Eyewitness Dies & Jerry Coleman Worsens

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 2nd, 2010

One of the first eyewitnesses I ever interviewed about an alleged Midwestern strange cryptid sighting, I’ve learned, died on Saturday, May 1, 2010, in Florida.

I had known Steve Collins well during our early days in Decatur, Illinois. I actually spent four years in the same homeroom with him. Due to our last names being so close to each other in the alphabet, we sat near or next to each other in most classes.

A few years after our graduation from Douglas MacArthur High School in 1965, I took my notes of my interviews with Steve, and wrote about the strange encounter that Steve said he had had. He received local attention (although not overt media mentions), at the onset.

My authored account of his encounter appears in several of my books (e.g. Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America) and others, such as in Janet and Colin Bord’s The Bigfoot Casebook (1982). Today, the name “Steve Collins” is noted in historic hominology studies, regarding his 1962 sighting, near Decatur, Illinois.

Even John A. Keel wrote of Steve’s encounter in his 1970 book Strange Creatures From Time and Space, on page 105. Keel recorded the incident this way:

“…in November 1962, Steve Collins said he, Robert Earle, and two unidentified men had seen a large gray animal standing upright in the middle of a creek [named Stevens Creek] east of Decatur, Illinois, off East William Street Road. They felt it was definitely not a bear.”

The mention was five years before Keel had penned his now-famous The Mothman Prophecies, which was the source of the 2002 Richard Gere movie. Of course, this is the film that Keel and I worked together with Sony/Screen Gems around the tagline, “Based on a true story.”

Time moves along, and sometimes the changing news is rather unexpected. Keel is gone, passing away just last year. So many gone are from those days, it seems. Then I was startled to learn recently that Steve had cancer, and had not been doing too well lately.

I was able to finally reach Steve by phone a few days ago. We chatted until he grew tired. He told me he’d been in Florida for 17 years, after moving from Decatur. We even talked of the incident in Stevens Creek again, and he affirmed what he’d seen.

Steve said he was going through tests, and was being moved. His transfer to another facility was followed by a rapid decline, and his peaceful passing occurred soon afterward.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends.


Then later in the day, on Saturday, I was alerted to more bad news. I talked last night to investigator, cryptozoologist, and my youngest brother, Jerry Dale Coleman, author of Strange Highways and More Strange Highways. He has taken a turn for the worse, in Tennessee. As you may know, he’s suffering from the effects of throat and lung cancer.

Jerry has hardly been able to walk, of late. After the results of a MRI came in yesterday, it was revealed there is a “spot on the spine.” Jerry was then told the medical tests had furthermore found an aneurysm on his aorta. He has two weeks to obtain emergency surgery – or die. At least, that’s the way he heard it.

Jerry is in so much pain, he is no longer in good spirits, due to the medications.

We lightened up our talk by discussing what clothing he’s already picked out for the Body Farm, a la’ Grover Krantz. That helped, believe it or not.

If you are a research associate or friend from his past, get in touch with Jerry, and tell him a joke.

Coleman Brothers

Jerry is the one in the middle in this old photo, taken at 123 Longview Place, Decatur, Illinois. I am to the right (with the football) and that’s Bill at the left.

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.

15 Responses to “Eyewitness Dies & Jerry Coleman Worsens”

  1. MattBille responds:

    My sincere best wishes and prayers go out to your brother and to you.
    Matt Bille

  2. kittenz responds:


    My condolences on the loss of your friend, and deepest thoughts and prayers for Jerry and all of your family.

    Sheila Collins

  3. dogu4 responds:

    Ahead of us, breaking trail.

  4. m responds:


    Sorry about your friend.
    Sincere best wishes to you and to your brother.
    Sorry the news is so downbeat.


  5. squatchwatcher responds:

    Sorry to here of the loss of your friend. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

  6. Ulysses responds:

    My condolences Loren,
    As the Buddha said, “All life is sadness” and nothing is worse than as we grow older we see the loss of those who shared our lives and made it better . We feel a loss because we really did lose them and the parts of them that made us who we are now and unfortunately, we have to learn to live with it and make it better not only for us but for our living freinds and family. The Buddha knew that we can come bad and not to waste tears with death but we of the Western world think differently a little and soem even think we’ll all see each other again soon enough. I really pray for that day and i don’t know about others out there or how you may worship or not but have faith in life itself , recall the good times with your brother and celebrate with your kids their lives right now and don’t them forget how good it is right now with death hanging at the door that we can still laugh!

  7. tomdee27 responds:


    So sorry to hear of your friend and brother. I purchased Strange Highways a few years ago, based on the fact that Jerry was your brother. While I found his approach and writing style to be very different from yours, it was a totally enjoyable read. I’m hopeful that the latest news is just another roadblock Jerry will barrel through.

    He, and your family, are in my prayers.

    – Tom

  8. TheHighlandTiger responds:

    Like everyone else, I wish Jerry all the best, and hope that this is just a small setback and he beats it once again .

  9. strangehorizons responds:


    Long time reader, first time writer.
    I’m sorry that my first comment couldn’t be under better circumstances, but I will keep you and your family in my prayers. May you all find peace.

    Jon Nichols

  10. Tarzanboyy responds:

    Loren, I’m mostly a lurker here, so I don’t typically post, but I visit this blog pretty religiously and I’m a fan of your work. I have both of Jerry’s books as well, and they’re some of my favorite paranormal, non-fiction works. You and Jerry are both gifted researchers and story-tellers. I’m very sorry to hear that he is ill.
    Tell him not to give up hope for recovery.

    Best Wishes,
    ~Tim Reifsnyder

  11. hetzer88 responds:


    With condolences on the loss of your friend, thoughts of love and hope go out to you and your brother, Jerry.

    You and Jerry are near and dear to a lot of us, even if we are only touched by your words, either written or electronically. I may be speaking for everyone out there, but you are both in our hearts.

  12. jadewhiskey responds:

    Hi Loren,

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your brother… I hope that he recovers soon…

    Also, my condolences on the loss of your friend… Time on this planet is too short so we need to make the most of what we have…

    JadeWhiskey (Crystal)

  13. Dr Kaco responds:

    My prayers go out to your old friend and to your bro. I’ll light some candles for both tonite.

  14. fyrwokr responds:

    Sorry to hear about Steve’s passing.Hope your brother hangs in there and gets better. Prayers to you and yours.

  15. Lee Wacker responds:

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your friend and your brother’s illness. Hope he beats it!
    My eldest daughter died in 1990 of cancer. I lost my eldest child and my best friend!

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