Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cryptozoology Month Comes to a Close

Is it almost Halloween already?

It’s been such fun highlighting books about the weird and wonderful this month! Cryptozoology Month at Cosimo has indulged our love of the spooky, the unknown, and the paranormal; we’ve talked about Bigfoot, TheMothman, and even visited the Bridgewater Triangle for a glimpse at how folklore can change the way we see (and even fear!) a patch of marshy land.

Mythical MonstersIt was a strange coincidence that large sea serpents were spotted in California this month, and perhaps less of a coincidence (but no less exciting) to learn that Bigfoot may be genetically linked to an ancient species of bear. If this month has taught us anything, it’s that the world can still surprise us, and we still have lots to learn about its creatures!

Don’t forget to pick up one of our cryptozoology titles before our October sale ends--check out reKiosk for digital titles and the links below. If you’re new to cryptozoology, take a gander at our post on "LorenColeman Presents", a collection of ground-breaking cryptozoology titles on everything from dragons to Thunderbirds. You can also browse our cryptozoology titles at our homepage under “Cosimo Picks.” Be sure to check out our Classic of the Month, the first serious scientific study of Bigfoot.

Have a spooky and safe Halloween, and don’t forget: sometimes the real world is stranger than fiction!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Strange Creatures Spotted Off California Coast

As if nature knows Halloween approaches, stranger and stranger creatures have been sighted in the passing days! Not one but two "sea serpents" have been found off the coast of California in the past couple weeks. Reports indicate that two massive oarfish have been found, the first measured a whopping 18 feet, the second almost 14 feet long. They may not be the "sea monsters" of lore, but the large crowds these fish attracted prove that people are still drawn to the unexpected and unusual, particularly in nature. It also proves that with all our scientific knowledge of Mother Nature, she can still surprise us now and then.

Oarfish usually dive thousands of feet below the surface, so sightings are few and far between. It's their significant size and rarity that have resulted in their mythic association with "sea monsters" and "sea serpents." Indeed, lore continues to grow around these serpents as harbingers of disaster. As a recent news report notes, fishermen in Japan reported a surge in oarfish sightings after a major earthquake hit Chile and just before the 2011 Japan quake.

Learn more about the fascinating lore behind these strange creatures with Antoon Cornelis Oudemans' 1892 work The Great Sea Serpent, in which Oudemans' details a history of sea serpent sightings and seeks scientific explanations for these wondrous beasts, and J.P. O'Neill's The Great New England Sea Serpent, which chronicles sightings from 1638 to present day off the Gulf of Maine.

The Great Sea Serpent is available in hardcover for collectors and booklovers and in paperback for those of us who just want to read a nice affordable edition.
The Great New England Sea Serpent is available via Paraview Press in paperback or for Kindle, as well as in numerous digital formats here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Series of the Month: Loren Coleman Presents

Cryptozoology Month continues, and what a month it's been! Dr. Bryan Sykes has analyzed hair samples from creatures thought to be Yetis, and two interesting samples in the Himalayas seem to be genetically linked to an ancient form of polar bear! In other words, there's a possible species of bear that has not yet been identified, and this species could, potentially, be the type of bear that people have spotted and identified as a Yeti for decades. Here's a short clip of Dr. Bryan Sykes explaining the findings: 
Cryptozoologist and cultural behaviorist Loren Coleman has posted a thorough and fascinating explanation of Sykes' samples and the many species of bears identified in the Himalayan regions at his blog CRYPTOZOONEWS.

Clearly it's a big month for Cryptozoologists and paranormal specialists, so it's rather fitting that this month we're highlighting a series of fascinating works on the subject. Our Series of the Month is a specially-curated collection of cryptozoology titles called "Loren Coleman Presents"; each title in this series represents a significant contribution to the field. Coleman contributed a special introduction to each edition, discussing the books' contents and the authors' impact in the field. The titles included in this Series examine strange creatures throughout history, including Abominable Snowmen, werewolves, and sea serpents.

The titles available in this series include:

Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life, by Ivan T. Sanderson
This title is also our Book of the Month, representing one of the first serious scientific analyses of Bigfoot, and a work that greatly influenced Coleman and other cryptozoologists. [Paperback/Hardcover]

Curiosities of Natural History, by Francis T. Buckland (four-volume set) 
This is a replica of the 1858 third edition of Curiosities, Buckland's strange work on zoophagy, or learning about animals through eating them. Buckland was a zoologist, surgeon, and natural historian, known mainly for his writings on fish and fisheries. [Contact Cosimo for the full set or purchase individually: Paperback/Hardcover/GoogleBook]

Mythical Monsters, by Charles Gould
Gould was a geological surveyor, so his examination of strange creatures concerns partly the proofs of their existence evidenced in the land. He was particularly fascinated with dragons, the detailing of which comprise multiple chapters in this work. [Paperback/Hardcover]

