A motley collection of real and presumptively real monsters -- from the Loch Ness serpent and elusive yeti to an escaped python (or perhaps anaconda?) that briefly terrorized an Ohio community before disappearing as mysteriously as it came. Among these anti-climactic investigations are some bonafide discoveries -- the dodo, the supposedly extinct Coelacanth fish, the Komodo dragon -- but none of these can live up to the promise of their imaginary peers. Laycock vacillates between half-hearted attempts at documentation and obvious bemusement, showing little of the natural affinity for curiosities that one finds in, say, Willy Ley's The Lungfish, the Dodo and the Unicorn (now out of print). As the author admits at one point, ""few storytellers have ever been known to shrink a monster""; seldom, however, does the inflation seem so laborious.