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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, practical, down-to-earth and very readable., 28 May 2002
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This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
Greer defines monsters as "beings that cannot exist, according to currently accepted scientific theories about the way the universe works, but which are routinely encountered by credible witnesses and described in traditional folklore". The major portion of the book extracts the common threads from world-wide folklore and modern day sightings of vampires, ghosts, werewolves, creatures of faery, mermaids, dragons, spirits, angels and demons, while dispelling modern TV myths. Although cultures vary in their interpretation of what monsters are, there is surprising agreement about what they do. This suggests that there are common phenomena that have been subject to different interpretations.
I was particularly attracted to the book because of this well-structured and systematic distillation of the evidence, old and new. It is written in a sensible style that gives one a great deal of confidence in the author. However, there is much more that is of interest, and different audiences will take different things from the rest of the book. For the complete newcomer to the field, there is an introduction containing a cogently argued defence of the idea that evidence shouldn't be discarded just because it doesn't fit our current theoretical models. However, the main thrust of the book is as a guide for psychical researchers, ghost hunters and other investigators of spontaneous anomalies. It contains some extremely practical information about e.g. equipment to take, questions to ask and how to ask them, how to detect hoaxes and how to do research. This should be required reading for any person involved in field work of this kind.
The monster catalogue itself contains two parallel threads. Besides describing reported monster behaviour and the development of associated folklore, the author also provides an interpretation, based on Western magical philosophy, of what the monsters are and how to deal with them. Fortunately, he keeps these threads fairly separate, so that one can extract a lot of useful information about monster sightings, even if one chooses to ignore the magical perspective. That said, the framework that he presents is internally consistent and seems to be an interesting way of analysing monster lore. The notions that he draws on could also be interpreted in terms of other cultural philosophies, and students of e.g. eastern mysticism or holistic medicine will find parallels in their own philosophy to the concepts used here.
While reading this book, I was consistently impressed by the author's clear mind, down-to-earth approach and considerate nature. While each element of it may be covered in more detail in other books, this is an extremely useful synthesis of many ideas. I found a lot to think about in it, and I recommend it highly.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top book. Full marks to John Greer, 30 May 2002
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This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
A very readable and informative book. My only critisism would be that there should have been a specilised biography against each of the monster types explored in order to aid in further research. But this is only a very minor point.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Mr Greer!, 1 April 2008
This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
I find reading Mr Greer pure delight! His no nonsense coherent views and evident trustworthyness make him the number one author of this kind of subject in my humble opinion. I am the ultimate sceptical doubting Thomas and Mr Greer opens up my horizon... Most greatful to him!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Monsters for beginners, 1 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
John Michael Greer is an independent scholar, writer, blogger and Archdruid. He has written books on a wide variety of subjects. Please don't confuse him with Steven Greer!

"Monsters" is a kind of beginner's guide to vampires, werewolves, demons and other supernatural beings. Not all of the entities covered are evil or dangerous. Greer has included chapters on angels, spirits and even mermaids! The most interesting section deals with fairies and their similarities with aliens and the UFO phenomenon. Very often, Greer criticizes the pop culture ideas about supernatural beings, and occasionally the New Age notions as well. His views on Bigfoot might be contentious within the community dealing with such matters: Greer believes that Bigfoot is a real, flesh-and-blood animal in the Pacific Northwest, while most "Bigfoot" sightings outside the creature's traditional haunts are really supernatural beings (a kind of solitary fairies). Nor will Greer's negative views of nuts-and-bolts ufology endear him to that particular group of people.

For a beginner's guide written in a relatively laid back style, I'd say Greer cracks a surprisingly large amount of eggs!

The book also includes chapters on natural and ritual magic, and a guide to monster hunting. The magical rituals come from the Golden Dawn tradition, which is Greer's personal magical path. "Monsters" further include a philosophical introduction defending the reality of the supernatural, and speculations about the eheric realm, which I found particularly helpful. An extensive list of literature is appended.

Note once again that this is intended as a book for those more or less completely untutored in the magical worldview (i.e. people like yours truly). Greer does manage to portray the magical worldview as relatively rational and logical, but he also admits that the monster lore and magical rituals of various cultures are extremely varied, and that it isn't always possible to get clear information on such matters. Unless you do your own magickal research, presumably.

And yes, even if you are a sceptic, you might actually find this book somewhat entertaining...

Five stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars monsters, 11 Sep 2011
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K. T. Aston (Rugeley staffordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
wow just started reading this book. so many interesting subjects anyone interested or just wants to buy a friend a good book for a gift this is it. would have to test some of the articles but I will sending this out for presents
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge about the netherworld, 1 Jan 2011
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Philip Van Meurs (Beersel, Belgien) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (Paperback)
This book tells us about a reality that is conveniently denied, mostly out of fear. It tells us about the inhabitants of a netherworld that is part of our reality. Read it and be enlightened!
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Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings
Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings by John Michael Greer (Paperback - 18 Sep 2001)
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