Interview with The Crypto Crew Founder, Thomas Marcum
By Lucy Hall
The Crypto Crew is a professional organization dedicated to investigating, experiencing, and documenting paranormal activity and cryptozoology. There have always been parallels with cryptozoology, ghost hunting, and ufology and many research teams include all these fields in their work.
However, there are many attributes that set the Crypto Crew apart from other researchers. The organization gives deference to every report of a sighting, they are skilled investigators who have mastered a wide range of disciplines. They are passionate and sincere in their belief and the work they do. They also work in true crime and missing person fields.
The Crypto Crew’s mission is to promote scientific inquiry into currently unexplained phenomena while providing thought-provoking, well-researched and accurate information. The organization was founded in 2011 by leader/founder Thomas Marcum. The team members are based in several states in the US and Canada.
Marcum has over twenty-five years of experience investigating unexplained activity, he has a unique approach to his work and is skilled in investigations, field research, video, terminology, and the history of the field. He is a nature and wildlife enthusiast with many years of experience hunting, fishing, and hiking, these abilities have also proven useful in his fieldwork and study of cryptids. He is also a trained wildland firefighter, and a published photographer, author, filmmaker, and poet.
Twisted Pulp: As the founder and leader of the cryptozoology and paranormal research organization, The Crypto Crew tell me how it all started? When did you first get into exploring these fields?
Thomas Marcum: For me, it was a progression. When I was young, pre-teen, I saw some odd lights in the evening sky. That got me interested in UFOs and over the years it went to ghosts and then to Bigfoot and other cryptids. For years, I research Bigfoot not knowing there was a large community of other researchers and enthusiast. I finally took my research and love of the unknown to the worldwide web back in 2011, when I started our website TheCryptoCrew.com.
Twisted Pulp: What is The Crypto Crew and how does it differ from other cryptozoology and paranormal groups?
Thomas Marcum: We are a research and investigative team that cover everything from bigfoot to UFOs. We also do some work in the true crime and missing person fields. What makes us different is that we do our best to not over-sensationalize our reports or research. And many of us actually do “boots on the ground” research while other members do deep dives with internet searches and background information. We also work with other teams and our ultimate goal is to provide good information.
Twisted Pulp: As the founder, you are based in the Appalachian Mountains. Do you have researchers as part of your organization from other regions?
Thomas Marcum: Yes, we have people in 4 different states and researchers in Canada. At one time we had people in 11 different states, but sadly we had a couple of them pass away and a few that lost interest in the subject. Right now, in the States, we have people in Oregon, Kentucky, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Virginia.
Twisted Pulp: As a researcher from the Appalachians, how widespread is the belief in cryptids in the region? Which cryptid is the most distinctly Appalachian?
Thomas Marcum: The belief in bigfoot is growing in the Appalachian area and it seems people are more willing to talk about sightings than ever before. As for the most distinctive, that is a hard question as it depends on where you are at. It seems each area has some kind of odd creature or story. The Pope Lick Monster, Sheepsquatch, Giant Catfish, and Black Panthers are just a few that would be more Appalachian pacific.
Twisted Pulp: Do you have a favorite cryptid or paranormal phenomenon that you personally specialize in? And why?
Thomas Marcum: I spend massive amounts of time in the mountains looking for Bigfoot evidence. I would say Bigfoot is my favorite. I just want to find out more about these creatures. I also just enjoy being in the forest. I find it relaxing and a way to recharge myself.
Twisted Pulp: Have you personally encountered a cryptid or paranormal entity?
Thomas Marcum: Yes, to both. I have had a few visual sightings of Bigfoot. The last was back in 2021 when a friend and I looked at, what we assume, was a young Bigfoot through a pair of binoculars. The sighting lasted several minutes. As for the paranormal I have seen full-body apparitions, heard disembodied voices, been touched by an entity, and camera pull on by an entity. We lived in a house that had activity and one night myself, my wife, and my young son saw a full-body apparition walk past a doorway and down the hall. I wrote a book about all the activities entitled “My Haunted House and Other Weird Tales”.
