'Monsters in Print' from Adam Benedict of the Pine Barrens Institute Provides Value to Both Fans and Researchers of Weird Monsters

(Emily Wayland / Singular Fortean Society)

(Emily Wayland / Singular Fortean Society)

Monsters in Print: A Collection of Curious Creatures Known Mostly from Newspapers is a compilation of historical newspaper accounts collected by researcher Adam Benedict of the Pine Barrens Institute, and compiled into a single 415-page volume.

Benedict has supplied the accounts unedited to provide the reader with the most historically accurate perspective available.

In his own words:

While working on this project, I gave myself two personal main goals. These acted as a sort of unofficial guideline that helped the overall project continue forward. One of the main goals was to present all found articles in their pure form; this means unedited and unfiltered. To meet this goal, it meant that all spelling , grammatical, and formatting errors had to be knowingly left within the stories and kept true to their original printing. This was done specifically to present these articles to [the reader] as they would have been presented and seen on their original publishing date. […] As you progress through each year of stories, you begin to see the writing styles change, the odd-looking spellings begin to evolve into what we are more used to seeing today, and specific word choices no longer get used to describe specific people, locations, or cultures.

Some of the language used in the reports might be offensive to modern readers, but, ultimately, Benedict chose to side with historical accuracy, and leave even those accounts with offensive language unedited. He is upfront about it, and does so unapologetically, although he did admit that “this was not an easy choice to make.” The decision should appeal to serious researchers who would normally balk at any revisions, but also benefits the more casual fan of cryptids—by not redacting any language, the reader isn’t distracted by clumsy editing and can be immersed in the story’s era, even if that comes with the occasionally offensive anachronism.

Considering his editorial decisions, it’s fitting that Benedict’s second stated goal for the project “was to present these stories without any trace of spin or bias.”

This expansive volume covers over a century of weird accounts, from the 1820s through the 1940s, and includes over 170 monster encounters, spanning everything from mermaids to Mexican centaurs to man-eating plants. Each account is placed in order chronologically, and includes its source and date of publication. Its depth of research and easily palatable stories make this work equally valuable as a reference book in one’s library or as a quiet companion to keep one company on a rainy day. Regardless of one’s interest in monsters, Monsters in Print: A Collection of Curious Creatures Known Mostly from Newspapers will not disappoint.

Available in print or e-book format through Amazon.

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