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Undeniably And Reliably Dead?

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.

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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.

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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.

About Loren Coleman
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.


10 Responses to “Undeniably And Reliably Dead?”

  1. Artist responds:

    “How does one live in this post-Beckjord world?”

    BAH! The guy behaved like a four-wheeled, first-class red-blooded American JERK, obnoxiously interfering with other researchers’ work, inventing and twisting his warped tales and ideas into unrecognizably comic cartoons, dancing around the fringes of Paranormal research, scattering confusion and ridicule with wild abandon!

    Perhaps we can all now take a deep breath and get back to serious Para-business, keeping a wary eye out for neo-JEBs.

    Like Ol’ Bub sez, Live and Learn.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    Wow, this whole thing has been really bizarre. It seems that Mr. Beckford’s death is surrounded by as much strangeness and oddity as his life.

    I never knew him personally, only of his deeds, and I understand he had a lot of enemies, but he didn’t strike me as a totally evil man and therefore I’m a little appalled that there would be so much rejoicing over the death of another human being. I didn’t agree with most of his ideas or how he interacted with people, he seemed like a bit of an (well, it rhymes with ‘pass the bowl’), but I’m not sure how much happiness that should invoke upon his passing. Does his death really need to be celebrated? He had some pretty wild, outlandish theories and he pestered and hurt some people, so I can understand some sense of lack of sympathy and sense of relief. But rejoicing? That seems a little harsh in my opinion.

  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    If you will note, this is more about a sense of relief than joy. A weight has been lifted, not about his fringe theories, but because of his extreme forms of personalized stalking and harassment.

    Frankly, I do not miss someone that telephoned my wife at the time up in the middle of the night and yelled at her, calling her a “****” and a “****” repeatedly, despite requests that EB not phone at all. This happened on more than one occasion.

    Also, he routinely lied about me, my fieldwork, and about other people to every person that listened. He tried to ruin my relationship with my brother, wrote the president of the university where I was working, and on and on. The man was not well, but people paid attention to him, as if he was.

    Beckjord’s family reportedly had rejected his insanity long ago, and according to some reports, him too.

    I am not dancing on his grave, like others, merely commenting on the relief I have (as do some others) because he is resting, hopefully, in peace someplace, far away from any telephones.

    Others have said much worse about the guy.

  4. HOOSIERHUNTER responds:

    As I mentioned in another post on another thread I have a friend who is a member of his family. His family cut off all ties to Beckjord long ago and this particular family member asked me to be careful about how I mentioned Beckjord and my friendship with them on this site because they are very afraid of Beckjord (and for good reason). I guess they were worried Beckjord might read it. I’ll ask this person I know if Beckjord’s death is true this time.

    Okay I stopped in the middle of writing this and called his family–Yes Beckjord did pass away for real this time.

  5. scmarlowe responds:

    Having had similar experiences as those related by Loren above, I too am enjoying relief at his passing.

    Erik was certainly entitled to his theories and views; however odd they may have seemed to others in the field. But his behaviors were reprehensible and made Heath Ledger’s performance in “Dark Knight” seem sane by comparison.

    Chi — being what it is — I’m sure the ying won’t last long without the yang and another abusive crackpot (to put it nicely) will step up to take his place.

  6. Lightning Orb responds:

    So you think this Beckjord fellow is indeed dead, but maybe the confusion was caused when someone uninvolved stepped into the dark room where they’re secretly forging his plasma-powered clone?

  7. kittenz responds:

    It’s sad that a person lived his life in such a way that so many people feel relief and even joy at his passing. I wonder if any of Mr. Beckjord’s actions weighed on his conscience before he died? I would hate to believe of myself that anyone felt such animosity toward me that they would rejoice at my death.

    Even though Mr. Beckjord had his enemies and apparently deservedly so, I feel sorry for any family who has to lose a loved one to cancer. Both my mother and my dad, half a country apart, are battling cancer. In my dad’s case they have told us it’s just a matter of time, there is nothing more they can do for him but pallative drugs to help ease pain. He’s like a very fierce independent bear or something, who has gotten old and sick and backed into a corner, but he fought it with everything he had, and now he has made peace with the idea of his death and is facing it with a kind of grim dignity. My mother has a much better prognosis but, having very aggressive small-cell lung cancer, she has a terribly rough chemo/radiation therapy to go through before she hopefully comes out clean of cancer on the other side. I’m so glad that she quit smoking many years ago; that gives her a fighting chance to beat this awful thing.

    I feel empathy with Mr. Beckjord’s family and friends – surely he had some friends? – who had to not only lose their relative but who also now have to try to make sense of the way that he alienated people in his life.

  8. mystery_man responds:

    Loren- No, no, I wasn’t referring to you at all. I was reflecting on some of the rejoicing and “dancing on the grave” that I’ve been hearing about in many areas of the cryptozoological community which I think is disproportionate to the deeds of Mr. Beckjord but not targeting this site. You and others here have actually been very subdued and honest in your approach to this whole ordeal and I absolutely can understand a sense of relief or lack of mourning, like I mentioned.

    I understand your position, and I understand that his passing may inspire relief. I think the rejoicing in the community as a whole is a tad extreme. My comment was in no way aimed at this site, it’s posters, or you. I’m sorry if that is the impression I gave. If I thought that was what was going on here, I would have said that flat out.

  9. Grant responds:

    I haven’t seen all the comments here, and I’m not without a sense of humor, but I have to agree with mystery_man and kittenz. I admit I have a pretty “low threshhold” when it comes to what I think of as morbidness (in fact, I use the word right and left), but this is getting to be a bit much in the case of Beckjord.

    Speaking of humor, to me, John-Erik Beckjord will always be the cryptozoologist who once showed David Letterman what he believed was a petrified piece of Bigfoot droppings. Without bringing ridicule into it (as any given comedian would be tempted to do), David still got a lot of comedy mileage out of that.

  10. Rangoon responds:

    Never fear, his successors are even now beginning the war of succession.

    We who study nature should all understand that there are many niches on the food chain that need to be filled… the Roll of the Grand King of the Trolls will always be filled.

    It’s only a matter of time.



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