Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
In her 1883 book, Shropshire Folklore, Charlotte S. Burne wrote: "A very weird story of an encounter with an animal ghost arose of late years within my knowledge. On the 21st of January 1879, a labouring man was employed to take a cart of luggage from Ranton in Staffordshire to Woodcock, beyond Newport in Shropshire, for the ease of a party of visitors who were going from one house to another. He was late in coming back; his horse was tired, and could only crawl along at a foot's pace, so that it was ten o'clock at night when he arrived at the place where the highroad crosses the Birmingham and Liverpool canal. Just before he reached the canal bridge, a strange black creature with great white eyes sprang out of the plantation by the roadside and alighted on his horse's back. He tried to push it off with his whip, but to his horror the whip went through the thing, and he dropped it on the ground in fright."
The creature duly became known to superstitious and frightened locals as the Man-Monkey. Between 1986 and early 2001, Nick Redfern delved deeply into the mystery of the strange creature of that dark stretch of canal. Now, published for the very first time, are Nick's original interview notes, his files and discoveries; as well as his theories pertaining to what lies at the heart of this diabolical legend. Is Britain really home to a Bigfoot-style entity? Does the creature have supernatural origins? Or is it something else entirely? Nick Redfern addresses all of these questions in Man-Monkey and reveals a story that is as bizarre as it is macabre.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Personally, I'm inclined to think they show a big dog.
In picture one, the animal looks to almost have a boar-like face, and a neck that is not at all dog-like. In picture three, it seems to have a cat-like gait (some have suggested a bear-like walk, too). Whereas picture six looks very dog-like.
Note the text that accompanies the photos where the writer addresses the nature of the shape-shifting whatever-it-is. Is it merely a large dog out for a stroll around the moors? Could it be one of the ghostly devil dogs of old England?
Note: The link above is to the Fortean Times website, and you may have to log-in to view the images.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The book tells the story of a diabolical, winged monstrosity seen deep in the woods of darkest Cornwall, England in 1976, and that some perceive as being the closest thing that us Brits have to Mothman.
Originally published a decade ago, last year the CFZ put out a new edition of the book that is packed with new, up-dated and intriguing data.
And for those of you who are already aware of the story and Jon's book, or those of you that want to know more about the mystery beast, Tulpa, phantom or whatever it may really be, I would also strongly urge you to read the article Cornish Cryptids by Kithra, and which can be found here.
The article provides an excellent overview of the case and the theories, as well as some good photographs of the area where all of the high-strangeness took place.
Kithra also reveals details of other encounters with large, winged entities in the UK that are both intriguing and worthy of follow-up.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Author: Christopher L. Murphy (with John Green and Thomas Steenburg); Publisher: Hancock House
According to the back-cover blurb for this title on North America’s most famous man-beast, Bigfoot:
“Meet the Sasquatch is a milestone in the publication of Sasquatch information. Never before have so many resources been researched and consulted on the phenomenon, nor have so many associated photographs been published under one cover. Indeed many photographs are being published for the first time. The author and his associates, all active Sasquatch researchers, produced the work to accompany an extraordinary exhibit at the Vancouver Museum, Vancouver, British Columbia in the summer of 2004. While the last chapter on Sasquatch has yet to be written, here is the full story of what we know about the creature to date. The level and quality of research and photographic coverage will amaze both the believers and skeptics alike. Chris Murphy, John Green and Thomas Steenburg have published many papers and over a dozen books on this topic. The supplemental information contributed by other researchers, scientists, artists and technicians makes this a unique publication. As our title promises, the reader will truly Meet the Sasquatch.”
Well, I’m not usually in the habit of quoting so extensively from the back-cover blurbs of published books, but on this occasion I have made an exception; and for what I consider to be a very good reason.
The sheer scale of superb illustrations that accompany this title are worth the cover price alone. And the authors have impressive pedigrees, too.
Chris Murphy retired in 1994 after 36 years service with the British Columbia Telephone Company; and as an avid philatelist, has authored several books on Masonic Philately. John Green is a retired newspaperman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia and Columbia University and the author of the authoritative and classic title, Sasquatch, The Apes Among Us; and Thomas Steenburg is the author of three books on Sasquatch sightings in both Alberta and British Columbia.
But to the most important part of all: the contents of Meet the Sasquatch. I could ask, given the incredible amount of data contained within its pages: where do we start? I guess with a volume like this, the beginning is the best place!
While skeptics are keen to assert that Bigfoot is little more than a modern day myth, the authors demonstrate that this is simply not the case and that anyone who claims that the story of Bigfoot originated in the 20th Century is wildly off the mark.
Highlighting cases that stretch back as far as 1500 BC and that center upon ancient, carved stone heads that eerily parallel some of today’s descriptions of Sasquatch-style entities, the authors reveal significant and little-known data in support of their argument that the Sasquatch has a longstanding place in the culture of Native American Indians that stretches back centuries.
