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Jerry D. Coleman
I question everything, but anything is possible even when seemingly improbable.

Am I a Cryptozoologist? I don't know, I've been called worse.

In 1977 I investigated the Lawndale, Illinois Thunderbird reports of the Lowe family. (Article on this site)
In 1994 I created and produced the "Myth or Real- collector card series.
In 2003 my first full length work was released in the form of a book called "Strange Highways-.
In 2006 the sequel "More Strange Highways- was released.
And in the midst of the above -- articles can be found from: Fate Magazine, Strange Magazine, various newspapers, and Cryptozoological books. I've done a few radio broadcasts and guest appearances on local television programs.

I encourage anyone that has a story to tell, a comment to make or question to ask to please feel free to e-mail me at: or leave a message at FaceBook/Jerry D. Coleman .
January 13, 2013
"Ethnography of Squatching" ( Strange Highways
"Ethnography of Squatching" (

I-Warm-up ~ the beginning
I-Rules of the Game ~ none other than your own
I-The team ~ choosing sides
I-Preseason ~ a time for trial and error
I-Making The Team ~ rethinking the desire
II - Picking a position ~ then honing the skills
II - The Line-up ~ others with cryptozoological interests
II - Kick-off ~ time to focus
II - First Quarter ~ touchdown

Half Time~ break time
Third & Fourth Quarters ~ penalties, flags & injuries
Overtime ~ any winning game plan needs adjustments
Monday Morning Quarterbacks ~ beware
Postseason ~ a time to analyze

Picking a position ~ then honing the skills

From the novice hobbyist to cryptozoologist, the ultimate field position for many is to "quarterback" an investigation. I've never had my sights on anything other than to be a linebacker type researcher. Cryptozoology is a field of defense, but the group mentality seldom sees it that way. The play [case] has been decided; the ball [cryptid] has been run. End of scrimmage [story] according to the investigating quarterback. The only serious defense the quarterback does with any consistency is a consideration of wiggle room and damage control for a theory he or she plans to make public. But for the rare interested linebackers (researcher, skeptic and witness), any ground attempted to be gained must be earned and documented, replayed again and again, scrutinized for fumbles and fouls, investigated and updated, reviewed and compared. It never ends until the fat cryptid sings!

The high school days conditioned me well for picking my position in the field. Leaving the house was not walking away from a home but into freedom and fresh air, where I could act upon my own thoughts and find my own path. I had a complete range of school-time friends, from athletes and cheerleaders, to nerds and the challenged. But the majority of my friends were the small, the weak, the odd, and the quiet. Good people, each and every one of them. They were not out to hurt a soul or to build their ego. I had walked and talked and laughed with them all, and if a bully messed with my friends they were messing with me. I was the quintessential Fonzie (Arthur Fonzarelli from "Happy Days" 1974-1984) even before his television creation. The choice had been obvious, being pushed around and abused at home was not going to happen in my world. A line of defense was the foremost rule.
Once the school days ended, new and exciting avenues needed explored. And with me, I carried cryptozoology tucked safely in my hip pocket. I sought out employment that was challenging.
After a short time of living in Orange County, California, the return to the Midwest was more than welcome. Once again picking up where I'd left off but now looking for not only a challenging occupation but an exciting one as well. Decatur Ambulance fit the bill. Staying cool as a cucumber, never riled or ruffled earned me a shift supervisor position after one year. When there was an emergency, I wanted the call. Working 24 hours on and 24 hours off easily allowed ample time for a novice cryptozoology researcher, such as I, to forge a mold and apply it within the present scope of the time. Mini field investigations commenced, witness testimony was gathered and vacations were planned with cryptozoology sites guiding the way.
My articles and notes were being printed in newspapers, magazines and books. It was during this time in 1977 when a cryptozoology event had occurred in the small farming community of Lawndale, Illinois. Allegedly, one Marlon Lowe was reportedly picked up and carried a distance of 35 feet by a huge thunderbird type of flying creature. I first heard about the thunderbird sighting from the local newspapers and after speaking with Loren Coleman and another cryptozoology colleague, immediate plans were underway to visit Lawndale first hand, to speak with the witnesses and investigate the area. This was my first significant case, my first exclusive investigation and a case that is to this day retold and reviewed. The entire case study of this incident can be found in my book "Strange Highways" A Whitechapel Production, 2003. So, the details will not be restated here.
My cryptozoology position was forming and no one would be correct to say it wasn't. Once moving to the suburbs of Chicago in 1981, the area opened up an entirely different means to the cryptozoology end. After a few years on the road as a semi-truck driver/ cryptozoology researcher, life demanded a job closer to home. For the next two decades, not a day of work or research was missed. Black Panther reports periodically reached the media, coydog sightings and bigfoot type creatures allegedly roamed the forest preserves and corn fields. Even a mystery kangagoo had three days in the newspapers and on local news channels. During this time was when the project of the "Myth or Real" collector cards became a reality. The old, once known world of pain was now a world gone into hiding. Cryptozoology adventure brought distraction, as the unknown now covered the known wounds. Still, nothing was found of cryptid confirmation, but my personal direction was beginning to solidify.

