Bigfoot's Museum: Loren Coleman on his new cabinet of cryptozoology curiosities

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41 Responses to “Bigfoot's Museum: Loren Coleman on his new cabinet of cryptozoology curiosities”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just love how people claim there’s “ZERO evidence for sasquatch” without even bothering to consider the mountain of evidence that does exist and the credible examinations of said evidence done by respected (non-cryptozoologist) scientists. They just make the assumption that the evidence is fake or non-existent. Hardly a rational scientific approach!

    Occam’s razor says that the simplest explanation or strategy tends to be the best one. Now you tell me, if you find over-sized foot prints complete with dermal ridges that cannot be identified as belonging to any known primate in a remote mountain valley that’s essentially the middle of nowhere, which is the simpler explanation? That there’s an unknown hominid inhabiting the remote reaches of North America (and if you don’t think they’re remote, you’ve never flown over the Pacific Northwest!)? Or that there are people with enough time, resources and expertize to trek to these remote locations without leaving any signs of a human presence except for these “fake” foot-prints in locations where the chances they will be found are extremely slim to non? They would have to place millions of hoax prints in remote locations in order to account for the few that are actually found.
    Seems to me that it’s more logical to conclude that it’s possible there’s an unconfirmed hominid out there. But then, I’m just a “crackpot”.

  2. wolfatrest says:

    Jane Goodall has said she believes in undiscovered primates and as for evidence, how many times have scientists denied the existence of something that later proved to indeed be very real? Please don’t give me the “If they existed, we would have found a body” nonsense either. I have hunted my entire life in woods teeming with literally millions of whitetail deer and I can count on the fingers of one hand(with a couple of fingers left over) the number of deer carcasses I have stumbled across in the woods. Now imagine if you had a species perhaps intelligent enough to actively hide their dead. Just because a few well-known frauds have been foisted on the public is no reason to doubt all evidence before it is carefully evaluated.

    • Anonymous says:

      All of the dozens of whitetail deer corpses I’ve seen have been along the side of the highway. Clearly, if Sasquatch exists, it’s smart enough to avoid its natural enemy – the Buick.

  3. David Pescovitz says:

    A hominoid still undiscovered in this day and age? I wonder what a respected primatologist and anthropologist like Dr. Jane Goodall might say.

    • Brainspore says:

      I’m still waiting for Dr. Goodall to explain how such primates could have migrated to North America from Africa, much less maintain a breeding population here for all of human history without leaving any physical evidence of their existence.

  4. Anonymous says:

    FYI

    The Green Hand is run by Michelle Souliere who writes the wonderful “Strange Maine” blog and the “Strange Maine Gazette”…sort of a Weird New Jersey for people in northern New England. She does a wonderful job researching all the history, folklore, and other nutty stuff coming out of that state.

    Check out her webpage when you get the chance:
    http://strangemaine.blogspot.com/

  5. Anonymous says:

    And of course there are only two options: real, or hoax. Misinterpretations do not happen.
    Occam’s razor: ur doin it wrong.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It also encompasses the study of animals of recent discovery, such as the coelacanth, okapi, megamouth shark, giant panda, and mountain gorilla.

    But sadly not the strange new sea cucumbers, transparent-headed fish, or many others that are too weird to be rumors before they were discoveries.

  7. seesdifferent says:

    Human nature generates boogeymen: the legends and myths of North American tribes probably date to their first contacts with other races eg white men with long red hair. Hoaxers have fun (and profit) with costumes, faked footprints, and phony reports. Honest people can be very poor eyewitnesses, and well-meaning people get scared by strange sounds in the woods at night, and taken in by distorted or hoaxed footprints. Even the Bigfoot believers admit that even by their loose criteria 9 of 10 reports are not worthy of further investigation. Yet they make make the newspapers and the 6 o’clock news. Bigfoot “sightings” and “prints” are reported, not just in remote “unexplored” “cryptid territory” like forests in the Pacific Northwest, but all over the US from Florida to Ohio to Washington to Alaska to West Virginia to New England and New Mexico, in rural, urban and suburban settings; swamps, deserts, woodlots, hills, valleys, mountains. Crossing roads, migrating away from winter weather, robbing dumpsters, throwing rocks, making unearthly calls, maintaining breeding populations, yet shy and impossibly sensitive to human presence, secretive, concealing their tracks, feces, colonies, burying their dead, and never once leaving a living or dead specimen or even credible evidence. The idea of an undetected new genus of giant primate living in a temperate zone, all over North America is ridiculous. The Bigfoot is a cultural, not biological phenomenon. Bigfooters try to “cross-examine” rational people, to get them to admit that Bigfoot is “possible;” well, it is “possible” that a flying saucer is going to pick me up today. But is that what we mean by “possible?” Should we spend our time and money, as a nation or as individuals or as a scientific community on something that is “millions to one” unlikely? As soon as someone like Jane Goodall says “it’s possible….” then the Bigfooters trumpet it forever as if she were a weather forecaster saying “…possible showers…” ie something that might actually happen in the real world. No, for my money, Bigfoot is not possible. And I have been known to buy a lottery ticket.

