The Most Monsters?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 2nd, 2009

You have got to admire the boldness and brashness of the publicity department over at the University Press of New England*. How many other academic presses around the United States would make the claim that they have?

In the new promotional material for a book coming out in September 2009, they have written this:

“Though not widely acknowledged, the Green Mountain state is home to more winged wonders, wet weirdoes, and crypto creatures than any other state in the country. You probably know about Champ, the elusive monster of Lake Champlain. But what about Northfield’s Pigman? And Richford’s The Awful? Wherever you are in Vermont—in town or country, river or lake, land or sky—you’re never far from the unknown. Or the unexpected.”

Needless to say, the author’s picture tells it all. He is wearing a hat!!

“Joseph A. Citro, respected monster hunter, brings to light over sixty Vermonsters, many captured in exquisite, ghoulish detail by the pen, brush, and ink of artist Stephen R. Bissette.”

Photo by Nick Langley.

The illustrator Stephen R. Bissette (above, with hat) is best known for his award-winning collaboration with writer Alan Moore (Watchmen) and inker John Totleben on DC Comics’ Saga of the Swamp Thing (1983-87).

There is a long tradition of good illustrators working on the Swamp Thing.

Artist Richard Corben, in 2004, drew “me,” as the comic book character “Coleman Wadsworth,” chasing an Abominable Snowman and then in turn being chased by the title creature in the Swamp Thing comics (#7 and #8). That installment of the story is by Will Pfeifer.

The publisher had a final bit of final fun with this…

WARNING: The authors and publisher are not responsible for any unfortunate encounters that may result from the reading of this book.

Designed as both a cautionary tale and handy field manual for those who dare, The Vermont Monster Guide will be of interest to natives and tourists, to young and old…though it may not be suitable for readers with fragile constitutions.

The Vermont Monster Guide
Joseph A. Citro; Stephen R. Bissette, illus.

Release: September 2009

University Press of New England
2009 • 120 pp. 65 illus. 7 x 10
New England / Vermont / Folklore
$18.95 Paper, 978-1-58465-782-8

I have not read this book yet, as I have not received a review copy. But I have my doubts about Vermont having the “most monsters,” of course, even if Joseph Citro’s a friend. It will be recalled that Joe is the guy who once visited Maine, and took this rather well-known photograph of some guy captured hatless with Bigfoot, in August 2005:

*University Press of New England is an award-winning university press supported by a consortium of schools: Brandeis University, Dartmouth College, the University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, Tufts University and University of Vermont.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

14 Responses to “The Most Monsters?”

  1. eireman responds:

    “Vermonsters” LOL! Gotta love that. I even love the pulp novel / Tales From The Crypt look the book has. Should be a fun read.

  2. tropicalwolf responds:

    I am always adding books to my library, but so far this year they have all been “classic” (read: older) books. This could be the official “new book” addition for 2009.

  3. springheeledjack responds:

    Alright, it’s sad, but coming from the great state of Iowa I’ve got very little. There are BF sightings, and in my area there was a “Birdman” supposedly roaming around here in the 70’s. However, the birdman was more of a BF crypto–bipedal hairy that cried out.

    Sadly, no USO’s that I’m aware of and not much else unless you delve into the paranormal and Ufology.

    So beat that:)

  4. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    Well, neither of them appears to be bald and creepy, both have fairly respectable hats, so I think it’s safe to say that we’re dealing with cryptozoologists here, folks.

    As for the claim about having the most monsters… I’m really not so sure about that, really. California might give them a run for their money, to be sure.

  5. mystery_man responds:

    Wow, I was not aware that Vermont had so many strange creatures supposedly residing there. I don’t know if it can lay claim to the most in the States, but at over sixty bizarre creatures Vermont has Japan beat I’d have to say. 🙂

    By the way, that illustration with Swamp Thing and the turtle. I want it. Either as a poster or a t-shirt, I want it.

  6. dogu4 responds:

    Why Vermont? Why not New Hampshire or Pennsylvania? Why a state and not a geologic region such as “upper Hudson Valley” or “the Finger Lakes”? For that matter “why a duck, why not a chicken?”
    Who knows, but the entire region’s undeniably long and convoluted natural and human history (much of it lost in time) certainly lends itself to fantastic speculation, and that’s good enough for me. Perhaps this will provoke a response from other regions in the US and around the world to delve more deeply into the mysterious nature of their own backyards with the goal of encountering (and surviving) the lovecraftian foundation stones of our past. It is waiting, and waiting…and waiting.
    And, uh, what Mystery Man said…awsome illustration, fantastic tribute and something any oddly thatched pursuer (or pursuee) would find relevant and perhpas even totemic. Excelsior!

