8 of the Strangest Things at the Cryptozoology Museum

posted: 08/29/16
by: Sasha Brown-Worsham

Portland, Maine doesn't seem like a center of paranormal activity at first glance. If anything, the brick sidewalks and cute storefronts call to mind some kind of hipster, New England sensibility hybrid. But if you follow one small path down to 4 Thompson's Point Road, you will be in for quite the treat. The International Cryptozoology Museum. The brainchild of Loren Coleman and a fascinatingly creepy place if ever there was one.

Cryptozoology is officially defined as "the study of animals who are rumored to exist" and that's exactly what you get here. Display case after display case of could be real, could be mythical beasts, some disproven as hoaxes and some that are still sought to this day. It's a trip.

Once a cramped and tiny place, the museum moved a couple years ago and is now true home to all things strange and wonderful. If you ever wanted to see a coelacanth, Bigfoot, and the Fiji Mermaid all in the same place, then come on down.

The museum operates most business days and for about $10 a person, you can stay as long as you desire. It's important to note as you wander the space that at some point, the gorilla and the giant squid and the okapi were all considered cryptids. In other words: Anything is possible.

If you have ever been remotely curious about the study of cryptozoology, this is the place for you. Here is a list of eight of their most fascinating exhibits:

1. The Tatzelwurm

The tatzelwurm is a legendary creature that roams the alps. Some claim it is lizard-like while while others describe it more like a cat. Perhaps it is a hybrid of the two. The animal allegedly has two front legs without hind legs, and is covered in scales and possibly poisonous.

At the museum you will find a model of the tatzelwurm (though, sadly, not a real specimen). The one pictured below is not the one in the museum, but you get the idea. And if you want to see it, just make your way to Portland.

2. The Giant Bigfoot

We all know about bigfoot, the giant ape like creature that has been spotted all over the world and called by many names. But how many of us have met him?

One of the best parts of the museum is the life-size rendering of bigfoot. Whether you believe he's real or not, it's a total trip to stand next to an 8-foot sasquatch and realize this is what people have been talking about for hundreds of years.

3. "Esau" Baby Bigfoot

This is a real doll (one of those incredibly life like dolls people collect) made for the museum exclusively. If you ever wanted to view Bigfoot as an adorable newborn, this is your chance. Who knew a giant apelike cryptid could be so cuddly?

4. Orang Pendek (and Bigfoot) Casts

One of the many things in the museum are these casts of sasquatch footprints from around the globe (where Bigfoot goes by many names). It's hard not to emerge a believer after seeing them all.

5. Feejee Mermaid

This creature was rumored to have been captured off the coast of Fiji (hence, the name, though it is spelled two ways). It has what appears to be the head of a monkey sewn to a fish and was a common hoax in circus sideshows. It is a far cry from the beautiful mermaids of lore.

The one at the museum is the original one from P.T. Barnum and is worth the trip alone.

6. Jackalope

The jackalope is a jack rabbit with antelope horn and is rumored to have lived in the Northwest. They are often mounted like trophies and can be seen at the museum among the many other cryptids and creatures of myth and rumor.

7. Furred trout

This fish with fur is alleged to have lived in Iceland and the waters of the North Atlantic. The idea doesn't seem so outlandish given how cold the water is, but it's never been proven. The International Cryptozoology Museum has a mounted one and it is quite the sight.

8. Movie props

Many films have been made about the various creatures described in the museum. One of those movies was the 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies with Richard Gere. The film follows the bizarre series of events in West Virginia where a strange man-sized moth was spotted by many in the town just before a major bridge collapse. Among the many movie props is an original Point Pleasant "police" outfit from the film.

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