I love packages from Amazon!

Even when, no, especially when, like this one, I already know what’s in them. Birthday and holiday gift cards are a beautiful thing, because they allow me to go on shopping sprees for things that have been piling up in the back of my mind for a while.

Sometimes, like in this case, I enjoy giving it my shopping expeditions a thematic spin. My purchases were:

The Big Book of Conspiracies I got the The Big Book of the Unexplained several years ago, I think in the excellent used comics section at Aardvark Books in the Castro in SF. Ever since then, I’ve been on the lookout for this volume on conspiracy theories from the same series. The basic format is a series of short articles on different topics, all written by the same person but illustrated by different comic artists for each section. The BBotU certainly alerted me to some aspects of the paranormal that I hadn’t known about previously, while also reacquainting me with some old friends. I’m looking forward to the same here. Despite the obviously tongue-in-cheek presentation in terms of form, the content is actually quite well cited. And there’s something about the juxtaposition that gets it further under the skin than reading or seeing something on TV alone would do. I’m also looking forward to the hours of joy in further researching online new things I run across in this book. I’ve found one can both do some instant debunking, and crawl further down the rabbit hole this way.

The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates This volume is co-authored by Loren Coleman, leading cryptozoologist and proprietor of the International Cryptozoology Museum that Abbey and I visited recently in Portland, Maine. It’s set up as a pretty straightforward field guide in some ways- illustrations, species descriptions, range maps, footprint outlines, etc. It just happens that the subject matter is a little more exotic and/or possibly nonexistent. Could come in handy, since I plan to doing a lot of tromping through the woods in these parts. Bonus question: Is the creature next to the book a mystery primate? I don’t know, but now that I have the field guide I can find out!

The Mysterious Monsters I am especially excited about this volume, as you can see. But hey, you’ve gotta understand! I got this book as a kid, around 10 years old, from a book fair at elementary school. The Mysterious Monsters in question are the Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, and the book was actually pretty low on sensationalism and strongly evidence-focused in its treatment of the subject. This was one of my first forays into the world of the unexplained which, obviously, has had a lifelong effect on me. The beloved volume vanished at some point, along with a lot of things that were in my childhood room, as things from one’s childhood room will tend to do. Over the years I’ve tried to track it down, but was hobbled by the fact that I couldn’t remember two key pieces of information: the title, or the author’s name. I did try googling based on my recollection of content many times, but to no avail. And then, a week or so ago, for whatever reason, I found a combination of search terms that led me straight to it. I’m looking forward to re-reading it, and seeing what I make of it now that I’m about 4x as old as the first time I read it. Talk about unexplained phenomenon!

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