Coleman, Loren

Loren Coleman was born in Norfolk, Virginia, but moved when he was three months old to Decatur, Illinois, where he spent most of his youth, the son of a professional firefighter. Coleman grew up interested in animals, nature mysteries, zoological parks, and the exploration of wild places. As a boy, he kept a large home zoo of native species of reptiles and mammals.

In March 1960, after watching a television broadcast of a film (Half Human) about Yeti, Coleman got passionately interested in researching the reality of the Abominable Snowman. He soon began to investigate midwestern anthropoid reports in the field. He commenced what would be a series of correspondence with Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans, who would become his researcher mentors. In 1962 Coleman found a series of ape-like footprints in south-central Illinois and heard a remarkable primate screech in another part of the state.

He researched, through newspaper archives, many forgotten accounts of American Thunderbirds, Black Panthers, and Napes (North American Apes). Before his twentieth birthday he was interviewing eyewitnesses and participating in expeditions throughout North America. Coleman’s undergraduate educational choice of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale was based on his wish to be closer to the swampy bottomlands’ folklore and reports of unknown apes. Working his way through school, he obtained his degree in anthropology with a minor in zoology and years later would fine-tune his interviewing and psychological analytic skills with a postgraduate degree in psychiatric social work and doctoral-level work in social anthropology, sociology, and family violence. Since the Yeti caught his interest in 1960, Coleman has been investigating cryptozoological evidence and folklore, leading him to research mysterious panther sightings and reports of unknown apes and Bigfoot throughout North America. He has traveled to forty-five states and throughout Canada, Mexico, and the Virgin Islands speaking with witnesses and joining other researchers in the search for everything from Lake Monsters to Skunk Apes. Coleman has been picked to be the cryptozoologist for the 1999 Nessa Project’s submarine search for Scotland’s Loch Ness Monsters. He has worked with four generations of cryptozoologists, creating strong intellectual bonds with several researchers and writers, including especially Mark A. Hall, Patrick Huyghe, and Jerome Clark.

Coleman is an honorary member of cryptozoological organizations like the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, and he is a life member of the International Society of Cryptozoology. He was an early supporter of local cryptozoological efforts, as well as, for example, suggesting to Sanderson that he should create an international organization (which became the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained).

Coleman, after years of fieldwork and bibliographic research, has written books and more than two hundred articles on the subject, has appeared frequently on radio and television programs, and has lectured from Idaho to London. He has been both on- and off-camera consultant to NBC-TV’s Unsolved Mysteries, A&E’s Ancient Mysteries, the History Channel’s In Search of History, the Discovery Channel’s Into the Unknown, and other documentary programs. Strange Magazine carried his regular column, “The Cryptozoo News,” for several years. He contributes a regular cryptozoology column, “On the Trail,” to the London-based Fortean Times, and “Mysterious World” to St. Paul-based national magazine Fate.

Coleman’s first articles were published in 1969. He went on to write two books with Jerome Clark (The Unidentified [1975] and Creatures of the Outer Edge [1978], both published by Warner). In the 1980s, Coleman wrote Mysterious America (1983), Curious Encounters (1985), and Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti (1989), for Faber and Faber. Coleman’s 1999 field guide, with Patrick Huyghe, is The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide (Avon Books).

On October 20, 1997, on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the reported filming of a Californian Sasquatch, Coleman was among the first ten inductees into the new Roger Patterson Memorial Hall of Fame at the soon-to-be-open Bigfoot Museum in Portland, Oregon. With appropriate funding, Coleman plans to open an International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, to house his vast collection of artifacts, books, and research materials sometime in the next few years. Coleman has perhaps the largest cryptozoological library in North America and an extensive collection of cryptid artifacts.

Coleman has been an author, filmmaker, grants specialist, instructor, professor, and research associate in various academic university settings since 1980. He is the author of several non-cryptozoological books, including Working with Older Adoptees (1987) and Suicide Clusters (1987).

Loren Coleman can be reached at P.O. Box 360, Portland, Maine 04112, or via E-mail at His website is



The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

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