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Have you ever seen the Maine Mutant?

What about the sea serpent that lives in Casco Bay, or the ghost moose that may haunt Maine's woods? These, according to world-renowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, are some of Maine's most intriguing unknown creatures.

Coleman spoke at the Portland Public Library this afternoon, and reminded his audience that once upon a time, pandas, pygmy hippos, and giant squids were also in the realm of cryptozoology -- that is, sightings had been reported, but no one had ever seen the creatures alive in their natural habitat.

Unfortunately for modern mystery-beast seekers, funding that used to come from museums for long, in-depth expeditions has largely dried up. These days, the money comes from documentary filmmakers, or reality-TV producers, who go in and out of sites in a matter of days. Speaking of which, the History Channel's MonsterQuest will air an episode at 9 p.m. tonight that investigates reports of a canine-killing creature in Maine and Minnesota -- the so-called Maine Mutant. Of course, our local monster expert will appear on the episode.

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