Synopses & Reviews
Large numbers of people believe in demonstrably false phenomena, from UFOs and ESP to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster. Even though these fictions have been repeatedly debunked and discredited, they persist in the human imagination and influence our beliefs and our society. Spinning tales of fantastical creatures may seem like a harmless pastime, but when pseudoscientists make revolutionary claims about the world and its history, evidence-based science, public policy, and human progress suffer.
Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero complete an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on a variety of cryptids, presenting both the arguments for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience perpetuating their myths. After opening chapters examining the nature and practitioners of pseudoscientific thought and marking its divergence from proper science, Loxton and Prothero take on Bigfoot; the Yeti, or the Abominable Snowman, and its cross-cultural incarnations; the Loch Ness monster and its many, highly publicized sightings; Champ, Ogopogo, and other lake monsters; the legend of the Sea Serpent; Mokele Mbembe, or the Congo dinosaur; and the Goat Sucker, otherwise know as the Chupucabra. They conclude with an analysis of the psychology behind persistent paranormal and extraordinary belief, identifying cryptozoology's major players, the character of its subculture, and its pernicious perversion of critical thinking in our society.
"Loxton and Prothero (Reality Check) stake out the world's best-known (if never observed) cryptids and unsurprisingly come up with zilch. But that doesn't mean the hunt isn't an interesting one. In their breakdown of cryptozoology, the skeptical duo (Loxton is the editor of Junior Skeptic magazine) covers a vast swath of territory, from biology, geology, paleontology, and genetics, to anthropology, sociology, and folklore. Classic cryptids like Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and sea serpents, as well as the lesser known Mokele Mbembe, an Apatosaurous-like dinosaur supposedly rampaging through the Congo, each get their due (and are duly dismissed as myths) in chapter-long entries. Loxton and Prothero ultimately conclude that 'there is no solid evidence that any of the cryptids discussed in this book exist and much evidence that their existence is extremely unlikely.' So why the obsession with these fanciful beasts? And what of the weird world of amateur cryptozoologists? The authors address these questions and others in the illuminating final pages, where they rail against the dangers of pseudoscience and provocatively tie cryptozoology to the politics of creationism. This work is as valuable for its analysis of the hunted as it is for the light it shines on the still-hopeful hunters. 88 illus. and photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.