Posted by David
on Nov 1, 2009 in Upside-down Hippo
| 0 comments
Oh, you thought that just because I am neck deep in graduate school that I would not be bringing you the latest in Bizarro Living? Today, I went to the grand opening of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. I have never been to Maine or to a cryptozoology museum before, so this was a rare convergence of stellar influences. Founded by author Loren Coleman – world-renowned expert on Bigfeet, Loch Ness Monsters, and other camera-shy beasties – the museum is more like a bedroom crowded with action figures and random paraphernalia than a gallery at the Smithsonian. It is also one of the most excellent places I have visited in all of my days, and this is coming from someone who has prowled the pyramids of Mexico, the volcanoes of New Zealand, the geysers of Iceland, the tombs of Scotland, and the ruins of Rome. Oh, I just remembered I need to prowl somewhere in Africa to make my life complete. But no life would be complete without a visit to the International Cryptozoology Museum. If you go, you may well meet Mr. Coleman, a jolly fellow who will attempt to disabuse you of any notions you may have had that the chupacabra is a force to be reckoned with. He is also not a fan of living pterodactyls, the Jersey Devil, and other of Rob’s most cherished notions. In particular, I will never forget the look on my husband’s face when he gathered his courage to inquire about the Mokele Mbembe and was informed that this noble creature was most likely an unknown kind of aquatic rhinoceros and not a surviving dinosaur. People want to look for fanciful explanations for creatures that may simply be unusual mammals, said Mr. Coleman, as if there was an unknown aquatic rhinoceros in every pot. He also said that the Loch Ness Monster might only be a duck or an otter or something, which does not explain the Loch Ness Monster salt and pepper shakers arranged prominently on a shelf. (I’m just kidding: there were no actual salt and pepper shakers. The salt and pepper shakers were implied.)
Possibly because he or she is a mammal, Bigfoot was the star of this show. There was a life-sized Bigfoot inside the front door of the building and a dozen plaster casts of Bigfoot footprints on the museum shelves. There were also Bigfoot hairs and Bigfoot poop less prominently displayed, which was an odd choice because if I had Bigfoot poop in my possession it would be the first thing you saw when you walk in my front door and the subject of every single conversation I had until I die. Also featured was a shelf of stuffed Yeti toys, most of which are based upon the template of Bumble, the Abominable Snowman from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” “THE YETI IS NOT WHITE” read a sign on this shelf. If I had to pick a color for the Yeti, it would be a cheerful olive green, but I am not god.
Mr. Coleman and Bigfoot were not the only luminaries on this trip: sharing our train on the way north was Jason Hawes, the gruff host of TV’s “Ghost Hunters.” Jason Hawes was watching a movie on his laptop in the same train car in which I was watching a movie on my iPhone. I don’t know what he was watching, but my movie,Capote, was about the predatory nature of art. As far as I know, Bigfoot is not a predator, and the chupacabra is, and the jury is out on the unknown aquatic rhinoceros.