The United States of Cryptids
A Tour of American Myths and Monsters
by J. W. Ocker
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Pub Date 11 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 10 Mar 2023
Welcome to the United States of Cryptids, where mysterious monsters lurk in the dark forests, deep lakes, and sticky swamps of all fifty states. From the infamous Jersey Devil to the obscure Snallygaster, travel writer and chronicler of the strange J. W. Ocker uncovers the bizarre stories of these creatures and investigates the ways in which communities embrace and celebrate their local cryptids. Readers will learn about:
• Batsquatch of Washington, a winged bigfoot that is said to have emerged from the eruption of Mount Saint Helens
• Nain Rouge of Michigan, a fierce red goblin that has been spotted before every major city disaster in Detroit
• Flatwoods Monster of West Virginia, a robotic extraterrestrial that crash-landed in rural Appalachia
• Lizard Man of South Carolina, a reptilian mutant that attacked a teenager in the summer of 1988
• Glocester Ghoul of Rhode Island, a fire-breathing dragon that guards a hoard of pirate treasure
• And many more!
Whether you believe in bigfoot or not, this fully illustrated compendium is a fun, frightening, fascinating tour through American folklore and history, exploring the stories we tell about monsters and what those stories say about us.
“For believers and non-believers alike, this book is an interesting look at the legendary creatures that run, crawl and fly throughout the 50 states.”—James Madison University’s The Breeze
“[Ocker's] breezy storytelling talents make for enjoyable reading.”—Booklist
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 61 members
A great dive into cryptids across the United States! This book delves into four regions of the US (Northeast, South, Midwest, and West) and the cryptids that (supposedly) roam these lands. Broken up into short vignettes about each cryptid, this book is super easy to read and enjoy. I liked the organization here because it would be easy to read a story each day, maybe even with kids. I wish there were illustrations for all the cryptids, but I also understand the publishing constraints on that type of thing.
Overall, this is a great read to learn more about the maybe mythical, maybe real creatures that call the US their home. Definitely would recommend!
I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is such a fun read; sort of an A to Z of cryptids split up by their region of supposed origin. I loved how it read and you can really hear Ocker’s personal voice and excitement of these creatures while you read.
It isn’t a dense fact book full of scientific research, but a reminder that cryptozoology is a field full of mystery, what-if’s, and dedication. Each section included small anecdotes of Ocker’s trips to different museums, restaurants, monuments, etc. and how each region’s culture has been affected by reports of their pride-and-joy cryptid. Amusing, interesting, and an all-around engrossing book!
"The United States of Cryptids" is a thorough and descriptive account of cryptids throughout the United States. The book could benefit from more anecdotes about each cryptid and more visual/infographic type material to make the book less dense.
This was such a joy to read! It's more of a small coffeetable anthology than a sit-down-and-read-in-one-go book. Ocker clearly loves this topic and visited a lot of different cities and states with his daughters to research this book. The collection is not only filled with insight on cryptids itself, but on each town's views on the cryptid from the people who live there. Often times, the town uses the cryptid as a tourism vehicle, and it's so heartwarming to hear from a museum in the middle of nowhere or a children's softball team with a hairy beast as their mascot. I wish there were more pictures, and I wish that it had covered every state (even though they cover a lot of them), but all in all I recommend this collection for libraries who have a big fanbase in paranormal/true crime.