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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Water Monsters South of the Border by Denver Michaels dives into the fascinating field of Cryptozoology by examining the folklore and myths surrounding lake monsters in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. Various reported sightings, theories, and all the possibilities behind these supposed creatures range from serpent beasts to mermaids to water tigers. Is it possible these water monsters are actually living dinosaurs? Do the myths of the past carry truth? Are these monsters still being sighted today? Is there a logical explanation for what people have seen? Or are these all a hoax? Michaels addresses every one of these possibilities and more.
Many people have heard of lake monsters, mermaids, and maybe even water tigers, but Denver Michaels opens up a whole new world with thorough accounts of several of these well-known cryptids. The book is well-organized, with a fine balance of sighting reports, history and myth origins, as well as an easy to understand writing style. Most of the sightings can be shrugged off as logical explanations from large fish to monk seals to lurking big snakes, but is it possible that there's more out there? Michaels provides several viewpoints and personal opinions that suggest this possibility is true, but the book doesn't sway you into a certain perspective. It leaves the belief in lake monsters up to you to decide while being clear on what Michaels personally believes is the truth behind each sighting. So much is gained and every chapter just builds on the previous ones.
What stood out most is the fascinating story behind the Ica Stones and Acambaro figurines. Both of these sets of relics clearly depict dinosaurs, but that's not the astonishing part. The Ica Stones clearly show dinosaurs alongside advanced technology, which doesn't fit with what science knows, while the figurines were created over 3,000 years ago which doesn't coincide with the date we know that dinosaurs went extinct. This was a truly fascinating read that I couldn't put down and I loved every minute of it. For those with an obsession with cryptozoology and specifically lake monsters, Water Monsters South of the Border is an intriguing and well written study of lake monsters and shouldn't be missed!