Last year I met Cal Marks, a young cryptozoologist from New York. From talking with him via email, I found that we have a lot in common, at least cryptozoology-wise.
I asked Cal what it was like (for him) being a kid interested in cryptozoology.
"Being a kid interested in cryptozoology is fun!," he said. "I think it is cool to be different! I love reading books on cryptids and traveling to places to learn more and meet new people (like the Ohio Bigfoot Conference and the Chataqua Lake Bigfoot Expo.) I think I became interested in the subject of cryptozoology when I was 6 or 7 years old. I was mostly interested in Bigfoot in the beginning."
Just like Cal becoming interested in Bigfoot, I first became interested in cryptozoology when I read a book about Scotland's Loch Ness Monster, and since then (as those of you who have looked at this blog before will know) that interest has spread to all cryptozoological creatures, UFOs, and even some paranormal subjects.
Does Cal usually have any problems with people because of his interest in cryptids? The answer is actually no.
"I don't usually have a problem with people making fun of me (except my older brother :) ), most people either don't say anything or are interested," he said.
Again, the same goes for me. You always hear from other people interested in cryptozoology that they get made fun of or called crazy for being interested in the subject, but for me that has happened only once or twice. Sometimes people do joke around about it, but, I do that also. : ) I believe in Bigfoot, but can sometimes still have a laugh about it like everyone else.
When I asked Cal what he would say to other kids interested in cryptozoology, he answered "The advice I have for other kids is read a lot and they should do what they are interested in and makes them happy… no matter what!" I agree with this completely - if people know me, they will know that I always have a book on some sort of cryptid, UFO, etc with me. I think that reading about the subject, and going to things like cryptozoology conferences and meeting other people interested in the subject is the best way to learn about it. From going to conferences around Ohio over the past few years, I have gotten to know other investigators, like Marc Dewerth of the Ohio Bigfoot Organization, and Doug Waller of the Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation. I've also gotten to meet people from around the country who I'd wanted to meet for years, like Lyle Blackburn, Loren Coleman, Bob Gimlin, Nick Redfern, Linda Godfrey, Cliff Barackman… the list goes on and on.
I also asked Cal what some of his favorite experiences were going to Bigfoot conferences and meeting other researchers…
"Meeting Bob Gimlin was a great experience - you haven't heard the story of Patty until you have heard it from him! [Very true!] Marc DeWerth has been amazing to me as well - he has been so supportive and kind to me. Meeting Loren Coleman was a great experience as well. John Kirk's presentation at last year's Ohio conference was very interesting and I found myself listening to it over and over… I also got to meet Ken Gerhard and Steve Kulls here in NY at the Chataqua Lake Expo - they were really cool and Mr. Kulls offered to take me out on an expedition this spring!"
|Cal Marks & Ken Gerhard|
(Photo courtesy of Cal Marks)
It was a cool experience to get to meet Cal at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference last year, and I hope I get to see him again someday at future Bigfoot events.
If you are a kid interested in cryptozoology, what I have to say is - do the things I've written about in this article, and what Cal said - read lots of books (they're the next best source behind meeting researchers), and try to get to know others in the field. All the cryptozoologists I've met always think its super cool that I am this interested in Bigfoot, go to all these conferences, have written a book on the subject, etc, etc. I'm sure they probably think the same when they meet Cal.
Let's all keep up the search for cryptids!