Exploring Mysterious America: Where Should I Go?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 17th, 2011

Okay, I’m going to open this one to Cryptomundians’ suggestions.

This 70-foot long Horseshoe Crab is located in Blanchester, Ohio. Source.

I’m taking a road trip. I am going to take a few days to drive from New England to central Illinois, next week, to arrive in Decatur, Illinois, next weekend, and then return. In general, I will follow a southern tier of New York State route, then through Ohio, go through Decatur, Indiana, and go on to Decatur, Illinois. On the way back, I’ll return via Pennsylvania. Therefore, I will bisect two different sections of Indiana and Ohio when I travel both ways. I do not plan to spend all my time on the Interstates, and want to see Mysterious America, specifically, as I had in the decade from 1975-1985, when I traveled through this area a great deal, investigating Black Panther, Bigfoot, Lizardman, Thunderbird, and Giant Snake sightings. Several of my books reflect material from those treks.

But I want to throw this open to the floor. Do you know of any weird museums along the way, sites dedicated to cryptids, and/or roadside attractions in this section of mysterious Mid-America that I should stop and see?

This giant praying mantis is on US 30 just west of the Rt 219 cloverleaf, Lincoln Highway, near Stoystown, PA. Source.

Of course, I’ve done my research and have a few ideas. You will see an unfolding of these on the pages of this blog over the next two weeks. But I wish to add an interactive flavor to my postings by responding very directly to suggestions left via your comments, and stop at some of these places you note along the way.

Another giant praying mantis, this one is on the campus of Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Source.

Giant praying mantis sculpture at the Prehistoric Forest in Marblehead, Ohio. Source.

Enough of the praying mantises: Where are the Midwestern cryptid roadside attractions?

What Cryptomundo-type locations have you visited or know about that might be worth my time?

Tell me what back roads to take and what I should stop and see.

BTW, if you see a black cryptomobile going down the highway with Maine plates that say “Crypto1” (with updated Sept 2011 stickers, of course), honk.

Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation’s Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures. NY: Paraview Pocket – Simon and Schuster, 2007.

My original 1983 edition of this book became a record of some of my early 1960s’ and 1970s’ road trips around the middle of the country. Likewise, the cryptozoological material in Weird Ohio, which I contributed as one of the three coauthors, is from those excursions into Ohio. Today, on the Internet, these trips would be called “expeditions.” 🙂

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.

17 Responses to “Exploring Mysterious America: Where Should I Go?”

  1. CDC responds:

    I recommend Hwy 15 in Nevada, get off at Tropicana Ave and stop anywhere. It is a very Mysterious place…my money seems to vanish before my eyes.

    You may not find any Cryptids Loren, but you will at least get a great buffet.

    If you head out further west…the Bigfoot Scenic Byway is always a great ride. Just head up to Six Rivers National Forest, and get lost for a day…it’s great.

  2. springheeledjack responds:

    I wish there was some place cool in Iowa to go to, but crypto-wise we don’t have much unless you count giant tenderloins or the Black Angel. Still, Decatur’s not too far from my stomping grounds…

  3. Lee Wacker responds:

    If you make it to Arizona, you might visit “THE THING!” located between Tucson and Benson on Interstate 10.
    Sure, some of it is hokey, but its fun and very, very clever!
    The Dairy Queen located in the building isn’t bad, either!

  4. flame821 responds:

    I wish I had crypto to offer, but my neck of the woods is known for hauntings and caves. Beautiful scenery and steam trains though if you want to take a relaxing ride over the gorge. Strangest thing we’ve had here lately is some idiot releasing a cobra into the gorge. We thought the hikers were crazy until they pulled out their mobile phone and showed us the video. Enjoy your trip and watch out for those waffle houses. 😉

  5. Redrose999 responds:

    The only weird thing in Upstate New York is some place in Hudson, that is a supposed UFO Hot spot. The book Communion was written about it.

    Other than that, we do have in the Lake George reason, Bigfoot stories and such. Some dating back to the Native American population.

  6. bladerunner313 responds:

    I’m from the Southern Illinois / Southern Indiana Area. I would invite you to pass through my hometown of St.Franciville Illinois. There is an old railroad bridge that is now a toll bridge called the Wabash Cannonball bridge, but it’s known as Purplehead bridge to a lot of people. The Bridge goes over teh Wabash river and the surrounding river bottoms and wetlands. The bridge is cool in and of itself but the real story is “Purple Head Ghost.” During the Revolutionary War George Rogers Clark camped at St/Francisville and crossed the wabash at the sandbar/ford just north of where this bridge is. His men were on there way to Vincennes Indiana 7 miles upriver to fight the English. He lost a man crossing the river in Winter and there is a grave stone for that man on the illinois side. Supposedly the ghost haunts the bridge and the area around it.

