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Stalking the Tricksters: Shapeshifters, Skinwalkers, Dark Adepts and 2012 Paperback – 17 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Adventures Unlimited Press (17 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931882924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931882927
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 14.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,856,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Presents the hidden cultural subject of tricksters. Graced by many names, including fools, sages, coyotes, Loki, men-in-black, Skinwalkers, shapeshifters, jokers, jinn, sorcerers, and witches, this book reveals intriguing accounts that suggest there are, indeed, beings walking among us able to utilise fantastic abilities.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. B. Wood on 18 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This could have been a good book, but is so badly put together it actually makes it impossible to read, it needs a really good editor and proof reader, like so many authors of this genre the author attempts to be rather sensationalist and evangelical, I would recommend far better books by John Keel, Jerome Clark et al

Nothing else to say but I would not bother if I were you
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr Peter A. McCue on 29 July 2013
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Christopher O'Brien has had a longstanding interest in anomalous phenomena. For some years, he lived in the USA's San Luis Valley (SLV), which runs from south central Colorado into northern New Mexico. The area has played host to strange events, such as cattle mutilations, UFO sightings, and ghostly appearances. O'Brien has discussed this apparent hot spot in previous books (e.g. 'Secrets of the Mysterious Valley', published in 2007).

The SLV is also mentioned in the present book, although it's not the main focus. But to convey some idea of what O'Brien means by the term 'trickster', I'll cite an incident that reportedly occurred there in 1993, after he'd spoken to members of a family, called Sutherland, about a bull of theirs that had been found dead and mutilated some years previously (pp. 69-73). The evening before the carcass was found, in June 1980, they heard a helicopter flying slowly south over their property. Fifteen to 20 minutes later, they heard it again, and it sounded as if it were hovering nearby. They went out to look, and saw it rising from the pasture where the dead bull would be found the next morning. The helicopter was mustard-yellow, looked old-fashioned, and didn't seem to have any markings. It flew back to the north, over their house. The day after his visit to the Sutherlands (i.e. some 13 years after their experience with the strange helicopter), O'Brien was in his dining room, reviewing his interview notes, when he heard, and then saw, a helicopter. It matched what the Sutherlands had seen in 1980! His then girlfriend, the latter's daughter, and some neighbours also apparently saw it. O'Brien made extensive enquiries, but no one seemed to know where it had come from.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By craneman on 24 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
this book is informative and very interesting,makes you think.this book was bought as used but it looks brand new,very pleased.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
An internet website dressed up like a book 3 Nov 2009
By Richard J. Kirby - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, I should mention that I loved Chris's first two books. Having said that, I find this book, like every Adventures Unlimited book I've read, to be nothing less than infuriating. Clunky phraseology & typos galore make this as difficult to get through as the New Agey web-site it seems to model itself after. Really guys, for $[...] bucks a book, you folk really need to hire some qualified editors and proofreaders. Also, there are far too many web-sites used a source material. In case you haven't noticed Chris, the Internet is filled to overflow with badly written, badly researched cowflop, spewed out by legions of half-baked shaman wanna-bes. I realize it's a neat little research short cut, but save the short cuts for your web-site. One more thing Chris, when middle aged guys like us use phrases like "back in the day" and "kickin' it" we just sound silly. Take a bit of advice(or "advise" as one of your photo captions states) and save the pseudo MTV generation hipster spunk for your e-mails. When dealing with this subject, folk find enough to laugh at without you providing easy targets.
I'm giving this 3 stars solely because there are some real gems hidden amongst all the dross, but seriously, Adventures Unlimited should either shape up and turn out product worth the price tag, or they should stop wasting all those trees.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Fails in every way 8 Dec 2009
By Anonymous - Published on
Format: Paperback
Ok I felt I had to put this review out there, to make people who thought of buying this book think again. I know that isn't an expensive purchase, but I want to spare people who have enjoyed listening to Chris on various radio shows throughout the years ,the huge disappointment that this book is. Chris is no doubt a great communicator of stories and thoughts in spoken form, but in way of writing it's a whole other story. And it's really sad, cause since you've heard him talk so eagerly about "stalking the tricksters" you are left with the impression that this must be a real gem of a book. Well, unfortunately it isn't. Let me just list you the main problems.

