Loren Coleman Interview Lost Tapes

posted: 05/15/12
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Loren Coleman Interview Lost Tapes
Courtesy of Loren Coleman |

Loren Coleman is one of the world's most well-known cryptozoologists. In addition to his role as the founder/director of the International Cryptozoology Museum, he's published several acclaimed books about cryptozoology including Cryptozoology: A-Z and The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide.

We present Loren Coleman's answers to your questions about mysterious creatures and cryptozoology.

Animal Planet: Thank you for agreeing to answer questions from our Lost Tapes fans!

Loren Coleman: Sure! It's always fun to talk to fans about all of this interesting material that's often shown on this show.

RKOmaster: How is it possible to become a Wendigo?

Loren Coleman: Wendigo, traditionally, are a psychological state for some native peoples. It's all about starving yourself to death and vitamin deficiencies. That's the psychological human wendigo. A wendigo in terms of cryptozoology is really about a bigfoot-type, yeti-type creature. It's really seen as a subdivision of sasquatches.

Todd "Foxx" Olsen: Would you like any help in the field sometime? I'm a good worker!

Loren Coleman: At the International Cryptozoology Museum, we're always putting out the call for docents. Docents usually help with the museum. When we do have field work to do, we pick from those docents. So if you live in the New England area, we're always looking for good docents.

Dragosgril: Do you think that David Icke's theory of reptilians walking among us is true? How did he come up with this theory?

Loren Coleman: I think that most of the theories of David Icke with regard to reptilians and their U.F.O. connections are very much outside of cryptozoology. I know that I've had many reports from people in the Ohio Valley of lizard men that are a reality. Whether or not those are actually in business suits someplace is really way beyond anything in mainstream cryptozoology.

Cyndi-Tyson Lauterbach: Why do you think it is that a skull of a creature such as bigfoot, skunk ape or yeti hasn't been found? Do you think they bury their dead like humans do?

Loren Coleman: I don't think we really know what bigfoot and the aligned hairy hominids do. One of the main reasons that we haven't found any body parts is that they're very rare in terms of the numbers that are out there, that they die in temporal climates that don't preserve their remains and, ignored by most people, is the fact that porcupines, rodents and other animals destroy all evidence of other animals found dead in the woods within 48 hours.

Cryptidking: Have there been any new sightings of the Dover demon or mothman after the original sightings?

Loren Coleman: There are no additional sightings of the Dover demon since 1977. With regard to mothman: "mothman" is a local, regional name for a large, birdlike creature. There have been many mothman sightings since the bridge collapse in '67. Some places call them thunderbirds, some call them giant owls. But mothman-type creatures are routinely seen probably once or twice every year around North America.

Tim Joseph Parsons: What courses do you need to do to become a cryptozoologist?

Loren Coleman: For a person who's interested in cryptozoology and wants to go into cryptozoology, they really need to focus on what specific area they're interested in. For instance, if you're interested in lake monsters and sea serpents, then you need to go into school and deal with marine sciences, lake management and biology of the water and aquatic situations. If you're interested in bigfoot and yeti and things like that, you need to study anthropology, linguistics... courses that are related to the creatures that are very specific. So, it's not so much that you study cryptozoology because the courses in cryptozoology are very rare. I taught one in 1989 and they occasionally show up in universities, but there's no long-term course study in cryptozoology. You have to figure out what area you need to study.

vimpirekiller1: How do you kill a wendigo?

Loren Coleman: I do not think we should kill any cryptids. We need to live-capture them to prove that they exist.

Cryptidking: How do you know a person is a werewolf in human form?

Loren Coleman: I don't think that werewolves as humans actually exist. Werewolves come out of the tradition of vitamin deficiencies and people mistaking wolves for humans. I don't consider shapeshifting part of cryptozoology.

Cole Zdanis: What is the biggest and most dangerous cryptid you have ever heard of?

