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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Exploring the Unknown - An Interview with Colin Schneider

Colin Schneider is another kid my age who is interested in cryptozoology and all things unexplained. He runs the Paranormal101 blog and posts about a variety of topics. I met him at the Mothman Festival in Pt. Pleasant, WV earlier this month.
Colin & I at the Mothman Festival

For this post, I decided to do an interview with Colin about his interest and research of unexplained creatures, events, and other odd things.

First, how did he become interested in things like cryptozoology and other unexplained things?

He said:
"I have always been interested in mysteries and unusual things, especially monsters. I remember watching Scooby Doo on television and actually rooting for the bad guys because I loved monsters so much. The first book I read that discussed these 'monsters' as actual possibilities was Mysterious Monsters by Robert and Frances Guenette. The book gave a rundown of a variety of well known Bigfoot cases such as Ape Canyon and the Patterson Film, as well as some Yeti information like the Shipton expedition or the scalp that was believed to have been from a Yeti, and a bit of the Loch Ness Monster's extensive history, including the Surgeon's photo and the Dinsdale video. After that, I really got interested in cryptozoology, especially Bigfoot. Interest became a full time occupation three years ago after I visited the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine and met my childhood hero, Loren Coleman, for the first time. I remember walking out of the Museum with a new direction for my life formulating in my mind." 

Regarding advice to people around our age who are interested (or are becoming interested) in subjects like cryptozoology, Colin said:

"My main advice to anyone my age that is getting interested in being a researcher is simple: Read. A lot. Not just about one subject but about everything paranormal, ufological, cryptozoological, scientific, historical. Folklore, biology, mythology, anthropology, psychology, history, archeology, neurology, zoology, physics; they're all important. You should read as much as you can about anything and everything. The more general knowledge you have about various topics that are involved with science and history, the better you will fare, and the better researcher you will be for it. Use books, not the internet, also. Books, most of the time, are more reliable than the internet and they also will kelp with your critical thinking, which is essential. Also, go to conferences and events, talk to already established researchers in the field. They are almost always extremely nice and more than happy to help you out, answer questions, proof read your work, etc."

With regard to what he said about reading - I fully agree. Over the years my collection of books on topics like cryptozoology, UFOs, etc. has grown to about 170. It is great to have books on a variety of topics so you at least know something about them. And, I've learned a lot about known animal species, science, folklore, and mythology from these books as well.

Next, what are Colin's thoughts on possible connections between cryptids and other strange phenomena?

"I think that while not all cryptids are connected to the 'paranormal' or UFOs or anything of that ilk, there is certainly an obvious connection between many of them. I'm not sure, but that is how it looks currently, and it is important to follow the evidence and look at every aspect of the subject, not just that with which you happen to agree."

I can agree with what Colin says here as well. There are lots of people in the field of cryptozoology (and UFOlogy, etc.) who believe one thing is true and nothing, and I mean nothing, can pursued them otherwise. (As an example, Nick Redfern has a new Mysterious Universe article up today on this very subject). When I first became interested in the subject, I was like that and thought that this one theory that I felt could be true about a certain creature must be true. Over time, though, I've begun to not be like that so much. Yes, I have my own personal opinions about what some of these things might be, but if someone can use evidence to change my mind, then so be it. 

4th - What is Colin's favorite subject within cryptozoological research?

"My favorite subject within cryptozoology would have to be Bigfoot. He's a classic of the cryptozoological world and has such variety in reports that there is always something new to learn about. Bigfoot is also special to me because he was the first cryptid I was introduced to and will remain to be my favorite for a while. My second cryptid creature would have to be the glowing mudskippers from Mississippi and Louisiana, just because they made me laugh when I first heard about the reports."

And finally…

Colin is also working on a few books concerning cryptozoological subjects…

"I am currently working on two books. The first one is titled Beasts of the Faerie Realm and I'm writing it with my good friend Ronald Murphy. Beasts will be about possible connections between cryptid reports and faerie lore. It should be out sometime next year. My second book is titled Bloodsucking Beasties and Shadowy Slashers and is about cryptid attacks on livestock and other domesticated animals. I am examining chupacabra-like reports that have been associated with other cryptids including Bigfoot and Anomalous Big Cats. It will, hopefully, be out late next year."

Colin also wrote the forward for my second book, The Ohio Monster Guidebook: A Look at the Buckeye State's Most Mysterious Creatures, which will hopefully be out later this year.

If you are someone interested in cryptozoology and other unexplained things, definitely check out Colin's blog. And be on the lookout for future stuff from him!

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