First of all, what strikes you right away (besides the horrific cover art) is the extreme amount of typos starting on page 1. Sometimes there are up to 3 different ways of spelling the same words, which just makes it even more painful. Its fine that you can spell `wendigo' in several ways, but just stick to one instead of shifting between `windigo', windego' and `wendego' throughout your description. These problems do get resolved further on in the book though, but it really makes you think about how much time the editing process has been given, and thereby the level of professional work behind it. I know that in the end it should be the information that is important, and of course it is, but on top of everything else wrong with the book it's just a real mess to digest.

Secondly, there are huge amount of embarrassing sources in the book, and an even worse way of applying these. Many times when a web page source is used, a long passage of text is just directly copy pasted from the site. This just screams laziness and makes your toes crumble after a while...and it doesn't help that Chris consistently introduces these in the way of "as research on the esteemed webpage reveals:". And this is even when referencing a site such as Wikipedia. I mean, how can you refer to as well known, dubious (and largely frowned upon) a source as Wikipedia in the way of "according to the online site Wikipedia", and then just copy paste several lines of text from there? You wouldn't even be able to get away with that the first semester as an undergrad at college. Couldn't you at least just use the source that Wikipedia used for that particular article instead? Overall, I don't see why most of the information couldn't have been gathered from books instead of using websites. It all just makes it seem like some really bad high school assignment.

Thirdly, something that just sticks out like a sore eye and annoyed me to no end, was the whole "discussion" of religion, 2012 and the way-off feminist, political hippie-jargon loaded remarks suddenly appearing in the middle of nowhere during certain chapters. Most of the times the comments just make no valid points at all, and are written in the most superficial terms you can imagine. It makes absolutely no sense for the overall topic to put these topics in there, at least not in the way that he does. Also, I could have lived without the sporadic `humoristic' inputs that pops up here and there and as comments to the various pictures - that by the way are on almost every friggin' page of the book. Why most of these pictures are there I really got no idea, it all just adds to the overall image of a very immature book. What exactly is the point of having a picture of Dracula and then a text underneath saying something like "Vampires exist in various cultures throughout the world"? Makes you really wonder what Chris thinks of the age group this is intended for...

All these things are huge flaws for what Chris is trying to communicate, and the strength of his message/thesis of the role of the trickster in the paranormal is ultimately lost because of this. In the end the book doesn't really amount to much else besides being a poorly communicated, shabby reference book of various mythical creatures that have to more or less degree tricksterish elements, or something in common with a trickster figure. It takes you through a whole range of entities, most of which you could find just as good or even better descriptions of in basic books about the paranormal. It does not really leave you with anything new to think about either, since most of the time the trickster element is not even discussed properly and it becomes up to the reader to focus real hard on what the point of bringing in this or that mythical creature really is. I really can't imagine what people who haven't already heard Chris speak on this subject would get out of reading the book.

I'm just gonna end it there, but I could seriously go on and on. I have a very hard time believing that this book took all the hard work that is mentioned in the introduction, and if it did then that's even the more reason not to try and do something like it again. Chris O'Brien is no doubt an intelligent and interesting man to listen to, and sure there are points of light that also shine through the book. But he should seriously think twice about putting out material such as this in the future, cause it will, and should be, judged for what it is. In an area that is already very damaged by cultists and gullible people, it just makes it worse when a guy who actually otherwise is a solid character to have in the field, comes out with something like this.

Stick to doing fieldwork and giving radio appearances Chris. Sorry, but we are a lot who like what you're doing in that area, but everyone has to acknowledge their limits.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Light reading with scant original research 6 Dec 2009
By monyouk - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
and even that is restricted to Mr. O'Brien's collaboration with the Dead Whisper/EVP Project and the Indiana Ghost Trackers (pp. 214-36), and to an account concerning 'little people' sighted somewhere in New Mexico and a mention of odd structures known as 'bee hives' in Baca Grande, Colorado (pp. 248-54). In the author's words, "my main to expand our definition of the trickster into the realms most academics have not ventured. This is why I have included near-tricksters like devils, demons, jinni, ghosts, spirits and human hoaxers in this work (pp. 342-3);" in addition to vampires, werewolves, wendigos, various mythical figures, cattle mutilation, and sundry.

