Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 9th, 2011
My initial investigative conclusion in Florida is that local merchants know little, if nothing, about their significant historic event of 1896, when the “St. Augustine Giant Octopus” washed ashore.
While popular souvenir shops are full of trinkets, teeshirts, and trivial merchandise on pirates, mermaids, and the Spanish discovery and occupation of the area, besides the total absence of anything artistic or tourist-related on the 1896 Giant Octopus, the St. Augustine shop owners were totally unaware of the incident. Some people I interviewed even told me that I was making up the story.
Meanwhile, much is made of the city’s oldest tree, a 600-plus-years-old live oak, to be found in the middle of a Howard Johnson’s parking lot. The Old Senator, as it is called, has for 600 years stood as a testament to Ponce De Leon’s discovery of La Florida in 1513.
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.