Encyclopedia of Assassinations

Carl Sifakis

Russian religioso Rasputin, Grigory Yefimovich (c. 1892-1916), proved a tough nut to kill. “At the party Rasputin drank glass after glass of poisoned wine and several cakes and chocolates spiked with murderous doses of potassium cyanide. The plotters watched expectantly for Rasputin to keel over dead, but he did not. Instead, Rasputin danced and sang and called on the Prince to play the guitar. According to one later medical theory, Rasputin suffered alcoholic gastritis, with his stomach failing to secrete the hydrochloric acid necessary to get the cyanide compound to work.
“Yusupov excused himself to go upstairs, allegedly to get his wife. The Prince returned with a pistol and shot Rasputin… According to some, Rasputin fell to the floor, but as the Prince knelt to examine him, the mystic’s eyes popped open and he seized the Prince by the throat. Yusupov tore himself free and ran to the courtyard with Rasputin in pursuit on all fours. As Rasputin rose to his feet, the Grand Duke shot him in the chest. Another conspirator shot him in the head. Many of the officers used their sabers on Rasputin, and the Prince seized an iron bar and struck the fallen victim several times with savage fury. Finally, the victim lay still, although it was said one eye remained open and staring. The conspirators trussed up the body and heaved it into the Moika Canal.
“Forty-eight hours later the body turned up in the ice of the Neva River. One arm had come free of the bindings, and Rasputin’s lungs were filled with water. Rasputin had still been alive when dumped in the canal and had finally died by drowning.” GR

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 228 pages

Atlas of the Mysterious in North America

Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Fifteen phantom ships and a bottle of rum! The author, who has put out many Facts on File encyclopedias, has waded through the deep waters of the unknown for many a year. She has done her homework and makes interesting speculations about the vast collection of mysterious places she’s gathered. Each of the eight sections begins with a map of the U.S., dotted with the locations of each site and an introductory article about the subject (in case you didn’t know that Bigfoot is nocturnal or what the nine classifications of sea monsters are).
The first section is dedicated to sites with ancient connections; detailed maps of states with an overabundance of a particular phenomena are highlighted, such as: power points (Ariz.), sacred mountains (Calif.), sacred lakes/springs (Oreg.), earthworks (Ohio, Flor.), burial mounds (Ohio), platform/temple mounds (Flor.), effigy mounds (Wis.), enclosed stoneworks (New England), medicine wheels (Colo.; Alb., Can.) and petroglyphs/pictographs (Calif., Ariz., Neb., Utah, New Mexico).
The maps illuminate some intriguing facts. The overwhelming majority of earthworks and burial mounds are found east of Mississippi. The high concentration of platform mounds in Florida makes one wonder if the Bimini Mounds (man-made structures underwater off the coast of Florida) were really part of some ancient sunken continent, as has been hypothesized. Also, almost all the water monsters are found right on the U.S./Canada border, contributing to the latitudinal monster belt which circles the globe (and includes Mokele-Mmembe, etc.).
Also includes state by state listings of the crème de la crème of hauntings, ghost lights, phantom ships, water monsters and mystery beasts. The only drawback with books this comprehensive is that each little blurb leaves one needing to do further research to obtain the full story. SK

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 224 pages

UFO: The Definitive Guide to Unidentified Flying Objects and Related Phenomena

David Richie

From Area 51 to the Zond 4 incident, skeptic and experienced aerospace journalist Richie has compiled a reasonably comprehensive overview of UFO jargon, sightings and personalities.

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 272 pages

The Encyclopedia of Monsters

Jeff Rovin

Blood-drinking vegetables! Bronze-skinned Gorgons! This A-to-Z guide to monster features such DC Comic creatures as Horro from Sea Devils and the Giant Cat from House of Secrets mixed with Star Trek TV villains like the Horta; horror-movie monsters like Universal’s mummy Im-Ho-Tep and Hammer’s Gorgo; Harryhausen animations like the Minoton from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger; B movie abominations such as the Crawling Eyes from The Crawling Eye; and pulp horrors from way back like the Klangan from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The Pirates of Venus, written in 1932. Whew! Includes references on each monster’s first appearance, “species,” gender and powers, size and “biography.” GR

Publisher: Facts on File
Paperback: 400 pages