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10 Nonfiction Books About Monsters That Might Just Make You Believe

Usually this extends to serial killers , folktales and other increasingly terrifying things , but occasionally I like to take things a step further and read about books about monsters. Who first came up with the manticore, the terrifying man-eating creature with the body of a lion, the tail of a scorpion, and the face of a man? Who was the first person to imagine the Penanggal, a vampire who detaches their head from their body and flies around as a floating head with guts hanging down? These books range from old school medieval bestiaries, studies on singular monsters, and books about the cultural analysis behind why we might believe in monsters to begin with.

Click Here To Buy. If you want to learn about a whole range of creatures, you could do worse than The Field Guide to North American Monsters. This comprehensive guide features a range of creatures from all over the North American continent, as well as tips and tricks for what you do if you meet one of them. This guide has the privilege of sitting on my bedside table, because I never know when you're going to need to consult it. Is it a plesiosaur? Is it a kelpie? Is it something that defies science? Who knows, but skeptics and believers alike have always held a measure of fascination for Nessie, the famed Loch Ness Monster.

In this extensively referenced book, Campbell examines the facts and fictions that surround the legend of the monster. He reviews films, photographs, and sonar evidence to prove the existence of a creature. There are many books about Nessie out there, but this one is particularly special. From the witches of Salem to Freddie Krueger to alien invasions to mysterious wilderness beasts, it seems as though Americans have been obsessed with the idea of the monster since colonial times.

Monsters in America isn't simply a study of monsters themselves, but the very real human psychological impetus behind them. Poole analyzes the various threats to the cultural status quo, and how those threats give way to new and strange monsters. This is a fascinating cultural study of comic books, oral histories, films, personal papers, and a lot more.

It may sound dry, but it's a truly fascinating novel. While Monster's in America studies the American collective social consciousness, Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite studies the science that could have possibly given rise to these monsters. Kaplan travels the world with a journalistic eye, attempting to uncover the historical origins of many famous monsters. Did fossils contribute to the human belief in dragons?


What made people first believe in werewolves? In vampires? While most of these monsters stuck around in the collective consciousness due to how terrifying they originally were, how did certain monsters grow to be less scary over time? K: Well, so was I, so it worked out. Rick was just the best; he and I talked and he asked.

And you know, I can do it. R: Plus I got a few copies of the book, which was kinda cool because it was the first real book I worked on.

Parasites turn coyotes into "goat suckers," scientists say.

R: And then of course, Cryptid Creatures —the feel good field guide of K: I studied journalism in college and thought I was going to be an investigative reporter. I started freelancing in about and I freelanced for a long time. You need to start writing books so you get a royalty. But professionally, I got a degree in graphic design from the University of Georgia with a focus on illustration, and I work non-stop.

K: Rick can take something speculative like aliens or a sasquatch and turn it into something that feels possible. A lot of the illustrators make fun of the cryptid material; you can see skepticism in their artwork. But when Rick takes on a topic he endows it with something living—and the kids love it too.

R: Well, yeah. They follow the same rules of physics we do, and do what we do: they eat, they sleep, walk around.

K: I can also trust Rick to go to scale. Even though some of my books involve the question of whether something is real or not real, when I do a book I want to find the best information possible, and I want somebody to work with who is going to be on the same page and have respect for the material too. When I was putting this book together, I really wanted to go for the gold.

R: I love the work of Charles Knight , illustrator and painter of prehistoric things from the late s.

Hominid Cryptids: From Bigfoot To Yetis

He breathed life into things. He would go out and observe animals in zoos and then apply the characteristics to the prehistoric monsters he drew. Well, people would call them monsters, but they were prehistoric animals. Once I was reading an encyclopedia and there was a picture of one of his paintings and I thought it was a photograph. I think in some cases people had too much party punch. But you know, they reported to the newspaper that they saw it. I interviewed this truck driver who went on a Bigfoot hunting thing, and he only went to play with his new night vision goggles and he was walking back to his truck and heard a noise, and he turned around and it was a bigfoot, and said he wet his pants.

But who knows? I could be wrong. R: Okay, okay. There are wrinkles in the suit, but people explain it away in a dozen different ways. R: Well, when a mommy cryptid and daddy cryptid love each other very much…. R: Oh, right. Sure, okay… We had talked about doing a book on baby cryptids. R: I looked at this opportunity and thought about what my options were to fill page space. Sure, I could have drawn yet another bigfoot walking to the left or a bigfoot walking to the right, or I could draw another footprint.

But instead, I chose to draw babies and young cryptids, because it kept the illustrations fresh. My favorite is the one of the baby Yeti rolling a snowball. It was inspired by a National Geographic photo of this Japanese monkey carrying a snowball. So some of the cryptids in the book are babies, some are kid versions. The Beast of Busco [a giant snapping turtle that could feed on deer] is an egg! Just a round egg. It was so much fun. My favorite part of the book was drawing the babies! Some have their legs crossed and off the side. I loved the differences between the adults and the children.

Like the New Jersey Devil looks so evil, and then you see the New Jersey Devil foal with its big eyes and sweet features.

Thinking about these cryptids as children gives them a timeline, orients them into space, gets readers thinking of how they could have grown or come to be. K: I know! They grow into it.

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I also love the skeletal features that he used. R: I wanted to bring them down to Earth and make them real animals. Because you know, if they exist…. R: Yeah. They had to start off as babies and had to have parents and would have bones in their heads. K: Rick made a lot of decisions about which ones to use.

That one is terrible. R: The Pugwudgie!

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