Twisted Pulp: How do you typically prepare for an investigation? How does an investigation influence the type of equipment you use?
Thomas Marcum: Before going to a location, bigfoot or paranormal, we try to gather as much information as possible from the witness about the sighting/location. Anytime we do a paranormal investigation there is a lot more gear we have to take with us. Meters, cameras, recorders, and various other items are used. When we go on a bigfoot investigation we don’t use as many gadgets but depending on the report there are some things we have to take. Cameras are standard gear for us so we can document the area and conduct witness interviews. Background information research about the area, be it paranormal or a bigfoot report, is pretty standard for us as well. When I’m in the woods doing research I normally carry enough plaster in my backpack to make a track casting of a footprint. Things like a tape measure, a small shovel, and a fire starter are just a few things I take into the woods with me.
Twisted Pulp: Do you have a favorite investigation?
Thomas Marcum: We have investigated a lot of great places for paranormal activity but my favorite place would be the Benham Theater in Benham, Kentucky. It has a fantastic history and at one time was kind of a safe haven for local residents. For many years it sit decaying but was beautifully restored. It also has a lot of paranormal activity and I just felt a connection there.
As for the Bigfoot investigation, I don’t think I have a favorite, I like them all.
Twisted Pulp: What is the best evidence you have found so far in your career? Or, did you ever have any moments when you thought you may be close to finding a cryptid?
Thomas Marcum: I do not doubt that Bigfoot is real. I have seen it, tracked it, heard it speak, and found hundreds of foot tracks. I captured a picture of bigfoot on a game camera back in 2013, and have a track casting from what is most likely the bigfoot in the picture. There is a ton of evidence for the existence of bigfoot, and getting people to accept that evidence is the problem.
Twisted Pulp: Have you experienced any dangerous moments?
Oh yes. One time I was face to face with a mother bear and her four cubs. We were less than 10 feet apart, probably about 5 feet to be honest. We looked each other in the eyes. She and her cubs went back up the mountain but I stayed in the area for another hour or more. I could hear them moving around up above me but she gave me space. I have also been around many venomous snakes, that is just part of it, living in the Kentucky mountains. This area also has some dangerous terrain with steep mountains, slick rocks, caves, and more.
Twisted Pulp: What is the strangest thing that has ever happened during an investigation?
Thomas Marcum: That is a tough question for me as I have had many weird things happen. Hearing the bigfoot talk was one of the strangest things for me at the time. The creature was fairly close but I could not make out any words. It was clearly speech but I could not understand it. At the time it was pretty frightening. The creature was in a growth of thick laurel bushes, about 25-30 yards away. I was setting up a game camera and I think the creature had been following me as I explored the area. As for the paranormal, many strange things. I guess the big flash of light we caught on camera at the Benham Theater was the oddest. It was almost like a firework going off. It is in our film, Benham Theater: Specters of the Stage (available on Tubi TV and many other places).
Twisted Pulp: What would be the biggest paranormal myth you would like to debunk and is there one that you think the community should be spending more time on?
Thomas Marcum One myth is that some believe ghosts only come out at night, this is not true. The activity is there in the daytime as well. The one thing we all should be spending more time on is sound, vibration, and frequency.
Twisted Pulp: Reflecting on all the increase in evidence, improvements in technology and the rise in the use of surveillance cameras and the internet, which cryptic species or paranormal occurrences do you believe have the best chance of being proven in the near future?
Thomas Marcum: Bigfoot and Black Panthers (living in areas where they should not be) could be the next ones. When it comes to Bigfoot, I think the evidence is there already but the acceptance has not come yet. Just like it was with UFOs. The evidence was there and many already knew but until the government admitted it, it was still kind of taboo for many people.
