Top 100 Living Cryptozoologists

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 8th, 2009

In July 2005, a certain publication/publisher that will remain nameless commissioned me, Loren Coleman, to do the research, compile, and write the biographies for a series they wished to publish, which would have then been compiled into a book, The Top 100 Cryptozoologists: The Major Living Personalities Associated with Cryptozoology.

The group, due to some internal changes beyond my control, jumped ship before I could get much more than a bit of compiling done and a few bios finished. Of course, it was long before I was even paid to do any of the work.

What can I say? It happens. I make the choice to do this work, have passion for it, and often start projects for folks in which financial rewards never occur. I am overjoyed with being involved in trying to do what I do. The publication changed hands and directions; no one was even kind enough to say, “Thank you, but no thank you; we’ve dropped that one.” 🙂


So here I am, about five years later, working on another book project long-term and I’ve decided to revisit this list idea, as I truly get a kick out of promoting others interested in this field (even if I am on their enemies’ list). So, I said to myself, why not have a try at getting Cryptomundians’ thoughts on the people they’d like to see on such a list of the top 100. Please comment below on who would be on your list.

And, please, please, for the stake of modesty and being streamlined, just skip over my name. I’m looking for genuine input, not ego-stoking here. No need to mention me. Be honest about all whom you think are the great living “cryptozoologists” in the world, without feeling you must note me too. (Since 2005, I’ve had to take off several people who have since died, from my tentative “top 100” list. As I joke with my media interviewers, at least I’m living, so that does make me happy.)

The cryptozoologists on this new list must be living, involved in cryptozoology fieldwork, research and writing, and have had a major influence on the field via their thoughts, theories, works, personality, media impact, peer relationships, and discoveries. Cryptozoologists included should be students of various cryptids, as well as the lesser known unknown or hidden animals.

Look, I am approaching this list without personal bias, and will include people that may not wish to be in the same room with each other at a Bigfoot, Nessie, or Cryptozoology conference, but who have importance, significance, fame, or infamy in this subfield of zoology.

Impact is one of many keys to getting on the list, and the diverse individuals should come from a wide-variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, theoretical stances, and points-of-view, with a good representation of genders and nationalities. I’m not even going to influence you with those that I might put on such a list, as I might surprise you with the fighting foes I’d put in the same ring.

If you have any suggested names, please list them in the comments section below.

Please positively assist the move of the International Cryptozoology Museum, as it soon opens in downtown Portland, Maine. Please click on the button below (not the one up top) to take you to PayPal to send in your museum donation.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

33 Responses to “Top 100 Living Cryptozoologists”

  1. loopstheloop responds:

    “Positive discrimination” on a list of cryptozoologists? Would it not be more sensible, Loren, to base your list on merit, achievement and scholarship, rather than sex and ethnicity, in order to create an accurate list, rather than an extended United Colours of Benetton commercial?

  2. jayman responds:

    I’d recommend Bobbie Short, one of the top women doing Bigfoot research.

  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    Needless to say, when any kind of lasting list is generated for a readership, yes, some insights to compile a broader, comprehensive range of choices must be made within the parameters of merit, discoveries, achievement, visibility, and scholarship.

    What I observed, for example, before I wrote Cryptozoology A to Z, was that the recorded history of the field was dominated by the retelling of the achievements of Americans and a few Europeans (mostly English and French), mostly male, and mostly Caucasian.

    It quickly became clear to me that the field would die an early death if the achievements of women and non-whites kept being ignored, as they had been in previous books. I made an effort, with no apologies, to find role models for girls, for non-whites, for people from or in Asia, Australia, and Africa, if possible, for the biographies included in that book.

    In 1999, you have to remember, few readers of cryptozoological works realized that Ruth Harkness was so pivotal in the discovery of the first giant pandas, or that a Congolese biologist Marcella Agnagna was critical to what we knew about Mokele-mbembe, or even much about Odette Tchernine.

    I have no problem with looking at all the cryptozoologists who deserve to be on a list of 100, as long as it is totally inclusive. That’s all I’m going for, with some awareness of how past collections of this kind have unconsciously had a blind spot for some folks.

  4. jtmkryptos responds:

    ok, i got a few names, but im not quite sure if they’re all alive…

    Loren Coleman
    Jeff Meldrum
    Chad Lewis
    Autumn Williams
    John Green – i really i enjoy his work.

  5. on the track responds:

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Dr. Karl Shuker. Roy Mackal, Jeff Meldrum, Willy Ley and Tom Slick would all make my list too.

  6. Ferret responds:

    Karl Shuker, Jeff Meldrum, Patrick Huyghe, John Kirk, and John Green

  7. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Bob Gimlin, definitely; for giving us one of the best evidence for the existence of unknown large hominids in N. America.

