Lake Monster Mysteries Solved! The Ultimate Tome On Revealing the Truth About These Mysterious Creatures
The Classic Skeptic Work on an Equally Classic Unexplained Phenomenon
Any serious reader interested in applied scientific research, legitimate investigative journalism, and a bit of personal introspection is not likely to look for such things in a book about the Loch Ness Monster. It would make sense to skip a book covering the subject of mysterious lake monsters when your predilections are geared towards the serious and not escapism and diversions. However, ignoring Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures by Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell would be a mistake. The subject matter may be a little obtuse, but the book is a lot of fun and an incredible learning experience.
A Serious Study from a Unique Angle
It could be said this unique book is a serious study of a topic few take seriously and, quite honestly, some take way too seriously.
At first glance, Lake Monsters Mysteries looks like many of the other dozens of ''mysterious monsters evading discovery'' books published over the years. This book does not adhere to the same conventions of mysterious creature books. It is not a collection of secondhand reports claiming mysterious sea serpents and long-surviving dinosaurs do exist. It is an intelligent look at the legends that have permeated about these monsters from a scientific perspective. For those wondering about these mysterious creatures, much of the "mystery" ends up dispelled in this book. The work even sheds light on why myths about lake monsters survive even though a serious critical examination of the legends reveals, well, it is extremely doubtful any such creatures exist. They do make for a lot of fun tales, though.
And this is a fun book to read. Never once does it come off as being overly clinical (nee dull). Fans of science, science-fiction, and folklore will definitely find Lake Monster Mysteries an excellent and long-overdue work.
It has been a long time as the public has been learning about the existence of lake monsters in the USA and Canada for well over a century.
The Legacy of the Monster Fad of the 1970s
Those that have been around a long time remember the monster craze of the 1970s. During this era, television specials, motion picture documentaries, and scores of books saw publication on the subject of Bigfoot, UFOs, and the legendary Loch Ness Monster. So huge was the massive public interest in these creatures, television specials, documentaries, and books continue to cover the subject to this very day. You could even say a resurgence of renewed interest has recently taken place.
Monsters have been hugely popular topics on cable television for the past 20+ years, and this does not seem to be abating. In the 1980s, there was a dearth of monster lore on television as this was considered passe when the 1970s ended. All of this changed when an A&E Bigfoot special in the early 1990s turned into a huge ratings hit. The consciousness of the public is not as interested in monsters to the same degree as it was in the 1970s when a massive number of the population was captivated by the mystery of these creatures, although they might not necessarily believe the creatures exist. However, interest is still strong, which is why programming dedicated to the topic continues to draw in an audience. What is interesting today is that monsters and mysteries have matured enough that intelligent critiques on the subject on monsters emerge. This is where Lake Monsters Mysteries shines.
Lake Monster Mysteries Does Not Propagate a Myth
The lesser monster books are pseudo-scientific in the extreme. There really is no science to be found in the vast majority of the books claiming to be legitimate studies on the subject. Instead, they are collections of eyewitness accounts of sightings and false scientific explanations both designed to, as the authors of Lake Monster Mysteries note, promote the myth of the creatures instead of actually studying their legends from the proper perspective.
It can be said the proper perspective of how to look at the subject of modern mysterious monsters is in the eye of the person studying it. The most common way it is looked at is through the perspective of belief. Those that believe these creatures are real will try to prove they do. The highly skeptical might be outright dismissive of the subject. There are other ways to study the subject. These include:
- The Pop Culture Perspective: Monster legends are for pure entertainment
- The Folklore Perspective: Monsters, along with urban legends, are modern folklore
- The Scientific Mystery Perspective: Looking at science from an angle to solve the mystery
Lake Monster Mysterious is 80% Scientific Mystery focused, allowing the book to be very focused. I would have preferred the other perspectives were covered to a greater degree, but staying on the scientific investigative approach does help the book remain more focused.
For those wishing to examine Lake Monsters' mystery further and be further left with the question ''Do such creatures exist?'' , this is not the book to read. The authors go into apparent detail about why it would be utterly impossible for lake monsters to exist. Namely, each lake would need about 20+ monsters to maintain the breeding population so these creatures could continue to survive for 100+ years. If they could, they definitely would be visible far more often. Little apparent facts such as these are not so evident in most eyewitness collection books.
Have you ever noticed that films are always shot from a great distance, and photos are close? You never seem to get a decent scale of the actual size based on the background. The authors of this book point such things out and, in doing so, undermine the credibility of many bits of evidence purporting proof of the existence of Nessie, Champ, and Ogopogo.
Is the book cynical? No, it is a lot of fun reading if you remember these monster mysteries from your childhood and wish to delve further into the creatures' folklore far beyond the superficial treatises on television. When examined from this perspective, the entertainment value of the subject is no longer lowbrow.
A Great Foil for Critical Thinking
In a way, this is not so much a book about lake monsters or, for that matter, mysteries. Instead, it is a solid book about critical thinking that uses a somewhat obtuse foil (giant lake monsters) as the springboard to educate the reader on critical thinking. Far too often, the subject o critical thinking is taught from too dull of a method. We read the classics in a classroom and do so in a manner that leads audiences to tune out instead of enthralling them. Then, the overly cynical path to teaching critical thinking rooted is passive-aggressive anger more than anything else. While angry audiences may gravitate to this material and find it enjoyable, the enjoyment wears off. Angry themes may attract at first, but they do end up repelling the reader. Cynicism loses its appeal after a while. An intelligent and educational path to learning how to look at things with a critical eye can be much more enjoyable. If something is enjoyable, you may be more interested in investing more time in it. The entertainment value and fun nature contribute to its ability to help teach critical thinking skills to the reader.
Who said there was no value in the mysterious world of Lake Monsters?