Loren Coleman: In the oceans of the world, there appear to be reports of megalodon. For those people who consider them reality, that would be the largest, most violent creature in the ocean. On land, there are reports of what I call "true giants," which are bigfoot-type creatures that are upwards of 20 feet tall. The whole traditions of giants and cannibalism comes out of the realistic reports of true giants.

Kaylee Helms: Have you even seen a real monster?

Loren Coleman: Specifically I've never seen a cryptid when I've gone looking for a cryptid, even though I've been on expeditions for 50 years. I've found many tracks, I've heard many screeches and unknown sounds, I've interviewed hundreds of witnesses. In 1972, I saw a black panther in southern Illinois when I was in a car coming from work (unrelated to cryptozoology) and none of the people in the car would turn the car around. So I was put in the situation of being an eyewitness where I could not go and further investigate the black panther report.

CryptidXpert13: Dear Loren Coleman, I am a huge admirer of yours. I loved your book, Cryptozoology A-Z. Ever since I began watching Lost Tapes and Monster Quest, I have studied cryptozoology, with my most notable cryptids being the Jersey devil, lizard man, devil monkey, poltergiest and ghost. Anyway sir, I have several questions.

Loren Coleman: First of all, it's really nice to have fans and admirers and I hope that they really find some satisfaction in the field of cryptozoology like I have. On to your questions sir!

CryptidXpert13: Do you believe that dinosaurs could possibly thrive around forest areas besides the jungles of Africa? (This is one of my most common theories.)

Loren Coleman: First of all, I'm very careful about the use of the word "believe." "Believe" and "belief" are really the providence of religion. In science and cryptozoology, we have to really be careful with the use of those words. I consider the possibility that there may be some living dinosaurs in Central Africa and some places in the Amazon, but I would say that was a 10 percent possibility.

CryptidXpert13: Do you feel that bigfoot will be discovered soon?

Loren Coleman: No. I think that if we look at the history of the mountain gorilla and the giant panda, it took almost 70 years for live specimens of them to be found. We are in many ways just in the infancy of looking for bigfoot and there's no funding for it, so it's going to be a long time.

CryptidXpert13: How do cryptozoologists get paid?

Loren Coleman: Cryptozoologists usually have regular jobs, like in academia, teaching, being a professor, a wildlife biologist and different things like that. I'm one of the few professional cryptozoologists around the world where I've put together my writings, my consulting, my working for reality television and also I'm a founder/director of the International Cryptozoology Museum, which is a not-for-profit organization. So most of the time, cryptozoologists don't make a lot of money. We're just surviving because we're very passionate about the field and we want to help people find new animals.

CryptidXpert13: Could chupacabras (not the dog-like ones) be relatives of bats?

Loren Coleman: The chupacabras — because the descriptions are mostly that they're bipedal, they're upright and they're covered with fine, gray hair — are more likely are related to primates such as small monkeys, rhesus monkeys, or some kind of merbeing. The reports of them with wings or being vampiric are really incorrect.

CryptidXpert13: You truly are one of my greatest inspirations.

Loren Coleman: Well that's great! I hope maybe (my fans) will become inspirations for future generations too.

Jose Ramirez: Should we be living in fear of certain creatures metioned in Lost Tapes?

Loren Coleman: I think that people who are not used to being in wildnerness areas, in the woods, in the wild, should always be careful. Wildlife are wild, and animals can become very violent whether they're a cryptid or known animal. So yes, I think that caution in wooded areas and forests, as well as in places like deserts and the mountains: people need to be careful whenever they're out of their regular environment.

wendigo135: So if you become a wendigo, you'll always have a skull for a head?

Loren Coleman: I don't think that people become wendigos. Wendigos are actually eastern sasquatch. I think that Lost Tapes showed the part of the wendigo legend that's about people changing into wendigo, which is a psychological part of the wendigo phenomenon. But the name "wendigo," in terms of that psychological condition, is based upon real eastern sasquatch reports.

MasterOfCryptids: Are you at all skeptical about the existence of zombies? Because if they come to us then wouldn't we already know about them by now? Your opinion in this matter will really help me.

