Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wildmen, Dinosaurs, and Legend Tripping: My Six Favorite Books from This Year

This year has had some fantastic new releases from sone of the best crypto-authors out there. Here is a roundup review of my six favorite books from this year in no particular order. 

On Wildman: Tracking Bigfoot Through History by Ronald L. Murphy Jr. 

As I stated in my previous review of On Wildman, Ron's excellent study of Bigfoot throughout history is a treat for anyone interested in Bigfoot, mythology, or cryptozoology in general. 

A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts: Encounters with Cryptid Creatures by Ken Gerhard

Ken Gerhard's takes his readers on a global adventure in his third solo book; A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts. Ken covers nearly every kind of creature you could imagine; Ape-Men; Dogmen; black panthers; sea serpents; Thunderbirds; and even giant spiders. Menagerie is written in Ken's no-nonsense tone but doesn't lack any bit of excitement or strangeness.

I especially liked that Ken strayed away from the well known and popular cases and creatures. He examines some of the weirdest stuff you will ever find in a cryptid book... and that's saying something. 

Beyond the Seventh Gate: Exploring Toad Road, the Seven Gates of Hell, and Other Strangeness in York, Lancaster, and Adams Counties by Timothy Renner

When Timothy Renner first heard "don't look behind you on Toad Road," instead of just shrugging off the strange superstition, he questioned why. From there, he went through a long and weird journey not only on Toad Road but on some others as well. Are there really Seven Gates of Hell in York county? What is an Albatwitch? And, why shouldn't you look behind you on Toad Road? Find out in Timothy's excellent investigation into the truth behind the legends.

This book is an excellent example of cryptid/unexplained investigation done right. Timothy looks into any and all possibilities into the handful of urban legends and folklore that exist within York, Adams, and Lancaster Counties. I read this book in one sitting, it was THAT good. 

Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Adventure by Robert C. Robinson

Legend tripping: (Noun) to go or participate on a quest or adventure for something which has defined a mystery or legend and not verified or explained by science. In his highly detailed guide into how to begin legend tripping, Robert Robinson goes above and beyond that definition. He gives brief explanations of popular legends, how to perform a trip, and how to have fun doing it. He examines all kinds of legend trips including cryptid, paranormal, and UFO trips. Robert also tells stories about some legend trips he has been on.

This book is for both the novice and experienced in any kind of legend tripping field. The book is an entertaining read for anyone interested in the stranger side of the world. 

Still in Search of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures that Time Forgot by Karl P. N. Shuker

In 1995, Karl Shuker released what many agree to be his greatest work; In Search of Prehistoric Survivors. The book soon went out of print and became a much-sought-after piece. Finally, after 21 years of waiting, Shuker has released an updated version of the book. Considering the fact that I loved the first one, it was a given that I would also love the revised edition.

One of the many things that made Shuker's work unique — besides it being the only book of its kind — is the careful examination that he goes through of each potential survivor. He also doesn't only look at extinct animals for possible explanations. Shuker presents a truly balanced piece of cryptozoological writing that deserves a place on everyone's shelf. 

Nessie: Exploring the Supernatural Origins of the Loch Ness Monster by Nick Redfern

As I've stated before, Nick Redfern never ceases to disappoint me with his work; I love his Chupacabra Road Trip, Monster Book, and everything in between, but this book was special. From the moment it was announced, I knew I HAD to have it. When I finally did get it at the Mothman Festival, I stayed up all night reading in the hotel bathroom so I didn't wake my father. I've always been interested in the Loch Ness Monster but had never been convinced that there was anything actually there; this book changed that for me.

Nick goes through the extensive history of the Loch Ness Monster, looking at not only modern sightings and evidence but also ancient legends such as the kelpie or Nessie's encounter with a Saint. I loved this book and if you like lake monsters, you will too!

1 comment:

  1. I love when you do this. I was stumped as to what my next read would be. Since I already have the first two listed, I will be sure to check out the rest. Thanks Colin.