Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 29th, 2006
A few choice small regional Sasquatch study groups, during the 1990s, grew into national organizations. Others died off quickly. Now Cryptomundo learns of the closing of a significant and important club that had a far-reaching, friendly impact.
The internet is beginning to change the landscape of how people meet and exchange Bigfoot information. Are we seeing the start of a decline in such groups?
Today, the passing of one of the best grassroots Bigfoot organizations must be mourned.
Out in Oregon, Ray Crowe, 69, is closing the doors of his International Bigfoot Society. Ray began the organization, first as the Western Bigfoot Society, back in 1991, in Portland, Oregon.
As the years went by, as the group grew, Ray changed its name to the International Bigfoot Society, solidified its nonprofit status, and moved his home and the society headquarters to Hillsboro, Oregon.
Crowe held regular monthly meetings, conducted annual gatherings, appeared in television documentaries, and spoke often to local school groups. He published over a hundred issues of the IBS’s Track Record, 13 special editions, one novellette, and one novel (although the novel was more about early humans in the Pacific Northwest than Bigfoot). Crowe, usually surrounded by admiring friends, became a common sight at Bigfoot conferences out West.
The IBS was an accessible advocate for laypeople attracted to Bigfoot studies. Ray Crowe was a rarity in the field, openly acknowledging the entertainment potential of Bigfoot research.
But the times they are a’changin’.
Ray tells me he is “shutting things down.”
Since the death of his beloved wife Theata (see obit) at the age of 66 on September 21, 2004, these have been difficult months for Ray. Theata was Ray’s closest friend, and he shared a world full of her sense of humor, which he deeply misses. He often repeats stories about her. For example, once she was speaking to a reporter about the lack of monetary incentive in the Bigfoot field. Theata joked that she had made only $7 from her book, How to Cook a Bigfoot.
Ray also notes that he has lost most of the subscribers to his newsletter, a former financial backer is no longer supporting it, and Ray’s health itself has taken a turn for the worse.
As Ray writes me… “have lost my right leg, so can’t get into the field anymore…hard to keep up any interest. Health maintaining itself after open heart surgery…chest still hurts.”
The news is sad, but, at least, the world of cryptozoology had the friendly talents, good humor, and gentle smile of Ray Crowe for all of these years, as the face of Bigfoot affairs in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, for the media, as shown in these photographs, he put on a a serious facade, along with keeping on his “skepticals, unfogged as usual.”
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.