The Line-up ~ others with cryptozoological interests

As I became engrossed in cryptozoology, the once understood simplicity of the field unveiled a labyrinth unlike any other; a cryptic underworld of long winding paths, dead ends and never-ending avenues. Traveling through this ostensibly nonsensical maze of cryptozoology, hindrances appeared around every corner, slowing the progress and masking the results. Any devoted, serious researcher realizes early on that investigating a cryptid event is not an easy task or a short lived one. Reporting its findings, explaining the events and updating the data may be quite a prolonged project. Five days in the field may equate to five or ten years of explanation and those are the cases which claimed little and revealed less. Obstacles arise from nowhere. People take sides. Officials ignore while news agencies laugh and folks continue the debate. A hodgepodge of remarks of testimonials, possibilities, assumptions, theories and opinions. Minds have been decided and your evidence, experience and field work is then chosen to be accepted or dismissed right out of the gate. In cryptozoology this acceptance is seldom rewarding. It is heard then filed away. But the dismissal far surpasses what most are familiar with, sometimes going beyond opinionated conversation, to contempt and ridicule. Then sooner or later, one of those who had accepted your investigation will use it without proper credit or claim it as their own. And sooner or later, one of those who had dismissed the research, will use you as an example of nonsense, or label you a fraud.

A world once escaped, now muscles its way back. The upside-down old world of heartbreak, confusion and crazies slowly returns. Different names, different topics but nonetheless, flashbacks of the ugly and the unreasonable reappear. Unsolicited bullies loom, upmanship surfaces and competitors emerge. Taken at face value, these types would apparently have a personal agenda or an out of control ego or are merely drenched with pure boredom. However, when one looks deeply, many of these folks are cut from a similar cloth. Like it or not, these plebeians with fundamentally similar characteristics have chosen this path for many of the reasons you too sought an escape. The closer one gets to cryptozoological people, the more personal and meaningful it is and like tracking a chupacabra or evaluating the witness of a thunderbird, they too become a valid reason to be analyzed, for a basic reasoning behind a lifelong interest of cryptozoology. It is no longer about escaping a battered past, for the escape has been realized. No, now it is about the source of the choice, reasons to continue and the now known knowledge that like grabbing at a hand full of water, cryptozoology cannot be contained or taken to another in a complete form. And unlike the rumors heard of Bigfooters organizing group outings, I have chosen to either research with another who is not at all interested in cryptozoology or the undecided novice or skeptics who do share my interest but remain committed to their own principles. My partnerships of choice might be illogical to many Bigfooters, and unreasonable to a few colleagues, but if presumed evidence is collected or witnessed, who better to have at your side? Consider this; five or ten Bigfooters go into the woods and hear an injured or dying owl, they then pass a storm broken tree, soon someone takes note of a muddy smeared bear track and to top it off, one of them gets hit in the head with a small stone thrown by a kid walking to his favorite fishing hole. I would bet money that at least 90% of those Bigfooters would log, blog and claim that they had found good to solid evidence for the existence of Bigfoot within the area which they had visited, furthermore I would win that bet every time.

