"All around the world, throughout recorded history, sightings of animals unrecognized by modern science are regularly reported. The name given (in the 1950s) to the study of these elusive creatures is cryptozoology. The International Society of Cryptozoology (founded in 1982) declared that the branch of science is also concerned with "the possible existence of known animals in areas where they are not supposed to occur (either now or in the past) as well as the unknown persistence of presumed extinct animals to the present time or to the recent past."" "Presenting a "flesh and blood" view of cryptozoology, this reference work excludes discussion of paranormal phenomena. The majority of the 2,744 entries describe one specific creature or type of creature. Other entries cover 742 places where unnamed cryptids are said to appear; profiles of 77 groups and 112 individuals who have contributed to the field; descriptions of objects and events important to the subject; and essays on cryptotourism and hoaxes, for example." Appendices offer a chronology, annotated lists of movies, television series and fiction titles with cryptozoological themes, a list of Internet websites, and information on the International Society of Cryptozoology. Illustrations and an index complete the work.
Scientists estimate that millions of living animals remain undiscovered, a fact often cited by cryptozoologists, whose pursuit of sea serpents (the Loch Ness monster) or hairy ape-men (Big Foot) is often dismissed as myth or fantasy. This volume's 2000-plus entries include not only eyewitness accounts of unexplained creatures but the geographic locales where mythical animals have been reported and the individuals-including some now-famous scientists-who have taken these reports seriously over the years. In each entry Newton (The FBI Encyclopedia) includes a narrative of the available evidence and a listing of book, journal, or newspaper accounts. A chronological appendix of cryptozoological events since 1900 lists sightings, photographs, and newly discovered or rediscovered animal species. Newton has published other reference works on themes that haunt the popular imagination (e.g., crime, serial killers), and this book's filmography of "creature feature" movies and television has similar appeal. Bottom Line While George M. Eberhart's recent Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology includes more possible explanations for these mysteries, it lacks the breadth and geographic index of Newton's book. Recommended for public libraries or special collections where it would be useful to students or independent researchers.-Alvin Hutchinson, Smithsonian Inst. Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.