Megan Richardson’s article in a Downeast Maine newspaper will be remembered as the first media discussion of a little known Maine cryptid, Belfast’s Muck Monster. See the third paragraph from the end for more on that creature lurking in Kirby Lake.
Prospect [Maine] — World-renowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman visited Fort Knox over the weekend as part of the fort’s Paranormal and Psychic Faire, which also featured presentations on dowsing and paranormal investigation. Coleman was on hand for much of the weekend to answer questions and autograph copies of his numerous books.
Coleman started working in cryptozoology, which literally means the study of hidden animals, in 1960, after watching a science fiction movie on the Yeti (also known as the Abominable Snowman). His teachers told him not to waste his time reading about such creatures, which he said naturally led him to read everything he could about them.
Early in his career, Coleman wrote letters to people all over the country about the subject of cryptozoology. He soon started writing field reports in the Midwest, and investigated Bigfoot and mystery cat sightings. He was first published in 1969 and has since published 30 books. He has now done expeditions in every state except Alaska, and all over the world, including a two-week stay at Loch Ness, where he keynoted a symposium on the Loch Ness Monster and interviewed many witnesses who claim to have seen Nessie. Coleman’s work in cryptozoology has also drawn coverage from the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and National Geographic.
Cryptozoologists investigate animals that are noticed by humans but not yet acknowledged by science. Coleman said some good examples of animals that cryptozoologists have studied, and that are now known to exist, include the giant squid and the ivory-billed woodpecker.
Coleman said cryptozoology is a very popular subject worldwide, although very few people work in his field….He said the world’s most popular mysterious creatures are Nessie, Bigfoot, and the Yeti. However, here in Maine, some of the creatures asked about most often are the New England Sea Serpent, and the Maine Mystery Beast.
The New England Sea Serpent has been sighted less and less, said Coleman, because sea traffic is much more regulated today than it has been in the past. As recently as 1958, however, there was a sighting off Cape Elizabeth of a sea creature said to be more than 50 feet long. It was said to move toward the sound of a foghorn every time it went off. Coleman said this is a detail that is rare and gives more credibility to the account.
Coleman said about 80 percent of all sightings of any such creature are hoaxes or mistakes.
“I don’t believe in any of this. I accept or deny based on the evidence,” said Coleman.
That said, Coleman reported he has found footprints and has seen black panthers (the North American black panther has never been photographed or bred and is largely thought by the scientific community not to exist). Coleman said it is likely Bigfoot exists, and that these creatures live in family groups, as most sightings are of two adults and two children.
There are not many Bigfoot sightings in Maine, Coleman said, although footprints have been found in Sidney. There were reports of sightings in Durham in the ‘70s, and also reports in Rangeley and the Mt. Katahdin area more than 100 years ago. Coleman said because the Maine woods are home to other large animals, such as moose, it is possible that a Bigfoot type of creature could have lived in the Maine woods as well.
Among the large creatures that may be lurking in the Maine woods is the Maine Mystery Beast, not to be confused with the Maine Mutant that was discovered — and highly publicized — last year.
In the 1990s reports came in from the Turner area that a large creature was killing livestock and big dogs. Coleman said this Mystery Beast is likely still at large and is probably a black panther or other large cat.
The Maine Mutant was discovered dead on the side of the road last year, after reports that a wild beast had been chasing cats in the Turner area. The Maine Mutant became a worldwide phenomenon and was on the news in several countries. Coleman said it became a huge story because there was a body that could be studied and identified. Eventually, after DNA tests were done, the body of the mutant was identified as a feral chow, a dog that had been wild for a long time. The Maine Mutant had already been popularized, however, and you can still find T-shirts with a cartoon of the mutant’s head on them.
Of course, there may be some mystery beasts even closer to home than Turner. Coleman said he has heard stories of a monster residing in Kirby Lake, also known as The Muck, in Belfast, located on the corner of Miller Street and Lincolnville Avenue. Coleman said while it’s possible the rumors are the result of people wanting to make up their own local folklore, he has also heard that the creature is a giant eel.
Coleman said it is an exciting time in the world of cryptozoology, and that he has a lot of fun doing his job. He has degrees in social work and anthropology and spent years working at a university, although he quit in 1996 to pursue cryptozoology full time.
“It’s not about money,” Coleman said. “It’s about passion and adventure.” By Megan Richardson, The Republican Journal & The Waldo Independent, Wednesday, July 25, 2007 “Bigfoot expert discusses local mystery beasts: Is Belfast’s Muck home to a giant eel? “