Long, long ago, in a time far removed from the present, before there were emails, cell phones, microwaves, HDTV, and 3D IMAX, it was an era of letters, old black dial Bell Telephones, and exploring the area around your home in wider and wider circles. Nowadays, everybody posts their latest fieldwork as a new “expedition” on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, blogs and through multiple emails sent around the world.
Back in the dark ages, I would do fieldwork more quietly. Even in the late 1960s and 1970s, when I was traveling far and wide across North America, investigating cases, it wasn’t until years later that 10% of where I’d been and what I’d been doing would appear in an article or book that I might write. Most of us back then just didn’t broadcast what we were doing so widely. Social media has caused an explosion of opportunities for sharing every instance of any kind of cryptid exploration, whether anything comes of it or not. Some of us older cryptozoologists missed the boat for recording our earliest days in the field.
So, therefore, here’s a trip down recovered memory lane, not by me, but by a sibling. It fired some of my brain circuits, so I thought it might do the same for you, if you also began to “explore” the world the way I did.
My youngest brother, Jerry Dale, who has been feeling a bit better lately, has been sorting through a great deal of his belongings. Recently, he came upon an old photograph. It shows me exploring the area near Steven’s Creek, Macon County, Illinois. As some of you may recall, this is the location of the 1962 sighting by Steve Collins and his friends of a Bigfoot-type creature and also is near where I found Nape tracks earlier in the 1960s.
Jerry’s has sent along this image displayed below, and enclosed the following written piece. The photograph caused Jerry Dale Coleman to recall the good ole days in Illinois. Therefore, I share his thoughts with you Cryptomundians.
Cryptozoologists-in-training stop by the museum all the time, to ask how it all got started for me. When I tell them, mostly a theme about following your passions, they sometimes seem shocked it was not because I saw a Bigfoot or Giant Snake or some other out-of-this-world cryptid. It is true that how everything began was in several little mundane ways.
Just like with most folks….
Loren Coleman’s Early Field Research: A Remembrance
by Jerry Dale Coleman, his brother, to accompany the displayed photograph.
In a forgotten place on the edge of Decatur, Illinois, Loren Coleman hiked miles to an area known to few as “Hollers & Hills.”
Acres and acres of untamed, undeveloped land stretched out before him, a land last roamed by Indians and wild animals. It was in the early 1960s when Loren Coleman and his team (including myself and others) made numerous treks and interesting discoveries. In any kind of weather, at any time of year, Coleman would search for and often find nature’s relics, lost to time and memory.
Once Coleman’s curiosity and logic found himself wading through the waist high cold waters of Steven’s Creek, as he poked along the bottom with his ever present walking stick. Not knowing what he was looking for didn’t slow him down and within two to three hours Coleman hit on an odd feeling object. Prying it from the muddy bottom later proved the long, heavy jaw bone was from a pony that lived more than 100 years earlier. Perhaps wild, perhaps an Indian’s, perhaps a Union soldier’s?
On another excursion, Loren Coleman had the team digging on a number of the creek’s islands. Within hours and approximately two feet down a large apparent backbone was unearthed. Later examination by the University of Illinois dated it to be a 100 to 150 year old bison vertebrae!
On one notable field trek, Coleman directed the team to dig on the side of a cliff face. In the heat of the summer, while suffering with bug infested bush scores, scores of fossils were discovered in the sandstone evacuations.
In short, Loren Coleman’s early days of field research proved to his team that mysteries are wrapped in the unknown, once the unknown is ripped away, mystery becomes discovery!