Loren Coleman: I think zombies are outside of cryptozoology, and really are based upon a human use of mind-altering drugs in the Caribbean. They're very real — people really believe that there are zombies — but it has nothing to do with cryptozoology.

MasterOfCryptids: Which cryptid, or cryptids, are you most interested in?

Loren Coleman: Since the cryptid that involved me in the field first in March of 1960 was the yeti, or the abominable snowman, I'm always going to be the biggest fan of yeti reports in the Himalayas and the whole area of Asia. I think that there are some classic stories there that we still need to investigate. Other stories like the Jersey devil, which I talk quite a bit about in a new book of mine called Monsters of New Jersey — where I also talk about lizard man — I think are interesting because mothman, lizard man and the Jersey devil are fringe animals that may actually show us some new parts of cryptozoology that we should really be aware of. Also, the Dover demon. I personally investigated that, and I personally gave the name to it, and it's become extremely famous as a big surprise to me. So, it will always be a favorite too.

MasterOfCryptids: Do you believe we have solved the mystery of the kraken with the discovery of the giant squid?

Loren Coleman: I think that the kraken was the model for the giant squid. I think the part of cryptozoology that's still involved with investigations of the giant squid and the giant octopus is that there are creatures that are out there that are even bigger than the ones we've discovered.

MasterOfCryptids: Do you believe we'll find any cryptids in our lifetime? We continue to have encounters but never any real proof.

Loren Coleman: I think that we're finding new animals every day. During 2010, the largest new animal we found is a 6-foot-long monitor lizard in the Philippines that climbs trees and eats fruit. Every day, every week, new animals are being discovered, and those are the creatures, the monsters, the cryptids, that are part of cryptozoology.

Pitluver2: What's the differnce between bigfoot and the southern sasquatch?

Loren Coleman: The southern sasquatch, skunk ape, booger, swamp ape, are all anthropoids. If you look at their feet, their feet look like your hands. That's the sign of an anthropoid, an ape, whereas bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest and the northern regions of North America has a foot that looks like your foot except bigger. They're a hominid and they're very much more humanlike. So it's really the difference between going to a zoo and looking at the people that are walking around looking at the animals, they are more like bigfoot. The creatures like the chimpanzees and orangutans that are in the cage, those are the ones that are very, very much like the southern apes.

CryptidXpert13: Do you feel that cryptids should be put into zoos? I personally theorize that this would be impossible. Many cryptids would be impossible to tame. Loren Coleman: Well I think that many cryptids are in zoos. If you look at mountain gorillas, the okapi, the Komodo dragon, those all used to be cryptids. And the tradition is that the rare and exciting and interesting animals end up in zoo and wildlife parks so that we can study them better, and so that we can also help them to reproduce and then repopulate areas of the world where they become rare. So cryptids are in zoos and the future ones will go into zoos. Mary Mcginnis: Have there ever been hieroglyphics of any of the monsters? What would this tell you? Loren Coleman: Definitely native peoples and Egyptians and Persians and Babylonians have shown in their art cryptids, often times animals that either look like the okapi or dragon-like creatures. So we definitely have continuous lines from native art through ancient cultures of cryptids. Yes, definitely.

Jennifer Chubb Thompson: Question from my 11-year-old son... Which "version" of bigfoot do you like best: bigfoot, sasquatch, skunk ape or yeti? Loren Coleman: Well, like my earlier answer, my favorite would be the yeti because it's the one that brought me into the field.

Cryptidking: What's the difference between skunk apes and the Honey Island swamp monster besides the feet and eyes?

Loren Coleman: Other than the different location, all of those apes from the Honey Island swamp monster, which is in Louisiana, over to Florida where the skunk apes are, those are really the same kind of ape-like creatures. So there isn't any difference other than location. They go down on all fours, they leave footprints that have a toe out to the side and they generally are more violent than the Pacific Northwest bigfoot.

