Monster Files: A Look Inside Government Secrets and Classified Documents on Bizarre Creatures and Extraordinary Animals
Pub Date: May 22, 2013
Authors: Nick Redfern
Publisher: New Page Books
Length: 288 pages
If you’re like me, then whenever you hear of a book called ‘’Monster Files’’ you automatically think fiction. You think of your stereotypical monster story were your imagination can run wild reading about vampires or werewolves or even the Abominable Snowman, Well the Author of this book, Mr Nick Redfern, leaves very little to the imagination, this book is filled with cold hard facts including just a splash of anecdotal evidence and opinion, this book is a fantastic collection of short stories, each of which are backed up by a litter of government documents and interviews. But this book is not about proving or disproving the existence of these creatures, its main goal is to show that the government have put in plenty of time, money and resources to answer the questions we all want to know: do any of these monsters exist and how?
The first thing I will say is kudos to Redfern for giving this book the longest title I have ever seen, the book’s full title is Monster Files: A Look Inside Government Secrets and Classified Documents on Bizarre Creatures and Extraordinary Animals. This brings great promise for an incredible, yet bizarre, read and this book delivers!
Enough about the title! Onto the book! The book is set out in chronological order, starting from the first noted crypto-zoological incident back in 1901 to the more recent in 2012. I really believe that this is a great benefit to the book, the order of the book helps to combine it into one linear story whilst still letting each chapter stand on its own as a mini-story, this linear feel also makes it easier to follow and you can see the passage of time through each chapter and you have a better understanding of each chapter as you go along. The book also contains a few graphics that appear sporadically throughout the different chapters, a lot of them shocking enough to lend a small amount of ‘reality’ to the story, although I will admit at times they could be a little bit distracting!
One of the biggest things that I enjoyed about this book is how refreshing each of its stories are. A lot of the stories used within this book were commonly known crypto-creatures such as big foot, the Loch Ness monster and the abominable snowman but each chapter seems to take these commonly known creatures and shows them in a different light, filling you with previously unknown facts and giving you even more questions to think about.
As well as including those elusive well known creatures we also get a taste of quite a few stories that I personally have never heard of, these stories are interesting and quite exciting and add a little extra something to the book as there are far more crypto-zoological incidences that are almost unheard of, also the biggest thing that I have noticed about these lesser known stories is how believable they sound! It’s not hard to believe that the American government tried to create the Bat Bombs or that Stalin helped find the ape-man hybrids, which lends some weight to the question of how many of these incidents are real?
The other side of the evidence in this book is the use of anecdotes. These are interviews and stories told by people who have up close encounters with crypto-zoological creatures and anecdotes by people of authority in the crypto-zoological world. This balances out nicely with the government documents and helps the book along by adding a more natural feel and giving it a more human element.
As far as each chapter goes it’s quite difficult to pick out the ones that I liked or disliked as most of them are fantastic, each chapter is (apparently) factual, interesting, creepy and shocking in their own way. As far as my favourite chapter, there were too many but if I had to pick just one it would have to be ‘The Wartime Wolfman’ – a great chapter because it was the perfect mix of opinion and fact. It uses anecdotes by a retired nursing officer who talks with incredible detail about his experiences during the war and about the night his team came across a Wolfman. Redfern also spends this chapter giving a logical explanation for the sightings of Wolf men by discussing hypertrichosis which is an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body; extensive cases of hypertrichosis have informally been called werewolf syndrome. This balance of anecdotes and evidence makes the existence of wolf men seem not only logical but also very believable.
This is the most difficult question, chapters I didn’t like, honestly there was only one: ’The ABC’s of a Royal Conspiracy’ and honestly my answer is short and simple: Alien Big Cats do not sound in any way believable! And I know people reading this will respond with answers like ‘what about bigfoot, mermaids and the abominable snowman?’, but yes even they are all more believable than the idea that Alien Big Cats were following the late Princess Diana. I’m sorry! I may take a lot of heat for this but yes I believe in the existence of the Abominable Snowman more than Alien Big Cats!
Finally all I can say about this book is that it is phenomenal, it is a book that is completely out of my comfort zone, it’s not a book I would normally pick up but I have found it both astounding and entertaining all at once. Whether you agree or disagree with these creatures’ existence, this book will spark some very interesting conversations between friends and co-workers. I can only hope that this review has done the book justice and recommend the book for those who are interested in crypto-zoological creatures and even more so for the people who have no idea what that means! So if you’re bored of what you’re reading and need something new and refreshing then you need Monster Files.
4 out of 5 Nerds