For years now, many cryptozoology enthusiasts have maintained an opinion that the mainstream does not take the field seriously. They are quick to point out a number of factors for this lackluster approval. Most often headlining the list is Bigfoot itself. Bigfooters see this as a narrow mindedness or ignorance, whereas, the general cryptozoology community looks upon it as an understandable fact of life due to the public perception through the media. Reasons for this are not hard to find. Sasquatch has been hoaxed and exploited to a shameful degree. Television series and commercials have played a huge roll. The over reporting of United States sightings of an unfounded Bigfoot, with nothing more than blurry photographs and overzealous country folk as witnesses, leaves the mainstream more than willing to laugh it off and thus cryptozoology as a whole suffers. It matters not that scores of new species are discovered each year, but birds, frogs, fish and an occasional mammal are rarely seen on the nightly news or talked about at the office water cooler. However, put a bra-less cigarette smoking woman in front of a camera while she recounts her personal chat with Bigfoot himself and the world watches. There is no mystery here as to why cryptozoology remains a pseudoscience at best, and even less of a mystery as to why it is a unique type of person which continues to maintain a high level of interest in Sasquatch.

Over the decades I've been fortunate to meet a large number of people from the cryptozoology world, and over time many of them developed into close personal friends. When I first asked what brought them into the hunt for cryptids, most all gave the standard cookie cutter replies: "An old movie of a Yeti expedition into the Himalayas..." or "Once while camping I saw a hairy creature..." or "A magazine article of The Loch Ness Monster intrigued me..." etc. But once their protective shield was lowered, I quickly noticed an astounding similarity of miserable to gruesome childhoods. To mention but a few - numerous friends and associates with an interest in Squatching told me of unreasonable, unending personal abuse and some even shared despicable pasts witnessed. Folks mentioned such things as being locked in their rooms every weekend, public and private horrific beatings, unreported rapes, lengthy and even permanent abandonment, kidnappings and one spoke of a dad allegedly playing Russian Roulette with a loaded gun held to their leg. One witnessed a parent's suicide, another saw their fiance murdered, and still another told of losing two family members in an automobile accident. Again the ethnography of squatching tells the real story, revealing the motives and bringing the people together as much as the sands in an hourglass.

During this research, I found a majority of those whom were drawn to cryptozoology through Sasquatch to be from obviously, dysfunctional families. Many were understandable reluctant to publicly share their plight,'s own, Cherokee-Becca was not one of them. What follows is a painful glimpse into her journey to cryptozoology.

My interest, then love, in the unknown and later, cryptozoology, started when I was a young child. I came from a broken home, one that was broken into a thousand pieces. The first extreme event occurred when I was 3. I was KIDNAPPED by an abusive father. My siblings and I were on the run for the next 7 years. To mentally survive, I had my own little world to retreat to, before the consist abuse could break me. Always dreaming of my 'other' family, one I had created, who truly loved me, and who would never abuse or starve me, the way my real family did. And this other family would always come and rescue me, just in the nick of time, when my father was about to take his abuse to the next unthinkable level. In my dream world, I didn't dream of unicorns and fluffy kittens; I dreamed of unknown things and made up things, creatures no one had ever seen before, and only known to me. These creatures were my friends, and they loved me. Laying in a bed as a child, I could see the cracks on my ceiling and I visualized these cracks as creatures. Some were known things, recognizable to all, like; angels, or birds, or what have you. But there were others that were known only, to me. Like a giant's eye in the sky watching over me, from the cracks in the ceiling above...

