From Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
A World Filled With
No matter where you live on this planet, someone within two hundred miles of your home has had a direct confrontation with a frightening apparition or inexplicable "monster" within the last generation. Perhaps it was even your cousin or your next-door neighbor. There is a chance--a very good one--that sometime in the next few years you will actually come face to face with a giant hair-covered humanoid or a little man with bulging eyes, surrounded by a ghostly greenish glow.
An almost infinite variety of known and unknown creatures thrive on this mudball and appear regularly year after year, century after century. Uncounted millions of people have been terrified by their unexpected appearances in isolated forests, deserted highways, and even in the quiet back streets of heavily populated cities. Whole counties have been seized by "monster mania," with every available man joining armed posses to beat the bushes in search for the unbelievable somethings that have killed herds of cows and slaughtered dogs and horses.
Over the past hundred years, thousands of intriguing human interest items have appeared in newspapers all over the world, describing incredible encounters with awesome creatures unknown to science. Can all these items be hoaxes and journalistic jokes? Can we believe that the major wire services, whose very existence depends on their reliability, employ men to concoct and circulate irresponsible tales about hairy giants and helmeted pygmies stepping from circular flying machines? Can we conclude that the millions of badly frightened people who have reported such encounters to the local police and authorities are merely pathological liars and lunatics?
We know that our little planet is infested with remarkable animals and insects that defy common sense. Have you ever considered the total absurdity of the giraffe? Or that inane rodent, the lemming, swarms of which periodically march across miles of ice in the Arctic to drown themselves in the sea?
Scientists had a good laugh in 1856, when Paul du Chaillu returned from the Congo and described his encounter with a hairy giant. "He stood about a dozen yards from us, and was a sight I think I shall never forget," Du Chaillu reported. "Nearly six feet high, with immense body, huge chest, and great muscular arms, with fiercely glaring large deep gray eyes…he stood there and beat his breast with his huge fists till it resounded like an immense bass drum."
We know now that Du Chaillu was the first white man to meet a gorilla in Africa. Gorillas did not exist in 1856 simply because the desk-bound scientists of London and Paris said they did not exist.
People are still seeing things that do not exist scientifically. They are seeing them in Nebraska, in England, in Siberia, in South East Asia, and in national parks everywhere.
A Reuters dispatch from Malaysia on August 15, 1966, reported that an ape twenty-five feet tall was on the loose. Residents of the little village of Segamat were quoted in the Malay Mail as describing a shy, harmless giant who blundered about in the bushes, leaving huge eighteen-inch footprints in his wake. The report speculated that perhaps the giant ape was on the move because of the pressure of advancing civilization and the loss of feeding grounds.
An ape twenty-five feet tall is a biological impossibility. But that does not mean that one cannot exist.
Berwick, Nova Scotia, sounds exotic and faraway. Actually it is on the Canadian peninsula lying just off the coast of Maine. In April 1969 a giant
eighteen-foot-tall figure was seen by many residents on the outskirts of that little town in the Annapolis valley, according to the Evening News. It was allegedly a "tall, very dark form" seen striding about the landscape at a speed of about twenty miles per hour. After the initial witnesses reported the "Phantom," as it became known, local police had to assign two cars to the area to control the bumper-to-bumper traffic.
People in Nova Scotia have been seeing all kinds of oddities for years. Giant luminous snakes that appeared suddenly and melted away mysteriously were reported there in 1967.
These things are "erratics" and "anomalies." They have been entertaining us for years, and their appearances have spawned all kinds of cults and "crackpot-ologies" ranging from "Angelology" (the study of the frequent appearances of angels) to UFOlogy (the study of flying saucers). Since 1896 a spectacular assortment of weird apparitions have been dropping out of the sky to plague us. A nude giant paid a visit to Michigan in 1897, according to the newspapers of the period, and when a farmer tried to move in for a closer look, the creature lashed out with his giant foot and broke the poor man's ribs.