    And IMO Nick Redfern should be included, although I’m sure this would create a bit of controversy to some folks 😉

  8. scrambeledeggman responds:

    My votes for Bigfoot researchers are:
    Rick Noll
    Matt Moneymaker
    Craig Woolheater
    Mike Rugg
    Bobo Fay
    David Paulides
    Jeff Meldrum
    Kathy Strain
    Daniel Perez

  9. cryptidsrus responds:

    MY list off the top of my head:

    1 Karl Shuker.
    2 Jon Downes.
    3 John Green.
    4 Nick Redfern-(although he is more of a Fortean).
    5 Adam Davies.
    6 Bob Gimlin-(not really a “researcher”, but what the heck).
    7 Jeff Meldrum.
    8 Ken Gerhard.
    9 Bobo Fay.
    10 Rick Noll.
    11 Matt Moneymaker.
    12 Loren Coleman—(NO ego-stroking here, BTW) 🙂

    Just in case—SOME of the dead researchers I would put in:

    1 Bernard Heuvelmans—(of course).
    2 Ivan T. Sanderson.
    3 John Keel—(controversial, but what the heck).
    4 Roger Patterson.
    5 Grover Krantz.
    6 Conrad Gessner.
    7 Edward Topsell.
    8 Rene Dahinden.

    How’s that???
    Hope you do get to write the book!!!

  10. JMonkey responds:

    I like Craig Woolheater, and Deborah Martyr. I am sure there are many others out there, but I like the work Craig does. He and his team really work hard to validate claims, while still being objective. Deborah Martyr deserves recognition for her work in India and other Asian areas researching Orang Pendek, etc… Dr. Roy Mackal, Dr Karl P N Shuker, and of Course the man, or should I say legend (ego stroking inteneded), who wrote this column, Lauren Coleman.

    and a few extras:

    Dmitri Bayanov
    Maya Bykova
    Clyde Roper
    Robert Rines
    Josh Gates (LOL) well at least he gets a lot of publicity out there for cryptozoological animals, but still probably does not belong on this list.

    I am sure other people will have better lists.

  11. Nick Redfern responds:

    RPJ & Cryptidsrus:

    I wouldn’t consider myself a literal cryptozoologist. I would say I’m strictly a Fortean who has done a lot of crypto investigations, and tried to make some sense of the subject, but from a largely Fortean perspective.

  12. opin responds:

    Pretty cool, I was going to nominate Nick Redfern and Joedy Cook, but I see that Nick taken his hat out of the ring!

    I, myself investigate and research cryptids, but in no way would I be ready to be in such company.

  13. John Cartwright responds:


    Eric Altman has been in the field for years and never seems to get the respect he deserves. Please consider him.

    Also consider:

    Diane Stocking
    Monica Rawlins
    Billy Willard
    Don Keating
    James Bobo Fay
    Rick Noll
    Kathy Strain

  14. springheeledjack responds:

    Aside from the Big Four here at Cryptomundo, I would go with Adrian Shine (if for no other reason than his good humor at doing a Toyota commercial with Nessie, but seriously–he’s done some sound research on the place), Paul LeBlond, Ed Bousefield, John Kirk, and Arlene Gaal. In case you haven’t noticed…they all have common ground on the cryptid front…

    and Leonard Nimoy…maybe not a cryptozoologist per se, but he certainly advanced the field by being the flagship for In Search Of, which brought cryptozoology to so many homes including mine.

  15. timi_hendrix responds:

    Peter Byrne
    John Kirk
    John Green
    John Bindernagel
    Autumn Williams
    Rick Noll
    Craig Woolheater
    Jeff Meldrum
    Esteban Sarmiento
    Brian Bryne

    Not sure if I can think 100. WE have lost a lot of good men and women in the past. But Peter Byrne would definitely make my number 1!! God bless that passionate soul.

  16. timi_hendrix responds:

    Oh, I forgot Don Hunter!

    I don’t know too much about him, but it’s someone to consider Loren.

    Good luck

  17. Lynda Wilkinson responds:


    I suggest John Cartwright, the World’s Greatest Bigfooter!

  18. lukedog responds:

    Top 100? Living? I don’t think so Loren.

    How about top ten, living or dead?

  19. Aaronious01 responds:

    If your list for 100 runs short, you could include me, since I made the template/power point presentation for one of the world’s best cryptozoologists.


  20. Matthewcardier responds:

    Then there’s the members and founders of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, Dale Drinnon, who has a seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of the serious literature, and from my neck of the woods, Australia, Tony Healy and Paul Cropper, and Malcolm Smith. And, though probably to be taken with a few grains of salt, Rex Gilroy…

  21. Alton Higgins responds:

    100? That sounds like an extremely tall order!

    I’ve done some long distance work with Australian resident Chris Rehberg with regard to the thylacine, and he also researches other rare species of Australian wildlife. I’d like to see him on your list.

