Cryptozoologist Dress Code?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 1st, 2009

Ken Gerhard.

Ken Gerhard’s hat worn on MonsterQuest has brought up some feelings in some readers.

Indiana Jones

Some folks seemed to grow defensive. One comment maker, Cryptidsrus asked: “I did not know Cryptozoologists had to adhere to a certain ‘dress code.’ Do you, Loren??? ” πŸ˜‰

Are there some stereotypes out there? Certainly there are, as shown in the above “cryptozoologist” from a recent film.

I don’t know, folks, what do you think? Are there reasons for the way the public sees me and others, or wishes to see cryptozoologists?

Let’s take a peek around the field.

Scott Norman
Scott Norman.

Roy Mackal (second from left).

Loren Coleman Scott Norman
Loren Coleman and Scott Norman.

Richard Freeman.

Jon Downes.

Tim Bull

Monica Rawlins
Monica Rawlins.

Jack Young, Adelaide “Su-Lin” Young, and Quentin Young.

Ruth Harkness.

Herman Reguster.

Karl Shuker.

Let’s conduct a comparative experiment. Do skeptics/debunkers/scoptics have a dress code? Here’s a random sampling. πŸ˜‰

Ben Radford.

Crowley Radford
Matt Crowley and Ben Radford.

James Randi.

Joe Nickell.

Michael Shermer.

What do you think?

Where do you fall in the ranks? Who do you most look like?

Update addition: Here are two images of Matt Bille, a self-described skeptical cryptozoologist and good friend of Cryptomundo, who has characterized himself as one who does not do fieldwork but engages more in the bibliographical and archival research end of things. These two photos of Matt are found all over the Internet, and perhaps speak to two parts of his personality as projected through these presentations? πŸ™‚


πŸ™‚ Thank You.

For more on this topic, see “Hats and Heads, Part Dos,” with more images and videos.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say β€œthe” 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.

46 Responses to “Cryptozoologist Dress Code?”

  1. LanceFoster responds:

    Of the images shown:

    (ignoring Indiana and his buddy πŸ˜‰ and the second image of Loren)
    n=16 (2 of the individuals in two of the photos)
    n=5 (two images of Radford so -1)

    So the sample is skewed πŸ˜‰

    1. headwear (hats, etc.)
    Cryptozoologists = 13 (81.25 %)
    Skeptics = 0 (0%)

    2. casual/outdoor/adventure wear
    Cryptozoologists = 13 (81.25 %)
    Skeptics = 1 (t-shirt) (20%)

    3. “office” wear (collared shirts, suit jackets, ties)
    Cryptozoologists = 3 (18.75%)
    Skeptics = 4 (80%)

    4. bald(ing)
    Cryptozoologists = unknown (some visible but too many wearing hats πŸ˜‰
    Skeptics = 5 (100%)

    5. “weird”/quirky individualistic wear (other than Indiana-Jones headgear etc.)
    Cryptozoologists = 9 (56.25%)
    leather jacket, leather hat, silver skull on hat = 1
    vest = 1
    camo gear = 1
    suspenders = 1
    shorts = 1
    overalls with pistol/belt = 1
    baggy jodhpur pants, pistol/belt = 2 (1 with aviator cap)
    fur coat w/turban = 1)
    Skeptics = 0 (0%)

    In the categories herein observed (by no means complete, but certainly indicative), the following observations may be made (although the samples are not equal and the sampling methods were not statistically random but judgemental/selective):

    1. Headwear/hats: Hats or headgear of some kind (turbans, caps, aviator gaps) are generally the standard for cryptozoologists. Skeptics disdain hats.

    2-3. Office vs Casual Wear: Cryptozoologists generally prefer outdoor/casual wear, whereas skeptics prefer office wear.

    4. Although the data has not been determined for cryptozoologists, skeptics uniformly lose their hair according to this sample.

    5. Weird/quirky/individualistic wear is found among cryptozoologists but not among skeptics. Among cryptozoologists, quirky/individualistic clothing items are chosen by over half those sampled, and thus is considered acceptable among cryptozoologists, though not as common as hats are.

    Based upon this study and these categories, Ken Gerhard’s choice of outdoors clothing and quirky items (leather clothing, hat with skull) is well within the norm for cryptozoologist-selected outfits πŸ™‚

  2. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    CZ Dress Code:

    Rule #1: Wear a fedora. I don’t care how tacky it is (mine is brown-plaid with a peace-sign stitched into the side), just make sure you can pull it off.

