For a thriller book/horror book lover and writer, researching monsters like Bigfoot, Moth Man, the Jersey Devil and more is something I call fun. Usually I conduct my research online…like when I found the ultimate Bigfoot encounter site, Pacwest Bigfoot.
But when I had the opportunity to explore the International Cryptozoology Museum (phew~say that three times fast!) with my family recently, I jumped on it. Over summer vacation, we spent a day in Portland, Maine, where the museum is located. In truth: I didn’t have to try too hard to talk them into a visit to this unique museum.
International Cryptozoology Museum
The mission statement for this fun museum is pretty self explanatory: “… to educate, inform, and share cryptozoological evidence, artifacts, replicas, and popular cultural items with the general public, media, students, scholars, and cryptozoologists from around the world.” Read the entire mission statement and learn more about its exhibits on the International Cryptozoology Museum’s website.
Whether or not you believe in Bigfoot or other folklore/legends, this is still a really cool place to visit. It’s small–expect to spend no more than an hour or two exploring the jam-packed floors (basically two rooms and a long hallway) with all types of data, evidence (like real samples of Bigfoot hair?!), replicas…and some hoaxes, too. Like this frightening baby:
Experiencing the Museum
I wish now I’d taken notes. While I was walking through, excitedly absorbing information and pointing it out to my family, I failed to write anything down, sure that, “I’ll remember this!”
What I can do is describe the experience to you: we entered from the wrong side of the building, so walked through a restaurant and then a set of bathrooms in a semi-dark hallway to get to the museum. The entry fee (reasonable: we paid $25 for two adults/one child) is paid at the register when you enter. This is also the gift shop area.
It was hard not to look around there immediately, but we managed to wrestle ourselves out of the little shop and into the first display area. It was a shortish hallway that was packed (I mean packed) with tons of interesting exhibits. Glass cases lined the walls and were neatly organized by “creature”. So, there was one case featuring Nessie and another featuring the Mothman…I was proud to see there was also a case dedicated to Champ, the monster of Lake Champlain here in Vermont!
The downside? Another group of people came in behind us and it’s definitely a “one person” sort of hallway. So I rushed through many of the display cases, worried that the other people were going to get frustrated I wasn’t moving fast enough.
After we’d viewed all the cases, we followed a staircase upstairs. Here, there was another hallway, this one more open feeling and not so tight, so a bit easier to see things. Many of these cases featured castings of Bigfoot prints. One was dedicated entirely to memorabilia and information about the Bluff Creek Bigfoot encounter.
At one end of the hallway stands a huge Bigfoot replica, created by a taxidermist. And at the other is the scene above, featuring a giant bat and other “mysterious creatures”. Overall this trip was completely fun and interesting. And of course, I didn’t leave without scoring a button, a sticker for my car and my very own box of Bigfoot bandages…cause hey, you never know.
Experience It For Yourself
Whether you’ll already be in Maine or close by, the International Cryptozoology Museum is definitely worth a visit. Think of the campfire stories a visit will garner!
Want to continue the feeling with a good, old-fashioned “creature horror” read? Snag a copy of one of my “Monsters in the Green Mountains,” books now. Each can be read as a stand alone novel. Like to read in order? Begin with Silence in the Woods, where the series starts.
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