The International Cryptozoology Museum just opened its new Bangor outpost on Hammond Street this week, after first announcing the bookstore and gift shop last fall, and Bigfoot hunters, paranormal enthusiasts and the merely curious have already stopped by to visit.
Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, executive director of the nonprofit that runs the flagship museum in Portland and now the Bangor location, has packed the shop with artifacts, specimens and curiosities, alongside books and gifts and an archive full of Coleman’s thousands of books on cryptozoology and associated topics, which people will be able to visit by appointment and which will open later this year.
“We’d hoped to have been open by Halloween of last year, but we really wanted to get things right and find some really unique items for Bangor,” Coleman said. “We wanted to find artifacts that really spoke to this area.”
Some of the more eye-popping things on display at the shop include Frosty, a huge sculpture of a Yeti head that’s mounted on the wall, and a replica of the Minnesota Iceman — a six-foot, hairy hominid originally believed to have been found in Vietnam — whose supposedly frozen body was displayed around the country throughout the 1960s.
There’s also a Fiji Mermaid, a hoax cryptid popularized by P.T. Barnum, a selection of taxidermied animals, and many smaller items, like casts of supposed footprints from Bigfoot, and even a tiny version of the Cherryfield Goatman, a half-human, half-goat wearing a flannel shirt, who was supposedly spotted in the Washington County town in the 1950s.
Clockwise from left: A replica of the Minnesota Iceman is on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum Bookstore on Hammond Street in Bangor; Frosty, a large custom made Yeti head, is mounted on a wall; A book on the mysterious Bigfoot. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN
Coleman has studied cryptids, the term for an animal whose existence is unsubstantiated, for close to five decades. He’s written more than 40 books on various cryptozoological topics, and has served as a consultant and been interviewed for movies, TV shows and documentaries.
He opened his first museum in Portland in 2003. Since then, it has expanded twice, first onto Congress Street and then to a much larger space at the Thompson’s Point development on the Fore River in 2016. Last year, Coleman purchased the building at 585 Hammond St. in Bangor, and also bought a house on Bangor’s West Side, where he and his wife moved earlier this year after selling their Portland house.
Now that Coleman and his wife, Jennifer, are newly minted Bangor residents, he’s eager to get more involved in the community. The shop has already partnered with Bangor’s SK Tours, the Stephen King-themed tours of Bangor run by Jamie Tinker, to bring tour guests to the shop when it’s open.
“We’ve already seen a lot of folks who are interested in what we do here come out of the woodwork,” he said. “I’m excited to meet more people in the community.”
The shop will only be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Fridays for the month of April so staff have time to add a few more details to the space, but starting in May Coleman plans to extend the hours throughout the weekend.