Bernard Heuvelmans, a Belgian zoologist living in France, interested himself in all branches of science. Bernard Heuvelmans is wonderful. The white rhinoceros—a very large animal indeed—was unknown until The first description of the pygmy hippopotamus reached the West in , but its existence was not confirmed until The Komodo dragon, the largest of all lizards, was thought to be legendary until

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Bernard Heuvelmans, 84, the "Father of Cryptozoology. Heuvelmans, who had become a Buddhist during his lifetime, was buried in Buddhist monk attire during a private funeral at Le Vesinet on August His former wife, colleague, artist collaborator Alika Monique Watteau Lindbergh, who cared for him in his declining years, was in charge of the ceremony, following his last wishes. Heuvelmans' death is sad news. His towering presence in the field leaves a long shadow. His influence is great.

Heuvelmans' contributions to cryptozoology, zoology, and anthropology are significant and far-reaching, and his impact on generations to come will cross decades. Bernard Heuvelmans was born in Le Havre on October 10, , of a Dutch mother and a Belgian father in exile, and was raised as a "native of Belgium.

At school, he shocked his Jesuit teachers by his unholy interest in evolution and jazz. He never forgot these initial passions. Heuvelmans obtained his higher education at the University Libre of Brussels. While at the university, he won the first prize for small bands at an International Congress of Amateur Jazz. At the age of 23 years, before World War II, he obtained a doctor's title in zoological sciences.

His thesis was dedicated to the classification of the hitherto unclassifiable teeth of the aardvark Orycteropus afer , a unique African mammal. Heuvelmans then spent the next years writing about the history of science, publishing numerous scientific works notably in the Bulletin of the Royal Museum of Natural History of Belgium. His interests continued to extend beyond the zoological realm. Captured by the Germans after he was called up for military service from Belgium, he escaped four times before eking out a living as a professional jazz singer and then as a science writer.

He saw himself as a humanist in the broadest sense, and he published two works late in the war: The Man Among Stars and The Man in the Hollow of the Atom The Germans, during the war, arrested him because his writings offended them, and then the Belgians arrested him afterwards, because he had written them at all. Sanderson sympathetically discussed the evidence for relict dinosaurs, Heuvelmans decided to pursue his vague, unfocussed interest in hidden animals in a systematic way.

At the time, he was translating numerous scientific works, among which was The Secret World of the Animals by Dr. Maurice Burton, which was republished afterward in seven volumes under the title Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom. Heuvelmans began to gather material about yet-to-be-discovered animals in what he would later refer as his growing "dossiers" on them. From on, Heuvelmans exhaustively sought evidence in scientific and literary sources.

Within five years he had amassed so much material that he was ready to write a large book. That book turned out to be Sur la piste des betes ignorees , published in , and better known in its English translation three years later as On the Track of Unknown Animals.

Almost five decades later, the book remains in print, with more than one million copies sold in various translations and editions, including one in , with a large updated introduction. The book's impact was enormous. As one critic remarked at the time, "Because his research is based on rigorous dedication to scientific method and scholarship and his solid background in zoology, Heuvelmans's findings are respected throughout the scientific community.

In the course of letter-writing, he invented the word "cryptozoology" it does not appear in On the Track. That word saw print for the first time in when French wildlife official Lucien Blancou dedicated a book to the "master of cryptozoology. By the s, most in the field had elevated Blancou's phrase in honor of Heuvelmans, and Heuvelmans was being called the "Father of Cryptozoology.

Sanderson, who influenced Heuvelmans, in turn was influenced by Heuvelmans. Heuvelmans served as a confidential consultant, along with such intellectual early contributors like anthropologist George Agogino and zoologist Ivan Sanderson, on Slick's secret board of advisors.

Heuvelmans was asked to examine the "Yeti skullcap" brought back by Sir Edumund Hillary's World Book expedition of He was also one of the first to declare it was a ritual object made from the skin of a serow, a small goatlike animal found in the Himalayas, even before Hillary's debunking of the yeti took place. Heuvelmans' extensive files on the Slick expeditions remained mostly unpublished until he contributed some for inclusion in the book, Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti.

