Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 24th, 2006
Scotland’s cryptozoology collection at the National Museums of Scotland was recently highlighted in the Scotsman. The easiest exhibits to record, unfortunately, are often the hoaxes. Shown here are a Japanese-made mermaid and a Canadian-created furred trout, both taxidermy fakes.
Dr. Geoff Swinney (below), Curator of Lower Vertebrates, Fish, Amphibians and Reptiles, National Museums of Scotland, examines the vertebrae of the Beast of Stronsay, from the carcass of the beast found on an Orkney island beach in 1808. Swinney, who is the resident cryptozoologist, in 1987, confirmed the vertebrae was from a basking shark, and not a Sea Serpent.
Meanwhile, new museums are being founded with an eye to a speciality linked to one specific cryptid. Take, for example, the successful Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, created after the Mark Pellington movie, The Mothman Prophecies, was released in 2002.
Above: Mothman Museum director Jeff Wamsley holds his most recent book, Mothman: Behind the Red Eyes. With him is museum co-worker Todd Wiseman, an Ohio University film student making a documentary about Mothman.
Below: Artist John Frick of Cumberland, Maryland, stands under his creation, a Mothman replica that hangs from the ceiling of the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
The International Cryptozoology Museum of Portland, Maine, has a more generalist theme with a wide focus.
The International Cryptozoology Museum’s collection includes over 150 Bigfoot, Yeti, and Yowie footprint casts, the hair of the Yeti, museum quality skull replicas (from Homo floresiensis to Gigantopithecus), movie props (from Harry and the Hendersons to The Mothman Prophecies), cryptid figurines from 46 years of collecting, the eight-and-half-feet-tall Crookston Bigfoot, a full-scale coelacanth, the Feejee Mermaid from the movie P. T. Barnum, expedition equipment (e.g. from Hillary’s 1960 Abominable Snowman hunt, the 1984 Crypto-Quest for Idaho’s Paddler, the 2000 Skookum cast discovery trek), and much, much more.
Needless to say, as in Scotland, the International Cryptozoology Museum has modern versions (see below) of the Feejee mermaid, the furred trout, and jackalopes.
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.