Title: West Virginia Cryptids: A Visual Field Guide for Traversing the Mountain State
Researched and Written by: Les O’Dell of WV Cryptids and Strange Encounters
Art and Design by: Mark Randall-Creative Artist
Last month, the stars aligned for me. Spectral Research and Investigation scheduled a holiday dinner and investigation at the Haymond House in Sutton, WV. A few weeks after we confirmed our date, it was announced that the West Virginia Bigfoot Museum, also in Sutton, was hosting the first annual Yeti Expo that same weekend! And, if you know me, you know I can’t walk away from any paranormal event without at least one or two new books for my paranormal library. One of the books that came home with me that weekend was West Virginia Cryptids: A Visual Field Guide for Traversing the Mountain State, by Les O’Dell and Mark Randall.
I kept meaning to pick up a copy of this book, but I didn’t want to necessarily order it. I had planned on purchasing a copy either at the Bigfoot Museum, or through one of the events that Les O’Dell was going to be at throughout 2021. But, things kept coming up, and I never got around to, even though I was really excited about adding this new title to my own shelf.
I’ve been following Les and his work with WV CASE for several years now. He’s an awesome researcher of all things paranormal, but has really made an impact on the local cryptid, especially Bigfoot, research scene. In addition to collecting reports from all over the state, he actually goes out to where these sightings have occurred and conducts actual field research. His work is on display at the Bigfoot Museum, and can now be found in the book, West Virginia Cryptids!
It’s not a huge book, but there’s a lot to it. I feel like for the low price of only $10, you’re getting a steal. Not only are you getting a look at some of the weird and wonderful monsters that have been spotted throughout West Virginia, but you’re getting a collection of full-color, full-page illustrations by the awesome artist, Mark Randall. His spooky, stylized illustrations pair perfectly with the well-researched descriptions of creatures such as the Grafton Monster, The Vegetable Man, The Polk Gap Monster, and many more.
Anyone who is interested in collecting Fortean literature of West Virginia, or who is interested in cryptozoology in general will want to add this book to their collection, but I think West Virginia Cryptids would make a GREAT gift to give to a teen or someone else who is just now entering this strange, strange world. The visually striking pictures are awesome and the text is short, sweet, and to the point. Les has managed to sum up each monster’s history in a way that gives all the necessary details without being too wordy, boring, or overwhelming to the casual reader. I know I really enjoyed it, and so did my 12 year old son. It has already gained a place of prominence in the section of my library dedicated to West Virginia paranormal non-fiction. I’ll be eagerly looking forward to new works and collaborations from these two!
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