; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, January 21, 2013

Coleman Maligns Ketchum...Then Attempts To Back Away

In an article published by the New Haven Register, several statements were attributed to cryptozoologist Loren Coleman:

When Loren Coleman, billed as “America’s foremost cryptozoologist,” strode into New Haven’s Institute Library, he had to wade through a sell-out crowd, probably a first for the library’s “Amateur Hour” series.

Why was it standing-room-only? Bigfoot.

Everybody wants to know everything there is to know about that legendary cryptid.

Perhaps you’re wondering: what is a cryptozoologist? And what’s a cryptid?

Coleman, whose gray beard and calm, scientific demeanor indicate he is not a nut job, defined cryptozoology near the beginning of his presentation last Tuesday.

“It is the study of hidden or unknown animals,” he said. “Animals that have not yet been verified as a species.”

“What bothers me,” he added, “is that the media often defines it as the study of animals that don’t exist or just the study of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.”

Both of those are cryptids, which are yet-to-be-found animals.

Coleman stated at the outset: “I am a skeptic.” He demands to see plenty of hard evidence before believing any of the many claims of creature sighters.

“I try to interview the witness first,” he told us. “I try to understand the human element. The creature is important to me. But I’m never blown away by a piece of evidence. I always look for the motive.”

For instance, he investigated the claim by a veterinarian in Texas she had discovered a being that was “part human, part primitive.”

“My standard is: no data, no discovery,” Coleman said. “And why is she saying ridiculous things like ‘These are angels from heaven’?”

Joshua Foer, the New Haven-based writer who conducted the public interview of Coleman at the library, noted Coleman was asked to solve the riddle of “the Montauk monster,” a hideous carcass that washed up on the shore of Long Island.

“I named it,” Coleman said proudly. “I like alliteration.”

After examining the decaying skull, Coleman concluded, “This was a raccoon in second-stage decomposition.”

Coleman said that for every 100 cases of new animal claims, about 80 of them are mistaken identity, one is a hoax and the other 19 are unknown.

“But the media goes crazy about the hoaxes,” he noted.

Coleman said Bigfoot hoaxers are “really evil people.”

“Let’s talk about Bigfoot,” Foer said, and Coleman was off and running.

He noted that when he surveys people who come to his International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Me. (the world’s only cryptozoology museum), “nine out of 10 are interested in Bigfoot.”

Coleman thinks he knows the reason: “Of all the cryptids, Bigfoot is the one that looks the most like us.”

Coleman isn’t about to declare Bigfoot is real but he did say, “I think there is something going on out there.”

He said the most “compelling” evidence is the Patterson-Gimlin footage of a hairy figure shot Oct. 20, 1967, in Bluff Creek, Calif. “You can see the mammary glands,” he noted. “And muscle contractions.”

Coleman added: “You see horses reacting to the creature. You have film, you have footprints. We have to be careful about putting all of our eggs in a basket. But if you look at it now, it’s the gold standard of all Bigfoot films.”

Coleman said we needn’t look for Bigfoot in populated regions such as Connecticut. But he noted: “You’ve got the melon heads in Shelton! Groups of unknown creatures in the woods with giant heads. They’re folk art.”

Coleman said, “I’ve been at this 53 years” and yet cryptozoology is still often dismissed as pseudo science. “I’ve long ago given up my defensiveness.”

He got interested in the field when he was a kid. The date was March 20, 1960. He saw a Japanese documentary, “Half Human,” about the Yeti (the Abominable Snowman).

“My teachers told me, ‘They don’t exist, go back to your studies.’ So I became very well-known in the Decatur (Illinois) Public Library. I was given three or four books on the subject. I started devouring them.”

When a guy at the Institute Library asked Coleman about the Loch Ness monster, he replied, “There’s the least amount of evidence and the most publicity.”

Coleman did an expedition there in 1999 but alas, no “Nessie.”

He took his son with him. When his boy got back and told his teacher he had spent his summer “looking for the Loch Ness monster,” the teacher told Coleman, “I think your son is delusional. You need to come down here for counseling.” - NHRegister

Yesterday, Loren Coleman backed off his previous comments with the following statement in Cryptomundo.com:

"In discussing the recent DNA news, I quoted John Hawks, the Wisconsin anthropologist, in my agreeing with his notion that “no data, no discovery” is the stance to take. My attribution to Hawks was absence from the article.

I said that quotes supposedly from the researcher in Texas, saying ridiculous things like “These are angels from heaven,” were released on Facebook, and that does not help the cause of serious research on Bigfoot. Those remarks were denied later as having been said by the Texas individual. The article does not make it clear I was talking about the leakage and not the exacting quotations."

NOTE: Mmmm....I wonder if the interview was recorded or if anyone listening remembers the statements. It seems to me that Mr. Coleman is leaving a bit of 'wiggle room'...just in case Dr. Ketchum's study is correct. This raises an interesting question: If the Ketchum study is correct and Bigfoot is a human hybrid...doesn't that render much of the published information on Bigfoot moot? Lon

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