When I was in grade school, I saw old black and white footage of a speedboat, racing over the water, in Loch Ness, Scotland. The film showed the boat hitting something in the water, the boat flipped and basically disintegrated, killing the driver, as I recall. The class was told the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie, had killed the man. My first thought, "How do they know the Loch Ness Monster is a girl?" and second, "Is she OK?!" Shamefully, I cared not about the man, I cared for this poor thing who was minding her own business, in her own 'home', when this man hit 'her'. It was then that I knew that monsters, were indeed among us, and they fascinated me.
It wasn't long after that when I was introduced to 'Patty' of the now infamous Patterson film. Wow, another 'monster' come to life. I was sitting on the carpeting of the classroom, watching the film and several kids around me were visibly, nervously squirming, and EVEN scared. But I was enthralled.

Wasn't long after seeing the film of Bigfoot, when I really became interested in all things unusual. I did not have access to books and things, or television shows like most kids. I was not allowed to read at home, or even freely play. When I came home from school, I did my homework at the kitchen table and then, had to sit on the living room floor in my designated place. Not allowed to speak to my siblings, (there were 6 of us children by then), and only watched what my father watched. I was allowed very limited play time in my shared room on the weekend, usually Sundays. And I was always telling the little ones, (I was the oldest), about the things I saw at school, the films of Nessie and Patty. Then, off to bed to do it all over again the next day.

I felt I was the rare child who could not WAIT to go to school. School was safety, sanctuary, and a meal, which we were often denied at home. But, it was also more. Some of my aunts taught me to read before I even entered school. I was told that they found it humorous to see a 4 year old sitting at their kitchen table, reading the morning paper. So I read at an early age and I enjoyed reading, immensely. And yet, was never allowed to read at 'home'. On library day at school, it was a never ending battle to decide which book I wanted to check out, and I kept those books at school, I had no choice. But after Nessie and Patty, the decision was much easier. Only there weren't many books for the young, on them yet, not in those days. But any book I did find on the subject of unknown creatures, I absorbed all I could get my hands on, and it was never enough.

At 15, I was pregnant, and as publically accepted and expected, married soon after. I was able to read more, but never seemed to have the time. I would come across an interesting book or article, now and again, that appealed to my sense of wonder. I would sometimes come across a Time Life book, that had amazing stories in it. I wasn't even introduced to the wide world of the Internet until 2004. And then, there was no turning back.
I eventually moved to a fairly remote area, and had an experience that changed everything for me. I SAW a black panther, not once, but on 3 different occasions. I went on-line to find more info on them and was shocked, even surprised, to find out, there was supposedly no such thing! But that couldn't be, I saw it! After much searching, I came to a Cryptozoology site and found a home, and through those old, safe, ceiling cracks; information, interest and friends were found.

Kick-off ~ time to focus

In the world of cryptozoology, bigfooting and more to the point a healthy devolopment of the "Ethnography of Squatching" needs focus when engaged. Few seek a serious interest or hobby with the intention to be no more than a follower, or worse, scammed and fooled. Being fully aware of those you encounter is a very good first and continued step to maintain. Labeling people should be understood to be nothing more than a means to an end and not used to publically ridicule or humiliate. The means to this end is a basic one for me. The initial objective was to find an escape; the purpose is to mold and shape this world of cryptozoology to complement my life with a possible addition of a personal sense of accomplishment; to learn what I wished, to teach or share what I might and to stay clear of those I found as misleading and distractive. It has never been about another or because of another and this should hold true for all.

Squatching is indeed one of those rare and unique fields where people become the entire story. Many don't see it that way, most don't consciously plan it that way, but that is in fact how squatching unfolds. Then there are those who do intentionally desire the story to be about them. Some of the first individuals that come to mind are no doubt the most prevalent of not only cryptozoology but life, which is arrogance. Another term often heard is egotistical. Arrogant and egotistical could be a prefix utilized for more specific labels i.e. The arrogant hoaxer, the egotistical cryptozoologist, etc. These people go above and beyond their own world of cryptozoology perspective by consistently promoting their own onto others. The promotion usually has an agenda you're not a part of, but rather a tool to be used and perhaps abused. The once monetarily inadequate field of cryptozoology, save for Hollywood, has now become more luring through cable television, tourist locations, merchandise and even eBay. Yes eBay, where anything from a life-sized bigfoot lawn ornament to alleged bigfoot scat and plaster casts are bought and sold regularly, being nothing less than a pig-in-a-poke.

