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Champ: A Friendly Review

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 28th, 2012

Champ Book

The Times Union of New York has posted, on December 28, 2012, a scrambled but favorable overview of the new book, The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness Monster. Paul Grondahl’s “Champ: Hook, line and sinker” is an attempt to capture what Robert Bartholomew is trying to do in his book, and for my tastes, the reporter gives too much away about Bartholomew’s conclusions.

The reporter’s view is that the book is a skeptic’s eulogy of Champ. Read the article and the book for yourself for details.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


5 Responses to “Champ: A Friendly Review”

  1. rebartholomew responds:

    I would like to thank Loren Coleman for his measured response to the appearance of this major feature article which contains two factual errors:

    1. Sandra Mansi’s attorney said she was unavailable for interview due to illness; I have no reason to doubt this.

    2. It should read “burned or buried” and not “burned and buried” the negative.

    The article title is unfortunate as it can be interpreted as debunking the notion of Champ and the Mansi photo. Champ may exist and the Mansi photo may be authentic, but in order to assess them we need an accurate accounting of the facts presented in a chronological, hysteria-free manner that does not take sides. The majority of the book carefully documents the history of the Champlain Monster from Indian lore to the present day, with an emphasis on detailing early sightings from the 1870s to the 1930s. There is some compelling, credible reports of Champ, especially from the 1800s, but without a body, an ultimate determination cannot be made.

    The main contribution to Cryptozoology is the meticulous documentation of early reports that have never appeared before in any book, especially from prominent citizens; the clearing up of several myths about Champ that have been perpetrated by sloppy journalists; unfortunate attempts to cash in on Champ by some locals (which is fine so long as they do not bend the truth in the process); and an assessment of the claims by researchers such as Elizabeth von Muggenthaler (that she can hear a Champ-like creature in the water) and Dennis Hall (video and visual sightings) – claims which are not credible. It also documents in great detail the behind-the-scenes falling out between rival Champ researchers Dr. Philip Reines and Joe Zarzynski, over what to do with the Mansi photo and other issues about their Champ legacies. This is not done to air ‘dirty laundry’ in public or to sensationalize, but any understanding of the Mansi photo and the history of Champ must be grounded in its historical and social context. The photo may be genuine, but until now several aspects of it and the circumstances surrounding it, were kept hidden. This information should have been disclosed long ago in the interests of accuracy and getting to the bottom of the story. I document several red flags that surround the photo. Given that I attempted in good faith to interview Sandra Mansi to clear up these discrepancies, the ball is now in her court to address them. Doing so will certainly enhance the stature of the photo and her credibility. I have chosen to raise these questions in an open forum – the book – as legitimate questions framed in a thoughtful manner so as to make other researchers aware of them and hopefully resolve these issues that have lingered now for over 3 decades. If these questions are ever going to be answered, the time is now. Is the reason for these discrepancies faulty memory – which happens to all of us – or something more sinister?

    I would ask that if others wish to pass judgement on my research, that they go to their local library and assess it for themselves instead of making a snap judgment based on a single newspaper article from a busy reporter who has the impossible task of boiling down 60,000 words and decades of research, into a thousand or so words.

    You can get a sense of the style of the book by reading the first 20 pages at:
    http://www.sunypress.edu/p-5611-the-untold-story-of-champ.aspx

    Ultimately, I wrote this book in order to separate fact from fiction and speculation.

    Dr. Robert E. Bartholomew

  2. kbraun responds:

    Dr. Bartholomew,

    Does the “Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness Monster” include an analysis of the Richard Affolter and Peter Bodette film?

    Did you interview these gentleman?

    Thanks

  3. rebartholomew responds:

    Hello there,

    I do discuss the Affolter and Bodette images of July 11, 2005 and have viewed the film. It is almost certainly not a hoax and the two men in question are well-educated, sincere and not attention-seekers. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the sighting is that in at least one of the frames the head appears alligator-like. I also inquired through their lawyer about possibly using still frames, which I opted not to use. I was told they were willing to pay what I was paying to use the Mansi photo; money was not a deciding factor in this instance.

    Please keep in mind that this is not a debunking book; as a former journalist, it is my job to document the chronological history of Champ in as much detail as possible, because it has not been presented before. Joe Zarzynski’s book, Champ: Beyond the Legend (1984) contains no more than a handful of pages on the early history of Champ; most of it looks at the modern-day search using sonar, and an analysis of the Mansi photo. Most of The Untold Story… looks at just that – sightings and stories that have not appeared in any book before.

  4. Peteyweestro responds:

    Sounds interesting i will have to check it out on Amazon

  5. rebartholomew responds:

    Here is a more recent article on the book which gives an accurate overview.

    What this article makes clear is that in no way is ‘The Untold Story of Champ’ a debunking book; it even concludes that Champ may exist. The article below appeared in North Adams Transcript (Massachusetts) of 5 January 2013.

    Robert



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