March 11, 2010

A SHORT INTERVIEW WITH LOREN COLEMAN

Here is a transcript of a brief interview I conducted in preparation for the series of blog installments that precede today’s entry.

In trying to make sense of an array of hundreds of alleged Bigfoot sightings, castings, and other evidence, I spoke with Loren Coleman, an internationally known anthropologist and Bigfoot expert from Maine. Loren is the author of, among other things, Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America, (NY: Paraview Pocket - Simon and Schuster, 2003). And he is the founder and curator of his International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland.
I began with, “Here in Vermont we have Bigfoot sightings that seem to date back at least to 1759. Is there something about Vermont that might make it especially attractive to Bigfoot?”

Loren: There are several factors at work. Traditionally, most of the lore we get from Vermont is Native American and colonial, as there does seem to be a rich history in the state of Windigo folklore and encounters. As the land got cleared and the various First Peoples were displaced, you saw less and less sightings. Now we are back to the Green Mountain State again, and it is "green" because of all those trees. With more forest cover, more Bigfoot may be visiting the state again, as interlopers from Canada and passing through.

Joe: I think most any animal living here in Vermont can occasionally be found beside
the road, dead. Yet as far as I know, no Bigfoot body has ever been found there or anywhere else. What do you make of that?
Loren: Wildlife officers and hunters also tell me that they never find the body of a mountain lion or bear dead in the woods. Why do we find roadkill? Because those animals are not very bright. Yes, deer, moose, raccoons, and a few bear get killed on the roads, but if there are a few intelligent biped hairy hominoids out there, they appear to be too smart to be killed by a run-in with a car.

Joe: There seems to be enough evidence of Bigfoot's reality to convince a jury, but not a scientist. What's the problem?

Loren: Verification for zoology and biology must come with a live capture, and DNA/blood samples -- or a dead body. It's that simple. No body, not proof they exist. I understand that, but, of course, am in the "live capture" camp, as far as proving they exist.

JOE: Do you think Bigfoot has a home, or he/she/it more likely to be a nomad, in constant migration?
LOREN: It seems from the data, in Vermont and Maine (where I make my home), the population of Bigfoot may be very small or only nomads. The number of sightings every year is small. The reports often talk of lean, mobile, fast, male Bigfoot. That sounds like juveniles trying to find food, a mate, and/or a new home.

JOE: Would you care to predict the future? What do you suppose will be the final outcome? Will Bigfoot join Mountain Gorillas in the biology books? Or is it more likely to remain in the realm of folklore and cryptozoology?
LOREN: I sense that a new great ape, probably discovered in Asia or Oceania, will surprise us all in the next 25 years, perhaps on the island of Sumatra. But as far as the classic American Bigfoot, I think it might be another 100 years until they are discovered. We have to be patient. It took 60 to 70 years to discover and capture the first giant panda and the mountain gorilla. Bigfoot will be an even bigger wonder.

More to come. . .