Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 6th, 2014
Peter Matthiessen, best known for his thoughtful, spiritual books such as The Snow Leopard and At Play in the Fields of the Lord, died Saturday, April 5, 2014, of leukemia, at a Long Island hospital near his home. He was 86.
Matthiessen was well-known to serious cryptozoologists and Bigfoot studies researchers as being deeply interested and involved in the field.
Peter Matthiessen attended the first modern conference on Sasquatch studies (captured in papers in Manlike Monsters on Trial and The Sasquatch and other Unknown Hominoids), in May 1978, at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. The conference was filled with professors, scientists, and field biologists, some of whom spoke about the cultural implications and ramifications of the Bigfoot, Yeti, and Almasty. A few early figures in the Bigfoot/Sasquatch search also were there.
Besides Matthiessen, others at this 1978 gathering included Carleton Coon, Rick Noll, Rene Dahinden, John Green, Bob Gimlin, Bob Titmus, Grover Krantz, Tony Healy, Bob Walls, Bruce Bonney, Al Berry, Barbara Butler/Wasson, and Peter Byrne. Matthiessen would keep in touch with many whom he meet there for the rest of his life. The conference’s co-organizer, U.S.-Canadian anthropologist Marjorie Myers Halpin, UBC, died August 30, 2000, at the age of 63. The conference’s other organizer, Michael M. Ames, Professor of Anthropology, UBC, died on February 20, 2006, at 72.
Peter Matthiessen, in recent years, had given talks on the subject. In Idaho on October 19, 2007, he spoke on the topic “A Naturalist’s Impressions of the Wildman.” He discussed his insights about Yeti and Sasquatch, in a lecture arranged by anthropologist Jeff Meldrum.
Matthiessen’s thoughts on Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti/Big Man were longstanding. He mentions Native American folklore and encounters with “Big Men,” a local expression for the Northern Plains Sasquatch, in his 1983 book In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. He had previously detailed his pursuit of the Yeti in The Snow Leopard, and he had a chapter on the Yeti in East of Lo Monthang: In the Land of Mustang, which is set in Tibet.
As a speaker at a Bigfoot gathering in 2009, I was able to meet and talk to Matthiessen, who was the keynoter. Those were some special moments, a rare treat, because his Zen Buddhist presence filled the space he occupied and beyond. His deep sharing of how intrigued he was by hominological topics was revealing.
Read the rest of my tribute and remembrance of Peter Matthiessen here.
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.