Rumors and Mistruths Poison Bigfootry

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 21st, 2008

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Politics do exist in cryptozoology, hominology, and Bigfoot studies. Don’t believe anyone that tells you differently. John Green once said it takes strong personalities to stay in this field.

Forgotting details and bad-mouthing people are nothing new among Sasquatch seekers.

Mr. Peter Byrne’s lapses in memory have recently been used incorrectly by a non-thinking entity over on ArtistFirst radio to spread new lies about old happenings. I have addressed those here before, and will not concentrate on those specifically again. What I want to update and rebut is the latest stupidity, for the record.

Now that Bigfooter Robert Morgan has decided to counter some lies publicly on his internet radio show, perhaps it is time to bring this into the light of day here.

False claims were broadcast on September 2, 2008, on the tiny internet show “Bigfoot Central” when it was slanderously stated that Robert Morgan was fired for stealing money from ArtistFirst and that Loren Coleman was fired due to Peter Byrne’s claims through the screen of the ArtistFirst host that, get this, I had stolen $13,000. Totally untrue, but that doesn’t stop people from saying whatever they want on internet shows, I guess. Beside the fact that Morgan and I both left ArtistFirst due to the lack of professionalism shown by the program’s “founder,” and that one cannot be “fired” if you aren’t even being paid, the mistruths from the show about Morgan and me are incredible.

Here’s what Robert W. Morgan shared on his program on September 18, 2008:

As you may know, ArtistFirst (AKA Bigfoot Central) recently made some serious allegations on the air about Loren Coleman and myself. To stand silent might send the message that these allegations may be true. Well, it’s never been my way to ask someone else to do field research the way I do it, nor is it my way to hide from anyone about anything. I have two additional nonfiction book proposals being circulated to major publishers that chronicle other portions of my life that I have kept to myself until now. It is not in my best interest to “turn the other cheek” at this point in time. Indeed, we will also be examining legal recourse.

Here are both the allegations and my and Joe Decker’s responses:

A Response to Irresponsible Allegations Made by “Bigfoot Central” via ArtistFirst.

The following is a copy of the responses made to Loren Coleman by Robert W. Morgan and Joe Decker to the flagrantly irresponsible charges made by the owners and operators of the Internet show Bigfoot Central at ArtistFirst.Com. They have publicly claimed that Robert had been “fired” from their show and that Loren had “stolen” from Peter Byrne.

Robert responds:

I have never been “fired” from anything in my life. To “fire” someone you first must employ them. Ask the owners of “ArtistFirst” Scott Zelasko and Tony Kay to show any canceled check or a receipt for moneys paid me or to Steve Jones who was my co-anchor for many installments. They are so inept and ignorant of even common law let alone civil or criminal statutes that they bandy about terms they could not define. They seem to have a habit of this sort of behavior. When they get caught at something they immediately attack.

I hate wasting heartbeats on deadbeats, but, for the record, allow me to present the background on ArtistFirst as I know it. Zelasko and Kay operate their ArtistFirst programs out of a dilapidated garage behind Zelasko’s residence on Parkside Avenue in Alliance, Ohio. While he may have corrected his situation with the City of Alliance, at the time I met him he said he had to keep a low profile because he had no license to either operate that station for profit out of his garage, or to sell goods.

Scott Zelasko’s day-job was selling and servicing office equipment such as copiers, etc. His partner’s income (Tony Kay) was supplemented by his wife’s homemade candy store. Their collective senses of humor was bizarre; they delighted in making and munching their chocolate and nut imitations of Bigfoot poop.

Initially, they had invited me as a guest on their Internet show a few times and, according to them, their rating shot up so high that Steve Jones and I were offered to be their weekly draw on specific nights. It was originally entitled The Robert W. Morgan Show and I was offered nothing for my services; they claimed that they were struggling to keep their lights on and were charging wanna-be bands to play their music over the Internet and also had other fill-in amateur shows.

I asked only that AARF be allowed to sell our audio cassettes and the Field Manual CDs through them.

