Davids Basement of the Bizarre

CELEBRITY INTERVIEW: Author Loren Coleman

To me, cryptozoology and Loren Coleman go hand in hand. For as long as I have been interested in this fascinating subject, there was Loren, always in the background. Whether it was his many books, articles, or interviews, Loren has been as much a part of the lore as Bigfoot or Nessie. His passion, stemming from childhood, is so inspirational. Being able to spend you life doing something you love is a goal few manage to achieve.

I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed, many of his books. When he agreed to do this interview I cannot emphasize enough how thrilled I was. To me, someone like Loren is a true celebrity. Though David’s Basement of the Bizarre lends itself to celebrities such as actors, I would much rather work with someone like Loren who is down to earth who thinks they are too big to be a part of an interview such as this.

David: What started your interest in cryptozoology? How old were you?

Loren: Sixty-one years ago, on March 20, 1960, I was inspired to go into cryptozoology after watching the movie Half Human, originally released in Japan as Jūjin Yuki Otoko, 獣人雪男?, lit. “Half-Beast-Half-Man Snowman”. (My birthdate is July 12, 1947, so I was 12 years old.)

After viewing the 1958 film, the next week, I asked my school teachers about the Yeti, i.e. the Abominable Snowmen. The responses I received were negative (“They don’t exist.”), discouraging (“Get back to your studies.”), and frustrating (“Leave me alone.”). 

So I went to the friendly reference librarians of the Decatur (Illinois) Public Library, and was shown to a small shelf of books that contained the works of Willy Ley, Bernard Heuvelmans, and Ivan T. Sanderson. I read of cryptozoology even before the name was being used in print, as it was termed “romantic zoology” before 1961. I recognized a whole new world in natural history existed beyond what I was being taught about in school.

I had literally “discovered” cryptozoology.

The whole universe of cryptozoology opened up a remarkable new world view for me.

Most people have forgotten about Half Human because the film has been banned in Japan in modern times because the indigenous people (the Ainu) in the movie are mistreated as characters of the story. But some are recalling Half Human because the director Ishiro Hondo’s first film has been difficult to ignore ~ Godzilla, and his third film is Rodan.

The slick, professionally produced, 88-page, international magazine G-Fan once published an in-depth look at the Ishiro Hondo motion picture, Half Human, in Peter H. Brother’s long article, “Abominable Snowman: Honda’s Hidden Gem,” pages 30-44, in their issue No. 69, Fall 2004.That article is followed by a contribution by Brett Homenick, “Phenomenal Snowman: A Conversation with Loren Coleman,” on page 45. That piece specifically is an interview about the inspiration and impact of Half Human on my investigative life and writing career. G-Fan is a quarterly magazine of the Godzilla Society of North America, disseminated worldwide, devoted to coverage of Godzilla and other Japanese monsters. (A copy does not electronically exist for me to share, as far as I know.)

David: Of all of the cases you have investigated, which do you feel has the greatest chance of being a living creature and why?

Loren: In 1999, I co-wrote a book with Patrick Huyghe entitled, The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide (Harper), revised and republished in 2006  as The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates (Anomalist Books). I developed a list of the “best bets” of the top unknown primates that might be discovered. I would still stay with that conclusion and pick the Sumatran Orang Pendek as the most likely to be a living species on the horizon of being discovered due to the eyewitness accounts, the physical evidence that has been found, and the close knit rainforest habitat in which it lives.

David: Can you describe the Bridgewater Triangle? Has there been any activity in there as of late?

Loren: The Bridgewater Triangle is an area of about 200 square miles within southeastern Massachusetts in the United States (forming a triangle or lozenge, which I named in the mid-1970s, located outwardly from the towns and neighborhoods of Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, and South Bridgewater). The area is the site of Fortean (unexplained) phenomena, ranging from poltergeists, orbs, balls of fire and other spectral wonders, to cryptids including Bigfoot, Black Panthers, Giant Snakes, Black Dogs, and Thunderbirds. One of the more intriguing entities being reported there are the imp-like Pukwudgies. Continued reports of Bigfoot track finds keep popping up online.

David: What is your favorite cryptid and why?

Loren: The Yetis. Because I have a great deal of loyalty to my first love.

David: How did the idea of the International Cryptozoology Museum come about?

Loren: For years and years I had fostered the idea of a museum to showcase the physical artifacts I have gathered for educational and scientific sharing. After the turn of the century (20th to 21st), the time seemed right to build a nonprofit legacy that would remain after I am gone. I had heard of too many personal collections ending up in dumpsters, on eBay, or disappearing entirely. I figured if no one was going to do it, I would. So I founded the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, in 2003, worked on applying and won a 501(c)3 designation, and with fundraising, built from the ground up a new two-story museum building in 2015-2016 at Thompson’s Point. Today, in our 18th year, it seems a dream come true.

David: Have you ever encountered a cryptid yourself?

Loren: I have done fieldwork extensively throughout North America (every state of the USA but Alaska, most provinces of Canada, and NE Mexico), as well as Scotland to the Caribbean). I’ve heard Skunk Apes, found cryptid footprints, and more, but have never sighted a Lake Monster nor a Bigfoot. I saw what may have been a Black Panther in southern Illinois in 1969, but was not in a position to pursue it.

I want to thanks Loren Coleman again, for not only being a part of this CELEBRITY INTERVIEW, but for all of the work he has done in the field of cryptozoology.

~David Albaugh

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