Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 31st, 2007
The Top Cryptozoology Books of 2007
It is time for my annual top picks for the best cryptozoology books of 2007, with attention to each book’s individual achievements noted in recognition of its unique niche within the cryptozoological literature for this year.
Since 2000, I have published my annual “best of lists” in cryptozoology, regarding books, events, and people. Please visit the list for the top books of 2006, for example.
Each year has been different, and 2007 is unique, as well.
In 2007, there was a good crop of books on the search for unknown creatures, but, if anything, I was struck by a decidedly historical flavor to the offerings.
Surprisingly, considering 2007 was the 40th anniversary of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot footage, books on Sasquatch and their kin were almost as hard to find as the unknown hairy hominoids. But other classic works were in overwhelming supply.
Congratulations to the authors, editors, and publishers. Readers, however, are the real winners, as every one of the books noted are special and worthy of your personal or community library, or for giving as a gift to your favorite cryptozoologist-in-training and cryptozoology, zoology, and natural history fans.
The top cryptozoology books of 2007, in their special noted categories, are:
(1) The Best Cryptozoology Book of the Year 2007
Bernard Heuvelmans: Un Rebelle de la Science by Jean-Jacques Barloy
The significant, important, and long-awaited biography of Bernard Heuvelmans, the “Father of Cryptozoology,” by Jean-Jacques Barloy is the number one book of the year. This excellent biography, Bernard Heuvelmans, un rebelle de la science is the first volume of the “Bibliothèque Heuvelmansienne,” Editions de l’Oeil du Sphinx, published in June 2007. Bernard Heuvelmans: A Rebel of Science was honored with the “Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire 2008″ (category essay), awarded in France, on November 3, 2007.
While the text is in French (and will be translated into English for a future American edition), all of the photographs in this biography have French and English captions (legends). The book is 200 pages, with nearly 100 pictures in black & white, plus an insert with 16 color photographs. It is an instant classic and must-have for all serious cryptozoologists.
(2) The Best Cryptid Book of 2007
Les Felins Encore Inconnus D’Afrique by Bernard Heuvelmans, is the bible on mystery felids and related cryptids for Africa. Published for the first time, it is 290 pages long, and has an insert with 11 illustrations in black & white and color.
(3) The Best Lake Monster or Sea Serpent Book of 2007
Does Champ Exist? by Gary S. Mangiacopra and Dwight G. Smith
This 256 page book from Coachwhip Publications brings together all the notes on the historic lake monster conference held in Shelburne, Vermont, on August 29, 1981. It also includes limnological notes on Lake Champlain, a chronology of the Lake Champlain Monster sightings, and reprints of various older newspaper articles on the Champ animals, the alleged lake monsters inhabiting this huge body of water found squeezed between Quebec, New York, and Vermont.
(4) The Best Hominology Book of 2007
A New Human: The Startling Discovery and Strange Story of the “Hobbits” of Flores, Indonesia by Mike Morwood and Penny Van Oosterzee
In a year that saw no new Bigfoot or Yeti books of any note, this book on Homo floresiensis deserves the attention of the hominology community. The discovery of an entirely new and equal species of hominoids, perhaps hair-covered, should be studied by all students of Sasquatch, Yeren, Yeti, and Yowie.
(5) The Best Winged Cryptid Book of 2007
Big Bird! Modern Sightings Of Flying Monsters by Ken Gerhard
This book, upon closer examination, must be acknowledged as being a superb contribution to the field, and a remarkable first book from a dedicated field researcher. Even if you do not live in the American Southwest, the primary concentration for the material gathered carefully by Ken Gerhard, pick it up for your cryptozoology library, as it covers more than Texas and the surrounding area.
(6) The Best Regional Cryptozoology Book of 2007
I declare this a three-way tie for this year!
Michael Newton details Florida’s various cryptids in rivers, lakes, and offshore waters; documents the mystery cats; and nicely summarizes what is known about the Skunk Ape. Newton’s list of all known Skunk Ape sightings cemented this book for being named to the best cryptozoology books for 2007.
Mysterious Kentucky by BM Nunnelly
Bart Nunnelly’s Mysterious Kentucky explores several cryptids for his state, and honorably projects Nunnelly’s first passion, cryptozoology, extremely well.
Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma by Cullan Hudson
Hudson has shown himself to be good at digging into old cryptozoology cases in the Sooner State, especially as it relates to Bigfoot. (I don’t find his book is easily available online, so I’ve linked its mention here to his blog.)
(7) The Best Fortean Cryptozoology Book of 2007
Monster! The A-Z of Zooform Phenomena by Neil Arnold, with a foreword by Karl Shuker.