  22. MattBille responds:

    I don’t think I’ve seen any of the gang from CFZ listed yet. Or Shackley.

  23. corrick responds:

    To my mind, Matt Bille is a slam dunk for the top twenty. Also yourself, Chad Arment, Karl Shuker, Mackel, Downes, John Kirk, Tony Healy etc. I would suggest that those individuals who have actually done original research and have written about a broad range of cryptids should be given added weight in any ranking system over those whose work is confined to a single cryptid.

    Would think Adam Davies now deserves to be in the top 100. And most definitely Michel Raynel!!! And Lars Thomas as well.

    From out of left field I would also suggest Nick Sucik! In the last decade nobody tops Nick for eagerness, enthusiasm and energy.

  24. praetorian responds:

    Bernard Heuvelmans
    Archbishop Oalus Magnus
    Bishop Erich Pontopoddin
    Roy Mackal
    Tim Dinsdale
    Robert Rines
    Constance Whyte
    A.C. Oudemans
    Nicholas Witchell
    Dr. Henry Bauer
    Dr. Karl Shuker
    John Kirk
    Arlene Gaal
    Ivan Sanderon
    Peter Costello
    Peter Byrne
    Dr. Jeff Meldrum
    Dr. Grover Krantz
    Roger Patterson
    Jon Downes
    John Keel
    Richard Greenwell

  25. AlbertaSasquatch responds:

    I won’t mention any names that have already been mentioned. One of my top five picks would definitely be Tom Steenburg. I think another great addition would be Arlene Gaal. I really think you should include Igor Bourtsev! Another person I would include is Pat Barker. I also agree with Matt and think Myra Shackley should be on that list. What about Josh Gates? How about Ron Morehead? If you were to include people that had passed, I would also suggest Bob Titmus and Scott Norman. JMHO of course!

  26. twblack responds:

    Tom Slick is the 1st and Loren C. is 2nd and bob P. and Glimin is 3rd.

  27. ned-kogar responds:

    Some very good folk mentioned already.

    Am I crazy to suggest Oberon Zell-Ravenheart?

  28. Kopite responds:

    How about Zhou Guoxing from China for his work into the Yeren? Is he still alive?

    Also, Janet and Colin Bord from Britain.

    I haven’t seen any of these mentioned yet.

  29. growltiger responds:

    Jon Downes
    Adam Davies
    Ken Gerhard
    Richard Freeman
    Karl Shuker
    Lars Thomas
    Adrian Shine
    Francois de Sarre
    Chester Moore Jr
    Debbie Martyr
    John Kirk
    Dimitri Bayanov
    Gregori Panchenko

  30. jerrywayne responds:

    Ideally, cryptozoology should be considered a sub-branch of zoology. If so considered, I think,
    the candidates for any list of cryptozoologists would be limited to the scientific academy. Such is not the case in reality. As constituted today, cryptozoology is made up of a motley crew of individuals, professionals and amateurs, who investigate, write, opine, and theorize their concerns about anomalous animals.

    Any list of top cryptozoologists should reflect this diversity. On one end of the crypto spectrum are the overt paranormalists, the Fortean skeptics (of “conventional wisdom”), mystery mavens, and “monster” hunters. In the crypto center we find practicing scientists of the relevant disciplines, working journalists, adventurers, and the accomplished writer. At the other end of the spectrum, we find the Enlightenment skeptics and debunkers.

    With this diversity in mind, I suggest the following list, in no particular order, and with no attempt to place names in order of importance to the pursuit of cryptozoology.

    Roy Mackal, Jerome Clark, Esteban Sarmiento, Robert Rines, Ben Radford, John Green, Deborah Martyr, Rick Noll, Patrick Huyghe, Jerry Coleman, Daniel Perez, Robert Michael Pyle, Bobbie Short, Joe Nickell, Matt Billie, Myra Shackley, Karl Shuker, Linda Godfrey, Paul LeBlond, Nick Redfern, Jeff Meldrum, Rheinhold Messner, John Bindernagel, Mark Hall.

  31. fmurphy1970 responds:

    May I suggest a few people from this side of the pond…

    Adrian Shine
    Dr Karl Shuker
    Darren Naish
    Jon Downes
    Richard Freeman
    Gordon Holmes
    Jan Ove Sundberg
    Dr Yvonne Simpson (Stronsay beast, Orkney)

  32. jerrywayne responds:

    I also meant to include Henry Bauer, Roger Knights, Craig Woolheater, and Steuart Campbell.

    Also, my apology to M. Bille for the incorrect spelling. (And I thought I was going to have trouble with “Sarmiento.”) [sheepish grin]

  33. mustWarnOthers responds:

    Matt Bille needs to be in there close to the top

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