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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
The book's author takes a kind of "scientific" approach to the subject matter. This book is intended for the novice and does include some creatures not necessarily thought of monsters, like angels and mermaids. Nine different types of "monsters" are described here, starting with vampires, ghosts and werewolves, and finishing off with demons. Things that go bum pin the...
Published on April 6, 2005 by Todd Hawley

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Take it with a gain or two of salt
Reviewed for[...]

Monsters is a New Agey manual on the fantasy creatures we know and love. How to find them, identify them, protect yourself against them, run a basic investigation, as well as a hodgepodge of history and cultural takes can all be found in this book. However the point of view comes from a tone that's bitterly anti-science (citing the Santa...
Published on August 2, 2010 by Michele Lee


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, April 6, 2005
By 
Todd Hawley (San Francisco CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
The book's author takes a kind of "scientific" approach to the subject matter. This book is intended for the novice and does include some creatures not necessarily thought of monsters, like angels and mermaids. Nine different types of "monsters" are described here, starting with vampires, ghosts and werewolves, and finishing off with demons. Things that go bum pin the night, indeed.

Greer takes great pains to debunk a number of "facts" about each of these creatures. For example, vampires who in most lore are thought of to be almost "glamorous," are portrayed here as something completely different. He also talks briefly about "psychic vampires," which in some cases can be just as nasty as a "real" vampire.

He also devotes chapters to "monster investigations," what to look for, what to watch out for, the "tools of the trade," and cautions the reader to never go alone when "looking" for one of these creatures, and the book's final chapters are devoted to defending yourself by the use of magic.

While this is not the definite guide to "monsters," it is a good overall book on the subject and there's a long bibliography of related books listed at the book's end for those who wish to learn more.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not intended for those already knowledgeable on the subject., January 24, 2005
By 
James Yanni (Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
This book is clearly a primer, intended for beginners and disbelievers. As such, it does what it sets out to quite well; if it is a disappointment to those who expect advanced tracts from Mr. Greer, as some of the other reviews suggest, the problem is with their expectations, not with the material at hand. One wouldn't rate a first-year calculus book poorly simply because it fails to increase one's understanding of differential equations.

For those inclined to learn a bit about the lore of occult creatures, whether or not they actually believe in the reality of said creatures, this is a very good book. Even if one doesn't believe, and is somewhat put off by Greer's unapologetic stance that magic and occult monsters are real, nonetheless, one must concede that he is very practical in his approach; he repeatedly reminds the reader to consider all other explanations before assuming true occult activity, including hoaxes and simple misunderstanding of "normal" happenings. He states repeatedly that true paranormal activity is much rarer than such other happenings, and is clearly attempting to discourage people attempting to live out their Fantasy Role Playing Games in the real world, a phenomenon that he is obviously all too familiar with.