Twisted Pulp: With that said, due to the internet, you must get a lot of requests. How do you choose the cases you will investigate?
Thomas Marcum: We do get some requests and the freshness of the report can influence how soon we investigate. On a local level, here in Kentucky, we have so many reports and haunted locations, that we can stay busy for a long time. Of course, some reports we just can’t investigate as they can be in an area where we don’t have a local investigator or it would require several hours of driving. Even if we can’t investigate, we still want to document all the details we can from the witness.
Twisted Pulp: You have written several books over the years, you are a photographer and filmmaker, and in 2014, you were the winner of the paranormal award for both picture of the year and investigator of the year. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the field? Any highlights to share?
Thomas Marcum: Tough question for me. I would say my greatest accomplishment is personal growth… probably not the answer you were looking for but learning new things is an accomplishment. Highlights for me would be meeting some supporters at events. Seeing people who are passionate about the subject and what I do is a blessing. I never would have thought people would be excited to meet me, I’m very appreciative and humbled.
My film Bigfoot: The Legend is Real (https://tubitv.com/movies/565772/bigfoot-the-legend-is-real) is a highlight for me as far as filmmaking goes. When compared to past films, I feel I have done a much better job putting it together and it shows my growth as a filmmaker. I still have a lot of room for growth.
Twisted Pulp: What advice would you give to a person interested in pursuing cryptozoology and paranormal investigating?
Thomas Marcum: Learn all you can. For cryptozoology, learn about zoology and all the animals. Learn how to identify tracks and known animal behavior. Learn some survival skills and first aid. Study historical reports and sightings. Basic tree identification is helpful. Paranormal – study historical reports, and learn about all the equipment used in investigations. Study sound and frequencies.
In both fields, you need some basic camera and interview skills. You also need to keep good records of investigations. You need to know how to do record searches on the property, and how to do deep dives on the internet and sift through archives.
Twisted Pulp: Any upcoming events or recent discoveries to share with us?
Thomas Marcum: I normally don’t do a lot of events as I don’t have the time but I do have something scheduled for 2023. Barring any setbacks, I will be a speaker at The Kentucky Bigfoot Conference in the fall of 2023. (https://www.facebook.com/kentuckybigfootcon).
I’m also currently working on several new films and a book. I recently discovered some bigfoot tracks while out in the mountains.
The study of cryptozoology has been highly criticized from its beginnings due to relying on anecdotal information, lack of critical media coverage, various false claims revealed, and the portrayal of cryptozoologists as “monster hunters”. Another reason is that cryptozoologists investigate animals that most scientists believe are unlikely to have existed and they think cryptologists do not follow the scientific method. This is not true because in parallel with the growing importance of the scientific approach to be creditable, the advancements in technology, and the rise in the use of severance cameras; cryptozoologists are now beginning to obtain more concrete evidence. There are millions of species that have been given scientific names, thousands more are added to the list every year. Given the expanses of our world, the unexplored jungles, and the deep oceans for example, how many more elusive creatures are dodging discovery but will soon be found? It is very exciting to imagine all the mysterious and fabulous creatures that may be real and are awaiting discovery. So, the truth is that cryptozoology although coined by critics to be a pseudo-science is a necessary pursuit in scientific discovery today. Current and ever-growing attempts to create more scientific approaches have led to cryptozoology becoming more than just “monster hunting” and more of a valid science field. After decades of work the scientists may not be the ones who succeed in the first-hand discovery of some new species, maybe it will be the cryptozoologists who end up confirming their existence. Keep your eyes and ears on The Crypto Crew because they may be the very paranormal seekers who solve the mystery and make history.
Are you curious about what might be found lurking in the woods just beyond your backyard? Have you experienced some paranormal activity? You can check out the Crypto Crew’s official site to make a report, meet the team, read their crypto files, see the video series, read book/movie reviews, and check out their merchandise.
The Crypto Crew Official Site: