February 24, 2006

Talking to Henry May

Today, I’m going to cross-post my interview by Henry May, who has a blog at the American Bigfoot Society Clearinghouse.


Loren Coleman Bigfoot

Loren Coleman and the 8.5 ft tall "Crookston Bigfoot" at his International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine, summer 2005. Photo taken by Joseph Citro, used by permission.

Hi, Henry

Thank you for your growing site and your interest in chatting today.

> 1. Do you believe the Malaysian Bigfoot is merely an orangtuan?

First, I must say what I often say to the folks from the media: "Belief" is part of religion and faith.

Therefore, when I am asked any question using the phrase "do you believe," I am slightly taken aback. Cryptozoology is more concerned with finding the facts, the reality of situations in studying hidden animals, and whether I accept or deny the possibility of something being probable is based on what how the evidence informs me.

Thus far, for example, in terms of the Malaysian "Bigfoot" new mystery cast cast and all the accounts (1, 2 , 3 , 4), which I have discussed on Cryptomundo.com and on radio and television programs, the data is confusing. There appears to be reports of large hominids mixed in with accounts of colonies of orangutans. Footcasts seem to indicate something different than sightings, perhaps of True Giants or more human-sized unknowns, and then suddenly local people are also reporting Proto-Pygmies. It is confusing, on some level.

In the end, the jury is still out, and I’m keeping an open mind about what new and intriguing things we will learn from Malaysia.

> 2. Do you believe there is a good chance of solving the Bigfoot mystery in Malaysia?

I tend to feel Malaysia is another series of sightings that are isolated from what is happening in the Pacific Northwest. Or from anywhere else. We need to think separately about these incidents and not conjecture that one has anything to do with another, especially in such vastly different habitats with such different animals. They really don’t have anything to do with "Bigfoot," per se, I would think, in the classic Neo-Giant (PNW) fashion that I consider linked to the Bigfoot-Sasquatch term.

> 3. What are your thoughts on the hoaxing that pervades this field?

I do not think hoaxing pervades the field. It is a minor concern, but one that is often easy to observe and unfortunately gets most of the media attention when it comes out. That said, the Ray Wallace track photos that remain in some books, and are labeled legitimate are damaging the field (The Ray Wallace Debate, Parts 1, 2, 3), as those hoaxes are easy to spot and should be expunged from the database.

Wallace Casts

Loren Coleman in London, giving a conference talk on the Wallace hoaxing, showing a slide of the Jerry Crew cast, Ray Wallace wooden foot fake, and the Bob Titmus cast. FT photo, used by permission.

> 4. Who do you believe is the future of Bigfoot research?

If by "Bigfoot" you mean hominology around the world, I think it will grow and grow, then a new ape will be discovered, elevating it to the serious attention of the universities, anthropologists, zoologists, and the media. The Vietnamese, Russians, French, Australians, Americans, British, Chinese, and perhaps now Malaysians will be significant. But don’t be surprised by some researchers from places that have been quiet for a long time, such as the Japanese getting involved in the Himalayas again. Also, the whole of Africa may be ready to burst with new activity.

If you are just talking about the Pacific Northwest’s Bigfoot research, I see it as personality-driven, and feuds and in-fighting out there will continue, draining resources away from the hunt to mend people fences. And deaths thus, in that environment, have an impact. George Haas is gone. Bob Titmus is gone. Grover Krantz is gone. Rene Dahinden is gone. Removing each one of those personalities has changed the landscape. Having Ray Wallace die, as we now know, had its own effects.

It will be interesting to see who will emerge as the important Pacific Northwest Bigfoot figures after John Green, Peter Byrne, Robert Morgan, and a few others depart this plane. You can already see some of them coming into their own. There will be others, young people who we don’t even know today, who will contribute. That will be good.

> 5. Who is your favorite Bigfoot researcher?

I like everyone.

> 6. How many times have you personally found tracks in the field?

It is not important what I have found. As an investigative journalist, as a field cryptozoologist, and as a scientist interested in cryptozoology, it is more significant to me to have interviewed hundreds, if not thousands of eyewitnesses who have shown me tracks they found, casts they have poured, and prints photos they have taken. They are the heroes and heroines of the evidence, and they are the ones to discuss.

