Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 25th, 2014
Today is the birthday of John A. Keel, who was born as Alva John Kiehle on March 25, 1930, in Hornell, New York. His father was Harry Eli Kiehle, a musician. From an early age he was interested in magic tricks and idolized the great Houdini. After the divorce of his parents he lived with his grandparents until age ten, then returned to his mother and stepfather, working on their farm near Perry, New York. At Perry High School he edited a mimeographed one-sheet journal called The Jester. At age 14 he edited a column in the local weekly paper, the Perry Herald, using the name John A. Keel. In general, he always felt the “A.” was for Alva. Meanwhile he studied at Perry Public Library and planned to be a professional writer. For more on Keel’s life, please read here.
A young C.W.
On the same date as Keel’s birth, Craig Woolheater was born in Texas. When Craig was ten (a critical age, as it was to Keel), the tiny Woolheater discovered popular cryptozoology by reading John A. Keel’s Strange Creatures From Time and Space. On page 98 of Keel’s book, the youthful Craig would have read the following, crediting the origins and birth of Keel’s work’s words: “This material has been collected from many sources, including the files of Ivan T. Sanderson, Roger Patterson, Loren Coleman, FATE magazine, and, of course, our own swelling files.”
As it turns out, the one case from Texas that Keel highlights in his book, the Lake Worth Monster sightings of 1967-1969, was there because of articles I had shared with Keel.
Thus the circle of coincidences are compounded by the thought that as I was entering the world of cryptozoology in 1960, as Craig Woolheater was entering the world exactly 30 years after Keel. It is a small world, indeed.
Happy Birthday to the creator-founder of Cryptomundo, who, on this date, March 25th, was born 52 years ago.
Read details about Craig’s life, here.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.