To my dismay, much of the material, cherry-picked largely from the Internet, is too general and superficial or irrelevant, if not downright tedious when presented in the fashion of thesaurus entries (see pp. 25-36, 83-91, 258-64), to be of great use for seasoned researchers, though for neophytes it may serve as an introduction to Forteana -- the book is dedicated to the memory of the venerable John Keel, who passed away in July this year: RIP. Another thing that bugs me is that the writer resorts quite often to direct quotations from his previous tomes -- altogether around 19 pages. Also, there's no dearth of erroneous grammar, typos: "EVP recording eastern Russian" (instead of 'Russia', p. 215), "and there was no one was there" (p. 224), "we went ahead to our hotel to checked into" (p. 231), "some of their presentation was fabricated" (p. 288), "there are about were about 90 people" (p. 306), "what Shalizi fails to mention that the Trickster" (p. 310), "to write a write a book" (p. 311), so forth; and misspellings like 'reptilianss' (p. 67), 'they clamed' (p. 241), 'thes amalgams' (p. 245), 'Terrence McKenna' (p. 255), 'Rosicrucionism', 'Freemasonory' (p. 288), 'Tibetian' (p. 294), etc.

Some corrections and/or suggestions:

+ "...Prét are the spirits of unlucky humans who experience untimely deaths. These entitites can supposedly animate dead bodies at night" (p. 86). To the best of my knowledge, the existential (or even an ontological realm on the 'wheel of existence' [Tibetan: srid-'khor] in Buddhist - Hindu Weltanschauung) reality the preta-s (Sanskrit) or 'hungry ghosts' inhabit is the manifestation (or karmic result) of addiction to 'earthly pleasures' gained from booze, grub, narcotics, and the like.
+ The moniker 'Dracula' attached to the name of the Valachian governor Vlad Tepes (= Impaler; 1430/31-76) is falsely interpreted as "son of the Devil" (p. 103). It should rather be "son of the Dragon" ('Draculea' in Romanian), as his father was a member of the knightly Order/Society of (the) Dragon(ry) (Ordo/Societas Draconum/Draconistratum in Latin or 'Sárkány[os] Rend/Társaság' in Hungarian) that had been founded (1408) by the then-King of Hungary (not much later Holy Roman Emperor, then King of Bohemia) Zsigmond (Sigismund) of Luxembourg after a victorious military campaign in Bosnia against the rising power of Ottoman Turks.
+ As for the alleged 14-inch humanoid mummy, found in the San Pedro Mountains of Wyoming, once being a 65-year-old specimen of the legendary little people: The mummy went missing after 1951; the features of the said pygmy can be described in scientific terms as those of a still born, anencephalic infant. That is "the 'absence of cerebrum and cerebellum with absence of the flat bones of the skull.' It occurs during the third or fourth week of pregnancy, when...the head end of the fetus' neural tube...fails to close and the brain, scalp, and spinal cord do not develop properly...His prominent eyes can also be explained because 'the optic globes may protrude due to inadequately-formed bony orbits.' The cause of anencephaly...may be due to a lack of folic acid, vitamin B9, in the mother's diet" (pp. 86-7 of chapter 5 titled 'One Little Indian' in Robert Damon Schneck's The President's Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America2005).

Recommended reading: George P. Hansen's scholarly treatise, The Trickster and the Paranormal 2001.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great research backed up by personal experience - GREAT READ 27 Aug 2009
By Kimbeth Mcdermott - Published on
Format: Paperback
Many books are written from the vantage point of the researcher, many are written from the vantage point of the experiencer. Rarely is an author lucky enough, gifted enough or experienced enough to be able to deliver the right combination of both.

In his fourth book, O'Brien pulls it off. Sometimes reading like an action adventure, sometimes reading like an academic endeavor, "Stalking the Tricksters" delivers on many levels. It is hard to put down once you begin meandering down its slippery road to conclusions that make sense but remain unsettling.

The latest trend in paranormal musings and postulations involves a unifying energy, a common thread that links all of the unknown and unexplained. O'Brien identifies the legendary "Trickster", and supposes that much of the mysterious unknown is the work of this playful, if not overly cantankerous and downright dangerous interdimensional energy.

It is interesting to see so many of today's mysteries together in one book and wearing such a colorful hat. Just as with his previous books about the mysterious San Luis Valley, you realize immediately that O'Brien has been there, done that, and you wish you could go too.

Thankfully, with this latest saga and statement, you can. One thing to keep in mind - after you have had some time to process the underlying potentials that this book presents, you might have a bit of a problem seeing your world the same way, ever again. But then, maybe I am just kidding. When you are Stalking the Trickster, you simply never really know...

This is a great read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Stalking the Tricksters: Shapeshifters, Skinwalkers, Dark Adepts 12 Jan 2013
By Christine S. Shealer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third book I have read by this author. Great book, in the tradition of John Keel. Centers around strange events in Colorado and New Mexico.
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