Mystery Bones

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 13th, 2008


When these four St. Dominic Regional High School seniors were tearing down an old shed at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lewiston during a class project, they came across some strange bones. From left to right are: Andrew Gwarjanski, Codie Keene, Jeff Lewandowski and Cameron Laney.


(All photographs by Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal.)

The Lewiston Sun-Journal’s Christopher Williams gave me a call yesterday, to help him with some mystery bones. Here’s his Tuesday, May 13, 2008, article about the riddle.


Four high school seniors working in a cemetery Monday unearthed two intact animal skeletons.

Speculation about the bones’ origin ranged from skunk to Tyrannosaurus Rex before an expert ruled they belonged to dogs.

The St. Dominic Regional High School students, who have volunteered since April at Mount Hope Cemetery off Lincoln Street, had been tearing down an old maintenance shed at the top of a hill.

When they ripped up the floor of the shed and uncovered the partially concealed bones, one of the students pointed and said: “Look there’s a skull and (the other boys) said, ‘Ah, sick,'” said Codie Keene, a student at St. Dominic Regional High School in Auburn.

They laid out the skeletons on a sheet of plywood and set them safely aside. Fur still clung to the hind legs and tail of one of the skeletons.

The students later discovered another pile of bones among rotted timbers and cracked concrete blocks. Gently pulling dirt from around the remains like expert archaeologists, they spoke in excited tones about their find, hoping it might be something exotic.

They beckoned their supervisor, who exclaimed the bones might be dinosaur remains.


A world-renowned cryptozoologist from Portland put the guessing to rest. Loren Coleman quickly identified them from photographs as mature dogs.

“The indications of this verdict are the relatively intact hind paw visible on one carcass, the skull structure, skeletal configurations and the size of the overall carcass,” he wrote in an e-mail.

He compared the photographs to a common dog skull and other commonly found animal skulls to confirm his verdict.

The four seniors started helping out at the cemetery on April 28 and will complete their so-called “Senior Involvement” on May 20, said Anne Pontbriand, who coordinates the program at the Auburn school.

High school students volunteer 5½ hour each day over a 3½-week period at the end of their senior years, she said. Others among the 71 graduating seniors have volunteered at hospitals, food pantries and schools, she said.

People show me or send me photos of their mystery bones all the time, for an answer to such enigmas. I guess it is part of the job of being a cryptozoologist, and another day in the life….

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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.

14 Responses to “Mystery Bones”

  1. Point Radix responds:

    It is difficult to see all the details from these photographs, but the prominent canine teeth support the idea that these are dog remains. The question here, is what these dogs were doing under the floorboards. Were they already dead and buried at the time of the construction of the maintenance shed, or were they specifically placed there as some sort of ritualistic sacrifice?

    It would be interesting to determine the age of these remains and see how that correlates to the time when the structure was built; but I suppose that a finding of dog skeletons will not be seen as reasonable enough to justify that expenditure of time and resources…

  2. red_pill_junkie responds:

    The supervisor thought THOSE were dinosaur bones??

    I weep for the fate of the american education system 🙁

  3. kittenz responds:

    LOL red_pill_junkie,

    Haven’t you heard of Dino 😉 ?

  4. jules responds:

    Sure look like dogs to me.
    Sacrificed? I doubt it.

  5. steele79 responds:

    maybe manbearpig?

  6. CamperGuy responds:

    exposing my ignorance……I was going to guess opossum. 🙂

    The teacher thought non-fossilized bones to be dinosaurs? I bet he was teasing and adding to the excitement of the moment. He will now be teased in turn. 🙂

  7. fallofrain responds:

    Maine, huh. Has Stephen King heard of this? Is Cujo missing?

  8. kittenz responds:

    Obviously they are the bones of mangy otters

  9. mantis responds:

    Looks like the work of Mike Vick.

  10. Samson77 responds:

    LMAO steele79, always love a southpark reference

  11. Finback responds:

    I know what this is like, Loren. I’ve worked in a natural history museum for eight years, on an information desk. Even though I’m not there now, I still get the calls to come look at what someone’s brought in.

    “Is this a monkey skull?!” “Rabbit.”
    “Is this some sort of whale skull?” “Emu pelvis.”
    *little kids from a daycare centre who were digging up the sandpit* “What’s this?” “It… is a very small cat..”
    (How do you tell a little five year old they just handed you a dead kitten? :S)

  12. DWA responds:

    My first thought, after like two seconds: dogs.


    Glad we found THAT cryptid.

  13. maslo63 responds:

    LOL…Emu pelvis. I can relate finback, though I’m not a professional in any of the natural sciences my knowledge of such as made me the authority on the subject for those I know and the people they know.

    I find it hilarious that anyone would think those belonged to a dinosaur. I could tell they were from some species of canine right off.

  14. noobfun responds:

    worst case of mange i ever saw

    as kittenz said maybe otters or baby sas .. i mean bear

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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