    The second point of interest in the same area is that people have told stries of “Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or Werewolves” living in the surrounding wetlands and forrests around the bridge. I remember my grandmother and other “old timers” talking about this stuff. My theory is that Sasqatches pass through the area when they are migrating in the spring and fall. There is few people and a lot of wilderness, a lot of wildlife (deer, birds, beaver, rabbits) and crops, berries and wild plants for food. I have heard what I beleive was a saquatch in 2005 in the area. There were 3 other people that heard the sounds as well. It is documents that there are some “rivercats” (cougars) that are sometimes seen in the area but the sound was more human sounding than cat. It was a low deep growl that raised to a very loud howl. I and a friend was in my vehicle at the tollbooth and heard the sound. The 2 people in the toll booth heard it as well and closed up and left.

    I know I got a little longwinded here, but I think you might enjoy the area around St.Francisville, and Vincennes has several points of interest as well.

  7. mandors responds:

    Close: Dighton rock. The tower in Newport, RI. That sand desert place in maine.

    You could down to Atlantic City and visit the Pine Barrens on the way to look for the Jersey Devil then Philadelphia for the Mutter Museum.

    Far away: Devils Tower, WY. Roswell, NM.

    Really far: Go to Victoria, Australia and visit the giant earthworm museum.

    Here’s a great website for other ideas.

  8. korollocke responds:

    Swing over to montana, we have the flat head lake monster, lost lake wich comes and goes every five years, bigfoot sightings(try loma for those.), ufo’s up the wazoo, the creepy logging creek canyon full of things in the water that will even give you the creeps( I will never set foot in there ever again!), and missouri river monsters are often sighted and credited with eating happless swimmers.

  9. korollocke responds:

    In Illinois you’ll find large greenland sharks cruising the river bottoms near popular swimming holes off docks.

  10. TeacherChaisson responds:

    Pine Barrens, NJ. Really any of the places on weirdnj.com

  11. Loren Coleman responds:

    Thanks, folks, but did anyone even read what I wrote?? Driving from Maine to Illinois. Not going to Hawaii, Texas, NJ, and other places far from the Midwest.

  12. Mïk responds:

    Illinois? That’s no road trip! Ocean Shores, Wash. is a road trip… especially in an HHR

    /Pt Cruiser owner

  13. CDC responds:

    LOL, nobody reads the fine print Mr. Coleman, only the headlines.

  14. whiteriverfisherman responds:

    The routes you have chosen go right through some of the most heavily populated deer country in the nation. I don’t know of any crypto locations but keep a look out for deer. I wouldn’t want to read about your car receiving a new hood ornament unexpectedly. Sounds like a fun trip, watch out for deer and enjoy!!

  15. lordoftheonionrings responds:

    What about Loveland, Ohio. For whatever reason the Loveland frogs hold a special place in my heart.

  16. Carumba responds:

    Yes, if you are after humanoid stories, Lodi, Ohio (Medina County) right off Route 83, about 50 miles south of Cleveland. I am familiar with that farming area, having lived there 15 years. Across from the potato farms on Route 83, is a home out of the 1800’s called the Harris house. The story, which I remember seeing in a small pamphlet about the area and which I no longer have, indicated some bones were found during excavation on that property circa 1881 and a giant skull was retrieved which would fit over the head of a normal man like a big helmet. No mention of where the skull is these days. I think their Chamber of Commerce might possibly verify this story for you. If you do a net search, a few things come up. Do not confuse this with the Bates couple, aka the Giants of Seville (which is a town about 5 or so miles east of Lodi), but that is another interesting story which you may want to google; and there is a museum in Seville featuring the Bates. The Seville cemetery where the Bates are buried, the wife having a stone carving of her (she was almost 8′ tall) at the gravesite, is also historic and interesting.

    BTW, the Lodi potato farm drainage ditches grow some of the biggest snapping turtles I have ever seen in my life, hence my post about observing them re another of your articles about a turtle festival. I’ve been gone awhile, but I would think these landmarks are still there. Have fun.

  17. fossilhunter responds:

    If you make it down near Belleville, I’ll buy you dinner!

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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