Peter Matthiessen, Yeti & Sasquatch Researcher, Dies

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 6th, 2014

Peter Matthiessen, best known for his thoughtful, spiritual books such as The Snow Leopard and At Play in the Fields of the Lord, died Saturday, April 5, 2014, of leukemia, at a Long Island hospital near his home. He was 86.

Matthiessen was well-known to serious cryptozoologists and Bigfoot studies researchers as being deeply interested and involved in the field.

Peter Matthiessen attended the first modern conference on Sasquatch studies (captured in papers in Manlike Monsters on Trial and The Sasquatch and other Unknown Hominoids), in May 1978, at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. The conference was filled with professors, scientists, and field biologists, some of whom spoke about the cultural implications and ramifications of the Bigfoot, Yeti, and Almasty. A few early figures in the Bigfoot/Sasquatch search also were there.

Besides Matthiessen, others at this 1978 gathering included Carleton Coon, Rick Noll, Rene Dahinden, John Green, Bob Gimlin, Bob Titmus, Grover Krantz, Tony Healy, Bob Walls, Bruce Bonney, Al Berry, Barbara Butler/Wasson, and Peter Byrne. Matthiessen would keep in touch with many whom he meet there for the rest of his life. The conference’s co-organizer, U.S.-Canadian anthropologist Marjorie Myers Halpin, UBC, died August 30, 2000, at the age of 63. The conference’s other organizer, Michael M. Ames, Professor of Anthropology, UBC, died on February 20, 2006, at 72.

Peter Matthiessen, in recent years, had given talks on the subject. In Idaho on October 19, 2007, he spoke on the topic “A Naturalist’s Impressions of the Wildman.” He discussed his insights about Yeti and Sasquatch, in a lecture arranged by anthropologist Jeff Meldrum.

Matthiessen’s thoughts on Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti/Big Man were longstanding. He mentions Native American folklore and encounters with “Big Men,” a local expression for the Northern Plains Sasquatch, in his 1983 book In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. He had previously detailed his pursuit of the Yeti in The Snow Leopard, and he had a chapter on the Yeti in East of Lo Monthang: In the Land of Mustang, which is set in Tibet.

As a speaker at a Bigfoot gathering in 2009, I was able to meet and talk to Matthiessen, who was the keynoter. Those were some special moments, a rare treat, because his Zen Buddhist presence filled the space he occupied and beyond. His deep sharing of how intrigued he was by hominological topics was revealing.

Read the rest of my tribute and remembrance of Peter Matthiessen here.

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.

3 Responses to “Peter Matthiessen, Yeti & Sasquatch Researcher, Dies”

  1. Richard Ashworth via Facebook responds:


  2. DWA responds:

    I too was at the 2009 Texas Bigfoot Conference. I sat next to Mr. Matthiessen at dinner, had gone birding with him and other Conference attendees the day before, and we talked quite a bit. His presentation at the dinner was an eye-opener; I actually didn’t think he was that involved in the topic. But in the Conference hotel lobby, while listening to the witness relate to a rapt audience one of the most compelling encounter reports I am aware of, I saw Peter listening as raptly as anyone…and taking careful notes.

    I had, long ago, read The Snow Leopard.. The Conference inspired me to read it again. A passage I noticed much more clearly this time – given, I guess, a few decades’ more life experience – resonated so deeply with my own thoughts that I photocopied it when I returned the book, just in case I ever lost track of the source. He was a deep thinker indeed.

    RIP. I am sure you have the answers to many questions now. You may, however, have had them already.

  3. Goodfoot responds:

    Rest in peace, Peter. It has been my habit for many years to re-read THE SNOW LEOPARD at least once a year, but I’ve fallen behind recently. And now, there is a large stack of large books waiting to be read first. But I will get to it again before I die. The books means a great deal to me.

    I hope you’re enjoying Nirvana. I hope to meet you there, someday.

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