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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Review: Manbeasts: A personal investigation by Adam Davies

  1. Paperback: 164 pages
  2. Publisher: cfz (7 Oct. 2014)
  3. Language: English
  4. ISBN-10: 1909488216
  5. ISBN-13: 978-1909488212
  6. Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 0.9 x 23.4 cm

I had seen Adam Davies on a number of TV documentary programmes such as Monster Quest and it was good to see someone who took his subject seriously and so, when I saw two books by him I decided to order them.  Unfortunately, there was a problem with one so I only got the book under review.

When it came to actual work on expeditions the reading was good.  There was space given to how and why Davies decided which expeditions to mount and how compromises need to be made ~but not when it came to investigation. No one can afford to mount expeditions along with all the equipment needed out of their own pocket continuously so money from TV companies helps...a lot! That side of things I am okay with. You have to be a realist.

I can also understand why Prof. Brian Sykes did not want it known that he had funded Davies trip to the United States.  You have to remember that, in the United States, it seems that  "Bigfoot experts" put more effort into name~calling, making wild claims against one another and worse than they do in looking for the elusive hominid.  Sasquatch is safe from being discovered by those going out looking for it!  So, had it been revealed that Sykes, who was behind the "infamous" mystery hominid DNA project had funded someone who was known to believe in these creatures...big "Bang!" in the, uh, "community".

Above: Bigfoot  looming over Davies and Simmons as they sleep?

I was somewhat puzzled that the account was given of an alleged Bigfoot caught on camera (a 1 second shot?) standing over Davies and Lori Simmons while they slept but the photo was not reproduced.  When the photo first emerged I could not see what he reported  and reading his description in this book and looking at the photo again...I still cannot see it. When questioned over the image Davies responded: "...i can say, though, that there was nobody else in our vicinity, that we were asleep..." Wow.  Now, in this book Davies questions what some witnesses have said about sightings because of lack of evidence or some other nuance. Yet here he asks the reader to accept that he knew no one else was around because he and Simmons were asleep?  No. I'm not sure who was behind the one single photo (questions are unanswered as to why only one photo) Bigfoot Evidence has dealt with this photo so go check them out.

After the SOHA (Southern Oregon Habituation Area) debacle which saw a big dent in Davies reputation (I believe he was conned) it is fair to say that "Squatchin'" has not been good to him.

It is an interesting book, however, on the downside 11 of the photographs were ruined by heavy lines running down one or both sides of them ~the sort of thing you get when ink cartridges are running out or very bad scanning. This is annoying in that when you buy a new book you expect to get a better quality product.

I was also very surprised at some paragraphs that made no sense such as bottom of p. 66 "I was glad to be told that wChinese mountain cat hen we got to the other side of the lake, the phones would be unable to get a signal"

Davies does not come out of this well, in fact. He resorts to name calling, such as two people who had handed him business cards in the past with "Explorer" on them were "utter twats". One has to hope that one of those two people never comes up with a vital piece of evidence that could add or prove Davies case re. "Man~beasts" because if they read that line... Then we have a helicopter pilot who would not attempt a landing in mountainous terrain ~a pilot has to think of their own and passenger safety and that is no joke~ is described as "pilot pussy" and someone as "a fat bloke" and there are other examples and by about the third time I read it I didn't care if he had "heard a tiger in the wild!".

Then you have a location "...we arrived at Juwkaa Pani. Jukwaa Pani..." Which is it?

there were several sentences I had to re~read three or four times to make sense out of because they were just plain badly written. I have to wonder about the editing because many of these obvious
faults should have been spotted easily during that process. 

Davies comes across as arrogant and egotistical in places not to mention misogynistic person and none of this is helped by accounts of hard drinking sessions. You expect a little "colour" in accounts of expeditions but in this case I think just looking at organizing expeditions and notes on field work would have been far better. Never having met the man it may just be that this is a false impression created by the book but presumably Davies proof read it and approved?

As I've written, the book would have been far better without some aspects but the accounts of seeming ~reading of them in this book~ slap dash expeditions raised more than a few questions.  Certainly I think Davies might achieve more with better funding and despite his belief that concentrating on just looking for one "man beast" might waste years of his time, I think that good financial backing, more cameras and the ability to stay a month or more on an expedition might well yield better results in, say, the case of the Orang Pendek.

A book I waited for excitedly and read in a day but was a disappointment. Not a great book ~certainly not a "classic of cryptozoology"" as someone on Amazon wrote~  but if you are interested in the subject you will want it for your bookshelf.

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