Loren Coleman (1947-) Biography
Personal, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1947, in Norfolk, VA; Ethnicity: "Scottish/Cherokee/English." Education: Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, B.A. (anthropology/zoology), 1976; Simmons School of Social Work, M.S.W., 1978; graduate study at Brandeis University, 1987, and at University of New Hampshire Family Research Laboratory.
Cryptozoologist, filmmaker, educator, and author. Worked in mental-health field, beginning 1967; University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Policy, director of federal project, 1983–96, instructor in documentary film class; worked as a professor and research associate, beginning 1980. Consultant to film producers; has appeared on National Public Radio programs and on television programs, including Unsolved Mysteries, Ancient Mysteries, In the Unknown, and In Search of History. Executive producer of films, including SOS—Runaways and Teen Suicides: Coded Cries for Help, 1987; and Mattering: A Journey with Rural Youth, 1992. Military service: Alternate Service, commanding officer, 1972–74.
Golden Reel First-Place Award, Independent Television Producers Association, 1987, for SOS—Runaways and Teen Suicides: Coded Cries for Help; Alumni Recognition Award, Simmons School of Social Work, 1992; Bronze Apple Award (third-place), National Educational Film and Video Festival, 1993, for Mattering; Anomalist Award for Best Book of 1999, for Cryptozoology A to Z and The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide; Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults designation, Young Adult Library Services Association/American Library Association, 2001, for Cryptozoology A to Z.
(With Jerome Clark) The Unidentified: Notes toward Solving the UFO Mystery, Warner (New York, NY), 1975.
Mysterious America, Faber & Faber (Boston, MA), 1983, 3nd revised edition, Paraview Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Curious Encounters: Phantom Trains, Spooky Spots, and Other Mysterious Wonders, Faber & Faber (Boston, MA), 1985.
Suicide Clusters, Faber & Faber (Boston, MA), 1987.
(Editor, with others) Working with Older Adoptees: A Sourcebook of Innovative Models, University of Southern Maine (Portland, ME), 1988.
Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti, Faber & Faber (Boston, MA), 1989.
(With Jerome Clark) Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Patrick Huyghe) The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide, illustrated by Harry Trumbore, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.
Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology, Craven Street Books (Fresno, CA), 2002.
Mothman and Other Curious Encounters, Paraview Press (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Patrick Huyghe) The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, illustrated by Harry Trumbore, Jeremy P. Tarcher (New York, NY), 2003.
Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America, Paraview Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2003.
The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines, Paraview Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor of numerous articles to periodicals; columnist for Fortean Times and Fate.
In addition to his work as a educator, researcher, and author, Loren Coleman is one of the world's best-known cryptozoologists—literally, a person who studies "hidden animals." Devoting much of his career to pursuing creatures such as the mythic Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, and the Abominable Snowman, Coleman has also authored dozens of books and hundreds of articles that reflect his interest in investigating sightings of these mysterious beings with an eye to separating fact from fiction. A frequent guest on both radio and television, he has also served as a consultant to films and television programs such as Unsolved Mysteries, In the Unknown, and Ancient Mysteries, as well as to National Public Radio's Inside Edition and All Things Considered.
Coleman first became interested in mysterious primates and other beasts in the late 1950s, when he saw a Japanese movie titled Half Human, about a mysterious upright, gorilla-like creature. As he noted in an interview for Sygne.com, "I went to school and asked my teachers, 'What's this thing about the abominable snowman?' and they said it doesn't exist…. I asked what was going on, and I started researching it, and found out that there seemed to be something there." Earning his undergraduate degree in anthropology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Coleman eventually pursued a graduate degree in psychiatric social work at Boston's Simmons College, and has devoted part of his professional life in the field of suicide prevention and social policy. Related work in this area includes a study of the influence of media on creating unreasonable expectations, and Coleman's The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines offers what a Kirkus reviewer described as "persuasive and chilling evidence" that acts of violence promoted by media reports "often inspire imitation."
In his role as cryptozoologist, Coleman mines documented sightings, legends, myths, rumors, and literature in producing The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide, coauthored with Patrick Huyghe. In this work, the coauthors compile what Skeptical Inquirer contributor Benjamin Radford described as an "illustrated catalogue if anecdotes of encounters with mysterious primates." Divided into nine categories, including "True Giant," "Neandertaloid," "Proto-Pygmy," and "Giant Monkey," the creatures are united in their possession of at least three and no more than six toes. From the preserved body of the Minnesota Iceman, which circulated in state fairs during the 1960s as a purported Bigfoot to Yeti, the Tano Giant, and various water-dwelling primates, or Mer-beings, discussion ranges back in time to Grendel, the monstrous creature killed by Beowulf in the classic Old English verse epic. While calling the authors' efforts "speculative taxonomy," a Whole Earth contributor deemed The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide "one of the most useful" books available on the subject of Bigfoot.
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Coleman joins coauthor Jerome Clark to broaden the focus to non-primate creatures in Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature, an intriguing overview that presents much of the research, to date, on creature sightings. Focusing on the hair-covered creature dubbed "Bigfoot" in 1958 but also known as a Yeti or Sasquatch, his book Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America draws together evidence of this elusive and nocturnal creature's existence. Noting that Coleman, a respected researcher, "has more credibility than most" who write on the subject, Kliatt contributor Edna M. Boardman called Bigfoot! "well-written," adding that it presents readers with "intriguing anecdotes and examples, combining folklore and research."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2003, review of Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America, p. 282; July 15, 2004, review of The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines, p. 669.
Kliatt, September, 2003, Edna M. Boardman, review of Bigfoot!, p. 44.
Library Journal, November 1, 1983, review of Mysterious America, p. 2091; March 15, 1986, Edward B. St. John, review of Curious Encounters, p. 72; October 1, 2004, Audrey Snowden, review of The Copycat Effect, p. 91.
Nature, February 1, 1990, Jeffrey A. McNeely, review of Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti, p. 422.
Publishers Weekly, June 21, 2004, review of The Copycat Effect, p. 52.
Skeptical Inquirer, January, 2000, Benjamin Radford, "The Flawed Guide to Bigfoot," p. 55.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), June 1, 2003, review of Bigfoot!, p. 6.
Whole Earth, winter, 2000, review of The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide, p. 21.
Loren Coleman Web site, http://www.lorencoleman.com (September 15, 2005).
Sygne.com, http://www.sygne.com/ (May, 1999), interview with Coleman.
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