Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 18th, 2006
In Brad and Sherry Steiger’s new book, Conspiracies And Secret Societies: The Complete Dossier, you won’t expect to find anything about cryptozoology and you don’t.
But there, in the midst of the death lists of the eyewitnesses to the JFK assassination and the strange demise of microbiologists, I ran across my “Mothman Death List.”
In an extremely well-researched, inexpensive, 539-page reference work, which I highly recommend, of course I was struck by seeing my research on this subject in Conspiracies And Secret Societies: The Complete Dossier. Sure, maybe the Steigers should have decided to take on the CIA work done by Tom Slick or discuss how Sir Edmund Hillary was looking for Chinese missiles when he said he was hunting for Yeti in 1960, but no, it’s always all about Mothman and the conspiracy angle, isn’t it?
I shouldn’t be surprised. The whole fog surrounding Mothman is one of sinister double-meanings and secrets. Only a few of us remember the real cryptid underneath, now and then. As to the Mothman death list, now that’s something else. While only four people have died, linked to the Poltergeist movies, meanwhile 85 or so individuals with Mothman ties have died. Well, that is troubling.
I briefly talked to prolific author Brad Steiger, who has been a friend of mine since the 1960s, a little about the work that went into his and Sherry’s new book.
Steiger: “This work was really a massive undertaking. Exhausting, really. Truly, we had literally to work around the clock–night turning into night again, not even glimpsing the sun–to complete the work on deadline. And you know what? There are probably 25 new conspiracies since we wrote the final pages.”
And what of the overall sense of the book:
Steiger: “We offer this ‘dossier’ as a tool for readers to examine a vast history of conspiracies and secret societies. Indeed, in the Introduction, we offer several ‘disclaimers’ that we have no hidden agendas and present the information as objectively as we can to permit the readers to judge for themselves which are truly conspiracies and which are psychological reassurances that there does exist some kind of order in the world–even if it might be evil.”
How about the editorial tension between reality, the book’s disclaimers, and the death lists, within the book?
Steiger: “The editorial decision was that it is one thing to suggest assassinations of major public figures and another to suggest the same about private citizens, thus the disclaimers. For UFO researchers, the disclaimer is worded more informally: ‘Admittedly, some of the researchers …were getting up in years or were, in the testimony of family and friends, ill or depressed….’”
If your Cryptomundo tendencies go beyond cryptozoology, into politics and other mysteries, as mine sometimes do, you might want to check out the Steigers’ Conspiracies And Secret Societies: The Complete Dossier. It is a worthwhile read.
Maybe next time Brad and I will more specifically talk about cryptozoology. What would you like me to ask him? Send along your questions below in comments.