Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book Review: 'People are Seeing Something' by Denver Michaels

Virginia author Denver Michaels presents his first book of three books dealing with his passion for cryptozoology (a pseudoscience that aims to prove the existence of entities from the folklore record), the paranormal, lost civilizations, and all things unexplained. Denver is an engineering technologist and works full-time while nurturing his obsession with his subject matter. He has traveled widely exploring the unexplained and in this his first book he turns his (and our!) attention to the waters of the lakes of the US and Canada and the paranormal activity there.

Denver writes in a style that suggests a knowledgeable sleuth sharing tales in the dark around a campfire site in a lost woods somewhere – that gift of relating stories of the unexplainable to wide-eyed friends huddled together for security. He openly relates his many findings of the strange things that go bump in the night (and day) in places we would not expect the bizarre to touch upon. In his introduction he states, ‘There seems to have always been a fascination with monsters of the deep by people all over the world. Legends of sea serpents and lake monsters are nearly as old as mankind itself. Although these creatures are largely dismissed as nothing more than myth by skeptics and naysayers, things may not be quite so simple; myths and legends contain elements of truth. Water monster legends are born out of a very real phenomenon— people are seeing something in the world’s oceans and lakes, and they have been from time immemorial. Long before recorded history, tales have been handed down through the generations of sea serpents and other strange creatures that inhabit the deep. In fact, there are locations where these tales are recorded in stone— in the form of ancient petroglyphs. Indigenous peoples have preserved these legends of monsters through their oral traditions as well. To demonstrate how far back legends of lake monsters go, consider the most famous water monster of all, the Loch Ness Monster. Though
Nessie gained notoriety and became a household name during the first half of the 20th century, a vivid documented account precedes her rise to fame by well over a millennium. The first known documented encounter with the Scottish beast dates back to the sixth century. This report, a chronicled Nessie sighting, the first of its kind, is logged in Adomnàn’s account of the life of Saint Columba. Adomnàn recorded details of Columba’s life and works in the late seventh century or early eighth century.’

And it is just this manner of relating the origins of the sightings and tales of cryptids that flavor every page of this most entertaining exploration of lake monsters. Where feasible Denver includes color photographs, while in other portions he relies on drawings and illustrations to bring his message to real life exposure! The regions covered include the Northwest, Montana and Wyoming, The Great Basin, Southern California, Heartland Monsters, the South, Eastern Canada and the Northeastern States, The Great Lakes and the Canadian Plains. He shares stories of monsters in all of these regions and brings many sightings and traditions to our attention.

For the brave of heart and the curious, this book is a treasure chest of the unbelievable. Grady Harp, March 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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