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Tracking the Man-Beasts: Sasquatch, Vampires, Zombies, and More Paperback – March 22, 2011
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"...it’s hard to argue with Nickell’s clearheaded examinations of popular legends or with his reasonable, logical conclusions."
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Nickell clearly does not consider any of these monsters to be real, but he is not condescending to those who think otherwise. His approach is to recount the legend and some key incidents and then offer factual reasons to think that the source of the legend might be mundane rather than supernatural or cryptozoological. Although he takes occasional mild swipes at some of the more outrageous fraudsters in the milieu, Nickell usually refrains from ad hominim attacks.
I doubt that "Tracking the Man-Beasts" will change many minds among those who believe in vampires, zombies, or man-like cryptids, but it will be an enjoyable read for students of folklore, skeptics, and fence sitters who are curious to learn what the fuss is all about.
Nickell, who styles himself "the world's only full-time, professional, science-based paranormal investigator," has written several other books. Those who are engaged by his "skeptic lite" approach to the investigation of paranormal phenomenon will probably enjoy his other entries in the genre, including: ...Read more ›
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Naturally, my interest is in the cryptozoological stuff, although folklore of monsters and such is always fun. (Among other facts: the claim of a "real" zombie created with drugs isn't much better substantiated than the coming zombie apocalypse. I can't figure out the zombie craze, anyway. They are, almost by definition, the most boring of humanlike monsters, since they lack the pathos of a good vampire or the cunning of a werewolf.)
Nickell, not surprisingly, doesn't think much of any of the apelike or manlike cryptids of the world. While the relevant chapters in this book are too short to cover the subject in depth, I wasn't terribly impressed even on points where I agree with him. You can't spend a couple of days in the woods and expect it to contribute in any meaningful way to proving or disproving the existence of a particular species. Think how long it took Dian Fossey to find the gorillas, and she knew they were there. And investigators should apply the same standards to all claims, regardless of which side they agree with. Nickell tries to paper over the impossible gap between the two accounts of the Patterson-Gimlin film suit (commercial costume vs. homemade horse-hide), and his drawing of the figure points to things like "suit-glove" interface that I can't see on any blowup of the actual film - which he doesn't include.Read more ›
This is perhaps my favorite Joe Nickell book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I will start by stating that Joe Nickell is a dedicated debunker. He doesn't buy into pretty much anything. This said this doesn't mean that one should pass this book by. Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by Honest Reviewer
If you are looking for a BALANCED analysis of cryptozoology or paranormal creatures, look elsewhere. This is really a disinformation book on all the subjects Nickell covers. Read morePublished on February 12, 2013 by Colin Bayler