Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 30th, 2007
Craig Heinselman, who turns 33 in May, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and became interested in nature mysteries when still a boy in the early 1980s. Heinselman, now a father and resident of New Hampshire, made a sudden appearance in cryptozoology circles in 1998. He first shared a free newsletter CRYPTO, dealing with the study of hidden animals and, a special interest of his, cryptofiction, at conferences and through the mails. The newsletter ended in 2001, with the publication of Volume 4, No. 1. Then during 2001 and 2002, he published some special issues, entitled Special Dracontology Issue I, Special Hominid Issue I, and Special Hominid Issue II .
What occurred next was unexpected. Heinselman, with little communication to others, suddenly vanished, for personal health reasons. Many of us thought we had lost him, and yet it was right that his priorities had to naturally shift to his family and his situation.
Now Craig’s back, with a bang in 2007. I’ve mentioned this here, talking about how difficult this has been because Craig Heinselman lost most of his cryptozoology files in a house fire in 2005. He is soon going to publish another special issue and perhaps other issues of CRYPTO. He is being heard from again. Nevertheless, among the most frequent emailed questions I get about cryptozoology chroniclers include these two: “Where’s Craig?” (from those not realizing he has returned to the scene) and “How is Craig really doing?” (from those who wonder about the backstory to his return).
Everyone’s journey is personal, of course. I understand people want to have answers, but, needless to say, Craig should be in control of answering such questions. Therefore, I’ve asked Craig if he would share some thoughts about this special trek of his, a journey on which to reflect. Here’s what he’s sent along:
Cryptozoology is part of my life. It may be an odd statement, but it is true.
I do not spend my time in constant search, rather in constant wondering and pondering. And in that is where cryptozoology is key.
Cryptozoology is a multi-faceted beast, as we are all aware; it covers and mixes with principles that transcend to our daily lives. How we deal with each other, how we express ourselves, and foremost of them all: How we choose to live our lives.
We can choose to be out in the open, baring our visible layer to the world, or stay crouched beneath the rocks. Then there is the middle ground, where we remain cryptic but present to the world. The internet allows for a mixture of all these, anonymous in the open.
Yet, in the end we are all people. We are flawed, we are diverse. Each of us has had our trials and tribulations that have made us look into ourselves. Inner view, inner thought, call it what you like, but it is the human spirit that we share.
I tend not to share much on my life; it is mine and is reserved for my immediate family. But, at times the question arises, and times may be right to expose it more. That time is not here and not now, except to say that in the face of adversity there are strengths inside that can bring you to your knees but also raise you back up.
Instead, look at the world of cryptozoology. Not at its “creatures”, but at its “people”. We know of the “name-brand” personas such as Bernard Heuvelmans, Ivan Sanderson, Willy Ley and the like. We know of the modern “name-brands” like Loren Coleman, John Kirk, Roy Mackal and the like. But, each of these “name-brands” is a person, and at one time was just like everyone else. One does not step into the spotlight overnight, one must work and persevere. It is the perseverance that shines through it all. We all start from nothing after-all.
Cryptozoology is also full of individuals with tragic events that are not exposed to the world. Have you known a friend (colleague) who has been diagnosed with a disease, lost a child, suffered from addiction, unemployment or other countless inner demons? Have you gone through the same, and had that friend (colleague) help you through?
I’ve seen first-hand the privileges of knowing people in the area of cryptozoology. From gifts at my children’s birth, to condolences at family deaths. From a casual meal, to a heated debate that ends in a respectful handshake. And yes, the pain of remembering some of these people after they have passed beyond their physical bodies.
Cryptozoology is more than the search for unknown animals; it is part of our search in life. That search is as enigmatic and elusive as the animals we seek.Craig Heinselman