Sunday, October 25, 2020

31 Days of Halloween - Day 25 - Book

Monsters in Print Researched and Compiled by Adam Benedict. Independentally published. 2019.

This book is a collection of transcribed newspaper articles published between 1820 and 1924 presented in chronological order. Each article is a report of a sighting, or encounter with some strange unknown animal, or monster, typically in the United States. There are over 170 such articles contained in this book and no corresponding illustrations which may have appeared with the original articles. There's also a small section at the end covering strange airship sightings at the beginning of the 20th century, which may all be the same strange craft.

This book contains the usual problems with self published books; the need for a proofreader. While the spelling errors are less frequent here than is usual for a self published book, their elimination would have fixed some areas where the typos make the information confusing. Benedict states he simply transcribed the articles as they were with no corrections, or alterations, but I doubt the typos are as originally presented, and if so. they should have been fixed anyway.

As for the book itself, if you have an interest in cryptozoology, as I do, this book will be fascinating, and a bit frustrating. With only one or two exceptions, there is no cross coverage, or follow-ups presented on any of the creatures covered here. I don't know if that's from Benedict deciding he didn't need to include five articles from one town on their weird sighting, or if the newspapers didn't publish follow-up articles, or if they simply didn't crop up in Benedict's research. Many of the creatures are described in a very similar manner to one another, particularly some of the sea/river/lake monsters and some land animals that sure sound like Bigfoot, even though that term, nor sasquatch was being bandied about yet.

One interesting aspect of this book is that, while horrible that in the time period covered the sole reaction to these creatures was to kill them, or at least try, there are numerous mentions of specimens planned to be sent to specific museums. It might be worthwhile to contact some of those institutions to see if anything was ever sent to them, and what became of those specimens.

Like a lot of cryptozoology books which tend to be lists of eyewitness reports and other reported incidents, this isn't really a book meant to be read straight through (which is what I did). You'll want to dip into it and read a handful of articles at a time. Each article is pretty short. I think the longest was about six pages, but most are in the two to three page range, so it's easy to pick up and read a couple when you have a few spare minutes.

This is a welcome addition to my cryptozoology library, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in that area.

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