Abnormal Lore: Monster Hunters by Tea Krulos

If you're active in the field of fortean research, then you don't need anyone to tell you that it's not particularly glamorous and it doesn't exactly pay well; but if your knowledge of paranormal investigation comes largely from reality television, then do yourself a favor and read Tea Krulos's Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooter, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators.  But seriously, even if you're intimately familiar with the underwhelming nature of drinking coffee to stay awake in a cemetery at midnight, I still think you'll get something out of this book.

If I taught an introductory class on fortean research and investigation, this book would be required reading.  I can't stress enough how important I think it is to remember that the supernatural stories we share were experienced by real people, and I don't think it's possible to excise the human element from paranormal phenomena--at least not completely.  This principle is as important to remember with investigators as it is with witnesses.  Tea engages with the subjects of his book in a way that is intimate and humanizing; he shows us not only how they investigate the unexplained, but why.  He doesn't tell us whether or not we should believe these people, but rather presents them for us to trust, or distrust, at our discretion.  It's an important lesson in forteana, and one that I believe goes untaught far too often.  This area of expertise lends itself particularly well to cults of personality, and that's a lesson we could all stand to revisit on occasion.  Caveat emptor. 

We need to remember that in order for a phenomenon to be observed, there must be someone there to observe it, and they're going to be a human being with a complex set of beliefs and motivations.  Tea takes us behind the scenes to show us this convoluted tableau of intersecting egos and personalities, and we're able to see the myriad ways in which we as humans interact with and affect the things we study.  

Overall, this book stands out to me as one of the most honest and fair representations of fortean study that I've ever read.  It's fun, witty, insightful, and certainly weird enough to hold my interest.  And I can't help but believe that if you give it a chance you'll agree with me.

Yours in Impossibility,