Loren Coleman's Cryptozoology Museum in the Boston Globe

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The Boston Globe toured my friend Loren Coleman's International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. It's one of my favorite museums in the world which I've never had the opportunity to visit. From the Boston Globe:
Coleman likes to start his tour for crypto-newbies with the display case of “Animals of Discovery.’’ These are the legends that came true, like the giant squid of antiquity confirmed in 1865, according to a newspaper account. Or the mountain gorilla, which was so reclusive that it was not identified by European science until 1902. Coleman is taken with the okapi, a living fossil long reported by Pygmies in the Congo but not confirmed until 1901. Despite its stripes and vague resemblance to a zebra, the okapi is essentially a proto-giraffe. Even the popular giant panda was virtually unknown in the West until socialite Ruth Harkness brought one back from China in 1936...

(Coleman) readily acknowledges the prevalence of hoaxes in cryptozoology, relating his own part in uncovering fake Bigfoot prints left around Northern California. “See the squared-off toe?’’ he says, showing a cast. “That’s diagnostic of a Ray Wallace hoax. There were hundreds of them.’’

The trick is to tell the serious from the hoax, and Coleman believes his background in social work helps. “I analyze the people involved in sightings,’’ he admits. “It’s all part of the investigation...’’

Coleman honestly doubts that many cryptids will be proven real, though he would love to see better evidence for the Yeti “because that was my initial love.’’

"Putting cryptozoology on display to the world"


  1. Wait a minute! Are you saying some of those things are hoaxes? I’ve been to Portland numerous times and have never heard of that museum and trust me, I’ve often been stuck at that stupid frakking airport (oops Jetport) with tome I needed to waste. Thanks for the heads up.

    First comment here too BTW!

    Also, my son is pissed at the Red Sox

  2. I went by this place when I was in Portland last fall. It’s at the back of a bookstore. I chickened out on going in.. maybe next time.

  3. I took a visit to the International Cryptozoology Museum when I was stranded in Portland over Christmas.

    I found the entire experience rather underwhelming . Basically it’s two small rooms filled with toys and scattered movie props. The “tour” consisted of about 15 minutes of Loren Coleman self-promotion and a few awkward jokes that made everyone feel rather uncomfortable.

    I’m not trying to be mean, as you say Coleman is a friend of yours. I’m just saying the “museum” could use a little work.

  4. It’s real! That’s my hometown. Never did check the place out, but yes, it exists and is legitimate.

    Yay, my city made it onto boingboing!

  5. It shares space with a wonderful used bookstore called “The Green Hand” where the owner makes sure to have many esoteric books on hand at good prices. The museum itself is one of those small curios of a museum and invokes the idea of a victorian eccentric showing off his wunderkabinet…

  6. I wonder if he has any theories about the Bloop. The deep oceans still have some surprises in store for us.

    And how mind blowing would it be to find that some remote scrap of island in the south Pacific still harbors a few Homo Floresiensis? I just hope they don’t end up harvested as folk cures.

  7. The trick is to tell the serious from the hoax…

    Actually I think the real trick is to tell the credible from the hoax from the honestly deluded. I don’t think most Bigfoot sightings are intentional hoaxes, just people who have convinced themselves that they’ve seen a giant ape-man where none actually exists. I’d still love to see the museum though.

  8. My boyfriend and I visited the museum last fall while camping in Maine. It you love offbeat, hole-in-the-wall, quirky roadside attractions then you will love it. But if you’re expecting a shiny, polished “real” museum, don’t bother.

    We loved it! While the space is small, there’s lots to look at and the best part was Mr. Coleman’s presence and enthusiasm. He is so happy to share his knowledge and experience with curious visitors. Every visitor/group gets a personalized tour (tailored to your level of interest and prior knowledge) and he stays around to answer any questions you might have.

    The bookstore out front is very cool and we picked up a few rare (and cheaply priced) volumes as well as a couple of cryptid finger puppets from the museum.

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