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Tracking the Man-Beasts: Sasquatch, Vampires, Zombies, and More Paperback – March 22, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This fun book includes loads of information and would serve as a good overview for anyone interested in legends and monsters."
-Library Journal

"...it’s hard to argue with Nickell’s clearheaded examinations of popular legends or with his reasonable, logical conclusions."
-Booklist

About the Author

Joe Nickell (Amherst, NY) has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes" and "the real-life Scully" (from the X-Files). He has been on the trail of man-beasts and other mysterious creatures and phenomena for four decades. Since 1995 he has been the world’s only fulltime, professional, science-based paranormal investigator. His careful, often innovative investigations have won him international respect in a field charged with controversy. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently Real or Fake? Studies in Authentication and Adventures in Paranormal Investigation. See www.joenickell.com for more.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616144157
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616144159
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William Holmes VINE VOICE on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joe Nickell is an agreeable racontuer, exploring the legends of assorted "man-beasts," including yeti, Bigfoot, yowie, chupacabra, vampires, swamp monsters, werewolves, devils, little green men, Mothman, zombies and a host of others. The author does a good job of laying out the background for each legend and then offers a reasonable explanation for what's really going on. His writing style is pleasant if slightly academic, an ambience reinforced by his use of helpful chapter endnotes.

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:
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his Tracking the Man-beasts, Joe provides a enjoyable, readable explanation of these legndary creatures, or perhaps I should say "mythic" creatures.Our basic assumption that there "is something out there" is treated kindly, but truthfully. And so these creatues are truly "mythic." I'd recommend the book to all who delight in the truth.
The Naturalist-in-Training
Evelyn Horn

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Everyone interested in the paranormal should have at least one volume from Joe Nickell. This clear-eyed analysis puts to rest many of the absurd speculations offered by television shows interested in ratings rather than truth.
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Format: Paperback
Well-known skeptical investigator Nickell pokes into an interesting if loosely related collection of topics: sasquatch, yeti, vampires, werewolves, etc. (Nickell's bio says he's been referred to as "the real-life Scully." Sorry Joe, I've heard you're a great guy, but Scully was hot - a thinking man's babe. You, not so much.)

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.
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Format: Paperback
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. The book, Tracking The Man-Beasts has a lot of good information covering everything from bigfoot to werewolves, zombies, aliens, demons, and yes, vampires. So if you can overlook the author being a dedicated debunker then you can find enjoyment in the information provided. The only problem I have with the book is that Nickell doesn't quite understand when something is told in a "nod & wink", versus something that might actually be a reality. Nickell simply puts everything in the same category and dismisses it. This inability to distinguish between such highly annoys me.
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