BooksWorld getting weirder

Monsters Caught On Film by Dr. Melvin Willin (book review).

When searching for one book, it’s not uncommon for another to serendipitously present itself, aligning with research from a different angle. Such was my experience with “Monsters Caught On Film” by Dr. Melvin Willin, published 13 years ago.

In this work, Dr. Willin delves into the realm of cryptozoology, examining a myriad of mysterious creatures. What stands out are the photographs—yes, photographs, not film footage—where he distinguishes between the hoaxes and those that remain unexplained.

The book showcases a diverse collection, from bizarre marine life to creatures believed to be extinct. Many of the images are indistinct and taken from afar. While I wouldn’t expect elusive creatures, such as the rumored panthers on British moors, to pose for a close-up, they certainly appear larger than the average house cat. Perhaps a compilation of film footage would offer more clarity.

Naturally, the Loch Ness Monster features in the book, though Dr. Willin provides only a snapshot. I’m aware that the Hines flipper photo underwent significant enhancement before its public release. I wish Dr. Willin had included the sonar track that activated the photo-trap, as it serves as pivotal corroborative evidence. That said, I’m skeptical that the creature, even before the introduction of modern forensic evidence, could be a plesiosaur. It’s more plausible that it’s a sizable amphibian, one of a family, given the longevity and consistency of sightings not just in Loch Ness but other lakes as well.

The evidence surrounding the yeti or sasquatch is equally debatable, especially when considering the sustenance required for such large beings. It’s intriguing that there’s no mention of Southern Mongolia, a region rife with whispers of a large humanoid creature. Perhaps the absence of photographers in that area is the reason.

Reflecting on my youth, I realize I was more receptive to such mysteries. Nowadays, I also consider factors like diet and reproduction when evaluating the existence of a species. I even pondered whether extraterrestrials on Earth might have left behind any livestock. While that’s wishful thinking, if they did, it’s unlikely to be in areas frequented by humans.

However, don’t let these musings distract from the essence of the book. Dr. Willin offers a comprehensive overview of both debunked and genuine anomalies, making it a valuable quick reference for enthusiasts.

GF Willmetts

August 2023

(pub: David & Charles, 2010. 141 page illustrated oblong-squarish hardback. Price: varies. ISBN: 978-0-7153-374-5)

check out website: www.rubooks.co.uk


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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