on 6 December 2013
One of the most prolific and entertaining fortean writers of modern days Dr Shuker never fails to delight and impress. Mirabilis is no exception. Its cover, wonderfully rendered by Ant Wallis, brings to mind the classic film The 7 Faces of Dr Lao based on the novel by Charles J Finney. In old circus like cages a giant lemur, a unicorn and a pterosaur are seen whilst behind them a dragon looms.
Karl has a wild talent for covering subjects most other authors in the field ignore, have forgotten or have never even heard of. He digs up new details and cases like a pig digs truffles. Case in point is the chapter on `Trunko' the weird, white furred, elephantine trunked beast said to have been seen battling two whales of the cost off Margate, South Africa in 1924, subsequently washing ashore dead. The beast had baffled cryptozoologists for decades. Together with his German colleague Markus Hemmler piece together the long overdue answer to the riddle with the help of never before published photographs uncovered by Hemmler.
Elsewhere Karl looks at the fantastic fauna of Madagascar turning up strange stories that escaped ever Dr Bernard Heuvelmans , the grandfather of cryptozoology himself. Here are sightings, some intriguingly recent , of what sound like giant lemurs thought long extinct but pigmy hippos but also what sound like primitive hominans lurking in the wilder parts of this island continent.
As a lifelong reptile keeper and self-confessed crocodile fanatic the chapter on crocodilian mysteries was bound to be a favourite of mine. The stories of giant crocodiles in Africa and huge marine crocodiles were familiar to me. Less so the horned crocodiles of Madagascar and the `frog' crocodiles of Borneo.
Other oddities include the strange case of the New Guinea penguins, antlered sea snails, giant spiders in sub-urban Britain and monster tortoises.
Like a literary cabinet of curiosities this book has something to tantalized ever reader. Marabilis-wonder indeed.
on 22 January 2014
Karl Shuker sits astride (and continues to do his best to bring together) the fields of zoology and cryptozoology. This is yet another of his well researched journey's into some of the less known cryptids of the world. drawing together previous articles, blogs and correspondence, he delivers a pick and mix of the strange, absurd and misidentified. It's an enjoyable read and again demonstrates that a scholarly approach can bring gravitas to more esoteric subjects.