PORTLAND — It starts bright and early with lake monsters and wraps up more than 12 hours later with the first New England screening of “The Mothman of Pleasant Point.”
Up to 175 people are expected next weekend at the second annual International Cryptozoology Conference.
The first, last year, was held in St. Augustine, Florida, a location picked to celebrate the 1896 washing ashore of a still-debated giant octopus or 5-ton blob of blubber.
This year, it’s steps from Portland’s International Cryptozoology Museum.
Museum Director Loren Coleman said attendees have registered from as far away as California and British Columbia.
“We’re trying to really stretch the envelope for people,” said Coleman, with guests from a variety of backgrounds. “This is the 50th anniversary for Bigfoot (with the Patterson-Gimlin footage), so somebody like Craig Woolheater, a very down-to-earth bigfooter from Texas, is going to be talking about the standard Bigfoot material.”
Other speakers include: Linda Godfrey, a former Wisconsin journalist who’s spent 25 years and 17 books researching Dogmen; writer Robert Damon Schneck, talking about a chapter in his latest book, “Mrs. Wakeman vs. The Antichrist: And Other Strange-but-True Tales from American History”; a panel of young cryptozoologists ages 10 to their mid-20s talking about the future of the field; and Stephen Bissette, known to comic book fans as the artist behind Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing,” who also illustrated Joseph Citro’s “The Vermont Monster Guide.”
The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel on Sept. 3 with the documentary screening at 7:30 p.m.
During the day, a vendor room is open to the general public. (Expect plaster casts and other crypto goods.)
Coleman, a frequent guest on shows such as “Monsterquest,” “Mysteries at the Museum” and “Monsters and Mysteries in America,” will serve as one of the event’s hosts. His latest book, “Mothman: Evil Incarnate,” is due out at the end of the year.
“The big surprise announcement will be who will be named the Cryptozoologist of the Year,” Coleman said. “A lot of people we’ve honored have discovered new animals. There’s quite a large pool (of people to choose from). When I got involved in this in the 1960s, there was maybe a handful of people around the world who would call themselves cryptozoologists. Now, it’s literally hundreds and hundreds.”