Aug 232012
 

Yesterday, I watched a documentary on television—I think it was by National Geographic—about a young man who explored, at least briefly, in central Africa to investigate reports of the Mokele Mbembe. He admitted that there may be an unknown creature in the dense remote jungle, but I noticed a problem at the end.

sketch of a Diplodocus, a sauropod dinosaur

We all understand the concept of misidentification. How easy to imagine that an eyewitness has seen something commonplace under unusual conditions! What’s the problem when a scientist or non-scientific skeptic suggests a sighting of something strange was just something normal? The skeptic usually just let’s the subject drop, without any attempt to test the misidentification conjecture.

In the documentary I saw, the explorer suggested to the camera that natives had seen elephants that were swimming with little showing except their trunks and the tops of their bodies. We the audience were shown how hiding the bottom part of an elephant photo can appear strange, but wait . . . Why did the explorer not show that trick to the native eyewitnesses? Why did he assume that they knew what an elephant looks like in the forest but not what it looks like in deep water? How careless! (Or how shrewd!) The simple direct testing of that hypothesis would have been so easy, but then it probably would have resulted in the destruction of the agenda of National Geographic in that documentary.

Scott Norman, Pterosaur Eyewitness

The late Scott Norman searched for the Mokele Mbembe in Africa, many years ago; but I remember him best as a kind hearted man who humbly reported his sighting of a large flying creature that he encountered one night in 2007.

Silent, with stars for a background, the dark creature flew twenty feet high, over a shed only twenty feet from Scott . . . there was no mistaking it: . . . a head three to four feet long, and a two-foot-long head-crest that reminded him of a Pteranodon. . . . [Wings] more bat-like than bird-like.

Jul 272012
 

It’s difficult to compile a list of books by sales ranking on Amazon, when ”cryptozoology” is the search word used on that book-seller site. Some obvious cryptozoology books do not have that word in their title or subtitle, so they are probably left out of the search results. The following are paperback and hardback, from top to bottom by sales ranking, the apparent top twenty on the evening of July 27, 2012, although it is very possible that important books may have been missed.

  1. Looking for Bigfoot, by Bonnie Worth
  2. Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, by Josh Gates
  3. Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, by Jeff Meldrum
  4. Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures, by Kelly Milner Halls and others
  5. DK Readers: Beastly Tales, by Malcolm Yorke and Lee Davis
  6. Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition), by Jonathan Whitcomb
  7. Biblical Cryptozoology Revealed Cryptids of The Bible, by Dale Stuckwish
  8. Cryptozoology A to Z, by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
  9. Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, by Loren Coleman and others
  10. Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside, by Brad Steiger
  11. Bigfoot Observer’s Field Manual, by Robert W. Morgan
  12. The Beasts that Hide from Man, by Karl Shuker
  13. Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology, by Loren Coleman
  14. The Michigan Dogman, by Linda S. Godfrey
  15. Bigfoot! – The True Story of Apes in America, by Loren Coleman
  16. Claw, Jaws, and Dinosaurs, by Kent Hovind, William Gibbons, and others
  17. Hunting the American Werewolf, by Linda S. Godfrey
  18. Monsters of Texas, by Ken Gerhard and Nick Redfern
  19. In Search of Sasquatch, by Kelly Milner Halls
  20. Monsters of West Virginia: Mysterious Creatures, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Books on the Loch Ness creature seem to have less selling depth than they once did. Bigfoot is still strong. The old standard Cryptozoology A to Z is no longer number one in this genre, although it was on the top for years.

Popular Cryptozoology Books

Leaving aside fictions and e-books (including Kindle) here’s a listing of many cryptozoology books that are best selling on Amazon

Three Author “Eyewitnesses”

The three authors, from British Columbia in Canada, Texas, and California, have each written at least one edition of a nonfiction book that primarily deals with sightings of possible pterosaurs in North America.

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Live Pterosaurs in America - front cover of nonfiction book, third edition

Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition), cryptozoology, nonfiction

The second paragraph of the introduction of the book:

This book might discomfort, even offend, a few readers; please consider the feelings of those who have revealed to us their encounters with what seem to be live pterosaurs, for some of them have suffered more than discomfort. I intend to comfort those innocent victims who have been ridiculed or ostracized because of a cultural weakness, for each has seen something unaccepted by their society. Each eyewitness deserves listeners who will open their minds, really listen. Consider their experiences.

From Page 70:

The cryptozoologists were not disappointed, with many sightings of the flying lights and a few sightings of the forms of large flying creatures that were unlike bats. One of them flew close enough that one man almost fell over. The men stayed only a few nights, but the investigation continued into 2008, with a number of visits to this location.

From Page 71 (another expedition in North America):

Late in 2007, I received an email from Peter Beach, a biology professor. He had gone on two expeditions into Africa (searching for the Mokele-mbembe cryptid), before becoming involved in living-pterosaur research.

“I went on a short trip to the Yakima River this summer . . . because there was a [sighting]. We were unable to get a picture but we saw many . . . flashing lights. I would have assumed that [they] were fireflies but we [don’t] have them in Washington. One of the flashes took off from a big tree overhanging the river and made a kind of flashing coma turn. Many flashes were parallel to the river. The river at that point [has] a crook . . . and there were many fish . . . Prime hunting grounds for fish-eating birds. Only these things fish at night with bioluminescence.”

Dec 042010
 

Dinoplaza, a new blog about reports of dinosaurs alongside humans, has recently been started by Peter Theiss, a child cryptozoologist in the southeast United States. The site deserves a few brief excerpts.

Nessie Lives

Richard Preston, a landscape gardener, has been the latest person to spot a mysterious shape that might be the Loch Ness monster and capture a series of images on camera.

Best Photographic Evidence of Nessie, Ogopogo, and Champ

I think the best photographic evidence of Nessie is the 1975 underwater photo of Nessie, taken by Robert Rines.  The photo shows, quite clearly, indeed, a plesiosaur-like creature . . . flippers, a long neck, and a big head . . .

Living Dinosaur Roar

In 1981, American engineer Herman Regusters led his own expedition in search of Mokele-mbembe [Central Africa].  He returned with a sound recording of a “low windy roar [that] increased to a deep throated trumpeting growl”, which Herman Regusters believed to be the Mokele-mbembe’s call.

Please note that this child cryptozoologist is the same Peter Theiss mentioned in the newly published second edition of my nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America. He contributed a valuable eyewitness sighting interview report regarding what we believe was a pterosaur flying over an area of St. Louis.

Feb 232010
 

According to Brian Irwin, who interviewed native eyewitnesses on New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea, ”One afternoon late in 2005, three people from Awirin Island . . . were on the beach on the south side of the adjacent unpopulated Dililo Island . . . when they observed an amazing creature moving in the water . . . a long neck and a long tail and had a total length of about 20 metres and a width of about 2 metres. The head was described as being ‘like a dinosaur’ with an ‘oval-like face’ . . . The skin of the animal was . . . khaki green in colour. Dermal frills . . . on the creature’s back.” The description strongly suggests a sauropod dinosaur (like an apatosaurus).

Irwin seemed more interested in another sighting (or he had more information), about an apparent Therizinosaurus “sighted occasionally on Umbungi Island in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Umbungi Island is located on the south coast of West New Britain between Kandrian and Gasmata.” That apparent dinosaur had “a long tail and a long neck and was 10–15 metres in length.”

See also Pterosaurs in Africa

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