Shadows of Existence: discoveries and speculations in zoology
By: Bille, Matthew A.
Binding: Trade Paper
Size: 8.5" X 5.5"
Publication Date: 2005
PR Highlights: Updated and new content from the original Rumors of Existence.
PHOTO Highlights: 18 photos, 30 illustrations 16 page color section
The age of zoological discovery has not passed. Every year, spectacular and exciting new species are being located and classified, adding to our knowledge of the animal kingdom. New whales, deer, snakes, sharks, and birds are just some of the creatures we have learned about in the past decade. Moreover, the seas and forests continue to conceal unsolved mysteries of zoology. Are there undiscovered big cats and unclassified apes hidden in the world's forests? Do large animals of unknown type lurk in deep lakes or in the oceans? The discoveries, rediscoveries, controversies, and mysteries of modern zoology are collected here in Shadows of Existence, a thoroughly researched and up to date guide to the wonders of nature.
Matthew Bille is a science writer in Colorado Springs. He is a former Air Force officer and a policy analyst with the international consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. He is also a space historian and the author of The First Space Race. This is his second book on zoological discoveries; the first, Rumors of Existence, is also published by Hancock House.
Reviewed by Michael Newton
Vol 5 #2, Issue #17
Matt Bille's first volume of cryptozoological lore, Rumors of Existence (1995), confined itself to surveys of newly discovered or rediscovered species, and to those creatures that were presumed extinct, despite persistent modern sitings. This sequel, 11 years in the making, is a more ambitious work, as it includes not only new chapters on animals from the foregoing categories, but also separate sections on classic mystery animals (such as Bigfoot, Nessie, and other aquatic monsters) and lesser-known cryptids, such as the puma sized yarri of Australia. Bille's straightforward and informative text is enhanced by 40-odd illustrations from artist Bill Rebsamen, rightly dubbed 'the John Audubon of cryptozoology.' Aside from providing full sources for the entries in his text, Bille also provides a 50 page listing of books and articles he referenced when writing this book. This book is highly recommended for crypto-beginners and veteran aficionados alike for its comprehensive coverage and accessible style.
By Craig Heinselman on November 12, 2006
In 1995 the book Rumors of Existence was published by Hancock House. Within the pages of this book, biological and zoological plethora was presented. Matt Bille, within his "Rumors" book, evaluated new discoveries, supposed extinct and mysteries animals with an even and balanced keel. While books dealing with mystery animals appear every year. They have a primary focus on one specific animal or "cryptid". The tendency of these books is to be either on, or about, Bigfoot or Lake Monsters (to use the generalized terms), While the presentation of evidence is through eyewitness reviews, video or picture analysis or behavioral or morphological comparisons. While this makes for good reading, and baseline bibliographical or historical background, the core of an investigative method is missed. What Matt Bille has done on the other hand, is review a larger percentage of mystery animals, but with a context that connects to actual discoveries. We are not talking about proof positive of a "Bigfoot" body, or the dead body of "Nessie". We are looking instead at the presentation of newly discovered species, rediscovered species, and animals unknown to science currently. They intertwine together, demonstrating the complexity of zoological classifications and behavior within the realm of biology, anthropology and associated disciplines. In Shadows of Existence, Matt Bille has extended the initial concept from his first book, and fleshed it out to a larger degree, a review once more of our mysteries planet, but also a resource and correlation for researchers to continue from. Answers are not provided, supposition is minimized, and the evidentiary items are presented in a fluid and readable manner. Matt has done the foot work, and provided the everyday man the information in a manner that is not condescending or overly simplified manner. A difficult balance of language and information, that in and of itself can be admired as a writer's specific style. Matt Bille does touch on the classic mystery animals, such as Bigfoot and "Lake Monsters". Any at the close of each section therein, offers a tidbit of thought for the reader: "Is there anything real for these searchers to find? As so often happens in cryptozoology, the answer may still be, "we don't know." "It is, in my opinion, very unlikely there is a breeding population of huge apes living unknown to science on the North American continent. I'm not denigrating the witnesses, many of whom are unquestionably sincere. I just feel it's more likely the sincere ones are mistaken than it is that sasquatch exits." "I genuinely wish to be found wrong in this judgment. I hope sasquatch really is out there somewhere, watching with puzzlement and perhaps even amusement as we humans blunder around looking for him." While looking at the main-stream "mystery animals" is one inclusion, it is not the primary focus of the book. This is quickly identifiable, as only a small section is attributed to "The Classic Mystery Animals", and it is for this reason Matt Bille's books are more important. His delving into mystery whales, cats, bears, seals and squirrels, to name but a few, demonstrate that the world is not fully established in a zoological manner and that mainstream science still looks and finds animals across the globe. In few books in the mainstream can one read of unusual sightings by researchers in deep sea submersibles like the Deepstar 4000 or Alvin. Prehistoric tree discoveries, like the Wollemia nobilis. Or the chronicling of the mysteries of an as yet described species of beaked whale Mesoplodon Species A. Yes some of the content is a continuation of Matt Bille's 1995 book Rumors of Existence. But, after a decade Shadows of Existence fleshes out additional information, new discoveries, new resources and a fresh look at the world of zoology and biology. We need every so often to be reminded that our world is still full of wonder and discovery. We need to be reminded that mystery animals and cryptozoology do not need to be isolated to classic creatures, but encompass the zoological gamut. And, if for no other reason, Matt Bille's book harbors a reminder that even if mystery animals do not exist, there are innumerable discoveries to be made that perhaps could not be done if one does not search.