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Friday, July 21, 2017

Monsters Among Us - A Very, Very Skeptical Look at Cryptids

Today I finished reading Andrea McGann Keech's recent book Monsters Among Us: The Truth About a Hidden World You Never Knew.

There isn't really any "truth" in this book.

Keech examines many, many cryptids including Bigfoot and Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, Wendigo, Mothman, Beast of Gevaudan, mokele-mbembe, thunderbirds, and more. And since the book is only about 150 pages, each cryptid gets on average around 5-6 pages of coverage.

And about a third of that, usually, is made up of a story she puts at the beginning of each chapter about each certain cryptid, many of which are quite… odd…, or show them as vicious killer beasts! In the Mothman chapter, she even takes the Scarberry-Mallette story and just adds in two random people instead! She apparently fancies herself a storyteller, even though most of them aren't that good at all.

When she actually gets to "examining" (and I use the term very loosely) each cryptid, she basically barely covers its history and/or sightings at all and then at the end says "I really doubt -this cryptid- exists." For example:

  • In the mermaid chapter, she talks about legends of sirens and such very shortly, then goes on to says "…and mermaids appeared in this movie, and this movie, and this movie, this Animal Planet show," and on and on. Really no coverage of the mermaid legend itself.
  • Thunderbird chapter - she mentions Quetzalcoatlus, an ancient giant pterosaur, and basically talks about how it was discovered, and how someone, sometime built a life-size animatronic one, and concludes that t-birds can't exist.
  • Mothman (and the Flatwoods Monster is mentioned too and takes up half the Mothman chapter) - she says that the FM was definitely an owl (though the last time I checked, owls weren't 10 feet tall and didn't have a noxious gas around them that makes people sick). She also concludes that the Mothman is an owl as well and associating it at all with the Silver Bridge collapse is stupid. She makes absolutely no mention of the UFOs, weird telephone/TV interference and calls, Men in Black, etc. that was going on at the time. Also, I don't know of any owls that can fly 100 mph!
One weird owl...

When she does somewhat examine a cryptid, she basically only looks at the theories that say that it is a hoax or something "known." Oddly, the only cryptids she thinks might exist are the mokele-mbembe and some other "prehistoric survivors" in Africa! I guess a living dinosaur is more realistic to her than unknown creatures in the ocean or an unknown ape…

With each theory that says something "might be -this animal-" or "that animal," she has to mention that she, too, has seen said animal! She has seen pelicans before, so thunderbirds can't exist! She has seen a manatee! She has seen an owl before, so that's what Mothman must be!

While I don't mind skeptical examinations of cryptids, this one is not an "examination" and the author doesn't even consider other options and obviously has no idea what she is writing about. No bibliography is listed in the book, and basically the only sources she notes in the book are "Whatzit" from sometime in December 2015, this other news site… something written on a news site about a sighting in 1888…, and I think you get the point.
Maybe this is where she got all her info?

If you want to get Monsters Among Us, get Linda Godfrey's book of the same name from last year, not this one.

A very, very good book!

Next book review will be Nick Redfern's The Roswell UFO Conspiracy, which actually looks to be good...

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