This book is, LOL, not to be confused with my and Jerome Clark’s 1999 book, Cryptozoology A to Z. Arnold allows many phantom beasts into his zooform’s zoological garden, which I would exclude from cryptozoology. But, hey, the book’s title is clear and the big tent is pitched here so all material will be open-mindedly captured and appreciated. Therefore, Arnold’s good book deserves being on the list, with a hearty welcome.
(8) The Best Autobiography or Biography Cryptozoology Book of 2007
Man-Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot by Nick Redfern
It is a tie. Sort of. Nick Redfern’s semi-serious treks between investigations and pubs, from one cryptid-filled location to the next, as shared in his two 2007 books take the cake, and win the prize.
They may not be your cup of tea, but the chap is a decent guy and writes very well. He has a knack for chronicling how he does his style of cryptozoology. Full congratulations to Redfern for putting his lively living diaries to paper and giving those that like these kinds of personalized books plenty to read beside the campfire or fireplace. Enjoy them.
(9) The Best Children’s Cryptozoology Book of 2007
Little People And a Lost World: An Anthropological Mystery by Linda Goldenberg
Hands down, the very best juvenile book on cryptozoology is Goldenberg’s 112 page contribution on Homo floresiensis, with thoughtful text and plenty of photographs. It is an intelligent book and worthy of any youth interested in archaelogy, anthropology, and cryptozoology. Frankly, as an adult, I loved it for its clear, concise, and graphic re-telling of the discovery and findings associated with the Flores people.
Goldenberg has authored two excellent chapters that directly impact on cryptozoology and hominology: Chapter Four, “The Ebu Gogo,” and Chapter Five, “Little Creatures Around the World.” In the midst of Chapter Five, there’s even a two page, differently colored subsection entitled “Yetis, Yowies, Bigfoot: Tales of Larger Wild Creatures.” It is a positive, open-minded discussion, and very cryptozoologically-friendly. This book is highly recommended.
Children’s books on cryptozoology are often hard to recommend, so I want to also note a couple others. One is a title from 2006 that slipped my notice last year: Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea by Sy Montgomery, with photographs by Nic Bishop. With all the new species discoveries from that corner of the world, it is good to know there is a children’s book covering the topic of actual field searching.
Of course, some books merely use cryptids as cultural icons, sometimes quite delightfully, to teach life lessons to very young kids. One such book that I like for 2007 is The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating by A. W. Flatherty and illustrated by Scott Magoon. Targeted to “kindergarten-grade 2,” Magoon’s art is engaging, and Flatherty’s sense of humor is wry. Flatherty’s book-end “Loch Ness Monster Test,” for example, goes like this: “As for scientific evidence that the Loch Ness Monster exists, I’m afraid space doesn’t permit going into that here.”
(10) The Best Cryptofiction Work of 2007
Heretofore: Unknown by Lee Murphy
Heretofore: Unknown is the third sequel to Lee Murphy’s George Kodiak adventure series. Following Where Legends Roam (2000) and Naitaka (2002), this novel pits Murphy’s cryptozoologist hero against two dangerous anomalies: the Honey Island Swamp Monster and Louisiana Voodoo. It all good fun, and cryptofiction at its best.
(11) The Best Cryptozoo Art Book of 2007
Beasts! by Jacob Covey
In the near-realm of cryptofiction comics and cryptozoo art is Beasts!, which gives forth with a classic cryptozoo and mythological menagerie, comprised mostly of critters which may or may not exist, depicted by about a hundred of the most acclaimed artists and cartoonists around. However, at the going rate of $124.00 for rare copies of this work, it is not really something that will be easily attainable for collections any longer.