    Rule #2: Wear (or at least own) a shirt that makes sense for field-work. Preferably a long-sleeved one that buttons up.

    Rule #3: Pants!

    Rule #4: Wear cheap – we aren’t getting paid for this, and your clothes should acknowledge that fact.

    Rule #5: You may, at your liesure, disregard any of the rules presented herein. There is no real cryptozoologist dress-code, just like there’s no particle physicist dress-code.

  3. wisaaka responds:

    Jack Young, Adelaide β€œSu-Lin” Young, and Quentin Young. Functional and hip. Otherwisepeople willing to look over the next hill=hats: people who dont look over the next hill and tell people they’re wrong to do so=no hats. I think its a good way to tell the two apart.

  4. SIRUPAPERS responds:

    As a native Texan let me be the first to come to Ken Gerhard’s defense. While the head gear in question is overly stylized (indicating his affinity for the more rebellious side of the tracks) Mr. Gerhard wears a cowboy hat in the field for the same reason many Texans who work, hunt, or travel outside at all in our climate wear them…IT’S REALLY HOT!

    While I rarely wear a hat (I just don’t look good in them) my own wide brim is more conservative than Mr. Gerhard’s and is an absolute life-saver in our particular neck of the woods.

    Which brings me to the greater point about the dress code: yes, we have a dress code and we all look like Indy (OK, maybe not always as attractive). But I point out that most cryptozoologists choose their dress out of a desire to NOT DIE, while Hollywood tailors are trying to give certain action stars credibility.

    Ours is a dress code that was established over the last century by blood and sweat to ensure survival, not style. So I say, “embrace the hat!”

    Lawyers wear suits and ties, goth-kids wear black make-up, let those who venture out in this dangerous world of ours in the name of cryptozoology wear wide-brim hats! Lastly, I can’t help but wonder if those who oppose the hats are out in the heat and the rugged terrain or if they are on their couch, watching Monsterquest?

  5. MountDesertIslander responds:

    Adelaide β€œSu-Lin” Young, and Quentin Young should be the model for all cryptozoologists. Their look is timeless. Jodhpurs, leather boots, and a side arm scream explorer to me. Add the leather hat that Quentin has on and you look like a movie star.

    I would almost quit my job and become a cryptozoologist just to wear that outfit.

  6. Rob008 responds:

    I have to apologise about commenting on Ken’s hat. I was trying to be funny. I didn’t mean to be offense about it. I hold Ken in high reguards as a cryptozoologist and oviously he has some merit to star on MQ. Again I was just trying to be humorous. I own opinion is t hat Ken and any other monster hunter out there, can wear what ever they’re comfortable in. My wife is always making fun of my CROC shoes. Josh Gates on Destination Truth, is always making fun of what he and his crew wears, so I didn’t think I was doing any harm to Ken. I am willing to bet that Ken has a good sense of humor about the whole hat thing. In the future I will be more careful about what I say.

  7. Asphalt Prophet responds:

    Ken Gerhard’s hat is amazing! It removes all credibility to anything he says.

    A good hat is a must. Should be functional as well as stylish. The “crusher” is the best(Richard Freeland) and the traditional “fedora” a good second choice.


    Monica Rawlins can wear whatever she wants. It’s all good.

    James Randi should have a gunny sack over his. It should be just as closed as his mind.

  8. planettom responds:

    I appreciate individuality. In today’s world of cookie-cutter homes and celebrity driven fashion and “look at me” attitudes and zombie antics I see in public, I like to see people express themselves for who they are.

    Working in the medical field, everyone pretty much looks the same in scrubs and masks, but outside of work I’m surprised, usually pleasantly, by the individuality of the person. I wear hats all the time, especially in the hot Texas sun as SIRUPAPERS points out, it is usually very HOT here in TX especially in the summer.

    I recall Ken Gerhard used to be in a few industrial rock bands, I’m glad to see he still has somewhat of an edge, at least an edge he can let show through his wardrobe. I dig the hat by the way.

    It does seem that hats, especially the fedora type, beards and baldness do fall in to the norm of well known cryptozoologists. Today, however, I look like the lead singer of Weezer, Rivers Cuomo, sporting my dark rimmed glasses on this casual Friday wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and Chuck Taylor Allstars.

