9/11: The View From Portland

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 8th, 2006

Jodi Magraner

On September 11, 2006, it will be five years since the tragedy of 9/11. Why should I spend time on Cryptomundo to discuss this? Perhaps it is merely a good time to pause a moment from chasing cryptids to reflect on what happened. It was a horrible event in higher primate history. I need to acknowledge and not ignore that truth, even here.

For all of us, we are survivors of 9/11 and yet our experiences hardly compare to the loss of life for thousands of people and the emptiness their families experience daily due to the attacks and their aftermath. The outcome touched many people that visit here. Post-traumatic syndrome has no borders. In the wake of 9/11, many have been killed and injured from New York City to Pennsylvania, from D.C. to Afghanistan and Iraq, and throughout the world in Madrid, Bali, London, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Africa and elsewhere.

Due to 9/11, cryptozoology was impacted too.

As I have mentioned before when talking about Jordi Magraner (1967-2002), the death of this famous zoologist may have been directly related to early covert military efforts in Afghanistan. Magraner, a Catalonian cryptozoologist conducting field research on the barmanu (the Wildmen of northern Pakistan), was found assassinated, perhaps due to the rumor he was spying for the CIA. Magraner, pictured at top, had his throat cut on August 2, 2002, in his house in the north of Pakistan.


Then in January 2005, I learned that a Bigfoot researcher was killed in Iraq. Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Etterling, 22, (photo above) of Wheelersburg, Ohio, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Etterling was one of 31 soldiers who died January 26, 2005, when the CH-53E helicopter they were in crashed near Ar Rutbah, Iraq. He was also a member of The Ohio Bigfoot Research Team. The group was founded in 1999; the team had a core of family members, including Richard Etterling, Joe Etterling, Bill Etterling, and Jon Etterling.

My sympathy and heart still goes out to the families of Magraner and Etterling, plus, of course, all those who were killed on 9/11.

2001 Texas Bigfoot Conference

For most of the rest of us, 9/11 is remembered as a series of not-as-important inconveniences five years later. Some have been recalled in the media, such as the lower number of sightings at Loch Ness in 2002, due to the fact less people were taking international flights to Scotland.

Others are almost embarrassing to recall today, but they were the way we experienced "9/11," nevertheless. For example, along with other speakers, I was due to fly into Jefferson, Texas, to Craig’s first Bigfoot conference. I was also to speak in Austin, Texas, at SMiles Lewis’ convention, during the same 9/11 no-fly time period. Needless to say, I didn’t reach either destination from Portland, Maine. Hey, I was able to journey to Jefferson the next year. I merely met people for the first time twelve months later. SMiles’ conference was his one and only. He lost his investments from the events of 9/11. But he never mentions that angle, even today.

John A. Keel

Other people I know had some close calls. On September 11, 2001, John A. Keel was scheduled to fly to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, to be in a documentary about Mothman. Of course, he never made that trip. Indeed, he refused to fly to West Virginia later, and the production company came to him in New York City. I was flown in too, for that taping for that documentary now contained in the special edition DVD. The taping was weird, with smoke on the horizon. It was less that a month after 9/11, and the stink of death covered the city. It was a trip that was not easy to make, especially when my small commuter jet banked directly over Ground Zero when flying in and I stared into that abyss.

I’ve always had a feeling I knew someone that died on 9/11. With so many people contacting me down through the years, perhaps I did. My sister Susan living in California worked with Christopher Newton, 38, of Anaheim, who was killed on Flight 77. He was coming back to California, to pick up his dog because the transfer of his company meant he was setting up a new home in the East. He was beginning the move of the corporate offices. The company would never relocate to the East, and the business saw many layoffs, but remains in California today.

I have never specifically learned of an author or correspondent or friend of mine who did die on that horrible date. Maybe that’s part of the psychology of 9/11; we all feel, on some level, like someone "we knew" did get killed in that cosmic event, for we all lost our pre-9/11 innocence. Sometimes I think we all sensed the loss of all those people, almost like that moment in the first Stars Wars movie when the Death Star destroys the planet Alderaan and a body shudder comes over Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Sir Alec Guinness). 9/11 was shattering and gut-wrenching, no matter where you were on the globe, no matter what your political beliefs.

One more thing. Living in Portland, Maine, the mystery of why 9/11 started in my city haunts everyone here, still today.

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.

5 Responses to “9/11: The View From Portland”

  1. greywolf responds:

    Amen, God will take care of those lost.

    We need to get on with the work not finished.

  2. The_Yardstick responds:

    “Maybe that’s part of the psychology of 9/11; we all feel, on some level, like someone “we knew” did get killed in that cosmic event, for we all lost our pre-9/11 innocence.”

    There’s the words. I’ve been trying to put that feeling into words for a long time. Great post, Coleman.

  3. twblack responds:

    Great Post Loren.

  4. cor2879 responds:

    Good post Loren. I had forgotten about Portland being involved in the 9/11 attacks.

  5. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Thanks for this. I’m from around the Wheelersburg area (just across the river on the KY side) and worked for the Wheelersburg paper ‘the Scioto Voice’. I remembered reading about John Etterling’s passing in that paper and knew from my friends back there that it really impacted that small southern Ohio community, but I had no idea about Etterling’s involvement in BF research. Thanks for sharing what the newspaper story left out.

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