Thursday, October 17, 2013

Classic of the Month: Abominable Snowmen - Legend Come to Life

Just saying that something does not exist neither disproves that it does, nor does it make the thing go away. Explaining something away is not the same as explaining it.
This Halloween month we're highlighting Cosimo works (both Classic and new) that embrace the paranormal and cryptozoology, the science of animals whose existence has not been proven or of hidden animals. Our Classic of the Month is one of the first in-depth and scientific examinations of Bigfoot, Ivan T. Sanderson's Abominable Snowmen - Legend Come to Life. This comprehensive study of abominable snowmen--or as Sanderson simply calls them, ABSMs--is one of the first serious scientific examinations of the existence of large "sub-humans." Sanderson's work--epitomized by the quote above--analyzes the appearance of ABSMs from the days of cavemen up through to the title's publication in 1961.

Sanderson was a respected zoologist and naturalist with multiple degrees from Cambridge University; as such, his investigative approach is entirely thorough, logical, and infused with an ethnographic sensibility. Sanderson did not believe in the existence of these animals' outright--indeed, he once disproved the existence of a supposed Jersey Devil--but rather required empirical evidence. Here Sanderson provides a comprehensive view of ABSMs: detailing reported sightings, analyzing said reports for accuracy and plausibility, and even providing biological explanations for why sightings occur in particular geographical areas and climates.  The result is an astoundingly thorough examination of ABSM sightings throughout centuries and the world.

Today Sanderson is credited with coining the term cryptozoology. (For a compelling history of the term, see Loren Coleman's "The Meaning of Cryptozoology"). In addition to Abominable Snowmen, Sanderson also contributed to the field of Ufology, and frequently appeared on television shows discussing wildlife. 

The Cosimo reprint of Abominable Snowmen includes Sanderson's original illustrations, with the addition of a wonderful introduction by cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, whose own scholarship on Bigfoot was inspired by Sanderson's work. As Coleman notes, "this book opened the minds of many to the vastness of the hominoid reports..and spotlighted for people that Bigfoot/Sasquatch research was the next area for exploration in North America." This collection is part of Cosimo's series Loren Coleman Presents, highlighting fascinating works on cryptozoology.

Abominable Snowmen is available in Paperback and Hardcover, and as a Google eBook.

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