Snakes: Curiosities and Wonders of Serpent Life, by Catherine C. Hopley
This work, originally published in 1882, provides a thorough examination of snakes, from facts to mythology and superstition. [Paperback/Hardcover]

The Book of Werewolves, by Sabine Baring-Gould
One of the most cited works in the study of lycanthropy, Baring-Gould's work trades in both the academic and the sensational, combining a history of werewolf and shape-shifting lore with more graphic tales of "true crime." [Paperback/Hardcover/GoogleBook]

The Dragon in China and Japan, by Marinus Willem de Visser
This comprehensive work details references to dragons in Chinese and Japanese literature and folklore; sections are meticulously divided by subject, such as "Transformations" and "The Chinese Dragon and the Dragon-Horse as Omens in Japan." [Paperback/Hardcover]

The Great Sea Serpent, by Antoon Cornelis Oudemans
Originally published in 1892, The Great Sea Serpent details sightings of serpents throughout history, and asks whether science can logically explain these sightings. Oudemans does not shy away from discounting hoaxes through vigorous application of his scientific knowledge to these accounts. [Paperback/Hardcover/GoogleBook]

The Romance of Natural History, by Philip Henry Gosse
Coleman refers to Gosse as one of the "grandfathers of cryptozoology" because of this survey of cryptids. Gosse himself took a "poetic" view of these creatures, seeking "to paint a series of pictures, the reflections of scenes and aspects in nature, which in [his] own mind awaken poetic interest..." [Paperback/Hardcover]

Thunderbirds: America's Living Legends of Giant Birds, by Mark A. Hall
Hall's work provides a thorough view of Thunderbirds, large condor-like birds spotted throughout the Americas for decades. Here Hall compiles sightings, myths, and folklore concerning Thunderbirds, and suggests that these creatures may have prehistoric predecessors. [Hardcover/Paperback/eBook]

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.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Film Examines Paranormal Events in "The Bridgewater Triangle"

On October 20, 2013, famed cryptozoologist Loren Coleman will speak at the premiere of the new documentary The Bridgewater Triangle. The documentary examines paranormal activity and unexplained occurrences in a 200-square mile section of land in the Southeastern portion of Massachusetts--an area Coleman dubbed the "Bridgewater Triangle" in his guidebook to the paranormal, Mysterious America (initially released in 1983 followed by several new editions.)

The Bridgewater Triangle is a 200-square-mile section of land that encompasses the now infamous Hockomock Swamp. Many consider the swamp the epicenter of paranormal and unexplained activity within the Triangle. The Wampanoag Native Americans gave the swamp its name, which means "place where spirits dwell," and it has also been referred to as "Devil's Swamp." Legend has it that the persecution of the Wampanoag by early Colonists led to a curse upon the land.

For decades local residents have spotted UFOs, ghosts, monsters, mysterious lights, and Thunderbirds (massive bird-like creatures) in the Triangle. That most famous of cryptids--Bigfoot--has also been spotted many times in the swamp.

The Bridgewater Triangle features interviews with local residents and noted paranormal researchers, including author Chris Balzano, "Ghost Adventures" writer and researcher Jeff Belanger, and journalist Tim Weisberg.

The film premieres on October 20, 2013 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Main Auditorium. Tickets are available to attend the event live or stream it, in real time, to your computer. Click here for tickets and more information. For more on Loren Coleman's work, check out our previous blog posts on his legacy and his famous work regarding the Mothman.

Mysterious America is available for Kindle and in paperback using the link below; Mothman and Other Curious Encounters is available for Kindle and in paperback using the link below, and its ebook is also available for a special discount at reKiosk.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book of the Month: Mothman and Other Curious Encounters

"The world is mighty weird, and together we will experience some of its wonders."

With the cool breezes and early nights of October beginning--and the spooky promise of Halloween looming in the distant future--it's only natural to select a book about the unknown for our October Book of the Month. What could go better with Halloween than Loren Coleman's Mothman and Other Curious Encounters, a fascinating introduction to strange creatures and firsthand accounts of encounters with the unknown?

Coleman is a world-renowned cryptozoologist, a scientist and scholar investigating hidden animals. In Mothman and Other Curious Encounters Coleman provides detailed accounts of encounters with an array of unusual beings, from lizardmen and thunderbirds to the eponymous Mothman, a strange anthropomorphic creature with reddish eyes and a massive wingspan. In this fascinating collection, Coleman details a series of reported Mothman sightings, illustrating how and why people became fascinated by this frightening creature during the original sightings in the 1960s (and decades later, when the 2002 Mark Pellington film The Mothman Prophecies hit theaters).

Readers interested in beginning their own cryptozoological investigations will benefit from Coleman's exhaustive research on the topic, as the book's Appendices provide a wealth of information. This includes a detailed list of places on the North American continent that suffer from what he terms "High Strangeness"--an affinity with supernatural phenomena and unusual occurrences, and an extensive bibliography for those itching to know more about the Mothman.

