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A Visit to the Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine

After over a year of dating, I finally took the plunge and traveled to Boston to meet my girlfriend Mia’s family.

They were incredibly nice people, and as unusual and fascinating as their daughter (although not nearly as midgety).  And it seemed they liked me too, as evidenced by this email to Mia from her Japanese mother:

While we were in Boston, we thought we’d take a trip to the great city of Portland, Maine so that we could visit the world’s foremost International Cryptozoology Museum!

Cryptozoology, for those of you not in the know, is the study of and search for creatures who are often considered legends by mainstream zoology, also known as “cryptids”: Bigfoots, the Loch Ness Monster, chupacabras, the Jersey Devil, the Australian bunyip, and Mia’s favorite, the Mongolian death worm, are some of the animals cryptozoologists study.

Coelacanth

The coelacanth is the museum’s symbol, as in the early 1900′s it believed to be extinct for many years and any sitings of the fish were dismissed.  However, in 1938 the coelacanth was rediscovered, much to the joy of budding crytozoologists.  To them, it proves an animal can exist and be denied by mainstream scientists. Cryptozoologists claim other animals such as the okapi and the giant panda were also thought of as mythical in the recent past, and later turned out to be existing creatures.

Loveland Frog

Cryptozoologists hope that an animal such as the Loveland Frog might too be proven in the near future.  (I think the photo above is pretty much certain proof of that!)

Loren Colemen is the proprietor of the Cryptozoology Museum and the world’s leading authority on cryptozoology.  Mia has been friends with Loren for years, and he’s even a fan of her band, Kayo Dot.  She told him we were coming by to visit the museum, and Loren gave her the hours they were open.

Unfortunately, we showed up to the museum – a two hour drive from Boston – on Tuesday, when the museum was closed!  Mia said she thought it was a Wednesday.  Obviously, Mia’s genius IQ is good for a lot of things, but not distinguishing between days of the week.  I was bummed, to say the least. We drove out to Portland for nothing. Luckily, Mia emailed Loren and told him of our plight – he emailed her back right away and said he’d come and give us a private tour, even though it was his day off.

Bigfoot, with the mythical "smallfoot"

While we waited, we checked out the stuffed Bigfoot in the bookstore that leads to the museum.

In examining the stuffed creature, we wondered if perhaps Bigfoot sitings weren’t just people spotting our good friend/SUPER co-star Steve Agee on one of his many camping trips, in which he likes to traipse around naked:

The truth behind the legendary Bigfoot?

Mia with world-renowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman.

Loren, being the great guy he is, showed up within fifteen minutes of us emailing him.

Loren had been a fan of this very blog and insisted that we get some photos of me stuffing Mia into a suitcase in front of the Bigfoot statue.  We were happy to oblige (this suitcase was too easy).

Bigfoot skulls

Bigfoot skulls

For someone like me, who grew up fascinated with mysterious monsters of all sorts, the museum was a treasure trove of cool shit.  One time my brother Patrick and I got into an actual fistfight over who was more likely to exist, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.  I was on the side of Bigfoot, and was validated many years later in 2003 when the BBC dragged all of Loch Ness with 600 separate sonar beams and came up with nothing, essentially disproving the current existence of any Loch Ness Monster.  This was also the reason, I’m sure, that God let me kick Patrick’s ass in that fight.

You are bullshit, asshole.

Dumb theory.

The museum was filled with all sorts of oddities on both the more and less famous cryptozoological oddities.

The Cryptozoology Museum doesn’t only include evidence of the existence of cryptids (including a shelf of Bigfoot fecal samples, which have had the DNA tested with no primate matches), but also has examples of many hoaxes from over the years, including the FOX civil war pterodactyl pictured above.  The actual pterodactyl model is in the museum can be seen in the photo above this one.

Feejee Mermaid

The museum even has a couple Feegee Mermaids, which carnivals would have on hand and charge customers money to see.  PT Barnum helped to create the original Feejee Mermaid, which was a baby monkey head and torso sewn onto the body of a fish and covered in papier mache.

Orang Pendek, probably real

I asked Loren Coleman which cryptid he thought was most likely to be real. He didn’t seem very comfortable with my question – I’m not sure Loren likes to think of his beloved cryptids as “real” or “not real” – but he did say that the cryptid he thought was most likely to  end up being fully discovered in the near future was the Orang Pendek, a small Bigfoot-type creature spotted many times in the mountainous forests of Sumatra.

Loren quoted one non-cryptozoologist explorer as saying she had seen rhinos in the wild twice but has seen the Orang Pendek five times.

I for one am excited about the possibility of finding the Orang Pendek and buying one with my Scooby-Doo money and dressing it in a little suit matching my own, and making it follow me around like a little pal/son/slave.  I will exploit the shit out of that miniature bastard, and he’ll still love me because he’s a dumb Orang Pendek who doesn’t know any better.

Loren then whipped out an Orang Pendek footprint cast from his files.  He then showed Mia and I his many drawers of footprint casts – he had hundreds of casts from al over the world, in stacks of drawers.  He pointed out some that were obvious hoaxes and why, and why some others had more validity.  It was fascinating.

After a couple of hours in the Cryptozoology Museum, it was time for Mia and I to go. I strongly suggest if you’re ever in the Portland, Maine area that you check out the museum. Whether or not you think Bigfoot or his legendary cousins might exist, it’s an intoxicating place. And Loren is a super cool dude who has been doing this for forty years and knows more about it than anyone else in the world.

International Cryptozoology Museum – 661 Congress Street – Portland, ME 04104 – (207) 518 9496

And please show Loren some love by clicking on his site HERE. If you want to donate a couple bucks to the museum, I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

ALSO, two more things -

While in Maine I had one of the most delicious meals of my life. There is a seafood restaurant called Street and Company that serves incredibly fresh fish in non-showy dishes that blew my mind.  I had dinner at some of Boston’s highest rated restaurants but, honestly, this was the best meal I had while I was in that part of the country.  You can check them out HERE.

AND, on a totally different note, our film SUPER has been invited to be an Official Selection of the Sitges International Film Festival.  This will be the film’s European premiere. If you’re around that area, and you want to see SUPER before 2011, please buy your tickets soon!  I will be in attendance, and look forward to meeting all of you there.  I can’t wait!

I can't imagine why I'd want to go to Sitges.

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  • Spooky Sean

    I’ll have to visit the museum if I ever end up back in Portland.
    I love cryptozoology so fucking much. Monster Quest and Cryptozoology A to Z bitches!

  • http://axxman300tool.blogspot.com/ Marc

    James, have you read Loren Coleman’s book “Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in Amercia”?

    I’ll bottom-line for you.

    The reason that the population of Sasquatch is so small is because they are homosexual, and only mate with the oppisite sex when they aboslutely have to. Coleman lists multiple cases to support his thesis.

    Pleasant dreams.



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