A Manifestation of Monsters: Examining the (Un)usual Suspects by Karl P. N. Shuker

Henry Bauer

Abstract


Shuker’s writings are unfailingly informative, meticulously documented, full of fascinating things that surely are quite new for most of us.

This new collection comprises updates on some earlier writings and an unusually wide range of tidbits about possibly real but unidentified creatures, about anecdotes and long-lasting stories of creatures that are most certainly not real, about deliberate hoaxes. There are interesting details, too, of how Shuker tracked down some of the material. Those together with the analyses of the varied claims also bring the reader an awareness of how uncertainly reliable is the knowledge we gain from the mass media, and how much science—biology, zoology—still does not know let alone understand.

The different topics and subtopics addressed are so numerous as to defy listing, and it neglects some fascinating others if just a few are mentioned. Nevertheless, just to whet appetites, how about the almost certainly nonexistent Nandi bears that may nevertheless point to some real creatures, such as African sloths. Or, how could Tolkien’s hobbit have known about the Gobi’s possibly mythical were-worms? What about the physical evidence of tusks that point to a nevertheless nonexistent elephant pig? Could some enormously monstrous eels really exist? Yes, of course. Could that explain what the creatures are in Loch Ness? No.


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