Concentrating on plausible creatures, not paranormal entities such as ghosts, the volume consists of 2,744 alphabetically arranged entries describing 1,583 creatures as well as places, people, and more. Two essays on Cryptotourism and Hoaxes are included. Some entries are accompanied by small black-and-white illustrations and photographs. Longer entries on Alien big cats, Nessie, and Octopus (giant) provide much information on these mysteries, describing sightings with dates and locations and giving possible explanations. The author is careful to not offer opinions of the validity of sightings but does refer to documented evidence calling them into question, as with recent sightings of the extinct Passenger pigeon. This is the opposite story from the Eastern cougar, where numerous sightings are forcing a reconsideration of their extinction. Each article ends with a list of sources with complete citations for those titles not included in the bibliography and short citations for those that are included. A glossary, six appendixes (a time line, a filmography, Internet links, and more), a bibliography, and an index complete the work.
Cryptozoology is treated in several other books. Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature (Simon & Schuster, 1999) provides an overview with approximately 100 entries. Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology (ABC-CLIO, 2003) has half the entries (1,125 compared to 2,744) of the Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology and is arranged more as a field guide. The depth of coverage in the current work makes it an excellent purchase for academic, high-school, and public libraries whose patrons are interested in this subject. Abbie Vestal Landry
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