  8. Jonathan Badger says:

    Carl Sagan once said he was depressed when he saw people really into astrology because he couldn’t help thinking how more useful to society, and ultimately more fulfilling to the individual if their enthusiasm for nonsense could be channeled into real science.

    As a biologist I feel the same way about cryptozoology. There *are* undiscovered species out there. Biologists realize this. Imagine if instead of obsessing about Bigfoot and Nessie the self-declared “cryptozoologists” went on field trips to the Amazon and helped catalog the actual undiscovered species there. Granted, they are mostly uncharismatic insects, but still they teach us a lot about biodiversity.

  9. MAdB says:

    Bigfoot is real. A hundred or so years ago people thought that pandas and gorillas weren’t real.

    People have had sightings for hundreds of years, Native american stories abound ( as well as other cultures like Tibet), and even though the prime hoax period has ended there are still sightings reported.

    The main proof is the volume and location of sightings, which are consistent enough not to be possibly hoaxed by any one individual or even groups of individuals. Go to http://www.bfro.net/GDB/newadd.asp. The fact is that people keep seeing them.

    No one’s shot one yet because they are terrifying and at the same time mostly humanoid, enough to make people instinctively not want to shoot one.

    And I quote “Chewie, is that you?”

    • Brainspore says:

      A hundred or so years ago people thought that pandas and gorillas weren’t real.

      Then why were they assigned their current scientific taxonomical names in 1869 and 1847, respectively? Those species were fairly well documented even before photography was practical in remote places, and the only reason they held out as long as they did is because they live in remote areas that were still largely unexplored by naturalists.

      By contrast, if Bigfoot legends are to be believed then those creatures live in populated areas across North America in an age of cell phone cameras and DNA labs. That’s not just a “shy hominid” level of evasion, that’s some sneaky ghost ninja shit.

      Bigfoot legends are fun and I’d love to visit this museum as much as anybody but let’s face it, no species has ever been discovered by a self-described “cryptozoologist.”

  10. greatcaffeine says:

    Is that Chewbacca?

    • David Pescovitz says:

      Ha! Just recently, my wife mentioned that she always just assumed that Chewbacca was supposed to be a Bigfoot.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We don’t have any Bigfoot bones because porcupines eat them…….

  12. Pipenta says:

    I’m not happy with having coelacanths and megamouth sharks lumped in with yeti and bigfoot. Not so much in the context of the museum and the collection, which are quite interesting when viewed as a whole, but in other ways the whole bigfoot obsession strikes me as rather sad.

    It is as if the natural world isn’t good enough, isn’t interesting enough. To be of interest, things have to be big, so-called charismatic megafauna, or they have to be vertebrates, warm-blooded and close to human. The obsession with things almost human strikes me as vanity. There are those who are desperate to see fairies, but who would ignore the splendid little wool-carding bee patrolling his territory that is the patch of mint right outside their doorstep, beating all intruders save for females of his kind. Those he handily seduces. You can have a cup of tea and watch these happenings almost effortlessly. And you don’t have to go to Loch Ness or the Pacific Northwest.

    Really, it seems to me to be an insult to the bees in the garden when you insist on believing in the fairies at the bottom of it.

  13. Brainspore says:

    …It also encompasses the study of animals of recent discovery, such as the coelacanth, okapi, megamouth shark, giant panda, and mountain gorilla.

    Coleman seems like a nice guy, but I’m curious how the biologists who study those species would feel about being lumped into the same group as jackalope taxidermists and Nessie chasers.

  14. peterbruells says:

    Well,of course there’s zero evidence for myzthological creatues – it’s tautological.

