Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Review: Monsters Among Us (Linda S. Godfrey, 2016)

A few months ago, I received a new book from TarcherPerigee Books, courtesy of the author, Linda Godfrey. The book in question is called Monsters Among Us: An Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and Odd Phenomena (TarcherPerigee, 2016). This book is the latest installment in Linda’s relentless pursuit of real-life werewolves, monsters, nighttime visitors, UFOs, and all sorts of weird things. If any of you have read Linda’s previous books or spoken to her via email, Facebook, or even had a face-to-face conversation with her, you already know that you’re in for a treat. Linda’s pursuit of the modern-day werewolf (and other such things) began in 1991, when the newspaper she was working for at the time asked her to look into the rumors of what appeared to be werewolf stalking an isolated area near Elkhorn, Wisconsin called Bray Road. This search culminated in 2003 in the form of a book called The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin’s Werewolf (Prairie Oak Press, 2003). Needless to say, she’s been hunting these creatures ever since. This book is a complete chronicle of her latest investigations, and it includes eyewitness sightings and interviews, drawings and illustrations from the eyewitnesses, photos, her own personal thoughts and theories, the strange experiences she’s had, and her own investigations, all coupled with Linda’s razor-sharp wit and her inimitable sense of humor. Because the book’s length and contents, this review will be a bit longer than the others.

Monsters Among Us is divided into five parts, and each chapter (and the contents therein) has something to do with the section’s theme. The first part of the book (and the first two chapters) deals with hellmouths (entrances to the underworld), creatures that seem to have come from the underground realm, beasts that attack (and ride inside) vehicles, a dogman with a love of jogging, and lizard men that dwell beneath the streets of Los Angeles. The story of “The Torrance Werewolf” is particularly frightening, involving a young girl and her teenage brother who witnessed a man who came up from an underground area. He somehow knew the little girl’s name (even though she and her brother had never met the man before), and kept asking her to come forward. When he started to get angry, he began to change, and he gradually became a doglike monstrosity. She and her brother managed to escape largely unharmed. Another story involved an eyewitness who saw a grinning, dog-headed man riding in the back seat of a black limousine. And this review is just getting started!

The second part of the book (chapters three through five) deals primarily with Linda’s specialty: sightings of werewolves and dogmen, as well as shapeshifters of a most peculiar and frightening nature. In chapter three, you’ll find a story of a man’s dog-headed son, and a man who went up to a farmhouse for help with a flat tire, only to encounter a wolfman who not only appeared to live there, but actually threatened to kill the man if he didn’t leave. In addition, there’s a story of a policeman who had a disconcerting encounter with a cigarette-smoking wolfman in a gray hoodie, and a werewolf wearing a plaid shirt that attacked a family taking a nighttime drive in Colorado. In chapter four is the truly horrifying story of "The Church Lady Werewolf", in which a middle-aged woman transformed into a horrifying wolf-beast with long claws, cloven hooves for feet, and a roar like a lion’s inside of a church and in front of a congregation of over two hundred people!! This story must be read to be believed.  Chapter five deals with werebeasts from South America, and a man’s theories that such things may stem from witchcraft, that native South American beliefs that the Ucumar (the South American equivalent of Sasquatch) is a spirit-being may well be true, and his beliefs regarding guardian spirits. Fascinating stuff.