Mothman and Other Curious Encounters is available in paperback and for Kindle using the link below, and is available in numerous e-reader formats at reKiosk. Be sure to check out Coleman's website for more on the history of cryptozoology and its strange wonders.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mystic Journey Wins 2013 Bronze Living Now Book Award

Mystic Journey, Getting to the Heart of Your Soul's Story by Robert Atkinson has been awarded the 2013 Bronze Living Now Book Award in the category enlightenment/spirituality.

Mystic Journey
The Living Now Book Awards, "celebrate the innovation and creativity of newly published books that enhance the quality of our lives. The medalists in this year’s Living Now Book Awards offer a list of books representing some of the fastest-growing segments of book publishing today, and the Living Now Book Awards publicize the importance of these books to readers and their vitality in the marketplace."

In Mystic Journey, author and professor of human development and religous studies, Robert Atkinson, describes what he calls life's greatest adventure: how we can discover who we are and why we are deeply connected to others by living our lives consciously, which reveals universal motifs and timeless patterns.  Upon the release of this book in June of last year, Atkinson said that "there never was a more critical time than now - with so many global crises everywhere - to take the mystic journey of the soul that leads us into and through the spiral of life."

This book had received endorsements from leading figures in the human potential movement, such as author Gregg Levoy who called this "a rich read" and Jean Houston , scholar, philosopher and author, who said that "to read this magnificent study is to remember our birthright and to commit again to following the path that leads us home to who and what we really are." Our congratulations go to author Robert Atkinson and our thanks to the jury of the Living Now Book Awards.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Spotlight on Loren Coleman: Cryptozoology and the Unknown

CRYPTOZOOLOGY: Literally the "study of hidden animals," the science of seeking out animals whose existence has not been proven
 Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman has a lot to celebrate this month: he’ll appear on both the small and big screen, celebrate the 10th anniversary of the International Cryptozoology Museum, and (rather fittingly) marry his fiancée, Jenny White, on Halloween.

Coleman has been researching and investigating cryptozoological mysteries and folklore since 1960, and has hundreds of articles and numerous books to show for it. If it’s strange and unexplained, Coleman’s probably an expert on it. For example, his most famous work, Mysterious America, is a comprehensive field guide to sightings of everything from The Minnesota Iceman to The Jersey Devil, Bigfoot, and lake monsters. 

His enthusiasm and expertise have made him a frequent contributor to television shows and films concerned with the super- and preter- natural. His knowledge of the Mothman, for example, led to his inclusion on the DVD extras for the Richard Gere film The Mothman Prophecies, and to the publication of Mothman and Other Curious Encounters by Paraview Press (now available in print or for Kindle here, and in various e-reader formats at reKiosk).

This month Coleman will be featured on the Travel Channel show "Mysteries of the Museum" and he is featured heavily in the documentary feature The Bridgewater Triangle, which premieres on October 20th. Indeed, Coleman coined the term "Bridgewater Triangle" in Mysterious America, referring to an area of Massachusetts plagued by strange occurrences. It's fitting, therefore, that he'll be introducing the film before the premiere at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Cryptozoology fans can purchase tickets to attend the event live or simulcast screen it to their computers (complete with Coleman’s introduction and a post-film Q&A).

For more on cryptozoology, be sure to check out Coleman's website, which provides a history of the term, as well as other helpful and informative links. You can also find him on Twitter, where he tweets frequently about cryptozoology events and sightings.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Gandhi's Birthday and International Day of Non-Violence

Mahatma Ghandi (Wikimedia Commons)
Tomorrow, October 2, Mahatma Ghandi's birthday is commemorated (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948.) Ghandi was one of the leading spiritual and political leaders of his time, born in Porbandar, India, he became, after he moved to South Africa, an advocate for the rights of Indians in that country. When he returned to India twenty years later in 1914, he started a movement towards independence from Great Britain based on the Satyagraha philosophy of non-violent civil disobedience, and eventually he became the leader of the Indian National Congress party.  During this struggle for independence he ended up many times in prison. Although India and Pakistan achieved independence in 1947 and Ghandi had played an instrumental role in this process, it was not the independence he had foreseen. He had not wanted a partition of British India into a Hindu majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan, as he believed in the unity of religions. However, during the migration on independence day of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs to their respective new homes in India or Pakistan, over half a million people were killed in clashes between these religious groups. When trying to stop the Hindu-Muslim conflict, Ghandi himself was killed in 1948 by a Hindu extremist, Nathuram Godse.

After Ghandi's death and up till today, he still is revered for his commitment to non-violence, support for the poor and downtrodden and for leading a simple life of vegetarianism and fasting. Ghandi also left a legacy of many books, thousands and thousands of pages and many quotes which are still often used today, such as "Be the change you want to see in the world", "In a gentle way, you can shake the world", "Find yourself by losing yourself in service" and "What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea." October 2 is celebrated as Ghandi Yayanti, a national holiday in India and as the International Day of Non-Violence around the world.