The New York Daily News on Sunday, December 11, 2005, published an article entitled "N.Y. king in Kong match," in which they included some cryptozoological commentary from a cryptozoologist supposedly named "Lore Croghan."
The article had this to say:
"We aren’t talking about Derek Jeter fleeing autograph seekers, after all," says cryptozoologist Lore Croghan, who studies mythical creatures like Bigfoot. "We are talking about a full-scale huge ape trying to escape or attack in a panic mode. It might launch into flight-and-fight defensive and reactive stances, all in the same minute."
Well, of course, the "Lore Croghan" is Loren Coleman, and the fashion in which my moniker was printed may be the worst transfiguration I’ve seen of Loren Coleman from an email ever. After someone sent me the link to the New York story, I’d felt like King Kong had torn Loren Coleman to pieces until nothing but Lore Croghan was left.
As it turns out, on November 14th, I was asked by reporter Ethan Sacks for my cryptozoological thoughts on two questions related to the new King Kong movie: "How prepared would New York or a modern city be for a rampaging animal that size?" and "Is it possible that an ape that size could exist without being discovered by now?"
Here’s my answers, clearly addressed from "Loren Coleman," btw:
There is a lot of links and overlaps regarding King Kong and cryptozoology, and let me mention some of those.
The original King Kong (1933) was created, directed, and written by Merian C. Cooper. Cooper was originally a documentary filmmaker, and seems to have been aware of the sightings and rumors of some unknown hairy hominoids throughout south Asia and Oceania. Cooper was also a member of the OSS (the forerunner of the CIA), and like millionaire cryptozoology supporter Tom Slick (I wrote Slick’s biography, Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology, 2002), was open to a shadowy life that moved from cryptozoology (as a cover) to spying.
I have heard that the Peter Jackson 2005 King Kong is about 8-10 feet tall [although previews now in December seem to show a larger King Kong]. In 1933, the movie posters claimed that their King Kong was 50 feet tall, but that was exaggerated to sell tickets. In the jungle scenes, King Kong 1933 was about 18 feet high. However, when the story transported King Kong 1933 to New York, Cooper and friends decided Kong wasn’t tall enough to compare with the large 1930s skyscrapers, so they increased Kong’s height up to about 24 feet.
If the 2005 Kong is really in the 8-10 feet tall range, this is within the known height reported for the real Gigantopithecus blacki, a Pleistocene (Ice Age) fossil ape first discovered in 1935 in China, and since found in India and Vietnam. They are known from fossil remains of about 1000 teeth and four mandibles (jawbones) dating from 6 million years ago to about 100,000 years before present. These large known fossil apes still may exist through modern reports of the breeding populations of the Yeti (the Abominable Snowmen of the Himalayas), the Yeren (of China), and the Sasquatch/Bigfoot (of the Pacific Northwest, North America).
Gigantopithecus and Homo erectus and sapiens (humans) lived at the same time during the Pleistocene and there’s no reason to think they might not still co-exist. Large tracts of wilderness areas hide many new animals today, and there is plenty of native traditions, footprint finds, eyewitness accounts, fecal evidence, and more showing us that the Yeti-Yeren-Sasquatch could be the forerunners of the King Kong tale. Of course, one lone gorilla-like biped would have had to issue from a population of giant apes, so there are more out there. It has always been a myth that there is just one Yeti or one Bigfoot, so you can see where a "one Kong" myth would have developed too.
As to a city like New York City being attacked by a Kong, there’s a big difference between a 24 ft tall Kong being around versus an 8 to 10 ft Kong. Most modern police forces and zoos could easily deal with or dispatch a normal-sized (cryptozoologically-speaking) giant biped ape. Tranquilizer guns were made by the 1950s Tom Slick expeditions to Nepal to capture Yeti, and later for the early 1960s ones hunting Bigfoot in California. Such tranquilizer guns could easily take down a Kong, and neutralize him. If they can do it with elephants, of course, it could be done against a Kong.
Now if a 24 ft Kong was cruising New York City, you’ve got a different situation. I would assume an ape, especially a bipedal anthropoid that large, might psychologically speaking be in terror itself in a non-rainforest environment, in such an urban setting as New York. We aren’t talking about Deter Jeter fleeing autograph seekers, after all. We are talking about a full-scale huge ape trying to escape or attack in a panic mode. It might launch into flight and fight defensive and reactive stances, all in the same minute. Unfortunately, I fear the only control choice for the police department and military would be to launch forceful and deadly action against the scared and aggressive Kong. With planning and patience, less-deadly force could be employed, but most law enforcement units are not prepared for surprise visitors like King Kong. I would guess that efforts to capture it alive would cause it to panic more, and it would die from a heart attack or from being killed by law enforcement officers to protect the citizens of the City. Of course, by then, the media would have reported extensively on the animal, so we would know it at least existed, this would cause re-thinking of the known animal world, cryptozoology would be supported (because where there is one there are others), and further expeditions would be sent out to capture one more safely. The Kong species would have been established and anthropology and the world would never be the same.
Of course, that’s what I said, but that’s not the way it made it into the 11th of December article.
Latest Update: The newspaper’s website may be attempting to make a correction in the name due to this posting, but the print version will always carry the quotation from "cryptozoologist Lore Croghan" – who it turns out is a financial writer at this same newspaper!!