Sadly, 2005 saw the death of several people that had an impact on the establishment and ongoing work of cryptozoology.
If you know of others, (e.g. researchers in the Loch Ness Monster pursuit, Bigfooters, or other cryptozoologists), please let me know, via the comments. I’ll update this list, as we learn of other passings. If you wish to jot down some words in remembrance of someone on the list, your thoughts would be warmly appreciated.
Here’s some of the people we will miss and who have ended their quests. (The following list contains links to fuller obituaries.)
Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Etterling, 22, of Wheelersburg, Ohio, died January 26, 2005, along with 30 other Marines, when their CH-53E helicopter crashed near Ar Rutbah, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and had earlier been involved in the fighting at Fallujah. Etterling, as a youth, was deeply interested in searching for Sasquatch and was an active member of the Ohio Bigfoot Research Team. Etterling obit
Kenny Young, 38, an Ohio researcher, died January 29, 2005, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Young, along with associate Ron Schaffner, investigated many Ohio cryptid accounts, including the famed 1997 “giant monkey” case detailed in The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates worldwide (pp. 60-61). Young obit
Frank Searle, 84, Loch Ness Monster photographer and author of Nessie: Seven Years in Search of the Monster (1976), died March 26, 2005, in Fleetwood, Lancashire, United Kingdom. He inspired a monster-hunter character played by Keith Allen in the 1996 Hollywood film Loch Ness, starring Ted Danson. Searle obit
Ernst Mayr, 100, a Harvard University evolutionary biologist called “the Darwin of the 20th Century,” died April 28, 2005, in Boston, Massachusetts. Mayr’s discovery of many new species of birds and other ornithological work, especially in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, were important contributions to cryptozoology. Mayr obit
Jaime Mendoza-Nava, 79, a classically trained musician who composed for such diverse projects as Walt Disney’s “The Mickey Mouse Club,” the cartoon series “Mr. Magoo” and B films made by director Ed Wood, died May 31, 2005 at a Los Angeles hospital, due to complications of diabetes. During the writing of my book, Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America, I spent days tracking down permission to quote the haunting lyrics tied to the eerie score from the movie The Legend of Boggy Creek. I finally was given the name and phone number of the music’s composer, Jaime Mendoza-Nava and spent two wonderful afternoons talking to him about that music, and his friend, the late Earl E. Smith, who did the words. Later Mrs. Barbara Smith gave me permission to use the words in my book.
So in remembrance, here’s Earl E. Smith’s lyrics that so captures Jaime Mendoza-Nava’s moody music, from The Legend of Boggy Creek:
Here, the sulfur river flows,
Rising when the storm cloud blows,
This is where the creature goes,
Lurking in the land he knows.
Perhaps, he dimly wonders why,
Is there no other such as I?
To love, to touch before I die,
To listen to my lonely cry.
