- A Guide To Sky Monsters: Thunderbirds, the Jersey Devil, Mothman, and Other Flying Cryptids
- by T. S. Mart and Mel Cabre
- Illustrated by Mel Cabre
- Published by Red Lightning Books (Indiana University Press)
- Release date: May 25, 2021
- Family friendly (clean) content, yet the context of some topics are designed for older audiences
Sky Monsters Description
When a dark shadow passes overhead, do you stop? Or do you run?
Infamous sky monsters have haunted our imaginations for centuries. The Thunderbird, steeped in Native American folklore, supposedly controls evil by throwing lightning. The Jersey Devil is said to roam the Pine Barrens of South Jersey, terrorizing anyone who crosses its path. And the cryptic warnings of Mothman have worried residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, since the 1960s. In A Guide to Sky Monsters: Thunderbirds, the Jersey Devil, Mothman, and Other Flying Cryptids, authors T. S. Mart and Mel Cabre introduce 20 flying cryptids with legends that span the United States. With 70 hand-drawn illustrations, A Guide to Sky Monsters details our fascination with these creatures and describes both historical evidence found in the fossil record and the specifics of modern-day sightings. By studying the fact, fiction, and pop culture surrounding these notorious beasts, Mart and Cabre help us lean into the question, “What if?”
A Guide to Sky Monsters, perfect for the believer and skeptic alike, addresses the wider truths about flying cryptids and leaves us all to wonder whether that breeze was the wind or a wing.
Excerpt © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Sky monsters. Flying cryptids. Unknown creatures that haunt the heights of our world. Maybe you’ve never heard of them, or possibly you have and fully understand how these cryptids have crept their way into our culture and stirred up controversy, terrorized communities, impacted national pride, and showed the world how intolerance degrades quality of life.
The Thunderbird, the Jersey Devil, Mothman. These aren’t just modern monsters meant to satisfy curious minds looking for answers. From each of these cryptids emerge a legacy so significant that lives have been shaken and belief systems challenged. Their origin and meaning remind us of where we have traveled and where we dare not go again.
Giants in the world of unknown flying creatures, these three have been the subject of multiple books and movies that detail their existence in various genres and from various points of view. They’re each unique. We’ll discuss how later on, but it’s important to note up front that each of these flyers emerged from varying circumstances of the times to satisfy one (or more) of three distinct needs within their local communities.
Why Stories of Sky Monsters are Timeless
The need for answers. A need to cast blame or maintain control.
The need to justify or be right.
These are universal needs everyone experiences from time to time. That is why the stories surrounding sky cryptids are timeless and compelling. By examining how each came into existence―the unanswered questions, the pain associated with loss, the lies and egos that dictated the times―we can better understand ourselves, our belief systems, and our worldview.
Thunderbird depictions vary across cultures and periods of time because people observed different creatures in the sky. While terrifying, a bird or flying reptile of enormous size demanded respect. Early people passed on life and death encounters to teach, remember, and entertain.
The Thunderbird category is broad and can mean something different depending on history and context. Regardless, each flying creature is a unique species that once existed. While those listed below may not be all-inclusive of the “Thunderbirds” discussed throughout history, we’ll cover the most popular.