Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 26th, 2008
The rumor that Erik Beckjord is not dead seems to be dead. But is there that feeling in the back of your brain that he could be reading this, some place?
“I wouldn’t put it beyond Beckjord to be dead and still want attention!” ~ Bob Rickard, founder of Fortean Times, remarked upon hearing that there was a Beckjord death hoax rumor circulating.
The San Francisco Chronicle put their reputation on the line and reported Beckjord had died from prostate cancer on 22nd June 2008, near his home in Lafayette, California. (Read his obit here, and more about the hoax rumor here.)
Still, mysteries linger. Why did it take a month for anyone to find out Beckjord was dead?
Why did Jeff Teagle, proclaiming himself “The International Cryptozoological Society™ (Alabama Division, USA, representing Mr. Jon Erik Beckjord),” tell people on Wednesday, July 23, 2008, that Beckjord was not dead? And why then did he turn around in 48 hours, to inform associates that Beckjord had died on June 22? Reportedly, Teagle is a former colleague or past advocate who supported the Tennessee Coy-Carter Bigfoot contactees.
Actually, as I was writing this, Jeff Teagle of Alabama returned my call of Friday. When asked the questions above, he would only say that it would have “been improper for me [Jeff Teagle] to release the information that Erik was dead before the executors did so.” That’s all Teagle would say. It did not exactly explain things but it certainly re-confirmed Beckjord’s death, as Teagle was the major source of the “he’s alive” rumor.
The membership of the International Cryptozoological Society (created in 2008) appears to have never been more than “one,” as it was a bad Beckjord joke to demean the 1980s’ International Society of Cryptozoology.
The Post-Beckjord Dimension
You no doubt have been reading the celebratory anti-Beckjord comments on various lists, forums, and blogs, since the news of the death of Erik Beckjord started making the rounds on Friday. EB or “he who is not to be named” was hardly a popular spirit among Bigfooters, Nessie researchers, and other anomalists.
How does one live in this post-Beckjord world? While people are not literally dancing in the streets, there is a sense of relief that no more lies will be masquerated as EB facts on his website, and the strange calls will cease that often would be received at 2 a.m. Those calls were often followed by a string of profanities issuing from the deeper recesses of Beckjord’s mentality.
My condolences to Beckjord’s family and friends, who suffered, I understand, with the living Erik, and now must suffer with the pain of his absence.
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.