What's lurking in Vermont? A Halloween special on cryptids, ghosts and unexplained phenomena
Bigfoot, lake monsters, ghosts in the attic: To some, these are just fantastical made-up ideas. For others, they are very real.
Vermont Edition's Halloween special featured the head of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine, as well as a ghost hunter from Rutland and plenty of paranormal stories from Vermonters. Finally, Jane Lindholm of the podcast But Why stopped by the studio to talk about a recent episode all about why some people like being scared.
Cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unknown animals, said Loren Coleman, founder and director of the Maine museum. Coleman said the work combines folklore and evidence to look for new species — including sightings of the Champ or Memphre lake monsters in Vermont and even animals like anacondas and armadillos that are spotted way outside of their natural habitat.
"Most of us in cryptozoology are from a pretty straightforward scientific background — and I, too, am looking for the most logical, skeptical explanation," Coleman said. "It's always good to listen to people first before jumping to conclusions."
Coleman said sightings of black panthers or other big cats are prevalent in Vermont, especially in the Northeast Kingdom.
His museum contains 20,000 artifacts, plus live-sized versions of Big Foot, a sea serpent, a Gill man and a giant salamander.
In Vermont, unusual cryptid sightings sometimes find their way to the Paranormal Investigators of New England, a volunteer group that investigates paranormal activity and UFOs.
Investigator Lindsay Stevens describes herself as "an administrator during the daytime and then a ghost hunter at nighttime." She said she got into the work because of an experience of a past family member in her own home — and has looked into a wide range of phenomena over the last decade.
Stevens encouraged Vermonters to use a voice recorder to gather evidence if they think they've noticed paranormal activity in their own home, but to ask for help because it can become an obsession that ends up "drawing something."
"Beware," Stevens said, "and if you end up, you know, finding yourself becoming obsessive over it, then you need to step back."
Broadcast at noon Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.