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Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures [Hardcover]

Benjamin Radford , Joe Nickell , Loren Coleman

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Book Description

May 5 2006
For centuries, eyewitnesses around the world-from America to Africa, Argentina to Scotland-have reported sightings of dark, mysterious creatures in area lakes that surface briefly, only to quickly disappear. While the most famous lake monsters of Loch Ness and Lake Champlain have gained international notoriety, hundreds of lakes around the world are said to shelter these shadowy creatures. Lake Monster Mysteries is the first book to examine these widespread mysteries from a scientific perspective. By using exhaustive research and results from firsthand investigations to help separate truth from myth, the authors foster our understanding of what really lurks in the cold, murky depths. Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell are considered to be among the top lake monster authorities in the world. Here they share unique insights into many of the world's best-known lake monsters. They interview witnesses and local experts and discuss the different types of lake monster sightings, delve into possible explanations for those sightings, and examine hoaxes, evidence claims, and legends surrounding the monsters. The authors have also conducted groundbreaking fieldwork and experiments at the lakes and have examined recent photographic and sonar evidence. Incorporating newly-revealed information and up-to-date developments in the cases they present, professional monster hunters Radford and Nickell plunge into both the cultural histories of these creatures and the scientific inquiries that may hold the key to these mysteries.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kentucky (May 5 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813123941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813123943
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #315,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"For those who are interested in these mysteries, it makes good reading." -- "WTBF Radio"

About the Author

Benjamin Radford, managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, is the author of hundreds of articles and two books. Joe Nickell is Senior Research Fellow at the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and author of more than twenty books.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Of all the sea serpent-like creatures that are reputed to inhabit some of the world's large lakes, none is more famous than "Nessie," the purported Loch Ness monster (figure 1.1). Read the first page
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Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Close, but no cryptozoological cigar May 19 2006
By Stefan Isaksson - Published on
When two authors active in skeptic organization CSICOP decide to publish a book about lake monsters it's not much of an accomplishment to correctly assume what kind of book it'll turn out to be. Skeptical analyses, critical discussions, debunking of earlier research that has often been flawed and/or incorrect, and on-site investigations and interviews.

And, well, that's exactly what Lake Monster Mysteries is all about. Throughout the book Joe Nickell and colleague Benjamin Radford presents a number of lakes in the U.S. and Canada (as well as Loch Ness in Scotland) that all claim to be the home of one or more lake monsters. The reader is presented with a short but informative background to each lake and its alleged monsters, offered details about some of the most important research to date, and is taken along with Nickell and Radford as they carry out their fieldwork and analyses of some of the most famous photographs and sightings.

Which is all both interesting and worthwhile, but to the reader who has an earlier interest in these lakes and their mysterious inhabitants the book fails to offer very much new material. However, this doesn't mean it's not a very good contribution to cryptozoological research. Nickell and Radford - who not very surprisingly come out as extremely skeptical to everyone and everything - are very efficient in their work when they point out many of the errors that precious researchers have done and later used in their own books, and it's difficult not to agree with them when they show the reader how something as mundane as a floating log or otters swimming in a straight line very easily can fool even the most experienced of observer and create the illusion that it's really a slime sea serpent cruising along the surface of the water.

It's not a very thick book though, and you'll finish it in a heartbeat. The lakes under investigation are all situated in the U.S. or Canada: Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, Silver Lake, Lake Crescent, Lake George, and Lake Okanagan. True, Loch Ness also has a chapter of its own, but neither Nickell nor Radford visit the lake in person, and those mysterious lakes from the rest of the world that are mentioned at the end of the book aren't given very much attention.

Therefore "Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures" is somewhat misleading, and should have been changed to "Investigating North America's Most Elusive Creatures". Furthermore, it's sometimes easy to get the feeling that Nickell and Radford have been somewhat in too much of a hurry when dismissing the existence of the lake monsters, after having spent a day or two at the lake without seeing anything unusual and thus concluding that there's nothing unusual to be seen.

But the good outweighs the bad, and all in all Lake Monster Mysteries is a sweet read indeed. The most fascinating chapter is without a doubt the one about Lake Okanagan and its monster Ogopogo. Here the authors make a detour from the perspective of the hardcore skeptic and spend time discussing the folklore surrounding the lake, and if this had been done in the other chapters as well the final score would have been close to the highest possible.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great cryptoozological exploration Aug. 15 2008
By Mike Smith - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lake Monster Mysteries, by Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell, is a genuinely excellent skeptically-leaning book about the various rumored creatures of the world's freshwater lakes.

The book focuses primarily on alleged monsters of the lakes of New England and eastern Canada, but it also addresses the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland, a famous lake monster in British Columbia, and a variety of creatures from around the world.