Cryptidking: What's the difference between the Dover demon and grays besides the eyes? Loren Coleman: Well, grays are always associated with U.F.O.'s. The Dover demon was not seen in conjunction with any kind of flying saucer, U.F.O. or any kind of psychic phenomenon. It just was a creature that sort of popped up, was seen and then disappeared. It was seen along a creek bed actually, whch is important, and the grays really aren't associated with water.

Cryptidking: Should bigfoot be put on the endangered species list?

Loren Coleman: I think that until bigfoot is discovered, it can't be put on an endangered species list. An endangered species list is of animals that are confirmed and known. Once it's discovered, yes, of course, it should be on an endangered species list. So I think that's a good question depending on time of discovery.

USMCDavis: Is there a beast with solid white eyes? Because on nights with full moons when I stay up at night at the house, I see this creature. It's about 5 feet tall and has solid white eyes. I have seen it twice: once in the woods behind the house and once at night walking up to the porch.

Loren Coleman: Well I think with any frequent sightings like that, I certainly hope the person takes pictures, makes sure to look around the next day for footprints, take casts and then gets in touch with me about that. I'd love to hear from them.

Cryptidsaurous1: Where do you think the chupacabra came from?

Loren Coleman: I think the original chupacabra reports are really from Puerto Rico, so I think that if people want to look for the origins of the chupacabra they really need to look in the Caribbean.

Cryptidsaurous1: How does the Oklahoma octopus survive? Loren Coleman: If there is an Oklahoma octopus, I'm sure it survives in underground channels between lakes.

Cryptidsaurous1: Do you think the mothman can appear again? Loren Coleman: I think the mothman has appeared again. It never disappeared. I have interviewed people in West Virginia that are still seeing the mothman.

Cryptidsaurous1: Why do you think the Dover demon appeared for only a few days?

Loren Coleman: I think the Dover demon is a mystery that will always haunt me. I don't quite understand why something like that would appear and not have much of a history and then disappear. What we're trying to understand about the Dover demon: is it really in a lot of the literature that has merbeings or has different forms of little people? Other than that, it's still kind of a confusing question.

Cryptidsaurous1: How does a poltergeist appear?

Loren Coleman: Poltergeists don't appear. One of the things about poltergeists is that they're not visible. The word is a German word that means "noisy ghost." So what they do is show themselves by noises. They move around objects. There are fire poltergeists where there's spontaneous fires. But one of the most intriguing things about poltergeists, of course, is they're not visible so they don't per se "appear."

Cryptidsaurous1: Is there evidence of Quetzalcoatl?

Loren Coleman: Quetzalcoatl is a nice, old tale from Mexico. There are still tales of feathered serpents. One of the ones I investigated once was actually in Northern California on Mount Diablo. And so there are those kinds of feathered serpents reports that still pop up. We don't quite know why they're popping up and what their connection is to modern-day cryptids, but it is interesting that they're still seen.

Zach Kordic: Do you have any further information on the devil monkey sighting that occurred in the 1970s in Albany, Kentucky?

Loren Coleman: I investigated that case in depth. I interviewed the people, who were very sincere. In the whole context of devil monkey reports, it seemed extremely sincere. You have these reports of hairy, monkey-like creatures with tails, very different from bigfoot. I would suggest if people are interested they can look at my books, Bigfoot: The True Story of Apes in America and The Field Guide to Bigfoot. I talk about that case in both of those.

Dominique Mejia: Is it hard studying criptids?

Loren Coleman: I've been doing this for 50 years. In the beginning, there weren't many of us studying cryptozoology. Slowly there's been more people, and so you have a sense that it's more the mainstream. In the beginning, people would look at you oddly and try to laugh and things like that. Today, it's kind of normal to be a cryptozoologist.

Bijan Cutlass Biares: Mr. Coleman, is it possible to classify bigfoot or at least give it a scientific name?

Loren Coleman: Yes. Many of us in our work in this area look for fossil candidates that tend to match up with bigfoot. Right now there are two major schools in which we think that bigfoot is either Gigantopithecus or Paranthropus. In those two schools, I'm in the Paranthropus school.

Alan Ixba Morales: I once saw a documentary about bigfoot. It was very interesting. Researchers found blood on a bait or trap. They took it to get analyzed and got an unknown species...