For those who ARE inclined to believe in the possibility of the occult, this is a very good beginning text on the subject.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On Things That Go Bump In The Dark, September 5, 2002
By 
Brad Smith (Arlington, VA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
This is one of the most fantastic books I've read in ages. Note that this has very little to do with cryptozoology; most of the creatures discussed are not always material.
In this surprisingly readable book, we have a discussion of various common preternatural and supernatural monsters. Not all of these would ordinarily be considered monsters (such as mermaids and angels), but are classified as such for ease of use.
Mr. Greer covers a lot of very useful ground, such as investigative techniques for the amateur monster hunter, a detailed explanation of the different levels of reality that is the most internally consistent I've ever seen, and one of the best bibliographies in print today. He freely admits that many so-called monster sightings are, in fact, possibly something much more mundane.
The meat of this, though, is the section on actual monster descriptions. Here, we learn the nature of real vampires, what Nessie *really* is, and what demons might have to do with mental illness (and no, it's not necessarily a cause-effect relationship, either...). Information is given on the history of said monsters, various sightings, and what to do if one encounters said monster...realistically, most are treated as any other rare creature (i.e. be quiet, look, take notes and pictures if you can). Finally, he also discusses vulnerabilities and has a section on quick ritual magic if one does, in fact, have to go all Buffy on that vampire.
In summation, this is one of the best New Age/magical book I've read in years. He writes very well, and very entertainingly, and keeps a very level head. If you're at all interested in supernatural creatures, this is one of the best books for you.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In-depth Research Guide to "Imaginary" Beings & "Monsters", October 13, 2002
This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
I accidentally dismissed this book, because of the cover, until my wife brought me a copy to peruse. The cover doesn't really do the book justice--although, I am sure it sells many copies, normally. If this book had an entirely different cover, I believe it would be taken Very Seriously by many students of The Mysteries, Anthropology (especially), and could possibly be used in a College Course on Mythology.
Greer's explanation of Occult, Ghost, UFO, Fay, etc., Phenomena makes more sense than most of what I have read on the subject, throughout my life. I have read Secret School materials that do not make as much sense as this amazing treatise on the Paranormal. I am especially Impressed with the UFO-Fairy connection. This theory not only makes tremendous sense, but resolves Numerous issues I have experienced and debated, over the years. For those who research the Paranormal and have experienced UFO, Ghost and such "Otherworld" activities, this book makes tremendous sense, and often makes the reader realize things in a very ( "So, that's it !" ) revelatory manner.
I could have really used this book, when I was younger and silly-enough to go looking for trouble. Throughout my life, I have experienced various Hauntings and Paranormal Events, and often went looking for them, as Inspiration for writing books. Personal experience leads me to conclude that Greer is an Expert and should be taken very Seriously by Anthropologists, Psychologists, et al.
I doubt that most people who are not psychically inclined or Initiated will "get it," but this guide is Certainly well-worth owning just to discourage people from "Dabbling" in Occult Matters. Amazingly, this is the first "Occult" book I have ever read that would be perfect material for Christians to encourage their teenagers to read. The usual Christian theory of "Don't Dabble" (in the Occult) is repeated throughout the book. However, the book is written from an Initiated, Mystical perspective, coinciding with Common Sense.
To make a long review short.... This is a perfect guide to "Monsters" (the Paranormal, Mystical, Hauntings, Vampires, Werewolves, etc.) that should be on the shelf of every "Occultist," Christian, Psychic, Psychologist and Anthropologist.
Please, do not "judge the book by it's cover." This is not a sensationalist, copy-cat, or un-researched book written to capitalize on Vampire Trends and such. I sincerely expect this book to make it's way into college courses. Greer has obviously researched this material in-depth and first-hand. This is the only Serious work on the subject that I have encountered. If you are expecting sensationalized UFO encounters, this book isn't for you. However, this book does explain, Rationally, the UFO phenomena. This book does not "debunk" monsters, ghosts and fairies--but, it does Explain them, logically
Greer obviously has the Credentials to back-up his theories. "Monsters" is being used as a "Reference book" at Libraries (a book you cannot check-out: "for Research purposes, only").
For those who may be interested, several chapters included in this book involve Natural Magick and Ritual Magick, with detailed instructions and diagrams.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Take it with a gain or two of salt, August 2, 2010
By 
Michele Lee (Louisville, KY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
Reviewed for[...]

Monsters is a New Agey manual on the fantasy creatures we know and love. How to find them, identify them, protect yourself against them, run a basic investigation, as well as a hodgepodge of history and cultural takes can all be found in this book. However the point of view comes from a tone that's bitterly anti-science (citing the Santa Claus defense, "So many people believe it, how could it not be true" as proof of these creatures existence) and liberally redefines terms, and cherry picks data and history to suit the author's arguments that these creatures still exist, as the author defines them, and it's close minded to think otherwise.
The author contradicts himself on several occasions and his facts absolutely must be taken with a cup or so of salt. But each section (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, angels, fae, mermaids, dragons and spirits) is also filled with clear historical research, as well as including non-Western folklore. Primarily suited for heavily used New Age or occult collections Monsters is a reminder of just how little we understand about nature, the past, and the world around us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monsters for beginners, November 23, 2012
John Michael Greer is an independent scholar, writer, blogger and Archdruid. He has written books on a wide variety of subjects. Please don't confuse him with Steven Greer!

"Monsters" is a kind of beginner's guide to vampires, werewolves, demons and other supernatural beings. Not all of the entities covered are evil or dangerous. Greer has included chapters on angels, spirits and even mermaids! The most interesting section deals with fairies and their similarities with aliens and the UFO phenomenon. Very often, Greer criticizes the pop culture ideas about supernatural beings, and occasionally the New Age notions as well. His views on Bigfoot might be contentious within the community dealing with such matters: Greer believes that Bigfoot is a real, flesh-and-blood animal in the Pacific Northwest, while most "Bigfoot" sightings outside the creature's traditional haunts are really supernatural beings (a kind of solitary fairies). Nor will Greer's negative views of nuts-and-bolts ufology endear him to that particular group of people.