I have been listening to a select committee within the cryptozoology field for years repeat undocumentable stories, point out anonymously told tales, comment on sightings from undisclosed locations, and throw out theories which I could have created while under the influence of LSD. Most all of these tall tales basically end with a dare, "Prove me wrong!" Well, as they say, "You can't prove a negative." However, during debates, believers and some others fall back on this statement [prove me wrong], which is over used like a worn out sock. As is noted within this simple exchange of thought and comment related to cryptids, the world of cryptozoology spins like a child's uncontrolled toy top. The entire field of cryptozoology was created and exists only on the premise of unknown, undiscovered, hidden animals thus making the entire argument moot. Rather than concerning oneself with statements or belief of sightings and opinions, one need only adopt the prerequisite that, it simply is or is not, and go forward from this point to explain. What did they see? Why did they tell this story? Once one returns to a basic line of questioning, logical explanations usually comes flowing forward or at least it stands a chance of an understanding to surface. More times than not, proof is not needed, only reasoning. The human mind is full of scores of agendas and sensations, and a grouped mentality exacerbates this problem to the level where the motive is hidden better than the Sasquatch.

First Quarter ~ touchdown

Unlike the routine and mundane life, of jobs, kids, bills and maintenance, cryptozoology is a vacation getaway, a place one may go to at any time. To score in the routine world takes devotion and fortitude. To score in the world of cryptozoology is not so much about devotion and fortitude as it is to simply get involved or accept the desire.
The rewards reaped from involvement of cryptozoology, incline to boost the ego rather than the bank account. This ego boosting is in-and-of-itself another clog in the wheel of the Ethnography of Squatching. The good that comes from hours and years and decades of cryptozoology research, only gives one that fuzzy good feeling. No children were fed, no diseases cured, not even a pantry stocked or an automobile purchased because of it. Not one relevant record was set, not one life saved and nothing truly beneficial to society became of it. Or has it? That is a question a crytpozoologist, believer, bigfooter, skeptic, debunker or hoaxer can honestly answer, only for themselves.

If I were to be ask the question: "What, if any, earth changing event have you experienced due to cryptozoology?" I'd have to say, in a roundabout way, due to years of interviewing witnesses of alleged strange encounters, a rewarding trip to Florida first comes to mind. Because of the laws of privacy, I can't get too detailed, but at the turn of the century, I was employed as a counselor for troubled teens. The children normally ranged from 13 to 17. They were often sent to the facility methodically by judges or parents. However, about once a month a child would be delivered after hours, handcuffed and brought by a sheriff's deputy. The kids' problems encompassed everything under the sun; from habitual truancy to extreme violence; a microcosm of adult crime and antisocial behavior.
Some of my duties were to oversee the Sunday visitations and check in and out the kids approved for weekend passes. I became very familiar with the kids and parents' trials and tribulations.
At one point, a mother of a then released child contacted me during my vacation. She was crying and extremely distressed. Her daughter had run away. A long story short - after a few days, a number of interviews and many miles, I found the child in Florida and safely returned her home. I owe my success, in part, to the interviewing skills honed during cryptozoology investigations.

The missed field-goal:

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but as the cryptozoologists and believers attempt to convince the validity of the field or justify their own personal experiences, they are quick to fall back on a familiar argument. They point out the most recent, notable discoveries of animals, such as the okapi, mountain gorilla, coelacanth, Komodo dragon and giant panda. Take note, not one of these animals were discovered by, or due to, the efforts of any cryptozoologists or believers or Squatchers.

The okapi was rediscovered by Harry Johnson a British botanist in the Congo, 1887. The okapi was known to ancient Egyptians, an ancient carved image of the animal was discovered in Egypt.

The mountain gorilla was shot by Captain Robert von Beringe in 1902 while establishing the boundaries of German East Africa.