(Earl E. Smith, 1972)
John Jackson, 84, an important developer of mountain training in Britain, and a member of several great Himalayan expeditions in the decade following the Second World War, died July 1, 2005. Jackson was a member of the 1954 “Daily Mail Abominable Snowman” expedition, which included such great figures as mountain climber John Hunt and adventurer-cryptozoologist Gerald Russell. The famed “skullcaps” of Yeti were first discovered by the West during this expedition. Jackson obit
Mark Chorvinsky, 51, magician and founder-editor of Strange Magazine, died July 16, 2005, of cancer, in Rockville, Maryland. Chorvinsky was a skeptic of the 1967 Roger Patterson-Bob Gimlin Bigfoot film footage, claiming it was a hoax of Hollywood special-effects man John Chambers, and of the Loch Ness and Owlman work of fellow magician Englishman Doc Shiels. Chorvinsky’s strong interest in cinema had him writing an essay on the cinema and old Yeti movies for my earlier (1989) edition of my book Tom Slick. Chorvinsky obit
Dan Scott Taylor, Jr., 65, Loch Ness mini-sub commander, died July 23, 2005, after complications from surgery at a Savannah, Georgia, hospital. Taylor felt he had encountered a Nessie underwater in 1969, during his time with the Roy Mackal-World Book Expedition to Loch Ness. Taylor wanted to take me down into Loch Ness in a mini-sub in 1999, but he was unsuccessful in making his dreams come true for any return trips, most notably planned for 1999 and 2005. Taylor obit
Phil Anderton, 48, a missionary serving in Cameroons, West Africa, died unexpectedly August 24, 2005, from a brain tumor, after surgery, in a Kansas City hospital. Anderton was a friend to many Mokele-mbembe expeditions, and provided important liasion with the Baku pygmies. Anderton obit
Richard Fitter, 92, famed guide book author, naturalist, and Loch Ness cryptozoologist, died September 3, 2005, in the United Kingdom. The Fitter-authored Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds (1952) was one of the first of the modern field guides of its type. Fitter was one of the founders, in 1961, of “The Bureau for Investigating the Loch Ness Phenomena Ltd,” more informally known by the media as the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (LNI). Fitter’s co-founders were British Parliament member-cryptozoologist Sir David James, More Than A Legend author-cryptozoologist Constance Whyte, and naturalist-cryptozoologist Sir Peter Scott (the founder of the World Wildlife Fund). The LNI became the leading focal point of the cryptozoological examinations at Loch Ness. Fitter obit
Michael Ward, 80, expedition doctor on Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition to explore routes up Mt. Everest, died October 7, 2005, in the United Kingdom. Ward was the medical doctor, along with Eric Shipton, who photographed the now well-known Yeti (Abominable Snowman) tracks in the Himalaya, in 1951. Ward obit
Bob Warth, in his 60s, the editor of Pursuit, the journal of The Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained, founded by Ivan T. Sanderson, died Halloween, October 31, 2005, in Little Silver, New Jersey. Pursuit published items of a cryptozoological nature on a regular basis, but Warth’s effort to try to rejuvenate the journal in 1995 were unsuccessful. Warth obit
J. Richard Greenwell, 63, cofounder of the International Society of Cryptozoology (ISC), died November 1, 2005, of cancer, in Tucson, Arizona. Funded by the ISC, he had traveled to various parts of the world to investigate cryptids, including Mokele-Mbembe in Congo with Roy P. Mackal, Ri (a reported mermaid which turned out to be a dugong) in New Guinea with anthropologist Roy Wagner, Onza (a mystery cat which seems to be merely a subspecies of puma) in Mexico, and Yeren (wild men) in China with anthropologist Frank Poirier. Greenwell obit
Herman Regusters , 72, an aerospace engineer who worked on many NASA and JPL projects, died December 19, 2005, at Huntington Beach, California. In 1981, Herman became a well-known African-African cryptozoologist, when, with a NASA designed insignia for his party to wear, he lead TRACE-1, The Regusters African Congo Expedition. He braved the wilds of the Congo on a 40-mile, five-day journey through dense, bug filled swamps and jungles to reach Lake Tele, home of Mokele Mbembe, a dinosaur-like creature said to still inhabit the area. He astounded the world by announcing he saw a gigantic dinosaur when his expedition probed the jungles of Africa, and brought back evidence of Mokele Mbembe. Regusters obit
Pastor Eugene P. Thomas, 78, a missionary for several years among the Congo pygmies, died on December 21, 2005, in Canton, Ohio. It was Reverend Eugene Thomas who first told James Powell and Dr. Roy Mackal that pygmies in 1959 said they had killed a Mokele-mbembe. Thomas obit.
Three other cryptozoologically-oriented lists for 2005 are:
Other "Top Cryptozoology Stories" of recent years, which contain information on the obituaries of those who died during their specific years, can be found by clicking on the following years:
Furthermore, for reference, see the cryptozoologists’ biographies (including several of those individuals who have passed away) that are collected as the entries written in 1999, in Cryptozoology A to Z.
© 2006 Loren Coleman.