End of Year Cryptozoology, as documented by Loren Coleman
Loren, founder and director of the International Cryptozoology Museum, has taken on the very difficult job of trying to impose a little structure on the controversial and sometimes chaotic world of cryptozoology. While there’s no governing body for this colorful group of scientists, amateurs, writers, and assorted devotees, Loren is probably the best-known American cryptozoologist, knows everyone, and tries to look over the global cryptozoology scene and pick out the people and things cryptozoologists everywhere should know about. Loren and I have disagreements, with me doubting most of the creatures he’s sure are out there, but he's one of the most dedicated cryptozoologists anywhere and is devoted to collecting and preserving knowledge. His museum is a unique resource for cryptozoologists, zoologists, folklorists, and others, with countless thousands of items from all over the world.
First, Loren awards the Golden Yeti statue for Cryptozoologist of the Year and Lifetime Achievement. The top award this year went to Dr. (M.D.) Marie-Jeanne Koffmann of France. She spent decades recording sightings and gathering other evidence in the Caucasus concerning the humanlike cryptid called the almasty or almas, a mystery I don’t think has been definitely solved. Lifetime Yetis went to longtime Canadian Bigfoot researcher / writer / publisher / popularizer Christopher L. Murphy and Canadian sea creature expert Dr. Paul LeBlond (deceased in February, alas - he was a great guy and I’m glad we got to meet). One thing I remember about Paul was he was scientifically-minded enough (in a field where a lot of people aren’t at all) to admit there was room for interpretation of a sea creature drawing even though it was done under his direction from something he studied on film. Most people would be adamant that “that’s the real creature, exactly.”
Loren publishes a list of the Top Ten cryptozoology stories of the year. These may include fieldwork results, zoological discoveries, cryptozoology gatherings, and popular-culture items. Examples this year include reports of Vietnames “rock apes,” a possible new species of coelacanth, a new monkey, a Loch Ness hoax, and a wave of new cryptid toys/models on the market.
He also publishes a detailed list of the Top 20 Cryptozoology Books every year (said the humble recipient of the top Historical Cryptozoology Book in 2006 for Shadows of Existence, still available on Amazon!).
Book of the Year went to The Bigfooter’s Atlas by Zach Bales. Loren wrote, “This enjoyable, accessible, well-written, nicely illustrated atlas of various Sasquatch-oriented locations is the bright shining light for how 2020 needs to be remembered – as a roadmap to future adventure.” There are books on specific creatures or categories: Bigfoot of course, but also sea serpents, bunyips, etc., with Karl Shuker’s superb, encyclopedic Mystery Cats of the Word Revisited: Blue Tigers, King Cheetahs, Black Cougars, Spotted Lions, and More being my personal pick. There are books on regional cryptozoology activity and on zoological discovery (topped this year by Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght).
Loren also provides a list of significant deaths among cryptozoologists: this is a field with a lot of people working singly all over the world, and such news is often missed. The most significant this year include Dr. LeBlond, dedicated Florida cryptid-hunter Scott Marlowe, and Dr. Bryan Sykes, who brought modern DNA analysis to bear on alleged cryptid-hominid hair samples (finding, unfortunately, no unidentifiable ones).
Keep up with Loren's blog at http://www.cryptozoonews.com/
See the Museum at https://cryptozoologymuseum.com/
Keep up the good work, my friend!
Keep up the good work, my friend!