Loren Coleman: On a lot of these reality shows, you're going to have inconclusive results because until we find the type specimen, until we have the body of bigfoot, all of the results are going to come in "inconclusive, near-human primate." And that's pretty typical of any DNA results you're going to find.

creature87: I live in Kentucky and I was wondering if you had any information about cryptids there. Also, I already know of one: the Pope Lick monster. If you had any information on it too, that would be great!

Loren Coleman: Kentucky is very much involved in cryptozoology because there are mystery cats there, there are reports of devil monkeys, there are reports of southern apes and there are even reports of migrating bigfoot. The unique thing about Kentucy, of course, is it being a border state between the Appalachia area and the Midwest. It has a lot of cross-creatures. The one that the individual is talking about is well-known if you live here and a good Google search will get more information on that for that person.

nikki123nd: What cryptid do you think is most likely to be discovered next?

Loren Coleman: I've been mentioning recently that I think one of the best bets for discovery is the orang pendek of Sumatra. It's a little anthropoid ape, sort of orangish-red, and it's about 3½ to 5 feet tall, in Indonesia, that there's been over 20 years of good research on. I think it's going to be the next big what I call "celebrity cryptid" to be discovered.

nikki123nd: What is the best cryptozoology book you've ever read (or wrote)?

Loren Coleman: My two favorite cryptozoology books by people that have passed away, and who were friends of mine and mentors, is On the Track of Unknown Animals by Bernard Heuvelmans and Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life by Ivan Sanderson. My favorite book that I've written is Cryptozoology A-Z with Jerome Clark. So those are my three favorite cryptozoology books.

nikki123nd: Do you think cryptids are going extinct before they're even discovered?

Loren Coleman: That's a very good question. I've always felt that one of the shortcomings about the abominable snowmen is that by the time we find out that they actually exist, they may have gone extinct 100 years before. So it is one of the unfortunate parts of cryptozoology. We're often times looking for animals that may be right on the edge of going extinct.

Zek Carlile: If dangerous cryptids such as the wendigo, yeti, kraken, the Jersey devil and the lizard man exist, do you think we should be searching for them in spite of the dangers?

Loren Coleman: I think that all animals are dangerous until we find more about them. All of those cryptids you mentioned of course are dangerous, but so are water buffalo and gorillas and snakes and all kinds of other things. If you don't know the animals — and we don't know these animals until we really discover them — they all could be dangerous. We need to have caution in all of our searching and I really recommend that to everyone.

nikki123nd: Do you consider cryptozoology, ufology and the paranormal to be separate things?

Loren Coleman: Yes. I think that often times people, especially skeptics and debunkers, try to connect ufology and cryptozoology. I really see them as different. I wouldn't call ufology pseudoscience, but I also know that it's a lot more scientific if we can actually have evidence, DNA, footprints, physical evidence in cryptozoology of new animals. It's so much better than speculation about something in the sky that we have no evidence of.

Cryptidking: Do you think the photograph taken in 2004 or 2003 in Chile of a small, bipedal, humanoid, alien-like creature crossing a road with people on horseback is real and is it the Dover demon?

Loren Coleman: I'm aware of the photograph they're talking about. I think the history of that photograph is somewhat confusing, and it's even made more confusing by being in the U.F.O. field. I think it has nothing to do with the Dover demon.

Joseph Amon: Wouldn't it be better to set year-round camera traps to capture evidence of cryptids instead of just a few days at a time?

Loren Coleman: It sure would, but the cameras get stolen, they don't work and the funding is not there for those types of operations to occur.

horakhti: What do you think about some of the more "out there" questions people ask you about cryptozoology, for example questions where angels and demons and rips in time and so forth are used to help explain cryptozoological phenomena?

Loren Coleman: I think the problem with the questions that are really based on someone's theory is that it collapses as soon as you look at it as a theoretical question. One of the things that I've always done in cryptozoology is that I never explain an unknown with another unknown. That's something I've taught people that have learned under me, is you don't go around and tell someone that you think such and such without having some basis in reality for your theory. Those kinds of questions I can't answer because they don't have a reality foundation.

