Friday, August 6, 2010

Now for a bit of the Strange ..

I've always been attracted to strange and weird stories. I watched a lot of the Twilight Zone and Tales from the Dark Side. Although I don't believe in ghosts, demons, angels, UFO's or the human face on Mars, I like reading speculative science stories.

A few years ago I purchased a book called, "Cryptozoology, A to Z", by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark. It is a fairly thorough account of the major mystery animal stories of the last century. Of course it covers the holy Trinity of Crypto - Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster and Abominable Snowman - but there are tons of other really cool mysterious creatures and monsters that I had no idea existed.

One of my favorites is the Teh-Lma ("That There Little Thing"). The book describes the creatures as ".. the smallest of the several kinds of Yetis reported from the Himalayas. These animals are generally said to be three feet to four and a half feet tall, with hunched shoulders and a sharply pointed head that slopes back from the forehead. They are covered with thick reddish-gray hair."

The book goes on to say these creatures inhabit the jungles regions of Nepal. Now to me this creature has a striking resemblance to another small, hairy humanoid from the planet-moon of Endor. Come on is this not the Ewok of Star Wars fame? Think about it? - Ewoks are little Wookies and Wookies are just thinner, better smelling Yeti's. What exactly did George Lucas know about these creatures - the Teh-Lma? Even the name, "Ewok" is derived from the Miwok, an Indigenous tribe inhabiting the Redwood Forest or North America. I think George Lucas knows a whole lot more about the Yeti and Bigfoot. I'm on to something don't you think?

The Beast of Gevaudan is believed to be the first written account of a werewolf. The creature terrorized south-central France in the 1760's leaving the body parts of many men, women and children. The book describes the creature as, "'much higher than a wolf, low before, and his feet armed with talons. His hair is reddish, his head large and the muzzle of it is shaped like that of a greyhound; his ears are small and straight; his breast is wide and grey; his back streaked with black; his large mouth is provided with sharp teeth.'"

According to the author, the creature could not be killed with knife, lance or bullet and that eventually, King Louis XV had to send a cavalry of soldiers to take care of the situation. Finally the beast was killed by a silver bullet.

What I like about the book is that it goes on to speculate on other theories from an escaped hyena to the coverup of a serial killer.

Cryptozoology A to Z also covers the investigators and scientists involved in the field. One interesting person is Tom Slick, a Texas oil millionaire who convinced his friend Jimmy Stewart to help him steal the Pangboche Hand from monks in Nepal. The Pangboche Hand was thought to be the severed appendage of an Abominable Snowman.

 If you like this kind of stuff, Cryptozoology A to Z is a must have book. It gives you a great overview on all kinds of creepy, strange and mysterious creatures. Also, this is a great book to put on your coffee table. No matter how snobbish the guest, everyone picks it up and looks through it. It is a great conversation starter.

Cryptozoologoy A to Z

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