A book packed full of 'real life' case studies of sightings and attacks, dating right back hundreds of years to more modern cases in the last few years. Sounds pretty incredible I know, but literally hundreds of these sightings are seen every year and we're not talking about someone seeing something through their binoculars from miles away either boys and girls... Absolutely not, some of these mothers get up close and personal..
Accounts range from across the globe and vary from multiple mass sightings, to lone witnesses, from the ordinary joe public, to people who you would think should be credible witnesses (like the police, airline pilots and airforce pilots), to professors, to teachers, to families, to communities, to children, to old folks, to people who wish to remain anonymous, to people who are happy to recount their tale to the world... and of course the out and out liars and loonies too. There are a lot of sightings of flying 'man-things' every year, trust me.
Some of the stories you've heard before (like Point Pleasant's Mothman, or the Cornish Owlman of Mawnan), but as a brief overview this does what it says on the tin, and will no doubt be plenty big entertainment to anyone with an interest in Fortean/cryptozoological matters of this nature. It's easy to read and many of the stories have a sinister or rather disturbing edge to them. Albeit they do get a bit samey after a bit. Ken seems like one of the worlds leading experts on such matters (big birds, flying critters and man-birds) and keeps it real, not discounting all theories, including the conclusion that quite a number of these are obvious hoaxes or lies. That said, I personally find the subject matter very interesting.
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I've read a lot of cryptozoology books, but this is the first I've read by Ken Gerhard. Production values among this genre are usually pretty variable and I'm happy to say this is one of the better produced books. Of course it's not without errors, but this seems fairly typical nowadays.
Anyway to the content. As the title obviously suggest it's an examination of humanoid aerial phenomena. The book is split up into themed chapters, which for the most part works pretty well. The range of material spans nineteenth century US newspaper reports to modern sightings associated with the UFO genre. I was familiar with the nineteenth century newspapers reports, which are always good fun regardless, and more famous entities such as the Mothman and New Jersey Devil. However, there was also enough unfamiliar material in the book to stir my imagination. I have in mind the Mexican aeronaut evidence. As a bonus at the end of the book is an appendix featuring winged creatures from mythology. There are a number of decent illustrations throughout, which add to the mood.
I felt that Gerhard's narrative bounced along at a good pace without being too drawn out or short. I like the way he presented the evidence and he doesn't try to argue strongly for one particular view over another. Although, a decent conclusion attempts to synthesise different views at the end. What really works in the book though is the balance, by which I mean it's length and the choice of material in it. I find some books provide too much anecdotal evidence and lose their shock impact. In this case I think Gerhard and the publisher have got it just right. All in all I found it a very good read and would recommend it to others who may be tempted.
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