Virtual Institute

    Born in 1916, Bernard Heuvelmans obtained his doctorate in zoology in 1939 (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium). He published important works of classical mammalogy on the teeth of the aardvark (Orycteropus afer) and on sirenians (dugongs, manatees, Steller's sea cow).

    Bernard Heuvelmans became interested in the possible existence of animals still unknown to science in 1948, to which he devoted a whole book in 1955, Sur la piste des bêtes ignorées (figures 1 and 2), unanimously welcomed by scientific magazines, and still a reference half a century later.

Figures 1 and 2 : Sur la piste des bêtes ignorées (1955 edition)

    More than one million books were sold, in the various editions and translations : it was the greatest success in zoological literature since Buffon. In France, Sur la piste des bêtes ignorées quickly became out of print, and the new edition of 1982 by Famot-François Beauval (figure 3) also became impossible to find out. The book was translated in many languages, of course in english, as soon as in 1958, under the title of On the track of unknown animals, the last edition of which was proposed by Kegan Paul International (figure 4).

Figure 3 : new edition of 1982

Figure 4 : English edition of 1995

    Heuvelmans created the very word "cryptozoology" in the 1950s, and he proposed the base of this discipline.

    He then published two books devoted to "sea monsters" (figure 5 and 6) : Dans le sillage des monstres marins : le Kraken et le Poulpe Colossal (1958, réédité en 1975), about giant cephalopods (giant squids Architeuthis and unknown giant octopuses) ; then, after 7 years of bibliographic research, Le grand serpent-de-mer : le problème zoologique et sa solution (1965, new edition in 1975), on the famous sea-serpent, which was translated in english as In the wake of the sea-serpents (1968).

Figure 5 : Le kraken et le Poulpe Colossal (1958)

Figure 6 : Le Grand serpent-de-mer
(new edition of 1975)

    In 1968-69, Bernard Heuvelmans had the opportunity to study in the USA the frozen cadaver of a hairy man, on which he published a book, L'homme de Néanderthal est toujours vivant (1974), with Boris F. Porshnev (figure 7) This affair is often considered a hoax, particularly in the USA, where the book is still waiting a translation.

Figure 7 : L'homme de Néanderthal est toujours vivant (1974)

    A new collection published by Plon editions (figures 8 and 9) began with Les derniers dragons d'Afrique (1978), followed by Les bêtes humaines d'Afrique (1980), should have published a true cryptozoological encyclopedy in about 20 volumes, but the series stopped after these two volumes.

Figure 8 : Les derniers dragons d'Afrique (1978)

Figure 9 : Les bêtes humaines d'Afrique (1980)

    Benard Heuvelmans made several expeditions, in search of mystery animals : Loch Ness (1961), East and Southern Africa (1967), Central America (1969), Malaysia (1993), etc.

    Bernard Heuvelmans also wrote a lot of articless, and he is the president of the International Society of Cryptozoology (ISC), and he is considered "the father of cryptozoology".

    In October 1999, Bernard Heuvelmans gave all his archives to the Musée Cantonal de Zoologie in Lausanne (Switzerland), ending 50 years of cryptozoological research. He died in August 2001.



e-mail us !


 Return to Home Page