Biblical Cryptozoology: Revealed Cryptids of the Bible proposes to show us God’s view of cryptozoology . Author Dale Stuckwish claims that many of the cryptids that have been seen over the centuries fall into one of eight categories, corresponding with a creature mentioned in the Bible: Behemoth, Leviathan, Satyr, Dragon, Unicorn, Beast and Fiery Flying Serpent.
The book is written from a Biblical (young earth) Creationist position, which this reviewer feels is a plus. Certainly this viewpoint makes Biblical Cryptozoology different from many books on the subject, which tend to presume millions of years of molecules-to-man evolution. As such, this book serves as a good primer on the subject. If you’re familiar with creationist literature, Stuckwish’s take on behemoth, leviathan, fiery flying serpents and dragons as dinosaurs are pretty standard fare. Creationists have been ridiculed for affirming the existence of unicorns. Of course, the Biblical word rendered unicorn [re’em] refers to a real, living creature not a fairy tale horse with a spiral horn. Stuckwish offers several candidates for the re’em of the Bible.
Departing from the standard literature, Stuckwish proposes that satyrs, mentioned twice in the Bible [Isaiah 13:21 & 34:14, respectively], are a possible mention of a Bigfoot or Yeti-like creature. Alternately, he proposes that satyrs are spirit creatures. Given the way Stuckwish uses this term, spirit creature is analogous to the term interdimensional creature. In any case, he proposes that such creatures are shapeshifters (hence, the Greek goat-man demigod version of satyrs) responsible for many of the supernatural cryptid encounters in which creatures vanish with little or no evidence. This would include modern-day sightings of “aliens.” I think his effort is admirable and gives us food for thought, but I disagree with his conclusions. I think that the satyr refers to a type of goat, plain and simple.
His final category, Beast, refers to the locust creature of Revelation 9, which Stuckwish alternately refers to by the provocative name, the Swarm. As with satyrs, he considers the Swarm beasts a type of spirit creature. Bible commentators disagree on whether these creatures are real or allegorical. Bible prophecy tends to utilize rather outlandish animals, so it’s up for grabs. I tend to be in the camp of folks who suppose the nightmarish Swarm will be real creatures, but I sincerely hope otherwise! Stuckwish also includes other candidates for Beasts as spirit creatures.
Unfortunately, Biblical Cryptozoology suffers from a lack of scholarly research as evidenced by a lack of adequate footnotes and citations. Many times, the author mentions a creature, only to abandon it two sentences later. While some portions of the book are strong, many of his points are not adequately explained. The book also suffers a lack of consistency. For example, he suggests that Beasts are spirit creatures and includes the Mothman, the Jersey Devil, Kongamato (identified elsewhere in the book as a Fery Flying Serpent) and various versions of Bigfoot (previously identified as a Satyr) in this latter category. I’m honestly not sure what Stuckwish’s criteria for Beast versus Satyr or Fiery Flying Serpent is, as he never spells out why some spirit creatures fall into one category or the other.
The other major flaw in the book concerns formatting and what feels very much like filler material. In the print version I reviewed, there was a large blank space on page 47. The book include three appendices, which is fine: a a form called a Biblical Cryptozoolgy Report for keeping track of cryptids, a Glossary and a misidentified Bibliography. A cryptozoological timeline interrupts the book for no reason I can determine after chapter 7. The next four chapters before the conclusion are, in my opinion, out of place. The chapter on outgrowths of the Christian faith belongs in another book entirely. The information provided, however useful, has absolutely nothing to do with cryptozoology. The next three chapters should have either been developed to provide foundational material on why one ought to pursue cryptozoology from a Biblical point of view and why the young earth creationist interpretation is the Biblical POV [something merely assumed throughout the book] or found their respective way into an appendix. They largely consist of numbered lists and Scripture citations that lack exposition [Acts 8:31].
All in all, though I liked Biblical Cryptozoology and thought it offered much food for thought, I would not recommend it without a number of caveats. It needs significant revisions.
You can find out more about Biblical Cryptozoology at Amazon.
Tony Breeden, from the Bookwyrm’s Lair
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”