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Cryptozoologist tells tales of Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster

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Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 12:16 am

The bird was huge and looked like a cross between a penguin and a pigeon. It walked out from behind a bush and stopped traffic, walking in circles before it flew away. And the man who saw it was embarrassed to talk about it.

That's just one story Dallas Tanner, a 55-year-old cryptozoologist and author, told to about 35 people at the Orange & Brew at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Through his research, Tanner has heard stories similar to this one of the Thunderbird, the subject of one of his five books.

Cryptozoologists study animals out of place and time, Tanner said.

Reitz Union Board Entertainment organized Tanner's appearance. He received $250 for travel and board.

RUB Entertainment decided to bring him to UF because it thought he would be interesting, according to Victoria Jester, the director of lectures and comedians for RUB Entertainment.

"Cryptozoology is not a common thing," Jester, 21, said.

Emma Grauerholz-Fisher, a 19-year-old psychology major, hoped he would talk about something that couldn't be explained.

"I don't think I'll necessarily believe a lot of stuff he's going to talk about, but I want to hear what he has to say," she said.

During his lecture, Tanner talked about how he does research for his novels.

He said he gathered people's stories to help him write his books.

"There's more truth to this stuff than people realize," he said in the lecture. "Not all monsters are fiction."

He did make it clear that he does not go out looking for mythical monsters; he just researches them and writes novels.

"Believing is seeing when it's something you're not expecting," he said during the lecture.

He also talked about the Loch Ness Monster and the Skunk Ape, an animal native to the Southeast that is similar to Bigfoot and is extremely aggressive.

However, he said a lot of the time encounters with these mythical creatures aren't something people want to talk about.

"It's like something that they keep for themselves," he said.

Tanner has been a cryptozoologist for 10 years. He does it because he is interested in how the truth is deep-rooted in the myths he researches.

"The problem with science is that it only accepts what it already knows," he said.

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