On the Track of Unknown Animals was concerned exclusively with land animals. The second of Heuvelmans' landmark works to be translated into English, In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents , covered the ocean's unknowns, including the recognized but still in some ways enigmatic giant squid. In , Heuvelmans at Sanderson's invitation examined what was represented to be the frozen cadaver of a hairy hominoid, the subject of his L'homme de Neanderthal est toujours vivant with Boris Porshnev, Other books, none yet translated into English, include works on surviving dinosaurs and relict hominids in Africa.

Heuvelmans's Center for Cryptozoology, established in , was first housed near Le Bugue in the south of France, but in the s, moved to LeVesinet, closer to Paris. It consisted of his huge private library and his massive files, his original treasured dossiers. Heuvelmans was elected president when the International Society of Cryptozoology was founded in Washington, D.

He held that position until his death. He also was involved with the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club and other efforts for active cryptid studies globally. The decades saw more and more honors amassed, as for example, when in , he was named a honorary member of the Cryptozoology Association of Russia.

In a interview Heuvelmans expressed the desire to write a volume cryptozoology encyclopedia, but owing to the death of a translator and other problems with his publisher, no volume appeared before Heuvelmans' death.

Down through the years, without fanfare, Heuvelmans journeyed from the shores of Loch Ness to the jungles of Malaysia, from Africa to Indonesia, interviewing witnesses and examining the evidence for cryptids. He produced a few articles along the way, and infrequently gave news interviews. But beginning in the s, he would avoid media events. For example, when a television network asked in and , to tape an interview with Heuvelmans about the Minnesota Iceman, he refused to come to America to do it, and then denied a filming in France.

Although he had had a French television program on natural history mysteries some two decades earlier, he routinely would not grant most mainstream interviews in the last decade of his life. He also hardly ever trekked to formal meetings. For many of us in North America, visiting with him, for example, at an early s gathering in New York City, will now always be a delightful and rare memory.

Heuvelmans's health began to more rapidly fail in the mids; still he continued to work on completing his grand plan for his multi-volume encyclopedia. In , he donated his vast holdings and archives in cryptozoology to The Museum of Zoology of Lausanne in Switzerland, following through on a commitment he had made in By , many of us were dismayed to find he was mostly bedridden, refusing visits, and in very poor health. In his waning years, his mind was filled with worries that no one would credit him for what he had done.

He need not have troubled himself. Heuvelmans said he merely wanted to be remembered as "The Father of Cryptozoology. Bernard Heuvelmans, dead at 84, will hardly be forgotten. Nevertheless, Heuvelmans' friendship, fresh insights, and frisky humor will be missed. Goodbye, my friend. Paris: Plon. Abridged, revised. New York: Hill and Wang.

Heuvelmans, Bernard, and Boris F. Paris, Plon. His website is www. What Is Cryptozoology? Loren Coleman: The Cryptozoologist. Bernard Heuvelmans - Illustration by Alika Lindbergh. An appreciation of a friend by Loren Coleman Switzerland's Museum of Zoology of Lausanne informed cryptozoologists worldwide on the morning of 24 August , of the death of Dr.


The Strange Case of the Minnesota Iceman

Bernard Heuvelmans 10 October — 22 August was a Belgian-French zoologist, writer, and explorer who is regarded as the "Father of Cryptozoology ". His book On the Track of Unknown Animals is regarded as the founding document of the field. On the Track of Unknown Animals was followed by In the Wake of the Sea Serpents , which attempted to classify reports of sea serpents using the Heuvelmans system. During the 's, he was especially noted for his investigation of the Minnesota Iceman alongside Ivan T. He was a founding member and President of the International Society of Cryptozoology , [1] and published a complete checklist of cryptids reported up to the time of publication in the Society's journal, Cryptozoology.


Bernard Heuvelmans

Regular readers will know that I recently published a book on cryptozoology, titled Hunting Monsters Naish You can buy it here. The illustrations used here are also not present in Hunting Monsters. In fact a startling and frustrating fact about this case is that none of the pictures famously associated with it are available free, under a creative commons licence, online… everything is protected by copyright. Anyway, without further ado…. The odd bones, hairs and so on sometimes said to be evidence for Bigfoot or the Yeti are a far cry from the most remarkable piece of data associated with the so-called crypto-hominids — the complete carcass of a hirsute male hominid, 1. The specimen was brought to the attention of cryptozoologists Ivan T.

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