World peace. (laughs). Being passionate everyday and learning something new every day. My most important role is to be a good father. I feel that if I treat everyone in the respectful and loving way a parent might treat their child, then I’ll be fine.

WHAT DO YOU WANT? 

Good health and a long life. I could give world peace as an answer for all of these questions! I am a pacifist, I was a conscientious objector during Vietnam. I consider myself a Neo-Buddhist. I am a Fortean, which means I hold a holistic view of the world, based on the American writer and philosopher, Charles Fort. It means to be open-minded but skeptical. I'm skeptical of people who believe without question and those who are constantly debunking. 



WHY IS CRYPTOZOOLOGY INTERESTING OR MEANINFUL?

Well, there are two underlying things. A lot of people like animals. A lot of people like mystery. And some mysteries have proven to be true, like the Giant Monitor Lizard in the Philippines and the Snub-Nosed Monkey, discovered in  Burma in 2010.

TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU FELT LOVE.

Everyday, I have those kinds of feelings. On March 20, 1960, I saw this film “Half Human” about the yeti. I was twelve, and asked my teachers about it. They had three responses: 1. They don’t exist. 2. Don’t waste your time, and 3. Get back to your studies. So, I went to the library and discovered a whole world of cryptozoology that wasn’t being taught in school. Discovering this world helped me pick my college, which led to falling in love with women and led to careers. I did fieldwork, I worked at colleges. I never took a “vacation”, I took “expeditions”. In 1993, I broke my back rock climbing and had to come to grips with my new reality. I quit my job at the university and developed a plan to get more into consulting, writing and ultimately create a museum. The museum had two missions: to be a place for me to have all the things I had collected on my travels and to become a place where I could educate people about Cryptozoology. 

2 comments:

  1. What an interesting man. Roland Smith wrote a book for young adults, Cryptid Hunter about a cryptologist. The entire school read the book and we had contests, etc. Nobody knew about cryptology before that book. I wonder if he has read it?

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  2. Roland Smith cites my work throughout his, and I am honored to have inspired the work or impacted the writings of many of the new authors in the field of cryptozoology.

    It was wonderful to have Ms. Rybus visit the world's only cryptozoology museum, see what we are attempting to accomplish with the Portland, Maine-based collection, and share with the world her incredible photographs of our exhibitions and more.

    Much appreciation to her.

    Sincerely,
    Loren

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