For a beginner's guide written in a relatively laid back style, I'd say Greer cracks a surprisingly large amount of eggs!

The book also includes chapters on natural and ritual magic, and a guide to monster hunting. The magical rituals come from the Golden Dawn tradition, which is Greer's personal magical path. "Monsters" further include a philosophical introduction defending the reality of the supernatural, and speculations about the eheric realm, which I found particularly helpful. An extensive list of literature is appended.

Note once again that this is intended as a book for those more or less completely untutored in the magical worldview (i.e. people like yours truly). Greer does manage to portray the magical worldview as relatively rational and logical, but he also admits that the monster lore and magical rituals of various cultures are extremely varied, and that it isn't always possible to get clear information on such matters. Unless you do your own magickal research, presumably.

And yes, even if you are a sceptic, you might actually find this book somewhat entertaining...

Five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Other Book Like Monsters on the Market, September 20, 2010
This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
I've drunk this book in like a highly nutritious supplement on monstrous phenomena. And I take again in regular doses. Partly this is because I admire John Greer's work, and the extent of his knowledge. I am loathe to dismiss any book that _seems_ basic as "just basic" when it is written by one as learned and experienced as Greer. Greer has a way of approaching obtuse and complex material and making it understandble and accesible to others. So I went through the book with several fine tooth combs in my attempt to absorb the theories presented herein.

Some have deingrated this work as overly simplistic, "new agey", slanted towards his worldview, etc. etc. to which I say they are missing the point. There are woefully few theoretical books on monstrous phenomena on the market today. The literature on this subject tends to fall into one of several camps: Story works (mostly of legend and folklore); Encyclopedic works; ghost hunting type works; Cryptozoological works; and books on "alien phenomena". Greer's works breaks new ground, departs from all of these camps and is a pioneering effort at deepening our understanding of monstrous phenomena.

Is it an "advanced" work? I don't know if I would call it that exactly, but it's premise is _not_ a simplistic one. Greer makes a point of nailing the manifestation of monstrous phenomena solidly into one predominant thema--the revelatory one. What this does for monstrous phenomena is connect it to the shamanic/magical tradition where those who encounter such phenomena are literally touching (or being transported to) the other world. The approach that monsters are manifestations from an otherworld is a valid and recognized theory; and while not talked about much in the realms of cryptozoology, it has earned growing creedence in UFOlogy and the paranormal (with researchers such as Vallees, Stieger, Hynek, Keel, Redfern and even Tonnies echoing such sentiments). Yet Greer's work is far from an imitation of these authors. In this work Greer is offering not only a working theory of monstrous phenomena, but an appraoch to it as well.

In no other work that purports to explain monstrous beings as an other-worldly phenomena does the author give such clear instruction on how to deal with them. The other, deeper implication is that there is a "way of knowing" i.e. magic, that one can pursue that gives one knowledge about and experience in dealing with such entities. Greer makes it clear that his work is introductory. He also gives several instances (notably in the sections on angels and demons) that warn the investigator that such knowledge is requried to deal in depth with such beings. Is such instruction as Greer gives in the end of the book sufficient? No. But this isn't a text in developing magical abilities or defenses. Greer makes that much clear. But the skills he outlines are more than useful if his theories are correct.

You may not agree with Greer's premise. I'm sure many empirically minded cryptozoologist won't. But that does not make the work invalid, nor his work useless. Even if the work only serves to school yourself on a very solid theory of monstrous phenomena accepted by more than few with experience and encounters with such phenomena. It belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in such things.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational and Insightful, May 29, 2008
This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
Tales throughout time have spoken of monsters and frightening beings and things that go "bump" in the night, and for most people these tales are as close to the unknown as they are willing to get. But for those few who find their curiosity peaked when they hear of local hauntings or monster sightings, there is finally a handbook just for you!

"Monsters - An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings" by John Michael Greer is truly a handbook for the beginning monster hunter or curious seeker. The book, which I found to be an easy and entertaining read, is divided into four parts and is 282 pages long (that includes the index):

Part I: An Introduction to the Field Guide - On the Reality of the Impossible.
Part II: A Field Guide to Monsters; Vampires, Ghosts, Werewolves, Creatures of Faery, Mermaids, Dragons, Spirits, Angels, Demons.
Part III: A Guide to Monster Investigation - the complete investigator.
Part IV: Magical Self-Defense; natural magic and ritual magic.
Part IV is followed by a glossary and bibliography of monster lore.