The book is written clearly and concisely, and is a fast read, and by the end of it I think most readers will not only have a good idea of how to think about lake monsters, but also a good idea of how one ought to think about all sorts of strange phenomena.

I found its explorations of "expectant attention"--or how witnesses expecting to see something report far different experiences and interpretations of events than those who aren't expecting anything--to be especially helpful.

The best part of this book, though, is how it's such a great showcase of hands-on skepticism--not the armchair variety that so many true believers love to deride; it shows what real skeptical investigation can and should be. Radford and Nickell track down witnesses and original sources, go to the lakes, perform tests, scrutinize photos and videos, check every fact, and keep their minds open until the evidence leads them to solid conclusions.

I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone interested in cryptozoology, skepticism, or just an entertaining but scholarly read. I'd love to read a sequel to it--perhaps about sea monsters, or perhaps merely about other notable lake monsters.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational, Entertaining, Rational and a Fun Read Oct. 13 2007
By William - Published on
CSI investigators Ben Radford and Joe Nickell provide overviews of the most famous lake monsters in the world, and detailed analysis of the best evidence that has been provided to date. They do this in a series of essays which cover most of the well known lake monsters of North America, as well as Loch Ness and brief observations of other world wide lake monster phenomena. The book looks for the best evidence of mysterious creatures and analyzes that evidence very critically. Photos, illustrations, and detailed citations will provide both the credulous and the skeptical with plenty to think about. I, for one, am anxious to see some good video of otters crossing a lake after hearing how frequently people mistake such a natural occurrence for something much more mysterious.

If you're an amateur cryptozoologist and you're going to be looking for lake monsters, be sure and pack some good cameras, some measuring equipment, some sun-block, and a copy of "Lake Monster Mysteries." It will give you something very good to read for what might be quite a long wait.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fair and Objective Assessment of Lake Monsters! Jan. 16 2011
By Joshua M. Hunt - Published on
Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell have written a concise analysis of lake monsters. Radford and Nickell do not dismiss out-of-hand and they do not engage in armchair skepticism either. This is a hands-on objective investigation of lake monsters. All of the evidence for lake monsters is thoroughly examined.

When it comes to lake monsters the most important question we can ask is, "What is the evidence for lake monsters?" We learn things from Radford and Nickell such as, where are the bodies of these supposed creatures? Where are the bones? We also learn that if one of these creatures exists there has to be about 15-20 creatures to sustain a breeding population. Before we consider something to be a monster, lets rule-out other known entities. For instance, lets rule-out whether or not what people are seeing in these lakes are floating logs, otters, beavers, or even swimming deer.

We start the book by looking at the case of Loch Ness. Joe Nickell points out how wide and varied the eyewitness accounts are. Photographic and video evidence is thoroughly examined. In addition to examining specific cases of supposed lake monsters we also have four appendixes at the end of the book. One of the appendixes is titled "Eyewitness (Un)Reliability" which discusses how flawed and unreliable anecdotal evidence is.

If you want to know what the best evidence is for lake monsters, read this book! If you want to know whether or not that evidence stands up to scrutiny, read this book!
5.0 out of 5 stars Compiled from earlier articles but excellent nonetheless June 9 2013
By Jim Davis - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is something of a scissors and paste book. Authors Radford and Nickell take material that previously appeared in Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptical Briefs to form the chapters of this book. This is all combined with some new introductory, transition, and concluding material to form this rather brief book. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman contributes a foreword. All that said, the book is informative and entertaining.

Although a short chapter about the Loch Ness monster leads off (mainly because a book about lake monsters has to say something on that subject) the meat of the book concerns North American lakes the authors personally visited and investigated. They bring a considerable amount of expertise to the subject by performing actual experiments where others might just collect anecdotes. Outstanding among the experiments performed are the attempts to reproduce monster photographs or videos. Invariably, it is almost always concluded that the object captured on film or tape was smaller or not as distant as the photographers thought.

I read the Kindle version of the book. While perfectly readable, it does have a number of problems. It appears to be an OCR scan of the print edition. The references at the end of each chapter are in microscopic font size and I had to change font size to read these. The index is virtually useless with all page numbers stripped out, although the linked figures remain. Also, there are occasions when the scanning goes awry. It is "Larry Thai" in the book proper but "Larry Thal" in the appendices. The latter is probably correct but there is really no way to tell.

I also thought the price of the Kindle edition to be rather steep considering the brevity of the book. I suppose for an academic press this is par for the course.

The book can be highly recommended for those who haven't seen the material as it originally appeared. It is difficult to fault the author's conclusions. As they say, there is evidence for lake monsters but it should be very much better after so much time and effort expended if they truly do exist.

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