Save the International Cryptozoology Museum

Last year, Joel Johnson and BBtv visited the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine, a multi-room cabinet of curiosities filled with artifacts, ephemera, and oddities related to "hidden animals," mythical beasts, and creatures unknown to science. The curator of the museum is Loren Coleman, known to BB readers for his terrific contributions to our site, his many books, and his blogging at Cryptomundo. Sadly, the International Cryptozoology Museum is in dire straits. According to Loren, he's caught up in a complicated IRS audit that, he says, initially began with a challenge of "the reality of 'cryptozoology' as an occupation." Then the museum itself apparently was called into question. Now, Loren is seeking $15,000 in donations to keep the International Cryptozoology Museum alive and move it to a new location. From his post:
To the IRS, the museum verges on being a hobby (as per Code 183), and it needs more income (even if donations) to support itself, on its own. To me, the merging between my interviews, the book sales that come out of the museum appearances, and the visibility of the museum on the net are all interwoven. I've never had a great income since I was laid off from adjunct teaching, but combined together, I live at the cryptozoology poverty level with no complaints. But to the IRS, the museum is a separate entity. I understand now, and must comply with that view. I've lost my appeal on my "merge" view.

No fighting this any longer, for I stand fully enlightened about how the IRS is viewing Code 183, as it applies to my life's career. The museum has to make money, or it ceases to exist.
Save the Cryptozoology Museum, Buy Loren Coleman's books

Previously on BB:
Boing Boing tv: Cryptozoology with Loren Coleman
Inside Loren Coleman's Cryptozoology Museum


  1. Well they have to find the funds to keep this war going somehow so they can funnel ever more of our income to their cronies in the military industrial complex.

    Cryptozoology Museums are the first to go — especially “International” ones. Here in the USA we go it alone, or haven’t you heard? Bigfoot is probably going to use his inter-dimensional teleportation powers to transport Al Qaeda sleeper cells into the country.

  2. You mean like the crazy people who discovered the long extinct Florida panther? Or those nutjobs who originally described the coelacanth. Because, you know, science consists solely of already known facts.

  3. It would seem like a Cryptozoology Museum would have a huge sale in t-shirts alone. Think of the possibilities!

  4. That looks more like a living room than a museum.
    I would like funding for My International Museum, there is a TV, a couch and a couple of cats in it.


  5. What, has he been running the museum as a Schedule C business instead of as its own corporate entity? No wonder he’s getting hammered on his tax returns. As a tax preparer I can tell you, Schedule Cs are the most frequently audited returns out there.

  6. I’m thinking you need to reinvent cryptozoology as a religion – turn your living room …errr… your museum into a church, ordain yourself as a “bigfoot” and stop paying taxes altogether.

  7. MOON: …huge sale in t-shirts…

    I agree, if this dude wants 15 grand he should earn it and sell me some sweet t-shirts, postcards, and sitch. I mean, he’s got to have some free time because that can’t possibly be a full-time gig.

  8. if the “museum” is not a separate entity and he has been using “expenses” for it as “deductions” for the last 5 years without One of those years showing a “profit” (even a $1) , then it is by IRS definition “a hobby” and not a business. Acutally This applies even if he DID for a corp for it!

    He should have at least formed a non-profit corp and tried to get Federal 501(c)3 status so “donations” could be tax deductible, but that is too intimidating for most people I guess.

    or do the church thing….

  9. You know what would look great stuffed and hanging on his wall? The guy who came up with the IRS. I wish that species were cryptid.

  10. Actually Microcars, the Section 183 limitation they are referring to applies to Sch C and to S-Corps, not to C Corps.

    That said, filing for 501(c)3 status wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    As for Secret Societies Takuan? I think they file as Not for Logic entities. But don’t quote me on that. ;)

  11. If it folds, dibs on the coelacanth. I want it for over the fireplace. Not that I have a fireplace, but if I got a coelacanth, I’d have to get myself a fireplace.

  12. I’ll be in Portland on Monday for two weeks. How do you visit the museum? I’m having a hard time finding any information on how to actually get there.

  13. You may hate paying taxes, but the IRS is admired around the world for the fairness in collecting taxes. Seriously.

    If you want to change the amount of taxes you pay, petition Congress. They make the laws and set the rates. Hating the IRS is like hating your local cops because they write you a speeding ticket.

  14. how is it that there are so many wastes of space in this country,to say nothing of wastes of money,and yet somehow a charming and somewhat singular place like this falls between the cracks?i hope loren receives enough donations to keep going.

  15. In answer to the question, “How do you visit the museum?”:

    As noted at various places on the internet, visitors email me (e-address is in the Cryptomundo posting to which David links), to make arrangements to see the place.

    Also, a word to the unselfish and supportive cryptozoology supporters out there, who have already donated from $2 to the one person who sent in $200, thank you! No amount is too small, as it all does add up, and most people are sending along $10 and $20.

    This is great.

    It gives me hope that this will work out.

    Thank you all very much!

  16. You mean like the crazy people who discovered the long extinct Florida panther? Or those nutjobs who originally described the coelacanth. Because, you know, science consists solely of already known facts.

    No, but neither psychics nor cryptozoologists nor others of such ilk had anything to do with those findings. Real biologists were responsible, not nutjobs. Please give me even *one* verified finding discovered by a self described “cryptozoologist”. Blurry photos of Bigfoot aren’t science.

  17. “Hating the IRS is like hating your local cops because they write you a speeding ticket.”

    Yes? And?