    I’m a big fan of the Indiana Jones attire. I imagine if I were working int he field, I would probably most resemble that character, probably without the whip. In the heat of Texas I might lean towards the cool and casual t-shirt that Scott Norman often wore, as seen above.

    To each their own, whatever floats your boat. πŸ™‚

  9. shumway10973 responds:

    plain and simple: hats are worn so you can see when there is sun. The clothes we saw above are worn for the climate/season you are most likely going to be in. We in cryptozoology are not dumb enough to shop on “Rodeo Drive” in Beverly Hills and then wear that outfit into the bush. Cheap clothes that breathe and keeps the bugs from biting and the sun from burning, that’s the dress code for a cryptozoologist.

  10. Loren Coleman responds:

    Okay, I’ll mention something that I thought someone might have noted by now.

    For those that are birders, it is well-known that wearing a hat out in the field when birdwatching does break up the natural lines of the human form and serves as camouflage. Indeed, the hiding of the eyes under the brim of a hat fits into the concealment that occurs, and makes it easier to see animals in the wild, in general.

  11. forsakenfuture responds:

    Ken Gerhard hat annoyed me during monsterquest.If it was just a normal hat that would of been fine but they way it folded down inbetween his eyes just got on my nervs.

  12. Ken Gerhard responds:

    Thanks to everyone who came out in support of my beloved hat. As many of you have pointed out, I live an unconventional lifestyle and my controversial derby is a reflection of how I tick – outside the box. Also, one of my heroes is Dr. Shuker, who has been known to adorn leather and ride a Harley from time to time.

  13. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    I think we would all laugh at each other if we got a good look at the hats we all wear. I mean, Forsakenfuture makes fun of the way Ken’s hat bends down in front, but that hat looks almost sensible next to some others I’ve seen.

    As for myself, I’ve got three hats – the aforementioned plaid fedora, an AC-DC baseball cap, and a ridiculous, floppy, ultra-wide brimmed tan hat. Two of those are hats I would consider wearing in the field – hint: neither is the AC-DC hat.

  14. red_pill_junkie responds:

    The pics of the cryptozoologists were taken outdoors; whereas the pics of the skeptics were taken indoors. I would like to see how the skeptics dress when in the field β€”I mean, they HAVE been in the field once or twice… right? πŸ˜‰

    One thing is certain: Facial hair is a MUST for any serious researcher (ladies excluded, understandably).

    The pics also seem to suggest that skepticism and male alopecia are tightly linked β€”but then, how do we explain Nick Redfern & Mac Tonnies? πŸ˜›

  15. Loren Coleman responds:

    More great analyses by everyone, thank you.

    Red Pill, I must push back at the foundation of your question, however. “Nick Redfern & Mac Tonnies?” While I may give them credit as anomalists and/or Forteans, sometimes even ufologists and futurists, but I do not categorize them as cryptozoologists.

  16. red_pill_junkie responds:

    “[…]but I do not categorize them as cryptozoologists.”

    But they are not skeptics either, Loren. That’s what I meant πŸ˜‰

  17. odingirl responds:

    I have to agree with you, Loren. While I find Mr. Redfern and his books compelling and highly entertaining, he rarely approaches his subjects from what I would describe as a cryptozoological perspective. Likewise for Mr. Tonnie.

    That said, perhaps the skeptics are rarely found in hats because their swollen heads prevent them from finding hats of adequate size?

  18. CalebKitson responds:

    I think most of the male cryptozoologists dress the way they do because they are ‘real men’. I usually wear a plaid shirt, combat boots, cienture sash, and an akubra. I am also interested in cryptozoology. I think these two things go hand in hand. If one is interested in Cryptozoology, one must dress like a badass. If one dresses like a badass, then one is most likely interested in cryptozoology!

  19. Ceroill responds:

    All I have to say is, YAY HATS!

  20. CalebKitson responds:

    Actually, I think a more appropriate term rather than ‘real men’, would be practical men.

  21. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    One further observation – Randi looks like the evil wizard from a cliche fantasy movie/story. Really now, the man just looks scary. Partly it’s the enormous bald forehead, partly it’s the beard, but mostly it’s the golfball-sized eyes that cause me to see Randi and say “Look away, children. Look away.” πŸ˜‰

  22. tropicalwolf responds:

    Anyone who has done any adventure travel or ACTUAL field work knows that practicality rules the day. Hat = Yes! As a mater of fact, I wish the public would go back to the days when most all men (like my grandfathers) wore hats just as a general rule.

