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Introduction

beds. The Banshee of the South Dakota Badlands has Irish roots, stories of the Tommyknockers of the mines in Pennsylvania and California came across the pond with settlers from Cornwall, and Connecticut’s Black Dog of Hanging Hills sounds suspiciously like a British hellhound. Native American legends are scattered throughout this book, as are beasts never heard of before. Legends of the European werewolf began in ancient Greece; however, these shape-shifting creatures started to appear in earnest across Europe in the medieval times because real wolves were a serious problem. Also at that time, people who didn’t fit into the mold cast by the powerful Roman Catholic Church must be in league with the devil, so humanity created witches. As technology changed, so did the creatures that terrified us. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (published in 1818) was a direct result of scientists of that age (such as Italian physician Luigi Galvani) experimenting on the dead with newly-harnessed electricity. Victorian-age authors (1837 to 1901) terrified their audiences with more monsters like Shelley’s—monsters that were once human, like Count Dracula, the Mummy, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man. Decades later, the movie versions of these monsters reignited our fear in such creatures to reflect the horror of the Great Depression and both World Wars. Once humans took to the air, our monsters changed again— they came from the sky. From H.G. Wells’s Martians in The War of the Worlds (1898), to Predator (1987), to The Avengers (2012), our modern scientific monsters come from outer space. And starting with Godzilla (1954), the horrors of a nuclear world were quite evident on our movie screens. Humans need monsters. They help us deal with the real horrors in life, mainly our fear of the unknown. According to the

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Chasing American Monsters, by Jason Offutt  

From Alabama to Wyoming and every state in between, the United States is crawling with monsters lurking in the dark corners, just waiting fo...

Chasing American Monsters, by Jason Offutt  

From Alabama to Wyoming and every state in between, the United States is crawling with monsters lurking in the dark corners, just waiting fo...

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