  7. Dib responds:

    Maybe it’s most monsters per square mile? Or most monsters per inhabitant? I would buy that. Infact, I would be impressed.

    Gotta get that book, though I live hundreds of miles away.

  8. korollocke responds:

    I would say the most monsters title would go to Japan, Have you checked out the new yokia field guide yet?

  9. mystery_man responds:

    korollocke- If you include all of the yokai, even ones that have very little claim or credibility as real creatures, then yes, Japan wins. I was thinking of the ones that are actually considered to be possibly real. 🙂 If we include all of the bizarre entities passed along throughout the ages over here in the Far East, regardless of their plausibility? Then Japan is somewhere near the top.

  10. mystery_man responds:

    korollocke- I guess what I’m trying to say is that in Japan, “yokai” covers every boogie man and folkloric creature there is. Many of them are incredibly fanciful. So a lot of yokai are no more cryptids than the monster under the bed is. So while many Japanese cryptids are also considered “yokai,” not all yokai are cryptids or of particular interest to cryptozoology.

    Then again, it looks like this Vermont book might cover creatures like that as well, so maybe Japan does win. 🙂

  11. alcalde responds:

    Joseph A. Citro is a fantastic compiler of New England’s folklore, mysteries, strange happenings and paranormal tales. He’s also released an “unconventional” travel guide to “eccentric” New England locations. Mr. Citro has also produced a few works of fiction, including “DEUS-X: The Reality Conspiracy”. I’m reading his “Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls & Unsolved Mysteries” right now, and heard nothing but good reviews of several books of his I haven’t read but have given as gifts. I don’t think anyone knows Vermont as well as Mr. Citro, so I’m sure this new book will contain many cryptozoological mysteries unknown to all but Loren Coleman and drawn from the most obscure Vermont folklore and historical accounts.

  12. Andrew D. Gable responds:

    mystery_man is right: for every possibly real kappa or tzuchinoko, Japanese yokai have lovely stuff like the animated umbrellas or that sandal pom-pom thing.

    I would argue Pennsylvania has a bunch (yeah, I’m biased living there) if you’re going by quasi-urban legend stuff. If not, well… not too much outside of thunderbirds, Bigfoot, and a few big snakes…

  13. korollocke responds:

    Go nosing around suicide mountain in Japan like I did, you’ll think yokia are very real, for whatever reason lots of people go there to end their journey. Japan has it’s own Bigfoot as well.

  14. mystery_man responds:

    korollocke- It’s “yokai,” not “yokia,” and yes, there are certainly a lot of Fortean phenomena in Japan, no one could argue with that. I’m merely making the distinction between supernatural creatures- of which most yokai are freely admitted as being- and actual possible zoological phenomena of serious interest to cryptozoology. A good deal of the yokai are most certainly of the decidedly “ghost and goblins” variety, including many types of spirits and demons, and a majority of yokai lore is indeed seeped in superstition and magic, firmly rooted in folklore. Still interesting to be sure, but aside from a few, unlikely to be actual creatures.

    I haven’t been to the Suicide Forest proper myself yet, but I have lived in Japan trudged through its backwaters, and studied its folklore, unique ecology, and cryptids for over 13 years now. I’ve spoken with countless people about yokai and other phenomena here, and I can honestly tell you that much of yokai lore is very fanciful and populated by ghosts, spirits, and demons. You might be surprised how many far out creatures and other entities there are here in Japan designated as yokai that fit in better with supernatural or paranormal phenomena than cryptozoology.

    Contrary to popular belief, cryptozoology in Japan is not just all about the yokai. Many of the cryptids here are not yokai, and a good deal of the yokai are not cryptids. There is a distinction, although granted not always totally clear, between the supernatural entities and the creatures to be considered for serious cryptozoological study.

    Anyway, it’s good to see you have an interest in this area! 🙂

    As for Japan’s Bigfoot, it is called the Hibagon , and you can read the article I wrote on this very creature right here at Cryptomundo. 🙂

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