  15. ill lich says:

    I’ve had this Bigfoot argument with Brainspore before on this very site, I don’t particularly want to have it again. All I can say is he seems to have a very strong opinion, and there’s no argument you can make that will convince him otherwise; he seems to take the corpus delicti route: no Bigfoot specimen means no Bigfoot. I can understand that.

    What I don’t understand is why he needs to denigrate the notion of Bigfoot whenever it gets posted on boingboing; I have no great love for steampunk, but I don’t feel a need to post “this is lame” every time there’s some new steampunk gadget here.

    Brainspore, if you don’t think cryptozoology (or this particular strain of it) is valid science, fine, but it’s not hurting anybody. Wouldn’t your time be better spent trying to get newspapers to stop publishing astrology columns?

    • Brainspore says:

      I want to correct one thing: I never said “there is no Bigfoot.” My stance is “there is currently no compelling evidence for Bigfoot.”

      • ill lich says:

        “compelling evidence” is in the eye of the beholder; seems like a lot of people think hundreds of sightings, footprints and blurry film are compelling enough to spend their lives studying the phenomenon.

        In other words, it’s a matter of opinion, not scientific certainty.

        • Brainspore says:

          I never meant to imply otherwise. FWIW, I find Bigfoot a very entertaining topic- just not a very likely reality. I look forward to visiting Loren’s museum if I ever make it to Maine.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Here’s my feeling on cryptids. No proof that they do exist. No proof that they don’t exist. So you look at probability.

            Nessie: Very small search area. Several scientific expeditions finding that the loch can barely support fish, let alone a monster. Hundreds of thousands of tourists scouting for signs. Probability approaches zero.

            Bigfoot: Vast, uninhabited, heavily forested search area. Number of searchers insignificant compared to search area. Probability remains unknowable, thus 50/50.

  16. Dan says:

    [i]Does he actually “believe” in Sasquatch or sea monsters? No, because belief, he says, “belongs in the providence of religion.”[/i]

    Does that reply sound weird to anyone else? The questioner is clearly asking whether he thinks there’s enough evidence to justify the existence of these cryptids. Coleman’s response was needlessly coy, especially for someone who has been doing this for 50 years.

    • David Pescovitz says:

      I didn’t ask him that question directly and get that response. I’ll clarify by editing “he says” to “he has said.” Still, I think his comment is quite meaningful. In my view, once you “believe” something, that ends any debate or discussion around an issue you might have, even inside your own head.

    • enkiv2 says:

      This is actually a pretty common idea among fortean types, starting with Fort himself. I think John Keel phrased it best in The Mothman Prophecies:
      “I don’t believe anything, because belief is the enemy.”

      If you work on the fringes of science, you are hit daily with things that don’t fit into your model of reality. To believe in some and not others is to reject possibilities based on your (explicitly arbitrary) existing structures of belief, whereas blissful agnosticism of the type employed by true skeptics and good scientists does not get in the way of research. There is a fundamental difference between saying “it doesn’t seem like this is legit” and saying “this is a hoax”, and fortean types tend to say the former when a lot of more mainstream scientists say the latter. This means that they take a look at plenty of things that are absolute BS, but it also means that they take a look at plenty of things that merely appear to be absolute BS. To believe *anything* would make this tenuous and highly valuable situation impossible to maintain, and cryptozoology would quickly become a cult theology.

      Whether or not things exist is generally not the point of serious cryptozoology; people who say their goal is to “prove bigfoot exists” will not be reserved and impartial in the data they put out. Being out on the fringes of the accepted is fun, and BS is just as amusing as reality.

  17. trogboing says:

    Yay Loren!! Now send me another cryptid mutant to draw, too much time has passed since the last. “Woof! Woof!” ;)

  18. trippcook says:

    #4, that’s because he doesn’t want to think of himself in the same vein as people who believe in angels and fairies and whatnot, but there’s the same amount of verifiable evidence (ZERO) for bigfoot and Nessie as there is for any mythological creature.

  19. Brainspore says:

    In my view, once you “believe” something, that ends any debate or discussion around an issue you might have, even inside your own head.

    Why, just the other night I said to myself “I believe I’ll have a beer.” Then I went to the fridge and found that I was fresh out! The paradox nearly destroyed my entire concept of the universe.