(11) Best Cryptozoology Compilation of 2007
Elementum Bestia, edited by Craig Heinselman
This already-rare 2007 tome, truly a labor of love for Heinselman, contains the following chapters:
The American Sârâph: An Unnatural History of Winged Snakes in North America by Scott Maruna
The Case of the Grey Ghost by Craig Heinselman
Littlefoot – The Junjudee by Tony Healy and Paul Cropper
The Hobbits of Flores: A New Genus of Hominid – Parahomo by Dr Dwight Smith and Gary Mangiacopra
Maned Mystery Cats and Panthera atrox by Loren Coleman
Antediluvian Forms in South America? by Phillip O’Donnell
In Search of Rare Carnivorous Marsupials: An Examination of the Evidence for Their Survival by Chris Rehberg
New Zealand Mystery Biped? by Tony Lucas
“Aye, and behind the Cameroon’s there’s things living” by Scott Norman
Sasquatch Hoaxes by Diane Stocking
Bigfoot in Art History: Prehistoric to Early Medieval Period by Scott Marlowe
The Genesis of the Annual Bigfoot Conference / Expo by Don Keating
The Western Bigfoot Society – A History by Ray Crowe
To the Credulous Reader by JP O’Neill
A Classification System for Large , Unidentified Marine Animals Based on the Examination of Reported Observations by Bruce Champagne
Cryptofiction – One Reader’s Thoughts by Matt Bille
The Chupacabra by DL Tanner
Remember the Coelacanth by Lee Murphy
Cleve Hopper’s Goat by Gerry Bacon
Stick Doll by Blake Templeton
Creatures of the Fire: Cryptozoology in Ancient and Contemporary Perspective by Dr. Peter Dendle
The Global Search for New Species by Matt Bille
With that, I end my list of the newly published new books for 2007. But I have a bonus, a dozen more cryptozoology works from the past that were reprinted anew during 2007. It was a novel year, in this regard, and I’m not about to ignore all of these important works. Read on…
The Top Twelve Cryptozoology Classic Books of 2007
There were so many new reprints of previously published cryptozoological works in 2007, I decided to add an extra list here of all the classics that seemed worthy of being mentioned in the best books summary.
(c1) The Great Sea Serpent (hardback)
by A. C. Oudemans (2007 reprint, with a new introduction)
Mysterious and strange are the ocean depths, but pioneering cyptozoologist Antoon Cornelis Oudemans (1858-1943) attempted to bring some order to the realm with this 1892 survey of the reports of monsters of the sea, the first of its kind. Gathering sightings from around the globe and across the centuries, Oudemans eliminates the obvious hoaxes or honest mistakes and then, from dozens of legitimate sighting, draws conclusions about sea-serpent physiology, geographic distribution, and more. This astonishing book still influences thoughts and theories about the great unknowns in the oceans.
(c2) The Great Sea-Serpent (paperback) by A. C. Oudemans (2007 reprint)
(c3) The Romance of Natural History by Philip Henry Gosse (2007 edition, new introduction)
(c4) Blue Tiger by Harry R. Caldwell (2007 reprint, with creatively added new Roy Chapman Andrews introduction; this work is a personal mystery cat favorite of mine)
(c5) Sea Monsters Unmasked by Henry Lee (2007 reprint)
(c6) Extraordinary Animals Revisited by Karl Shuker (2007 reprint, with new material throughout)
(c7) Cat Flaps! Northern Mystery Cats by Andy Roberts (2007 reprint)
(c8) Monsters Among Us by Brad Steiger (2007 reprint)
As opposed to a rehash of old stories and newspaper accounts, Brad Steiger’s classic work is unique for containing his remarkable interviews of eyewitnesses to the cryptozoological and related phenomena. My favorite section is Steiger’s Momo (1972 Missouri Monster) back story, which is the best I’ve ever encountered on the topic. This is a worthwhile and readable book.
(c9) The Yowie by Paul Cropper and Tony Healy (new Australian edition, 2007)
(c10) Natural History of Hidden Animals by Rein Mullerson (2007 imprint; Heuvelmans articles; n.d., volume is being sold for $120.00 each.)
(c11) Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science by Jeff Meldrum (first paperback edition, 2007)
(c12) Mysterious America by Loren Coleman (2007 edition, new material in 2001 and 2007)
Coming early in 2008…what books to look for in the New Year…
Here is a hint of things to come…Boss Snakes by Chad Arment, and a January reprint of Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life, with a new preface. More details soon.
Plus, I plan to discuss the ever-enlarging landscape (or quicksand?) of cryptozoology-oriented publishers who are making tracks in the field: Anomalist Books, Coachwhip Publications, Cosimo Books, and Centre for Fortean Zoology.
A few notes about “best of list” criteria: Books have to have been published in 2007 to be on this list. No e-books or online published books are picked; this list is of titles that are books you can physically take with you to the beach or to the Congo.
If you don’t see your book or a favorite of yours, it probably was not received for review, and thus is not on the top cryptozoology books list. For 2008, please send your review copies to Loren Coleman, P. O. Box 360, Portland, ME 04112 USA, for present and future consideration. I critique, cite, and/or mention old books that need to be noted, even if they are a few years old. Thank you.
For example, I would have loved to review the following books, but I never received any copies:
To find the master list of all links to the 2007 lists created at Cryptomundo about the top cryptozoology stories, the top Bigfoot stories, best cryptozoology books, deaths, and more, please click here. This list of lists will be updated, periodically.