Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 19th, 2006
What does sometimes Fate Magazine skeptic Robert A. Goerman (pictured below) have against Cryptomundo and the readers of the blog here? What is with his name-calling our blog “Crypto-Tattler” and his insults to readers who have comments on new mystery photographs?
We are taken aback by Goerman’s scathing posting on the Fate Magazine blog, in which he blasts Cryptomundo. Taken to task for our use of words, and for sharing the Omaha backyard and the Mt. Hood cam photographs, in the Cryptomundo fashion of asking readers to assist in identifying them, seems too much for Goerman. My former Mothman-research colleague, Robert A. Goerman has surprised me by his venom.
In an unexplainably harsh tone, Goerman writes:
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Nebraska Cryptid Photo
The headline smacks of supermarket tabloids. The story promises a “remarkable photographic image.” A-M-A-Z-I-N-G…
I don’t know which is worse… the quality of the “remarkable photographic image” or the endless “conjecture” that follows.
This follows on the heels of another Crypto-Tattler exclusive: “New Mt. Hood Bigfoot Photograph?”
Do I denote jealousy on the part of Goerman’s above-noted Fate blog, on a site that appears to be limping along with infrequent, non-news, heavily-editorialized items? Demeaning our readership, why does Goerman have a problem with the democracy of cryptozoology feedback we support at Cryptomundo, where 172 comments were recorded on the Mt. Hood photo over five days in May or over a 100 comments logged in three days about the Nebraska photo in June? In one day in May, 1.3 million people decided to stop by and look at the Mt. Hood photo that was exclusively, and for free, shown here. This tells us Cryptomundo blogs are, indeed, filled with wonder, are of interest to the public, and seem to have something to share.
Are we merely seeing another form of internet envy from a faltering blog? What is Goerman’s problem? Does he not understand what “amazing” and “remarkable” convey?
These are words that are used to relate “wonder,” and Goerman should know that, as he has not been afraid to use them, in the past. For example, in an item about Carl Allen (a/k/a Carlos Allende), Goerman once wrote of an obituary he had found in a Colorado newspaper that he was so excited about it, he decided to send it on to the History Channel. Goerman could hardly contain himself, using emphasis and commenting: “It is absolutely amazing.”
People have different level of reactions to many things, and Goerman’s fixation on Cryptomundo’s use of the word “amazing” seems, well, strange.
Goerman goes on, speaking of Cryptomundo’s publishing of photographs:
Does this questionable documentary “evidence” have the slightest value in serious investigation and research?
Glad to answer his question: Since the mission of Cryptomundo is to share news, information, and inquiries of a cryptozoological nature, i.e. of hidden animals, part of what we wish to do is reveal the hidden. How better to do that than publish, and open for discussion, new photographs, sightings, and materials dealing with unknown animals? Goerman may wish to bias and exclude data before he publishes it within his writings. But does Goerman even understand what Cryptomundo is about? We are here to share and open the process, yes, in a serious investigative research fashion. Sometimes more minds working on a problem are better than one or two, we think. How do we know, if we don’t ask? Don’t look? Are afraid to examine?
The above-quoted judgements from Goerman are by the same person who set up an effort a few years ago to establish a standard for investigative practice. He called it “Suggested Code Of Ethics For The Investigator from WEIRD HAPPENS – Investigator Handbook.” One part of it, from his “Tracking Terror” page (please note the sensational evil/good split nature in Goerman’s choice of such titles) was his “Five Golden Rules of Investigation.”
1. Always be safe.
2. Always be honest.
3. Always be polite.
4. Always be objective and thorough.
5. Always be prepared.
But now, Goerman’s way of dealing with Cryptomundo, even with the mere use of his label “Crypto-Tattler,” appears to violate his own guidelines. He seems to be overturning his own rules for being “polite,” that say: “Treat everyone you meet with respect and dignity. Build good relationships with witnesses and sources so that they are willing to call you if anything else happens. If you run into a natural explanation for any event, be very careful how you reveal this to the witness. Politely explain any reasons why you think their experience just might have a normal cause and calmly demonstrate the facts. Do not argue with anyone for any reason. It is never worth it.”
Needless to say, Goerman also arrives at the point of deciding there is no value in apparently even looking at new, undisclosed photographs, like the Mt. Hood or Nebraska ones, because he feels they are “questionable.” But doesn’t this violate his “always be objective and thorough” guideline, which he explains means to “Keep your perceptions clear. If you are going on a long investigation, consider bringing along something to eat and drink. Arrive with a healthy dose of skepticism, but keep your feelings and personal opinions to yourself. Keep a detailed account about everything that you do.”
Goerman confuses me. Is he a Fortean with an open-mind, or a debunker disturbed by the popularity of Cryptomundo?
This is the same Robert A. Goerman who created, in the past, the defunct “Weird Happens” list, and, in December 2004, the failed “Adopt-A-Window program.” The latter was projected as “a new volunteeer (sic) opportunity that encourages individuals and groups to personally ‘adopt’ and develop an intimate relationship with a local ‘window’ or ‘Area of High Strangeness.’ As an adopter, groups or individuals agree to visit their area at least three or four times a year. Adopters are encouraged to explore and monitor this area, to record and document unexplained activity by all means available. This program could collect valuable ‘on the ground’ data. Adopters serve as the ‘watchdogs’ for these special spots of concentrated paranormal activity.”
Finally, Goerman’s “Crypto-Tattler” assault against the Cryptomundo readers’ attempts to decipher the Mt. Hood and Nebraska photos contains these final words:
This is no more scientific than looking for animals in fluffy clouds passing overhead. Or faces in the geological features of Mars.
Is this cryptozoology?
Enough is enough.
I suppose the activities here at Cryptomundo can be dismissed and demeaned by anyone who wishes to ignore that serving as a gathering spot for submitted photographs, then trying to analyze these photos, are legitimate steps in a modern internet-generated investigative process.
When bloggers decide to attack the readers here who leave comments as “endless ‘conjecture'” that is when I say to such jealous reactions, enough is enough.
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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.