Fine, they said, so I took them a full case of 200 cassettes. However, when I noticed that the stock was rapidly disappearing, Zelasko made the excuse that he had moved them into his home for “safe keeping” – but I never received a single dime nor were any returned.

Shortly thereafter, they had a serious disagreement with my friend and colleague Joe Decker over the CDs. Between the disappearing cassettes and their venomous accusations against Joe, I had enough and voluntarily left the show altogether and severed all contact. I did not pursue the matter as I was in the process of leaving Ohio for my present residence in Montana. I knew they had very little money and were in debt, so there was no reason to pursue them in court.

Enter Don Monroe. Don had come to visit me twice in Montana. We had a very pleasant first encounter and I was impressed by his artistic work on his version of a yeti mask. He seemed enthusiastic and sincere when he described certain mysterious caves and lava tubes and his own close encounters with both the Bigfoot and those whom he described as a band of wild Indians who were still dwelling on the fringes of civilization in the mountains outside Spencer, Idaho. Don would later visit with me again when he was attending a local gun show where he sells his wares, but Alicia and I had other plans for that evening so we could not join him and his wife for dinner. I regretted missing that evening, but there was nothing we could do.

However, I also learned at that first meeting that Don Monroe had called Zalesko the week before to offer to donate a few thousand dollars to AARF to revive my show over ArtistFirst. What happened was a comedy of errors; after talking with Scott Zelasko and Tony Kay, Don had written the donation check to ArtistFirst instead of AARF because he somehow had been led to believe they were one and the same.

When I learned of this seemingly innocent error, I urged Don to immediately call Zelasko from his Motel 6 room to straighten it out and I was there when he made that call. After all, ArtistFirst was a “for-profit” group (I am personally uncertain that they are a valid and licensed Ohio corporation or pay taxes as such) but AARF has been a valid not-for-profit Florida corporation in good standing since the 1970’s. Thus, as that donation check had been written to ArtistFirst, Mr. Monroe could not deduct those thousands from his income tax. Don had either been deliberately misled by Zelasko or that he had simply misunderstood that ArtistFirst was certainly not AARF.

This solution to this dilemma appeared simple and obvious: ArtistFirst should return the check or , if it had been deposited, its face amount to Don. Don would then reissue a check to AARF, whereupon I would then write an AARF check in that same amount back to ArtistFirst to legally purchase air time.

However, when I offered this, I learned that Scott and Tony had already cashed that check – zoom – and spent it! I thought my solution was still possible, but to the mini-brains of ArtistFirst, I was trying to rip them off. Errr, how would that happen? But they immediately attacked me.

Being once again disgusted with their behavior, I demanded that they either make an accounting or return that case of 200 cassettes. I also advised them that I would not host nor appear as a guest on any future show under any circumstances. Not one of those cassettes were ever returned. At $12.95 each times 200 units, they effectively stole close to $3,000.00 from AARF.

For his own reasons and perhaps because he had already made that investment, Mr. Monroe chose to continue with them. I wish him well, of course.

Up until now, I have not discussed these bizarre incidents in public. What would be its purpose? However, now that Zelasko and Kay have made such irresponsible charges over the airwaves that they had fired” me, I feel it necessary to clear the air.

As to their charges against Loren Coleman as to his integrity, I have communicated with him for many years and respect him as an honorable gentleman. I cannot imagine there being even a grain of truth that Loren would steal anything from anyone.


Joe Decker added to Mister Coleman

My name is Joe Decker. Robert Morgan shared your email with me in regards to the gentlemen at Artist First referring to you (Loren Coleman) as being a crook and Robert being fired. Please allow me to share this story with you.

Back in 2001, when Robert was still doing the Bigfoot Central show, Artist First (AF) and I struck a deal to promote and sell Robert’s Bigfoot Pocket Manual CD set. I would be responsible for all production of the product. I invested several hundred dollars in blank media, CD cases, labels for the CD’s, the inserts for the CD’s, and my time.

