Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. He is the author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), Dragons: A Natural History (1995), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), The Unexplained (1996), From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), The Hidden Powers of Animals (2001), The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (2013), The Menagerie of Marvels (2014), A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), Here's Nessie! (2016), and what is widely considered to be his cryptozoological magnum opus, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors (2016) - plus, very excitingly, his first two long-awaited, much-requested ShukerNature blog books (2019, 2020).

Dr Karl Shuker's Official Website - http://www.karlshuker.com/index.htm

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Friday 18 September 2009


Naga king, from Finding Out (Angus McBride)

Scottish cryptozoologist Alan Pringle has brought to my attention a very intriguing mystery of the cryptozoologically-related kind. Back in 1970 or 1971, at a friend's home, he saw a complete set of a magazine partwork series containing at least 30-40 issues, on an encyclopaedic or scientific theme (possibly aimed at children), and entitled Finding Out.

However, it was not their contents, but their covers, that attracted his particular interest and attention, because each issue's back cover featured an animal or entity from the myths and legends of the world, including a number that have cryptozoological relevance. A very dramatic, full-colour illustration of the creature occupied one half of the cover's page, with accompanying text occupying the other half.

The creatures that Alan can definitely remember appearing in this set of covers included the western dragon, eastern dragon, siren, tokoloshe, leshy, thunderbird, Midgard serpent, Assyrian winged bull, minotaur, centaur, bunyip, Egyptian ammut (soul eater), sphinx, and harpy. Others that he thinks may have been present include the werewolf, vampire, unicorn, cyclops, zombie, and banshee.

Alan has never seen this partwork again (and has long since lost contact with the friend who owned it), but he can still vividly recall some of the back covers due to their very eyecatching nature. I have certainly never seen them, and despite their dramatic appeal they do not seem to have been reproduced in any other publication. Moreover, in a letter to me from Phil Hide of Aylesbury, I learned that he actually owns most issues of this partwork up to volume 11, and that it was published by Purnell & Sons. Unfortunately, none of those particular issues' covers has any cryptozoology painting!

Happily, however, I have also received a letter from Alex Lamprey of Cardiff, who owns seven issues from volumes 16 and 17, and each of these issues' covers does depict a mystery beast or legendary entity. These are: sea serpents, bunyips, the cailleach-bheur, morrigan, gnomes, the Little People, and lamassu. Obviously, therefore, this series of illustrations did not begin until sometime after volume 11. The artist responsible for them was Angus McBride.

If there is anyone else out there who has seen this partwork (or, better still, owns an edition of it ior at least a run of those issues with cryptozoological back covers), or can offer any extra details, I'd love to hear from you.

STOP PRESS: 20 February 2011.

I'm delighted - and extremely grateful - to say that Alex Lamprey has very kindly donated to me his above-mentioned seven copies of Finding Out. They arrived this weekend, and their Angus McBride back-cover illustrations are every bit as spectacular as I'd hoped for! Needless to say, these near-legendary magazines (at least in my eyes!) now constitute a greatly-treasured addition to my library and images archive, and I shall be keeping a sharp lookout for the remaining 23 issues with McBride zoomythological back covers in order to complete my collection. Meanwhile, a massive THANK YOU!! to Alex for fulfilling a long-held ambition of mine to own at least some of them.

STOP PRESS: 3 March 2011.

Click here to read the fully-illustrated version of my ShukerNature blog post containing today's very exciting news! Thanks to the kindness of correspondent Ivan Waldock, who owns all 36 issues of Finding Out that possess cryptozoological/mythological back cover illustrations, and has sent me a scan of every one of them, I have been able at long last to provide the full set here online!


  1. Hi Karl,
    If it is of any use, someone is offering 24 issues of "Finding Out - A library of Education" on E-Bay. The Magazine was published during 1962 - 63.
    The seller does not mention what is shown on the rear covers, but it could be worth while contacting him.
    Just do a search on E-bay for Finding Out - A library of Education.

  2. Don't know about any "magazine series" (sounds great by the way), but I WOULD like to congratulate you on your article on the latest issue of Fortean Magazine. I'm asemi-regular browser of it and caught your excellent article on the apparently "faked" Lake Monster sighting back in 1923. Excellent work, old chap!!! Keep up the good work!!!

  3. Hi there, Thanks for the info, Syd, re the Finding Out issues on eBay. I've emailed the sellers with questions about the back covers, so I'm now hoping to receive a reply and perhaps even some scans of them. And thanks, cryptidsrus, for your kind words re my Lake Watten monster article in FT. This has fascinated and perplexed me for many years, so I felt that it was high time to write about it and see if that elicited any fresh/additional info. Nothing so far, however, which reinforces my concern that it may well have been a total invention.

  4. Hi Syd, I contacted the person selling the 'Finding Out' issues on eBay, and he checked the back cover of each one, but none has a picture of a mythological animal, even though one issue was as late as #50, so still no luck in discovering any of these elusive back covers. Nevertheless, the search continues...! All the best, Karl

  5. I have aquired a couple of volumes of Finding Out magazines (no 2 & 3). Each volume contains 14 of the magazines (no2 has numbers 15-28 & no3 has numbers 29-42) so the magazine nos you want must be very high. Both volumes I have were ex library books so maybe you could check out the local library!

  6. I have just bought 12 issues of Volume 17 & they all have the legendary beasts you are interested in. There is the White Buffalo,The little people, The Lamassu,Sphinxes,Cyclopes, Gnomes,the cailleach-bheur,the Midgard Serpent,The Morrigan, Werewolves,Thunderbird & Centaurs.

  7. Hi Anne, This is great news! At last, someone has these pics - I was seriously beginning to consider them to be of the elusive thunderbird photo variety! Is there any chance that you could scan them, or at least some of them, and email them to me as I'd love to see them - in particular the cailleach-bheur, morrigan, lamassu, and definitely the thunderbird! My email address is karlshuker@aol.com Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. All the best, Karl

  8. http://www.collectors-club-of-great-britain.co.uk/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=2765

    Hello everyone.
    First time here and I really want some advice.

    I have a large box of 'Finding Out', magazines (a Purnell educational magazine for children from the 1960s), all in excellent condition, and in original hard-back binders.

    I was given them by my aunt, who had bought them for her kids and saved them all these years.

    I want to find a good home for them, someone who will appreciate them, and wondered if anyone here would be interested, or could point me in the direction of someone who might want them.

    Any information gratefully received!

    Above information posted by: C.G. BHARGAV (INDIA)
    E-mail: bharija@gmail.com

  9. Hello, is there still interest in these?
    I have just pick up 150 issues today and some have the mythical creatures on the back cover.

    1. It may well be worth listing them as a package item on ebay or some similar auction site, because there might indeed be collectors out there who would be interested in purchasing them.