Section three (chapters six through twelve) is mostly about wolfmen and dogmen who stalk people around their homes at night, nighttime bedroom invaders, and shadowy wolflike entities, among other things. In this rather long section, you’ll find stories about a phantom dogman that reeks of sulfur (which is commonly associated with demonic manifestations), a woman’s encounter with a shadowy dog-beast in her basement, a recounting of Nick Redfern’s encounter with a strange cape-wearing wolfman (which I’ve covered in full detail in this blog’s entry on Phantom Werewolves), a wolfman that spoke what the eyewitness said “sounded like perfect Greek or Latin”, a man’s unnerving sighting of Anubis (the Egyptian jackal-headed god of death and mummification) in Addison, Illinois, a shadowy wolf-beast that told a young girl to put some arrowheads back where she had found them (although she did keep one, and the beast apparently didn’t mind), an incredibly frightening tale of a shapeshifting werewolf stalker, Linda’s very own encounter with what appears to be the Grays of classic UFO lore, and a truly horrifying encounter with a nine-foot-tall werewolf straight out of The Howling (1981) that glared at a young boy through his mother’s bedroom window and scared the living HELL out of him! The final two chapters deal with sightings of wolfmen on the homestead and more window-watchers, as well as roadside encounters. I won’t say anymore at this point, as I don’t want to completely spoil this section of the book. Now, onto the next section!

Section Four of Linda’s book (chapters thirteen through eighteen) deals with two sisters and their encounters with multiple anomalies over a period of five years, including a Sasquatch, a possible dogman, balls of light, a Thunderbird, a possible devil monkey (or a kangaroo, one of the two), poltergeist activity, and another shadowy wolf-creature, as well as stick structures and portals. Other chapters include a shadowy wolfman, anomalous happenings in the Bong State Recreation Area in southeastern Wisconsin (and no, there was no smoking involved!), sentient green mists, weird green glows with euphoric side-effects, ball lightning, “the Oz Factor”, invisible arguing dwarves, and a glowing dogman, among other things. She also talks about misty monsters and the possibility that some of these creatures are able to “cloak” themselves, rendering them virtually invisible to human eyes. In chapter eighteen, Linda gives a chilling account of a gray-furred wolfman known as “The Hairy Hartland Thing”, which seems to have an unnatural interest in the eyewitness’s house and has a disturbing habit of staring through her child’s bedroom window. Hold on, folks…we’re almost done.

The fifth and final section of the book (chapters nineteen through twenty-six) features discussions of UFOs and their possible connection with Sasquatch and werewolf sightings, UFO sightings, sightings of Sasquatch in the Chicago area, invisible predatory stalkers (these stories are truly chilling, to put it mildly), an absolutely hilarious story about a clumsy Sasquatch that bumped its head on some scaffolding and then took a dump in some hollow concrete blocks (which the eyewitness actually kept!), and a group of people being hunted by an invisible monster. Linda also takes the time to talk about the mechanics of invisibility, land spirits (genii loci), fairy paths, and more portals. In fact, Linda spends the entirety of chapter twenty-five detailing her investigation into the possible existence of an interdimensional portal in a farmer’s field. Needless to say, it’s incredibly fascinating. In the twenty-sixth and final chapter in the book, Linda talks about physics (a class that I never took) in regard to anomalous phenomena, including the possible existence of alternate universes and other dimensions. I have to say, without giving away the ending of the book, that her conclusions are both stunning and thought-provoking.

Overall, Linda’s book is very well-written, neatly organized, and free of grammar and spelling errors, and it is both highly informative and very entertaining. Linda’s research, her investigative skills, and her somewhat dry sense of humor make this book easy to read and follow along with, an on top of that, it’s a ton of fun to read. This book can be frightening at times (most of the time, in fact), but that just makes it even more fascinating to me! The sheer scope and the depth of Linda’s research is absolutely mind-boggling, and it may leave your head spinning after you put it down the first time. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll always be going back for more!

I have to say that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to both Linda and TarcherPerigee: to Linda for her friendship and her kindness for all of these years, and to TarcherPerigee for sending me a copy of Monsters Among Us, free of charge, and for giving me the opportunity to review this book. This book is absolutely incredible, and I honestly cannot recommend it more! If you’d like to read it for yourself, I suggest that you get up, go to the bookstore, and buy a copy…NOW. Oh, and beware of wolfmen with glowing eyes along the way! They’re out there, and these beasts are hungry.

No comments:

Post a Comment