The CD set was selling on AF for $25. Robert did not want one dime for any sales through AF. AF and I agreed to split the money on the sale 50/50. This was fine with me. After I calculated my labor costs and costs of production, I was still way ahead. AF ordered the first batch of 50 CD’s. I went into full production mode and got them the first 50 in around two days. This is where I screwed up. I sent them the CD’s at no cost. We agreed that as they sell, they would send me the money that was owed to me. In retrospect, I should have ask for my cut of the first 50 up front.

So, these things start selling pretty well. Before I know it, AF wants another 50 CD’s. Again, they had their product within a day or so. At this time I asked them where my $$$ were from the first 50? They said I would be receiving a check. Ok, great!

A few weeks later, I still did not receive a check from them, but AF did ask for something like 20 more CD’s. Now, I had already sent them 100, was not compensated, and now they wanted an additional 20. If my math was correct, I was owed $1250. When I questioned this and refused to send the next 20 CD’s until I was paid, they freaked out.

Next thing you know, they’re calling Robert a crook, kicking him off the Bigfoot Central show, smearing my name on their cheesy Internet radio show, and basically calling the entire AARF organization a bunch of hacks and thieves. It was unreal! And all because I asked them to hold up their end of the deal. So, I was out a large amount of money I fronted for all the materials to put the CD’s together. I never received a penny from AF. All I got for my troubles was a couple of jerks blasting me on their Internet show. Nice, right??

Some of the details might be a little off. It was almost 8 years ago, but that is the gist of it. I’ve forgiven them and got over it, but I really felt bad for Robert. AF really tried to ruin his credibility. Jerks.

Well, just wanted to share that with you. It sounds like these guys have never changed.

While I am not going to go into recycling what I’ve already said about the misunderstanding between Byrne and myself over borrowed slides, I think it is instructive, especially for those new to this business, to recall what and who was behind how the “Peter Byrne Death Rumor” got started. It all began six years ago.

We all recently have seen that Ray Crowe’s funding by Tom Biscardi determined what Crowe published. Well, before Biscardi, Peter Byrne was covertly funding Crowe’s newsletter and setting editorial policy.

In June 2002, Peter Byrne had Ray Crowe publish Byrne’s version of some dealings that Peter and I had years ago, in which Byrne loaned me some slides (they never were “stolen”). Byrne never lost any money, and due to his personal request, he had me serve as his agent in obtaining money from a film production company. Only Byrne’s version was printed in the Peter Byrne-funded newsletter, Ray Crowe’s Track Record.

How do I know the newsletter was covertly being financed by Byrne? Because when I asked Crowe to publish my side of things, for a fair and balanced view of the events, I was denied equal time because Byrne won’t let Crowe print it. Okay, publisher rules, editor rules, I understood that. Anyway, Byrne wrote the following first shot with this reason for why he was angry at me:

In recent days and in regard to his rather unpleasant spreading of the word that yours truly had gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds, not a few people have emailed me to ask me why Mr. Loren Coleman of Portland, Maine, seems to “have it in for me”, and why he would do something as unpleasant as this, and what his problem is.

Why did Peter Byrne bring this up, then, in 2002? Most people in cryptozoology know that I write biographical sketches and obituaries. The reality is that I was not spreading rumors that Byrne was dead.

I was contacted by Jeff Meldrum in 2002, who was asking about a comment he heard, from a friend at a natural history collection, saying that Peter Byrne had died. Meldrum wanted me to find out details, the when, the what, the why. In an attempt to assist Meldrum with the reality behind Meldrum’s email, after phone calls failed, I posted on the Bigfoot list a request for further clarification of this clearly identified “death rumor.”

I quickly discovered Meldrum and his friend had gotten it all wrong. But Peter Byrne thought I had started the rumor, and attacked me for “wishing him dead,” as he was telling people. Nothing could have been more distant from the truth. I was only wishing to put the misinformed piece of news to rest and thus I was fact-checking. Peter Byrne never understood that, and soon thereafter, expressing anger at me for something I had not done regarding a rumor I did not begin, he started floating his factually incorrect letter around the community.

Some people have tried to clarify this for Byrne, but his point-of-view is entrenched about his understanding of things.

