Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 16th, 2005
Tampa Truth Squad Today: Taking on the Lizard Man
Lizard Men remembrances seem to be popping up all over, in the midst of the interest in King Kong. But in the realm of media reporting, another Tampa journalist joins Florida Frank in making a major mistake in writing about cryptids.
First, in the realm of fiction, in an article by Paul Wuntch of The Dallas Morning News (a subscription site) , he writes:
Marilyn Monroe summed it all up. In The Seven Year Itch, she emerges almost in tears from a movie theater showing Creature From the Black Lagoon . It seems that she felt sorry for the prehistoric Gill-Man who terrorized the population in search of the beautiful scientist who unearthed him. Marilyn whispers that she doesn’t think the creature was really mean. The poor thing just looked different. In her innocence, MM spoke an eternal truth: A successful movie creature must pull at the heartstrings.
Okay, that is innocent enough, and a thoughtful contribution from Dallas. But wait until you see what happened in Tampa again.
Today, in the realm of nonfiction commentary, in the THIRD article this week on the Skunk Apes of Florida in the Tampa Tribune, reporter Steve Otto writes about the Lizard Man. He pens this, his entire comment on the topic:
A few years later, I was sent to Bishopville, S.C., to investigate the appearance of Lizard Man, sort of a scaly version of Skunk Ape. The local sheriff had a cast of Lizard Man’s footprints, but other than providing a healthy trade in Lizard Man shirts and caps, the creature never appeared in public.
Of course, this reporter gets his short essay on the Lizard Man as wrong as Florida Frank did on the Skunk Apes yesterday. The Lizard Man was, indeed, seen by locals. Gosh yes, Steve, the Lizard Man did “appear” in public.
How do these reporters think “flaps” start? With sightings, of course.
I suggest if the Tampa Tribune’s editors would like to get things correct, they should hold a seminar on cryptozoology reportage, in which I discuss the historical Skunk Ape evidence noted in my 2003 Simon & Schuster published study, Bigfoot!, and let fellow cryptozoologist Mark A. Hall go over the history of the sightings he notes in his new 2005 book Lizardmen.
Until then, perhaps the Tampa Tribune should back off on dealing with the Skunk Ape and the Lizard Man entirely, as they seem to be clueless as to what cryptozoology is all about and that, indeed, cryptids sightings are happening!
Meanwhile, Happy Holidays in Skunk Ape and Lizard Man lands.
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.