Keep in mind that his definition of monster is "that which is shown forth or revealed." So even Angels, Faerie and Mermaids fall into this category, though they certainly don't fit the typical stereotype of what we believe monsters to be.

I enjoyed reading his explanation of the monsters (which includes descriptions and related folklore), especially the werewolves and vampires. Many people believe these particular monsters to be more Hollywood hype than anything else. But Europe is rich in werewolf and vampire folklore; of course the tales don't include Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise.

He also goes into detail for those interested in conducting their own monster investigations; including what to put in your monster hunting kit (did you know dark thread and rubber cement are useful in monster hunting?), interviewing skills and the importance of research, and doing the actual search for the monster.

Greer also goes into magical self-defense, which is very important for anyone delving into the paranormal. He talks about simple protective techniques (such as using holy water or salt and making amulets), and also describes rituals designed to bring protection (such as the Cabalistic Cross and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram). Where the rituals may seem a bit complicated to the beginner, a bit of practice would make the user feel more comfortable and confident.

Folktales of monsters have existed in every society throughout the ages, and for a good reason. There are forces out there that can cause one to wake in the darkest hours of the night paralyzed and in a cold sweat. Whether you are a serious monster hunter, or have just had your own monster experiences and want to know how to deal with them, "Monsters - An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings" is a must have for your supernatural library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One hell of a book and a must for Monster and Lore goers!, February 19, 2010
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This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
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A must for all paranormal seekers and monster hunters. Lots of useful and practical information! Very handy guide for avoiding vampires, capturing Bigfoot, how to handle ghosts, what types of spirits there are, how to identify the fae and more. Was the first book on the topic I read and it really helped me to get a good feel of the areas of magical creatures and understand that part of the world better. I'm not saying I want to go ghost busters on them spirits but I know the difference now between hauntings, replays and a friendly occupation. I didn't do much of the natural/ritual magic sections but it had some great suggestions for protection remedies using natural magic and ritual magic. I'd recommend as a great piratical guide. Greer's writing style is awesome too. Funny and easy to read, he tells it as is.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, practical, down-to-earth and very readable., May 17, 2002
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This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
Greer defines monsters as "beings that cannot exist, according to currently accepted scientific theories about the way the universe works, but which are routinely encountered by credible witnesses and described in traditional folklore". The major portion of the book extracts the common threads from world-wide folklore and modern day sightings of vampires, ghosts, werewolves, creatures of faery, mermaids, dragons, spirits, angels and demons, while dispelling modern TV myths. Although cultures vary in their interpretation of what monsters are, there is surprising agreement about what they do. This suggests that there are common phenomena that have been subject to different interpretations.
I was particularly attracted to the book because of this well-structured and systematic distillation of the evidence, old and new. It is written in a sensible style that gives one a great deal of confidence in the author. However, there is much more that is of interest, and different audiences will take different things from the rest of the book. For the complete newcomer to the field, there is an introduction containing a cogently argued defence of the idea that evidence shouldn't be discarded just because it doesn't fit our current theoretical models. However, the main thrust of the book is as a guide for psychical researchers, ghost hunters and other investigators of spontaneous anomalies. It contains some extremely practical information about e.g. equipment to take, questions to ask and how to ask them, how to detect hoaxes and how to do research. This should be required reading for any person involved in field work of this kind.
The monster catalogue itself contains two parallel threads. Besides describing reported monster behaviour and the development of associated folklore, the author also provides an interpretation, based on Western magical philosophy, of what the monsters are and how to deal with them. Fortunately, he keeps these threads fairly separate, so that one can extract a lot of useful information about monster sightings, even if one chooses to ignore the magical perspective. That said, the framework that he presents is internally consistent and seems to be an interesting way of analysing monster lore. The notions that he draws on could also be interpreted in terms of other cultural philosophies, and students of e.g. eastern mysticism or holistic medicine will find parallels in their own philosophy to the concepts used here.
While reading this book, I was consistently impressed by the author's clear mind, down-to-earth approach and considerate nature. While each element of it may be covered in more detail in other books, this is an extremely useful synthesis of many ideas. I found a lot to think about in it, and I recommend it highly.
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Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings
Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings by John Michael Greer (Paperback - September 8, 2001)
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