    BTW, Quentin Young and family look awesome!

  23. cryptidsrus responds:

    Didn’t quite intend my comment on the “Flying Humanoid” thread to spark another post. I was simply asking a legitimate question and defending Ken Gerhard from what I thought was unneccesary focus on his physical appearance without regard as to his ability and qualifications to do his job, which is the important thing here.
    Thanks for responding, Ken!!! You are one of my heroes!!!
    I agree with you, CryptoInformant 2.0:
    Randi definitely looks like he comes from the “Hogwarts” Central Casting School of Nefarious Villains. πŸ™‚
    The skeptics definitely dress more “Boring.”

  24. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    Cryptidsrus – No, it’s worse than that – he looks more like the fate Saruman might have suffered had they not picked an actor like Christopher Lee to portray him.

    Could you not see this guy cackling with glee at the prospect of torturing hobbits?

    “They’re taking the Hobbits to James Randi!” πŸ˜‰

  25. MattBille responds:

    I feel overlooked, Loren. As you know from my website picture, I am of the school that believes a cool hat is essential for the cryptozoologist.

  26. Loren Coleman responds:

    Matt – Oh, I didn’t forget you. I merely was confused by the imagery that is out there of you and where you should go in the survey. πŸ™‚

    Okay, due to your email, I have added you as an update at the end, with all due respect.

  27. darkshines responds:

    My typical adventuring outfit consists of skin tight black jeans (baggy is NO good in the field), a goiod pair of stout boots (NOT heels, I learned that whilst 300+ft underground), a breathable shirt and layers. Layers can always be removed and discarded! I am a girl if that helps….

    Oh, and a hat πŸ˜‰

  28. maeko responds:

    CZ vs. skeptics:

    since most CZ’s are doing fieldwork, than i would expect practical outdoorsman type wear. hats seem popular as well as functional. the fedora seems to be of the influence of popular culture more than necessity.

    skeptics, for the most part, seem to be spending most of their time indoors while picking apart the conclusions of the CZ’s. thus office casual will do. no need for a hat and one shouldn’t be wearing indoors anyway…bad manners.

    Jack Young, Adelaide β€œSu-Lin” Young, and Quentin Young are defanitely the most attractively dressed. they look like explorers. not a fan of the skull hat, but different strokes for different folks.

    either way, practical for the circumstances is the way to go. i spent a lot of time outdoors in the swamp or on the water. my “hat” is usually a visor and i wear sunglasses. waders, mosquito netting, snake boots, leather chaps, gloves are par for the course in the swamp. shorts, light shirts, flip flops on the water.

  29. maeko responds:

    “gear” is always cool! i always have a folding hunting knife. i also sometimes carry a small burlap bag, a trowel, a firearm, a camera, binoculars, night vision device (when my friend lets me borrow it…which is rare!), bug repellant vapor-thingie, lithium powered flashlight, trail markers, butane hand warmer, baling twine. that’s alot of stuff! but i don’t carry all that all the time. depends on the season and what i’m doing.

  30. Fhqwhgads responds:

    If cryptozoology is a subfield of zoology, the field gear for cryptozoology should be expected to fall within the range of the field gear for zoology.

    If, on the other hand, it’s more of a hobby than a science, like birdwatching, or even just a personal obsession, like being a Trekkie, all bets are off.

  31. MattBille responds:

    Thanks, Loren. Scott Norman and I used to trade compliments on headgear.

  32. MattBille responds:

    I should have added: the bald shot was taken under artificial conditions: posing with a Cuban ground iguana at the Indianapolis Zoo for the jacket of my first book. In real life, I do cryptozoology and everything else (well, practically everything) in my black felt cowboy-style hat. The UV radiation at altitude in Colorado demands a hat for the hair-challenged among us. Maybe the iguana didn’t like the bald look either: it bit me on the chin right after the shot was taken, and my friend with the camera didn’t even get the attack on film.

  33. springheeledjack responds:

    The obvious for me is that the cryptos are dressed for field research…the scoftics are dressed for computer terminals…

    nuff said.

    Since I’m running out of hair on the top of my head, does that mean I have to switch sides and become a scoftic???

