Sunday, November 08, 2009
The International Cryptozoology Museum
Yesterday, my son and I drove just under three hours up to Portland, Maine in order to visit the just opened International Cryptozoology Museum . Located at 661 Congress Street, the small museum was a real treat for my son and I. Containing the collection of renowned cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman, the museum, even in its formative stages had some really cool pieces, including a 5 1/2 foot mounted coelacanth, dozens of casts of sasquatch foot prints, yeti and orang pendak prints, models, a what cryptozoology ISN'T display and Loren Coleman himself.
I didn't take very many pictures because I ended up spending most of the time talking with Loren who was very gracious with his time, even signing my son's own bigfoot cast, and taking our picture with the lifesize sasquatch model in the lobby. I didn't take many pictures myself, and should have handed the camera over to my son who devoured the place down to the minutae while Loren and I spoke.
The slightly fuzzy photo my son took of Loren Coleman, myself and bigfoot. I think that cryptids have an innate power to make photos of them appear slightly out of focus.
Some of the many models and figures on display of extinct animals still being sighted today, as well as representations of former cryptids now proven to exist such as the giant panda, gorilla, komodo dragon, okapi, and giant squid. The large pteranodon was a prop for a movie. I can't recall which one.
As you can imagine, dedicating a museum to cryptozoology provides a bit of a conundrum. When the animals remain unproven, it limits what you are able to display. Obviously you can't have a mounted Loch Ness Monster, or Yeti on display, so these unproven animals are represented by many many models, figures, and tourist souvenirs as well as by plaster casts of footprints, hair samples, and paraphenalia from expeditions which found convincing evidence.
Various lion skulls and models. The saber-toothed tiger, the American lion, and the African lion.
There were also some Jenny Hanivers on display such as jackalopes, furred trouts, monkfish, and fiji mermaids including an impressive prop from tv biopic "P.T. Barnum" (1999) which starred Beau Bridges.
Along with all of the various casts, there were also hair and even fecal samples.
One of my favorite items at the museum was the lifesize model of the dead Cadborosaurus which was removed from the inside of a whale in October 1937.
The trip was well worth the drive and Loren was a wonderful host. My son, the amateur cryptozoologist was definitely thrilled by the museum, and in meeting "THE cryptozoologist." I can't wait to go back.