Within the realm of paranormal writing, the name of Brad Steiger is absolutely legendary. Having penned more than 170 books on everything ranging from other worldly UFOs to blood sucking vampires, and from flesh eating zombies to ghostly love affairs, Steiger is back with what I consider to be one of his best books ever: the recently published Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside.
Running at practically 400-pages and very good value for money too, this is precisely the sort of book that got me hooked on the world of cryptozoology and monster-hunting. Indeed, it’s a book that is packed to the rafters with case after case, story after story, and creature after creature of the weird, disturbing and uncanny kind.
One of the main reasons why I always look forward to a new release of the Steiger variety is because he not only informs, but he entertains too – and in a highly atmospheric and skilful manner. Handled by the wrong person, this book could have become just another bland catalog of creature sightings spanning the globe and the centuries. Fortunately, however, it was handled by the right person.
Steiger knows how to write, and how to write very well, too. He captures his audience, enthralls them, and leads them into uncharted realms and lands full of all things monstrous and unknown. If I say that this is the type of mighty tome best devoured at the witching-hour, deep in the woods, while an icy wind howls, and with only a flickering candle for illumination, you’ll hopefully understand what I mean. It’s not just a book – it’s a diabolical feast!
With a book of this type, we do, of course, get to learn much about such legendary beasts as Bigfoot, lake-monsters – such as the famous Nessie of Loch Ness, Scotland – and the Jersey Devil. But instead of just going over old ground, Steiger introduces us to new witnesses, to previously unseen cases, to those brave souls within the arena of creature-seeking who are out in the wilds diligently pursuing their quarry, and to intriguing theories that help explain the presence of these particular monstrosities in our very midst.
Steiger does not, however, rest on his laurels or take the easy approach to his subject matter. No: he delves deep into a veritable menagerie of beasts – some that seem purely flesh and blood in nature, others than are undoubtedly paranormal in origin, and more than a few that seem to curiously straddle both the physical plane and that of the supernatural with equal ease.
Ghostly black dogs with glowing eyes that foretell death; huge, predatory snakes; dinosaurs that may not be quite so dead as mainstream zoology assures us they are; and those definitive shape-shifters – werewolves, of course – are just some of the beasts that Steiger mercilessly unleashes upon us as he roams wildly around the cosmic zoo.
For me personally, it was without doubt the section of Real Monsters that is focused on that most ominous of all creepy critters – Mothman, of course – that I found most fascinating; as well as those on swamp-dwelling entities, such as the notorious Lizard Men, that lurk just beneath the murky waters, and who occasionally surface from the vile, stinking depths; and the ape-men of Africa and South America.
The other thing I like about Real Monsters is that you can dip in and out of the book at random, choosing whichever section takes your particular liking first, and being safe in the knowledge that this won’t adversely affect your reading enjoyment of the book in the slightest.
Evoking, in this reviewer’s mind, the classic works of such supernatural luminaries as John Keel, Charles Fort, and even H.P. Lovecraft, Brad Steiger has done an immense favor for just about everyone for whom strange beasts are an irresistible lure.
If you’re ten years old this book will – as some of Steiger’s early work most certainly did for me when I was ten – keep you under the bed-sheets with a flashlight for hours, secretly reading its pages while your mom and dad think you’re blissfully snoozing.
If you’re new to the subject of unknown animals and are wondering what all the fuss is about, then Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside is a great place to begin your journey of adventure.
If you’re a seasoned and long-term devotee of the world of strange creatures, then you’ll appreciate the care, time and fine writing that has gone into this latest publication from one of the world’s leading experts on the paranormal.
And, with section titles like “Bogey Man – He doesn’t just Live under your bed;” “Howlers and Night Prowlers;” “Thunderbirds – Giant birds of legend that are real;” and “Goblins and other nasty wee folk of land and sea;” how can you go wrong? Well, the answer is very simple: you can’t!
Nick Redfern is the author of many books on paranormal subjects. His new book is Final Events, a study of the theory that UFOs have occult, rather than extraterrestrial, origins.