For the past twenty years South America has been infested with beings ranging from eight-foot giants with single eyes in the middle of their foreheads to little man-shaped things only two feet tall. Cyclopean giants have also reportedly been seen in the state of Oregon, and a radio announcer in Minnesota claims he ran into a group of tiny animated tin cans only six inches tall. Other creatures ranging from fifteen to twenty feet in height have scared the daylights out of people in such scattered places as Mexico and Argentina.
In West Virginia more than one hundred sober, God-fearing people have seen some sort of tall, gray human-like figure with wings since 1966. It has glowing red eyes and is known locally as "Mothman." A similar creature horrified four teenagers in Kent, England, back in 1963.
These are only a few of the examples in our lexicon of monsters and ambling nightmares. There are hundreds more and we will try to give a comprehensive, documented account of each one as we go along. Unfortunately there is very little scientific evidence that any of these things really exist. In many cases unusual footprints were found on the ground afterwards and plaster casts were made of them. In some instances witnesses were clawed or went into a state of shock and required medical attention. Over and over again police officers and sheriffs have thought enough of the witnesses' credibility to organize posses and search parties to scour the area for some trace of these elusive beasts, always without success.
You are, of course, familiar with the giant footprints of the celebrated Abominable Snowman (ABSM) of the Himalayas, which have been seen and photographed by numerous mountain-climbing expeditions. But did you know that the same kind of tall, hairy creature has frequently been seen throughout the United States? He--or it--turns up almost annually in such places as California, Michigan, Florida, and New York. Hundreds of people have seen these ABSMs in the past hundred years. All of their descriptions tally. The reliability of most of these people is beyond question.
We have personally investigated many of the cases in this book and have talked to the witnesses for hours on end, probing for discrepancies in their stories and trying to uncover emotional or psychological aberrations. It is our studied conclusion that the great majority of these people are telling the truth. Any one of them would make an acceptable and credible witness in a court of law if called upon to testify about a more mundane matter. We are not dealing with wild-eyed crackpots and publicity seekers. These are people very much like yourself and, contrary to the hardboiled cynicism of New York editors, most people are honest and they are particularly truthful when trying to describe an unusual but possibly important event to police officers, newsmen, and scientific investigators.
Many of these witnesses will be named in this book. They are real people, they exist, and you can check them out if you wish, although by now most of them are weary of the ridicule and nonsense that usually follows the act of reporting an unusual event.
Skeptics who have had no newspaper experience usually try to make an issue out of the reliability of newspaper reports. We grew up in the newspaper business and have been involved in journalism all our life. Newsmen are trained in a hard school and total objectivity becomes a part of their lifestyle. Most newspaper reports are very reliable. We personally have had the opportunity to check out many newspaper clippings by visiting the scene and talking directly to the witnesses. Often we found that the local newspapers had actually protected the witness by playing down or deleting altogether the more incredible aspects of his story. This means that many of the newspaper accounts offer only a superficial description of the event and an in-depth, on-the-spot investigation is necessary to uncover all the details.
So we are not going to dwell on the false issues of reliability in this book. Rather, we are going to try to assemble and present the available facts on these bizarre situations. As you go along, you will begin to note that there are striking correlations and similarities in many of these stories, no matter where or when they occurred. The smaller details become the most significant. Identical happenings have been reported in France, Brazil, and Ohio. Yet few, if any, of these stories have been widely circulated beyond the area of origin. If all these people are liars, then we had better launch a psychiatric program to determine how so many far-flung liars are able to come up with the same significant, correlating details in their lies.
On the other hand, there exists a large and vocal group of men who are unreliable and often irresponsible. Over the past several years our work has brought us into almost constant contact with this group. They call themselves "scientists" and they usually put a Ph.D. after their names. Science has become a sacred cow in this generation but that term is a misnomer. The gender is wrong. Science, by and large, is a lot of bull.
Hardly a month passes that yet another scientist is not caught in the act of faking his statistical material or cheating in his experiments. In recent years...