I am proud to have experienced the strength in Jeff Meldrum’s lack of silence about this event. Just for the record, therefore, this is Jeff Meldrum’s email about how all this came about, sent to me and public forums, on Wednesday, February 6, 2002, at 12:17 pm:

I regret that I am in part to blame for this. I have a student interested in footprints and forensic anthropology that has undertaken on a project to review the photographic evidence of footprints attributed to the Yeti. We are in the process of assembling as many examples of such as possible and have been contacting various potential sources, including the Explorer’s Club. The curator of collections there responded that they had no pictures in their archives and that the best person to consult, Peter Byrne, had recently died. Besides the fact that Peter was high on our list of individuals to contact, this was news to me and took me aback! It was never my intent ot initiate a rumor, or cause anyone distress. I happened to be communicating with Loren Coleman about the student project shortly afterward– Loren always seems to be on top [of] things biographical — and mentioned the surprising comment from the Explorer’s Club curator. He obviously made some further inquiries, and the snowball was set in motion.

Needless to say, I too am pleased that the curator was in error [about Peter Byrne being dead] and apologize again for my part in creating the perception of a rumor. (I hope this won’t get in the way of my student requesting Peter’s assistance with her project).

Sincerely, Jeff Meldrum

On September 19, 2008, Joe Beelart asked me if I knew how Ray Crowe was doing, healthwise, or if I had even heard from Ray. Joe told me he was going to call a certain local hospital to see if he could locate Ray, because Crowe’s “landline phone has been disconnected.”

I don’t know how Ray is, but by the mere fact that I was asked, by a concerned party, about another member of the Bigfoot community, certainly, does not mean I began any “death rumor” or, my god, wish that person dead. That’s for sure. All it means is that I share Joe’s worries about Ray.

I’m a source of information, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes I have no information, and ask others for more data.

Why this causes some people to jump from there to spreading lies sure is a mystery to me, but then, it’s only a human mystery, not an interesting cryptozoological one.

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.

5 Responses to “Rumors and Mistruths Poison Bigfootry”

  1. mysticrhythms responds:

    Loren, Congratulations on taking a stand against slanderous morons on the internet. Robert Morgan and yourself and Joe Decker have all shown yourselves to be of the highest character, and the crypto/Bigfoot world needs more folks like all of you in it!
    Bob Hipp

  2. eyeofnewt responds:

    Why not sue? False accusations of crime are actionable defamation per se. Truth is the only defense to a claim in such cases, unless you’ve been designated a “public figure.”

  3. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    It is amazing how much drama there is within the crypto community. I was very shocked at how much money that internet radio show stole from people. I think that all of the victims of the two who run that show should band together and press charges. When money is involved there should always be records, thus making this an easy case to pursue. If there are no records that was poor judgment on the victims part.

  4. cryptidsrus responds:

    Gosh, Loren, this year’s been getting increasingly nasty all around on all fronts, hasn’t it?
    I would sue too, if anybody cares about my opinion.
    Would not be surprised if somebody gets called out for some sort of a “duel.” I’ll second ya!!! (And that’s a joke, BTW!!!) 🙂

  5. hudgeliberal responds:

    I am a bit late commenting on this article but I could not resist. If I were to list a top 10 of most honorable researchers/enthusiasts of sasquatchery, I can guarantee you that Robert W Morgan and Loren Coleman would both be at, or near, the top. While I do not know them personally, I have followed sasquatch/bigfoot news and research for better than 30 years and these two men are virtual legends in the field. They have forgotten more about cryptozoology than these other idiots could ever hope to know. We often ponder why science doesn’t take more interest in the subject, maybe we should take a deep look at ourselves. The bigfoot community is one giant soap opera of jealousy, envy and corruption. How can we ever expect to be taken seriously if we cant even get along ourselves? It’s a shame that a few greedy people try to put a black eye on the men who ushered in the era of sasquatch and paved the way for all of us. Keep doing what you do best Loren and Robert. That is why all of us REAL bigfooters love you guys.

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