  34. DTK responds:

    OMG! Ben Radford and Matt Cowley could be brothers! Blow up their image and take a good look. It’s chilling! LOL!!

  35. cryptidsrus responds:

    CryptoInformant 2.0:

    You know, you are right!!!

    Randi looks like he’s thinking “Wahahahah!!! I’m going to rule the world!!!” Sort of a human version of Plankton from SpongeBob Squarepants. Joe Nickell still has that aura of Smug Condescension surrounding him like force field. And so on…

    All kidding aside…

    Whether a person is “legitimate” research or expertise-wise is not tied to their physical appearance or how they dress.
    Skeptic, Cryptozoologist, and otherwise. That is what I was trying to convey. Just because one is dressed “different” from what one considers normal does not mean that that translates to their work being dismissable.
    Though I still say the Cryptozoological researchers are more “colorful.”

  36. wolfatrest responds:

    Seems simple to me, if you’re going to be outdoors then you need a hat. Preferably one that shades the back of your neck as well as your face. When I don’t have my wide-brimmed hat then I usually tuck a cloth under the back of my baseball cap to keep the sun off. If most of your time is spent indoors then the hat is of course not needed, but oh so stylish. Practical clothes in the field are usually heavy enough to withstand contact with brush, rocks and sharp-ended sticks, not to mention biting insects. Although I have had some vicious “skeeters” bite right through otherwise comfortable light-weight clothing. When giving presentations I would think business casual would be at least the norm of dressing for the occasion.

  37. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    Hmmm… Well, with Joe Nickell, there isn’t even a good evil person joke to go with him… Seriously, there’s not much to work with regarding this guy. Darth Randi can be made hilarious, but Nickell’s just kinda… bland, ya know?

  38. cryptidsrus responds:

    CryptoInformant 2.0:
    I do agree that Nickell is bland. Most of the other skeptics are also.

    Like I said on the first post—the skeptics come off as “boring.”

    Given his past behavior and “working methods,” I was just pointing out that Nickell comes off as condescending and arrogant.

    He’s “boring,” not “evil”—but he IS smug and condescending.

    The reason for that?
    I have no idea.
    Too much time spent “reinforcing” mentally his preconceived notions? πŸ™‚

  39. LanceFoster responds:

    If Joe Nickell is considered “bland” including his expression…wouldn’t that make him a “wooden” Nickell? ;-))

  40. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    LanceFoster – There we go, I knew there was something funny we could say aout Nickell. And yes, from the picture we have, he appears about as expressive as a potato.

  41. greatanarch responds:

    Clothing I would take on an expedition: a down jacket (packs up small), an Afghan scarf, leech-proof socks, and a rubberised poncho (which doubles as a bashir if you need to spend the night in a hammock).

  42. kentmcmanigal responds:

    Since it is self-evident that everyone looks better, and WAY cooler, with a hat – I immediately cheer for the cryptozoologists. I do have to admit I really like Shermer, though.

  43. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    KentMcManigal – Idunno, Shermer kinda looks evil, ya know. Maybe it’s just the lighting, but he looks kinda like some weinie 1950s-style mad scientist reject.

  44. mystery_man responds:

    It’s hard to say who I most look like. I have a full head of hair and I don’t wear a hat. Nothing against hats, mind you, I just tend to look ridiculous in them. I wish I could get away with wearing something like what Ken Gerhard has on. And the get ups of the Youngs, well they just blow my mind. Awesome. I could no way wear that without being laughed out of the room. I think very few people could pull it off now that I think of it.

    I must also say that there is a pretty awesome display of headgear with what Matt Bille has on and the last pic of Loren. I would look incredibly corny in either one of those, but you two pull it off with aplomb and style.

    Me, I’m a t-shirt and jeans kind of dude. Even in the field, its mostly t-shirt and jeans, a good pair of hiking boots, and a good supply of sunscreen. I think this simple outfit is under rated for comfort and utility! πŸ™‚

  45. Loren Coleman responds:

    For more on this topic, see “Hats and Heads, Part Dos,” with new images and videos.

  46. Craig Woolheater responds:

    OMG! Ben Radford and Matt Cowley could be brothers! Blow up their image and take a good look. It’s chilling! LOL!!DTK responds: August 1st, 2009 at 2:08 pm


    Sorry this is so late in response.

    The background story of this photo can be found here at Cryptomundo at: Twins Separated at Birth?

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