Is This Jan Klement?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 21st, 2006

As Loren discussed here on Cryptomundo several days ago, the identity of Jan Klement, the author of The Creature: Personal Experiences With Bigfoot, is shrouded in mystery.

Rumors throughout the Bigfoot circles were that Dr. Paul Johnson, a professor at Duquense University in Pittsburgh, PA, was the mysterious Jan Klement.

Dr. Paul Johnson

I met Dr. Johnson in May 2005 at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference where he was a scheduled speaker. During the break after his presentation, I introduced myself and asked him point blank if he was the author of the book. He seemed a little suprised and told me that I was the 2nd person that had asked him that. I asked "The 2nd person today?" He replied, "No, the 2nd person that had ever asked him that question." I was more than a little suprised to learn this.

He told me that he was not Jan Klement, but that he thought that he knew who it was, a colleague of his from Duquesne. While I took notes that day, I wanted to make sure that my facts were straight so I sent Dr. Johnson an email, getting his written thoughts on the matter.

The man you refer to was Prof. Walter Skinner. He taught geology and physics at Duquesne. When I  first met him in the early 1970s, we realized that both of us were Roberto Clemente fans. I was not aware of his interest in Bigfoot until he gave a seminar on sasquatch here at Duquesne around 1978. The talk concerned sightings in the far west, not local ones. I told him I was investigating creature sightings in Pennsylvania, but I don’t recollect his response to that. After that we seldom talked about Bigfoot. I was not aware of Jan Klements’s book until a newspaper reporter, who had interviewed me in the past, sent me a photocopy of the book. He found it on a table at a flea market in Pennsylvania. This was probably around 1991-1992. By then Skinner had retired and I didn’t make any connection with him. I would estimate that Skinner has been dead for at least 15 years, if not longer. He lived somewhere in Ohio and commuted back and forth to work. I do not know where he was from originally. It is unlikely that his wife is still living.

I read the book, found it interesting, but considered it to be fiction because the story violates everything we know about the Pennsylvania Bigfoot. I lent my photocopy to someone who never returned it so I no longer have one. It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that people began asking me if I was Jan Klement. Then somehow I found out that the writer was a Clemente fan. I’m not sure who told me that. Perhaps it was in the book itself. I don’t recollect. It was then that I thought about the possibility of it being Walter Skinner. Beyond that I have no proof.

Most of the people who knew Skinner are long gone, but when I get a chance this summer, I’ll try to track down others who knew him.

And if I get any updates from Dr. Johnson, you’ll read them here on Cryptomundo.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

6 Responses to “Is This Jan Klement?”

  1. fuzzy responds:

    A mystery within the mystery!

  2. Loren Coleman responds:

    The Roberto Clemente -> Jan Klement clue is a good one. I will look more deeply into that angle, as I reread the new edition of this book for more hints, if there are any in the added enhancements.

  3. Kameba responds:

    Walter Skinner is also the name of Mulder and Scully’s boss on the TV show “The X-Files”. A coincidence?

  4. Loren Coleman responds:

    BTW, Paul Johnson has been asked if he is “Jan Klement” many times, and I wonder if he felt he was pulling your leg claiming that you were only the second person to ask. Even his email seems to indicate this was a frequent event. I did, in personal and in print, and so did several others.

  5. jayman responds:

    Interesting. An obvious first step would be to contact Duquesne and see if they have any records of a Walter Skinner formerly teaching there.
    I read “The Creature” in what is evidently a condensed version on the “Bigfoot: Fact or Fantasy” website (the creature’s notorious cow pasture sex scene is missing, I don’t know how much else, having never read the original). Some of it seems plausible, some things sound incredible. It’s hard to believe whoever wrote it was a scientist, though, just based on the writing style if nothing else. All I can say is the book must have been jotted down hastily, like unedited notes.

  6. rayrich responds:

    This article caught my attention especially since Im a huge Clemente fan who grew up in Pittsburgh and whose interest in Bigfoot stems from sightings in the pacific northwest in the early 70’s. I worked in the North Cascades in the early eighties and Sasquatch was listed in the Army Corps of Engineers manual as a living mammal in the region. My father graduated from Duquesne in the 60’s. Just thought that was pretty wild.

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