  18. What does it mean to ‘challenge the reality of cryptozoology as an occupation’ ?

    It can’t be denied there are people who take it seriously, and study the subject, so surely they can only be talking about the subject matter’s basis in reality?

    In which case, theological institutes, scriptural studies centres etc etc must be up for the same sort of treatment, no?

    I laughed when I saw the posters above suggesting application for church status.

  19. Unlike some others, I do not begrudge Loren his humble venture. It’s valuable on at least an oral tradition level, of which there’s not ever enough exposure given its more formalized counterpart’s preponderance. And given that there’s museums of so many fool things — hell, that the Creationism Museum gets to call itself that instead of “theme park” should be Exhibit A — soberly yet genially reminding us that there’s still a lot of shit we don’t know about is hardly the most controversial nor least worthy of topics to devote an institution.

    I would like to mention another threatened institution of cultural, intellectual and spiritual inquiry in immediate need of donation, hopefully without distracting from Loren’s need or Teresa categorizing it as spam. I know a lot of us are feeling unusually optimistic about the 180 this country might have made by this time next year (though that’s perhaps a bit pollyanna even if current trends go as they seem), but we need to avoid becoming complacent, allowing forces of entropy and selfishness to regroup and launch new assaults. One of the loudest voices for change in the past six years has been a plucky upstart magazine out of CA called ARTHUR, who has had just about every voice of progress and possibility in its pages during that time. A couple years back it looked like ARTHUR might go under, not because of unviability but because its partial owner was pulling dirty tricks on its creative founder. Thankfully the family atmosphere of their readership bailed it out, but it’s never quite recovered from being off the radar for so long. We’ve got to give them just the bit more time they need to get their foothold again so we don’t lose this so important platform. Take a look at what they bring to the table on their site, and I think you’ll agree that especially with other such voices of freedom leaving us, ie George Carlin, this is one in our power to keep. This is what they posted:

    Arthur Magazine needs $20,000 by July 1 or it will die.

    No donation is too small.

    Our preferred method of payment is Paypal. It is a free service to buyers, and enables you to pay directly By VISA, MASTERCARD, AMEX, DISCOVER or from your checking account or debit card. You can also convert foreign currency to U.S. dollars. Signing up only takes a few minutes.

    Please use PayPal to make a donation to editor at arthurmag dot com

    Thank you.

  20. An addendum, if I’m not pushing my luck:

    Yesterday we made a plea for help. Some folks wanted to know more details about what’s going on with us, why we’re in danger of shutting down, and why we need help. I apologize for not making that information available in our initial appeal.

    Here’s why Arthur needs help right now:

    One year ago I ran up my credit cards and borrowed money from friends and family in order to buy out my ex-partner in Arthur. Since then I have maxed out my personal and business credit cards to service that debt and to start up publication of Arthur again. We have worked very hard with very little resources: some of us could afford to work pro bono, others could afford to work at well below market, still others couldn’t afford to work for Arthur but did it anyway.

    Still, we have bills to pay, and debt to service. Starting up again costs money. And my credit cards are now maxed out.

    On the heels of lower than expected ad sales (although they are trending up), increased production and distribution costs (higher quality printing and paper, higher fuel costs, increased printrun), and an “under-performing non-magazine product” (the Living Theatre dvd, for which we’ve sold less than 25% of the printrun since launch, received zero reviews or notices, etc), spiraling debt service payments (now $2k a month) on startup costs, and most importantly, zero new financial backers… we’ve finally reached the point where


    If we don’t obtain at least $20k by July 1, ARTHUR is done. Our long-term prospects are good if we are fortunate enough to make it through this rough patch.

    Since our initial appeal yesterday afternoon, we’ve received over $13,200 in donations and pledges.

    We will keep the arthurmag. com website updated as regularly as we can with our progress. All of us involved with Arthur are extremely grateful for the generosity we’ve been showered with so far, and very moved by the many notes (sometimes letters!) of support we’ve already received. Thank you so much.

    All best,

    Jay Babcock
    Arthur Magazine

  21. gr wth th bv pstrs bffld by ppl cnsdrng wht s bsclly crnvl tnt jk ddctd t psdscnc s n nstttn dsrvng f chrty. Cryptzlgy s jst s mch hbby s stdyng th csystm f ndr.

  22. disemvoweling is annoying and really not necessary as @28 shows. In fact, its far worse than just deleting the message outright IMO.

    Anyway, if I am to understand this correctly. Global warming skeptics == deniers to be shunned; one step below creationists. Folks with Big Foot statues in their living rooms — important museums to be preserved.

    @3 is simply wrong about coelacanth as 22 points out. While cryptozoologists were looking for Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster and other fairy tales, it was a museum director and a biologist who described and publicized the coelacanth find.

    Still, I’ll probably send him a few $. Otherwise, who is going to maintain the Mothman death list????. That’s the sort of science I bet even the global warming deniers and Ben Stein can get behind.

  23. Go to Cryptomundo. Cryptozooology is MUCH more than Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.
    I LOVE Loren’s site and find it such a pleasure after a hard day to revel in obscure wildlife.
    I will do what I can to help.
    If you like animals you will like Cryptomundo.
    It is also one of the few sites that is almost entirely troll free. People there are kind. (I said almost)
    I do hope this works out and thanks to Boing Boing for calling attention to this.

  24. I’ve been thinking that in short run, t-shirts might do the trick, but in the long, replicas (coelacanths, bigfoot statues, vinyl toys). and Amazon tied books are the way.

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