Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The museum about crypto monsters!

You may not believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster — but this museum may persuade you otherwise. It all started with a movie supposedly shot in California — and culminated in a museum a continent away.

By Susan Farlow from LA Times“Supposedly” because, well, when you’re dealing with mythical — or not — creatures, you just never know for sure. Or do you?

A different film — this one clearly fiction — spurred a vocation for Loren Coleman. When he was a boy in 1960 in Decatur, Ill., he watched a movie titled "Half Human" about an abominable snowman.

The film has affected his life ever since.

At 69, Coleman is one of the world's leading authorities on cryptozoology, the study of hidden ("crypto") or rumored-to-exist animals, such as yeti (the Abominable Snowman), Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster.

In 2003 he set up what is thought to be the world’s only International Cryptozoology Museum. The 10,000-item nonprofit, which focuses on these legendary creatures, called cryptids, moved in the summer into new digs in a restored industrial landmark in Portland, about 115 miles north of Boston.

Coleman, who has written or contributed to more than 100 books on cryptozoology, natural history mysteries and suicide prevention, has collected a trove of specimens and artifacts, such as “foot casts” and native art.

As I began prowling the two-story museum, I soon came face to face with an 8-foot-tall, supposedly life-size rendering of Bigfoot. Selfie, anyone?

For decades, the hairy, long-armed Bigfoot (a.k.a. Sasquatch) has been a marquee cryptid because, Coleman told me, it’s the "cryptid closest to" humans. It is thought to live in the northwestern United States and Canada.

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