Of course, I have literally found hundreds of tracks in the field in the many, many times I have done fieldwork in the 45 years I have been involved in this quest. They were not all Bigfoot or hairy hominoid footprints, but I’ve found my share of things that people have thought were Bigfoot tracks that turned out to be bear, people, or blurry imprints. Or even other swamp monsters, mystery cats, and other curious cryptid tracks.

What people mostly like to discuss are the "Nape" tracks I found in Illinois in 1962, but even those prints could have been a hoaxed pulled on me, although I remain skeptical of such claims. But I need to be open to the reality or lack thereof in all events, and understand the psychological behind some people’s trickster streaks.

What I have found is irrelevant, as I don’t feel frustrated or not involved with the quest if I am not the one finding the prints. In fact, if I constantly found footprints, I would worry about my ability to be a good reporter on what is really happening out there. The world of Bigfoot studies does not revolve around me; it is about the people out there and what they are finding.

> 7. What is your take on the Minnesota Iceman?

From what I saw at the Illinois State Fair in 1969 and being involved with Ivan T. Sanderson and Mark A. Hall on the investigative end of things, I have always said I think there is something concrete to this event. I haven’t changed my mind from the assaults I’ve seen from the doubters and debunkers.

> 8. How long do you believe it will take to solve this mystery?

No belief, but my considered opinion, which is no better than your grandfather’s, probably, is that it will take people, patience, and passion. It will not be overnight, and it won’t happen while I’m still alive.

> 9. What can we ex
pect from the reprinting of "The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide?"

This new 2006 edition, entitled The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates, from Anomalist Books, features, for the first time, a complete index. It also has a new preface that answers critics, illustrates how the book has been used by researchers in the field, and updates the findings in hominology since the book first appeared in 1999.

> 10. Are your books going to be distributed by Hancock House?

Hancock House, I understood, was going to begin distributing them. I haven’t heard if that’s happened.

My books are distributed through a wide variety of outlets, and it is easy to find my books via good booksellers that sell Bigfoot and cryptozoology books. For example, they are easy to obtain from Arcturus Books Inc too. All of them are sold online too, via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others.

Bigfoot! (NY: Paraview Pocket – Simon and Schuster, 2003) remains a very popular book and is available online, for example.

A brand new reprint of two of my books is found in one package, The Unidentified & Creatures of the Outer Edge: The Early Works of Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman (NY: Anomalist, 2006). It has great data and sightings, all framed in some rejected thoughts from the 1970s. The new introduction in this 516 page, two-books-in-one volume explains all of that.

Jerry and my more recent work, Cryptozoology A to Z (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1999) remains in print and a favorite in schools and among beginning cryptozoologists and Bigfoot hunters.

Then there’s Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology (Fresno: Linden Books, 2002) that talks of that Texan’s support of Yeti and Bigfoot expeditions in the early days (1950s-1960s) of the search. It may be made into a movie before the end of this decade.

Personally I like Mysterious America too. (It has good mystery cat chapters, as well as an overview of my work around the country in many cryptozoological arenas.) The hardback copies of Mysterious America will disappear from the publisher at the end of the spring, and the book is going to go into a period of being out of print, even in the paperback edition, for awhile. The book then will have a new mass-distribution of a new repackaged paperback version beginning next winter. I’ve been telling all my friends who want a hardbound one to get one now – or never. 🙂

Here’s the hardcover’s link.

I hardly make any money from my book sales any more, only enough to pay my internet provider after I let the bill slip behind for three months or so. Ha. People make the mistake thinking I am promoting my books all the time because they make me wealthy. That’s not it, as I am relatively poverty-stricken.

Actually, I like to tell people about my books because, after all, I wrote them to share the information and ideas, and I’m always interested in people enjoying Bigfoot studies and cryptozoology. Material things are unimportant if you can have fun and be on an adventure everyday, and that’s what my sons and my cryptozoology have given me. In that way, at least, cryptozoology has made me one of the "richest" humans on earth.

Best wishes,

Loren Coleman

Cryptozoologist, Author, Media Consultant

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.

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