  20. Believe_It_Tour says:

    Takes lots of guts to stick plans and ideas outside the mainstream. I say congratulations Loren.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Yesterday I had a revelation (ha ha) on this very topic. I realized that it was impossible for this creature to exist unless, of course it was immortal or extra-terrestrial, both highly unlikely. The reason is quite simply. Every species requires a breeding base & if they have one the numbers will be large enough that they won’t be able to hide. They’ll be QUITE noticeable. Therefore bigfoot does not exist. Sorry.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I thank David for the good interview and this posting. I also appreciate those who have not been sidetracked, but who celebrate the museum as a focal point for an interest in wonder, curiosity, adventure, history, fun, animals, and an understanding of the gateway importance of cryptozoology.

    The anthropologists and zoologists of yesteryear are not the ones of today. Many who are in academia currently realize that their early sincere intrigue with cryptozoological topics (way beyond Sasquatch and Sea Serpents) have fostered a lifelong pursuit of new species and unanswered questions.

    Despite a history of bones of contention and pitfalls like the Piltdown Man, we all realize anthropology gives us insights into human mysteries, just as those aware of how rare cryptid fakes are understand how the cryptozoological method (listening to ethnoknown folklore and sightings, then producing evidence) tell us much about the possible zoology of the future.

    The International Cryptozoology Museum respects and is interwoven with the fabric of science that gives us zoology, anthropology, marine sciences, and more. The museum serves as a place to preserve how cryptozoology has been involved, naturally, in the discoveries of the past, present, and future, in spite of the very few but much publicized hoaxes and missteps. Part of the objective of the museum is to share the reality that cryptozoology is not just about Bigfoot, Abominable Snowmen, and Nessies, of course. Thanks go out to those with minds open who are willing to consider that broader fact.

    Most sincerely,
    Loren Coleman

  23. MAdB says:

    Maybe explain why people continue to find footprints and to have sightings, from a wide spectrum of geographical locations and from a wide range of respected and trustworthy people. There aren’t enough hoaxers to pull it off for so many years!

    My friend was a forester in Oregon who had a job doing fire watches. He said he found tracks, out in the middle of nowhere, and when he camped in a valley he was scared shitless because of their howlings, back and forth.

    You could face the fact that lo and behold, science hasn’t discovered everything yet. They found a deer in vietnam jungles only a few years back with gills on it’s muzzle, for pete’s sake. No one can say science has perfectly solved everything. That would be naieve and contrary to the very basis of knowledge and scientific reasoning/exploration/discovery.

    Why would there be a long and consistent history, common even to this day, of sightings and tracks? Bear suit? Track making shoes? for 400+ years ( which would only cover european settler documentation, not the Native americans history)?

    As for sneaky ninja, there’s reportedly not that many of sasquatch but THERE ARE MANY DOCUMENTED SIGHTINGS! I don’t know much about cryptozoology, I just stand by reason about Bigfoot.

    • Brainspore says:

      Nobody is claiming that all bigfoot sightings are hoaxes- I’d guess that around 99% of evidence is plain old self delusion. Same goes for space aliens and demons, which have similar track records for evidence dating back thousands of years.

      Also, nobody has claimed that “science has discovered everything.” I’m sure that there are many wonderful new species out there to discover and I can’t wait to learn about them. I’m just not betting that one of them will be a new species of North American ape.

  24. MAdB says:

    p.s. Giant squid

    • Brainspore says:

      p.s. Giant squid

      Yes, giant squid. A species known to naturalists for centuries through large amounts of physical evidence despite the fact that it lives in an environment so remote that we’re still only beginning to explore it. And just one of the mysterious, wonderful creatures on our planet that real scientists would love to learn more about.

      Not sure what they have to do with Bigfoot though.

  25. Anonymous says:

    “I’m still waiting for Dr. Goodall to explain how such primates could have migrated to North America from Africa”

    Because there are NO primates in Asia, right? Gibbons, orangutans, _Gigantopithecus_, dryopithecines – you’re on notice!

  26. MAdB says:

    I would never have believed in mr. foot unless I had this friend of mine. I found lots of books on bigfoot on his shelf one day and I laughed at him and asked why. Then he told me about being in the middle of nowhere/Oregon forest on firewatch and finding large tracks by a river bed. He camped in a valley between larger hills or mountains passes and he could hear them screaming back and forth. At first he didn’t know what the hell it was and he was scared because it didn’t sound like any animals he had heard before, being a forester, and then he did research and matched the sound with what has been previously recorded.

