Hey, fans of Bigfoot, Mothman, the Jersey Devil, The Dover Demon, Sea Serpents, Chupacabra and all creatures strange and undiscovered, did you know that there’s an International Cryptozoology Museum? I didn’t, and I have been vacationing right outside its doors for years! Located in Portland, Maine, it’s owned and run by world famous cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman. He’s the man who actually coined the terms for many now famous cryptids such as the Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon. You’ve seen him on TV and documentaries like Ancient Aliens, MonsterQuest and Weird Travels. The best part is, when you go to the museum, Loren is there to greet you and talk monsters.
As soon as I found out about it, I had to drag my kids to see it for myself. Located on a small side street off the main drag in downtown Portland, we were greeted by a flag depicting a Coelacanth, a large fish thought to have been extinct for millions of years until one was pulled from the depths in the 1930’s. Loren informed me that the prehistoric fish was the inspiration for my favorite Universal Monster, The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The museum consists of two rooms jam packed with actual artifacts from cryptid investigations as well as recreations. I was immediately drawn to some of the Bigfoot plaster casts and the news stories accompanying them.
Loren actually owns the largest Bigfoot in the world and he’s happy to take pictures with everyone standing in front of old Squatchy. Being next to a legend in the field by a giant Bigfoot was the highlight of my trip.
Once we got through the huge Bigfoot displays, there was a host of other mysteries and wonders to explore. Turning a corner into the other room, I came face to face with the legendary Fiji Mermaid, a bizarre, mummified creature that P.T. Barnum used to proclaim was an actual mermaid. It kind of looks like a shriveled up Yoda with boobs. I wonder of Lucas got his inspiration from this.
The second room had a little bit of everything, from a small Chupacabra display…
To the Dover Demon, an alien-like creature that appeared in a Massachussets town over a 2 day period in 1977.
Turns out, Loren investigated the strange and creepy Mothman and was even friends with John Keel, the man who reported on the infamous cryptid. He was a consultant for the movie, The Mothman Prophecies and starred in a documentary on it. It’s my belief that what went on in that West Virginia town in the 60s is one of the weirdest events of all time. You can check out our Monster Men podcast on the subject here.
Loren told me that he was the man who gave the Montauk Monster its name. He also said it was just a decomposed raccoon. Bummer.
The museum has it all. For a guy like me, I could have stayed there all day, but it was getting late and we had a Duck Boat tour to take and a baseball game to see. So, if you’re ever in the Portland area, I highly suggest you check it out. It must be popular, because it was even mentioned on the Duck Boat tour. There are monsters everywhere….at least I hope.
See that picture? That was my first foray into the wonderful and weird world of cryptozoology at a time when I didn’t even know what the word meant. I was about 8 years old and at the tail end of my fascination with whales. I’d read everything the library had about them and was ready for something new.
Enter Nessie. I can’t remember where I first saw that picture. It was either on In Search Of or in a magazine or newspaper. I just remember the doors of my imagination being blown wide open. I would never be the same. Back in the 70s, there was a lot of interest in the strange creature swimming the depths of Loch Ness in Scotland. It was relatively easy to get my hands on all things Nessie. I devoured it all.
My father saw my budding interest in mythical sea creatures and bought me a book not only about the Loch Ness Monster, but all creatures bizarre and unknown. And so was laid an integral part of the foundation of a future Monster Man.
Out of all the cryptids out there, I think the case for sea creatures is the most solid. We know so little about the pitch fathoms of our seas. As our underwater technology improves, we discover new species of creatures plumbing the depths on an almost daily basis. Personally, I don’t think Nessie lives in the Loch. It’s my belief that if she exists, she kinda gets lost from time to time, slipping from the cold ocean into the Loch for a spell, stirring peoples’ fascination. And in a world where there’s so much doom and gloom, isn’t that a good thing?
So, what is Nessie? Is she a plesiosaur, a remnant from the time of the dinosaurs? Maybe she’s some kind of super sized eel, or a misindentified family of seals? Thanks to my man Scott for this latest article that says sightings of the monster skimming the waters is nothing but the result of a geological phenomenon.
Like all mysterious beasts, I really hope there is some truth to the Loch Ness Monster. Even though the photo that cemented my interest as a child was proven to be a hoax, I still hold out hope.
Like this blog post was too long coming, so is our latest episode of the Monster Men where we talk all things Loch Ness. Can’t believe it took us over 40 episodes to get the the core of my monsterhood. Sit back, put on a kilt, pop open a bottle of good Scotch and enjoy.