October 2, 2008

Siblings in Cryptozoology

cherokee cougar

“Cherokee Cougar”
This photograph is of the taxidermic mount of indeterminate origin called the “Cherokee Cougar.” The image was obtained by Jerry D. Coleman at a North Carolina trading post in 2004 (and placed in public domain by JDC).

His now-deleted Wikipedia profile use to open where it all started: “Jerry D. Coleman began investigating anomalous phenomenon as a young man in Decatur, Illinois, where he and his brother organized a neighborhood ‘Abominable Snowman Club’ for children interested in cryptozoology.”

After my Yeti fascination began in March 1960, the club followed quickly, filled mostly with Jerry’s friends, I must admit. We, remember, were kids ourselves, but very serious ones.

Coleman Brothers

Above are, from left to right, the Coleman boys, Bill (born 1948), Jerry (born 1951), and that’s me (born 1947) holding the ball. (Click on the old family photo, if you wish, for a larger image.)

In those days, we all seemed more interested in baseball, but young Jerry was built like a football player, so maybe we were humoring him for the moment. We have a younger sister too, Susan (who shares my deep interest in animals and humor). Common pursuits for Jerry and me back then, and until he grew gravely ill from throat cancer recently, was tracking down the stories of phantom panthers, winged weirdies, and other creepy creatures.

Brothers being actively involved in cryptozoology, starting the journey together, taking various forks in the road, and writing different kinds of remembrances happens, I know. But then again, it seems like a rare phenomenon. It is my brother’s birthday on October 3rd, and I grow curious again: How many brothers, how many sisters, how many siblings have found themselves together within cryptozoology or nearly so, in linked investigations or overlapping strangeness?

Needless to say, Jerry and I must qualify.

Jerry and I investigated together the Illinois Nape tracks of 1962, and arrived at two opposing conclusions. Quite famously, with him being there first and then later together, we looked into the Lawndale Thunderbird abduction case, and came up with very similar findings. Jerry is to be fully credited with the idea for our collaboration on the Myth or Real trading cards, which were his creation. But we’ve never written an article or book together. Separate paths to investigate different parts of the mystery elephant in the middle of the room, I suppose.

Sadly, it has been a difficult year for both of my younger brothers, and I wish them both good health and good wishes, as they attempt to cling to life in their separate battles against chronic and life-threatening diseases, cancer, renal failure, heart problems, diabetes, and more. Losing a mother and stepsister between April and June of this year, and to hear just since June of my two brothers’ near-death experiences certainly has given me pause.

Family is important. Losing people can be difficult. My sympathy to all who share these kinds of experiences.

Who are joined via cryptozoology and genetics, I ponder once again and ask for you to extend my list?

Thinking aloud and about siblings in cryptozoology, I can quickly tick off the following pairs: Peter and Bryan Byrne (Yeti searchers in the 1950s and early 1960s), Bob and Paul Bartholomew (coauthors of Monsters of the Northwoods, now in two diverse locations, New York and Australia), Ron and Dean Olson (Bigfoot filmmakers in the late 1960s & 1970s) and Monte and Kent Ballard (Indiana Bigfoot hunters in the 1990s-2000s).

There is even a unique set of brothers, Bob and Bill Clark, who are twins. They are mutual eyewitnesses and investigators of one specific cryptid, the San Francisco Bay Sea Serpent.

Jim and Allen Richardson promote themselves at the “Gonzo Brothers”, and admittedly cryptids are only a small part of their focus. Still, they’ve taken the brother thing to a higher level of art.

The Gonzo Brothers are a good example of working together that often is not seen in the field. Even my brother and I have taken radically separate routes to get to similar places, and our overlaps have been only infrequent.

Oh, yes, then there are the Flemings.

Ian Fleming of James Bond fame, is less known for his links to cryptozoological friends and for having an older brother who certainly gathered a thing or two about ethnoknown cryptids.

Peter Fleming was recognized as a travel writer only after his book Brazilian Adventure (1933), about his search for the lost Colonel Percy Fawcett in the Brazilian jungle, became popular. The Fawcett expeditions told of giant snakes, living dinosaurs, and lost worlds. Fleming’s adventure continued the excitement for the readers of the era.

Peter Fleming was a school-years buddy of Ralph Izzard, Gerald Russell, and Ivan Sanderson – all individuals deeply involved in the search for the Yeti and, to varying degrees, friends with Tom Slick.

Peter went on to be an accomplished explorer and travel writer, authoring 15 other books. It is worthy of noting today that the Royal Geographic Society gives out an annual award of £9,000 called the “The Peter Fleming Award,” for a “research project that seeks to advance geographical science.”

But then my mind goes blank.

Are there other brothers or sisters in the field I’m forgetting?

What others have been or are active in cryptozoology?

What other siblings?

Happy Birthday to my brother, Jerry D. Coleman, born October 3, 1951, who is the author of Strange Highways and More Strange Highways.

Strange Highways

More Strange Highways

Also, Happy Birthday to Miguel (Red Pill), tomorrow, as well, for he is one of the “brothers” of Cryptomundo.

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.

Filed under Abominable Snowman, Alien Big Cats, Bigfoot, Books, Breaking News, Cryptomundo Exclusive, Cryptotourism, CryptoZoo News, Cryptozoologists, Cryptozoology, Expedition Reports, Eyewitness Accounts, Lake Monsters, Living Dinosaurs, Media Appearances, Men in Cryptozoology, Mystery Cats, Photos, Pop Culture, Sasquatch, Sea Serpents, Skunk Apes, Swamp Monsters, Thunderbirds, Yeti