    I had laughed at him at first because it was so out of character for him to be involved ( at least from the standard cultural response most have) in this kind of topic. All his other books and concerns in the world are extremely practical and forthright. He’s a sane upright individual who would never get tripped out by pseudo sciences.

    Otherwise, I would not have given a thought to this whole phenomena, especially based on the odd cultural reference or an old episode of unsolved mysteries. To each his own, I guess. It’s not like anyone’s got a *big HAIRY foot* against anyone’s head. *puts foot down*.

    But http://www.bfro.net/ seems respectable enough and the whole footprint/sightings evidence is convincing to me because it has a pattern too large for hoaxing and it coincides with encroaching man, i.e. sightings increasing based on a dwindling forest.

  27. MAdB says:

    Argument=

    Fear of a Wookie planet.

    http://www.myspace.com/supernovaarmy

  28. ill lich says:

    The problem with believing in cryptids, particularly ones that have achieved a certain level of pop-culture notoriety, is that even if you have valid scientific reasons for thinking they might exist and deserve further study, you are considered a crackpot. And even if tomorrow someone does find an actual bigfoot corpse, you will still have a sheen of “crackpot” in the minds of some people. Of course some of those people believe in god, despite even less evidence, and no real way to prove his existence anyway.

  29. MAdB says:

    People find tracks, people have sightings. Many of those people are very credible, like policeman or long time hunters or foresters, who would have nothing to gain and only to lose by coming out and saying they saw a giant hairy creature in the woods. That plus a long history dating back before european settlers as well as the settlers themselves having sightings, in a time before mass media, a time when a mass hoax wouldn’t have been viable. Native american tribes in California were sculpting monkey-esque/gorilla heads before the europeans even arrived. Why would they do that in North America?

    Regardless of doubters, you have to admit said facts. These facts are conclusive in that a hoax is impossible to pull off at that level, with so many locations and calibre of witnesses, who often had sightings in groups of people. Yet people are seeing something, hearing something and finding large tracks which have all the characteristics of a giant walking hominid.

    If the discovery of strange exotic animals previously unheard of and unfounded ( according to almighty science and research ) which had prior to finding a specimen garnered only derision and laughter, as you are so alluding to and perpetuating towards people who believe in the evidence of sasquatch, then you aren’t making the most basic of logical connections. Only a few believed in earlier unfound animals, to the criticism of others. The same is being done here. It’s no different. The forest isn’t being watched 24/7 by security feeds. The Sasquatch is mostly nocturnal, intelligent, rare and by all accounts extremely elusive. It’s not like there’s herds of them flocking together.

    But fortunately, the existence of a creature like sasquatch isn’t dependent upon the opinions of doubters. It’s dependent upon evidence, of which there is plenty. Last i checked, hearing and seeing was empirical evidence, not to mention a documented history, BOTH native and western. Again, maybe you can explain why detailed footprints indicating appropriate bones structures and anatomy consistent with a walking ape family species are continuing to be found, as well as the sightings by credible witnesses. You can’t.

    If you say self delusion, then you are victim to said delusion as well. Self delusion is a concept used by conservatives to eliminate what doesn’t fit into their narrow vision of the world. How could you be any less delusional than credible witnesses? If you believe something contrary to the modern view, ( which is constantly changing anyways) then you must be mad. This is how it has worked from medieval times to now. Before it was religion, now it is science.

    In my humble opinion, without criticism towards anyone and from experience, I think it’s quite arrogant to believe that there aren’t things that science hasn’t found, that there aren’t things beyond our current understanding and even our current ways of thinking or tools of understanding. Just because it seems unlikely doesn’t mean much. We don’t know everything yet! We aren’t said masters of the world, let alone the north american wilderness, which still has enough left to hide a creature like sasquatch, especially on the west coast where there are the most sightings.

    We have yet to reach an age of full knowledge, so why limit possibilities that have concrete and logical evidence? Why side with the latest conservative view point, which is destined to become antiquity and pitied by the view of those in the future? No one with intelligence would think back to the time when people were killed for saying the earth was round and think “Ah, the good old days.”

    Evidence doesn’t point to a hoax. Evidence points to a large upright ape descendent, like us, and that threatens the common view of man and environment that we have all been raised with, so some people shut their eyes to the evidence before us.

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