Natty Alderman: Why in your book Cryptozoology A-Z do you seem to be skeptical of the Jersey devil?

Loren Coleman: In the book Cryptozoology A-Z, and also in my new book Monsters of New Jersey, I look at the different parts of the Jersey devil legend. A very big portion of the Jersey devil legend is in 1909; the 200 sightings that occurred that year were all a real estate hoax. So anything that has such a substantial hoax basis I'm going to be very suspicious of. The Jersey devil in many ways was a scheme that was created so that people could buy up land and put a railroad through that area.

Natty Alderman: Do you think the bunyip would classify as a cryptid or an aboriginal myth?

Loren Coleman: It's definitely an aboriginal legend. A myth is something that comes purely out of imagination. But we know it's a cryptid. People other than aboriginals, such as Australian colonialists and people from outside of Australia, have said that they've seen the bunyip. The bunyip is just a local Australian name for lake monsters.

Gavriel Jackson: Do you think that the Quetzalcoatl is a cryptid or a surviving dinosaur like a velociraptor?

Loren Coleman: It's a cryptid, and a cryptid by its very definition means we don't know what it is. So I don't exactly know whether it's a dinosaur, whether it's a person with a costume on or whether it's another kind of unknown animal. It's definitely a cryptid though.

Cryptidking: Is it possible that devil monkeys are prehistoric primates that survived or a new primate in North America like bigfoot?

Loren Coleman: Well I think that both of those theories are within the realm of possibility. Until we find the devil monkey, we can speculate on what it might be, but we really don't know.

MAINE9: I have a question. When I went to Mexico I heard a strange thing yelling outside. It sounded kinda like this: "aahhyy aahhyy." And the weird part is that it always did this in the morning, like around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., and it was silent whenever this thing yelled. It yelled like about three times then there was no more noise. I want to know what kind of creature or thing this was?

Loren Coleman: It probably was some kind of local bird. Often times in Mexico there's all kinds of morning birds, and if it's something that's routinely doing a cry in the morning, it's probably something really normal.

Moonlight961: Is the chupacabra really a hybrid animal?

Loren Coleman: We don't know.

Moonlight96: What do you think causes people to die after seeing a hellhound three times?

Loren Coleman: *laughs* Maybe the English pudding they ate the night before. *laughs* I have no idea, but I think we have to do a long-term statistical study to find out the results. *laughs* Seriously though, we really don't know and we do have to keep our sense of humor as we look into some of these things.

GreatIdeas: What can you tell me about the Anza-Borrego sandmen?

Loren Coleman: In Southern California, there seems to be very specific bigfoot-type creatures that exist in the desert there. They're thinner and there are various names of localities connected with the word "sandmen." There seems to definitely be some kind of bigfoot in those areas. They're seen for over 150 years and we seriously are studying them.

Legadema Cinderheart: Does Loren Coleman take on apprentices? It's my dream to be a cryptozoologist!

Loren Coleman: The museum takes on volunteers and people are learning from me by being volunteers at the museum. Some of those people I've taken out on expeditions.

Brandon James Ledoux: Where is the place where bigfoot is found the most?

Loren Coleman: The Pacific Northwest from Northern California to southern British Columbia.

Hector Gutierrez: How many cryptids have been proven to exist?

Loren Coleman: In the last 10 years, there have been found 400 animals that were larger than a cat. Some estimates put that in the rainforest of New Guinea they've already discovered over 6,000 new animals. So it's really hard to say. There's literally millions of new animals. Most of those are insects that are being discovered, but there are thousands of new mammals and birds that are being discovered every decade.

Animal Planet: I think that's a good question to wrap it up with. Do you have any final comments for the Lost Tapes fans?

Loren Coleman: I really appreciate everyone asking good, creative questions and I hope everybody keeps pursuing cryptozoology. It's very much a fun field. And do enjoy Lost Tapes!

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