The coelacanth was rediscovered in 1938 off the coast of South Africa in a fisherman's net, the local natives had been eating the fish species for centuries.

The Komodo dragon has been rumored to have been discovered during WW1, when an aircraft came down in the waters around the islands, and the surviving pilot swam to Komodo Island, this however would have not occurred any earlier than 1914 which should kill that rumor. Another rumor states pearlers and fishermen found the Komodo dragons in 1910.

The West first learned of the giant panda on 11 March 1869, when the French missionary, Armand David, received a skin from a hunter.

A touchdown in cryptozoology seems to not require a score by, or because of, a 'team member', only a fact that discovery or rediscovery has happened by someone, anyone and will undoubtedly, happen again. This apparent conclusion on their part is no more revealing or earth shattering than to suggest with certainty, that given enough time some fisherman or fisherwoman will someday catch a record setting fish.

It is about an attitude of posturing, where one can never be proven wrong. It is about a loose fitting avocation, where nothing ventured only means nothing matters. It is about a world that exists only when time allows and in turn, a desire to momentarily suppress a real world of demand and disadvantage. It is about a place where knowledge, experiences, and alleged evidence are held and protected like nuclear launch codes, as the community locks them away behind screen names, undisclosed locations, threats of lawsuits, undocumented credentials and exaggerated tales. These examples of methods and motives are not the random or seldom noted observations, but more the norm of the community of Squatching. It is a coveted field, full of individual attempts professed to realize similar results. And those results may be nothing more than a race to an end zone, with no time left on the clock, leaving the scoring less important in comparison to the private celebration and public admiration.

Not that long ago, I was talking with a cryptozoologist who zeros in on Bigfoot as many of them do, and for good reason. They see Bigfoot as an anchor of interest to cryptozoology; much like a mall developer regards Sears as the anchor store. Yet, Sasquatch is consistently used as nothing more than an enhancer, a draw, an attention grabber. I will not say many, but I will say plenty of cryptozoologists do use Sasquatch in this manner. One must not underestimate these individuals; they are intelligent, worldly people.
And let's admit this much, Sasquatch "news' is more than lacking as fresh and original from year to year. Sure, you'll get a landslide of after-the-'fact' reports, a mountain high pile of indistinguishable photographs and a handful of book releases, which rehash old sightings and new theories. Also add the occasional bigfoot experience which are; t.v. commercials, occasional monster movies and television programs. But in the end, Sasquatch reveals less and less to a group starving for more. Over ready to glob onto DNA rumors, opinions and theories, where the word "match" is singular. The cultural path narrows...
Past Blog posts for Jerry D. Coleman
"Ethnography of Squatching" ( January 13, 2013
"Ethnography of Squatching" Taking the Field... January 02, 2013
"The Ethnography of Squatching" by Jerry D. Coleman (C) 2012 December 26, 2012
WARNING: Danger Exists While Cryptid Hunting May 10, 2007
CRYPTOZOOLOGICAL BLOG WARS; “Bring it on Baby” May 02, 2007
STRANGE BUT REAL April 26, 2007
Cryptozoological Leave of Absence October 31, 2006
Growing Up Coleman August 30, 2006
A Loss Not Forgotten.... July 11, 2006
At Least One Understands My Investigations July 08, 2006
Are Cryptozoological Witnesses Judged Differently? July 01, 2006
Black Panthers; Are They Watching You? June 24, 2006
Cryptozoology's Taboo June 17, 2006
Recent forum posts for this blog:
January 13, 2013
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
11 replies
January 02, 2013
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
19 replies
December 26, 2012
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
The Ethnography of Squatching
4 replies
January 30, 2012
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
In the end...
25 replies
January 30, 2012
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
Here's my promise
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January 30, 2012
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
Not a problem
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January 29, 2012
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
Stick around, it's just getting interesting
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January 07, 2012
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
Good primer
13 replies
December 11, 2011
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
Yay!! He's back!!!
23 replies
October 03, 2011
Jerry D. Coleman's blog
Happy Birthday, Jerry!!
1 reply