Again, full-color, page-sized photographs and startling images graphically bring this seldom-discussed aspect of the Bigfoot mystery to life in spectacular fashion. On a similar path, much-welcome coverage is given to an intriguing set of pictographs that can be found on the Tule River Indian Reservation in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of central California, and that show distinctly Sasquatch-like imagery of a creature known as mayak datat or “Hairy Man.” But Meet the Sasquatch is not solely steeped in ancient history – as fascinating as this aspect of the overall mystery certainly is.
As the authors note:
“Early written references and recorded sightings that could refer to Sasquatch creatures in North America go back about 200 years.”
And for newcomers to the Bigfoot controversy, Meet the Sasquatch provides data on some of the more well-known and pivotal cases of the last 100 years, including the 1924 story of “The Apemen of Mt. St. Helens,” as related in detail by prospector Fred Beck in his book I Fought the Apemen of Mt. St. Helens, and in which Beck and four prospector colleagues had a terrifying encounter with a group of distinctly hostile Bigfoot-style entities at what has now become known as “Ape Canyon.”
Albert Ostman’s ever-controversial (but nevertheless intriguing) account of having been effectively “kidnapped” by a family of Bigfoot (or should that be a family of Bigfeet?) in 1924 deep in the heart of the forests of British Columbia is retold; as are classic encounters on the banks of the Fraser River near Ruby Creek, British Columbia, an almost-fatal (for the Bigfoot!) encounter with a hunter who nearly shot a Sasquatch but decided at the last minute to refrain from killing the beast because “he felt it was human;” and the story that gave birth to the name Bigfoot.
But perhaps most welcome is the large amount of data presented on the famous (some would say infamous) piece of film footage shot by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin on 20 October 1967 and that appears to show a female Sasquatch in the vicinity of Bluff Creek, California. The story is endorsed by some researchers of the mystery. Others cry “Hoax!”
To their credit, the authors do not shy away from presenting all of the available evidence and they examine the claims both for and against the film being authentic. But once again, it is the incredible number of full-color images related to this case that really attracted my attention.
I have read extensively on the subject of the Patterson film; however, to see so many images, photographs, paintings and drawings all underneath one cover on this particularly intriguing affair is a great experience. And the inclusion of this material really does provide the reader with a unique perspective on the story, its location and the players involved.
If you are new to the Bigfoot controversy and want to learn more about the Patterson controversy, this is a great place to start, to view key imagery from the footage, and much, much more.
Footprint and plaster-cast evidence (and, again, a copious amount of photographs on the subject) feature heavily, as do the technological advances that have helped in the search for the Sasquatch. However, I was particularly fascinated by the body of research that had been done on alleged hand prints of the beasts. Although this aspect of the search is limited to a relatively small amount of data, it is nevertheless presented well and again with an abundance of images.
I could go on and on about this book, its contents, the illustrations and much, much more. But I won’t. Instead I will say this: if you only buy one book on the Sasquatch and Bigfoot mystery, buy this one. Meet the Sasquatch is a true classic.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
This link, at the Times' website, includes a link to You Tube, where the film footage that is causing all of the controversy can be viewed.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I'm sure that all of us wish Jon and his bride a great day, a long and happy marriage, and the very best of wishes for a great future together.
Congratulations, Jonny and Corinna from me and Dana!
Jon has been one of my closest friends for the last decade, and I am both very pleased and proud that Jon and Corinna are tying the knot - in their picturesque little English village of Woolfardisworthy. I will be toasting a drink or several to them on the big day, and I hope that you will, too.
And for those of you that wish to know more about the adventurous, intrepid and loving pair that will imminently be able to call themselves Mr. and Mrs. Downes, here are just some of the things that Jon loves about his soon-to-be bride, as written in his own unique words:
1. You let me keep amphibians in the kitchen
2. You wanted a broadsword for your birthday present
3. You rule over the ever changing circus that is my life like a benevolent empress
4. When there are 23 people staying the night you don't bat an eyelid (I do, but you don't)
5. You understand chickens
6. You indulgently put up with my silliness
7. You (only two nights ago) drop the dinner plans and rush out with me after big cats
8. You think that hunting for a giant earwig is a jolly good idea
9. You have even more extreme tastes in music than mine (and you once saw Henry Cow)
10. You have a mind that can think of chickens dressed as plankton
11. You are a far better novelist than me
12. You like my friends
13. My friends like you
4. You understand my madness
15. After two and a half years you still never fail to surprise me (and I expect it will be the same after 20)
16. You have given me a family
17. You were magnificent at my father's funeral
18. You uncomplainingly do what needs to be done, even when there is a crisis
19. You love me
20. I love you
21. We are getting married on Saturday...For various reasons the wedding is for family and quasi-family only. But if at one in the afternoon on Saturday you remember us in your prayers, or hoist a pint to us, that would be wonderful...
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Brian is also working on a paper for the CFZ that focuses on the mystery animals of both NY and NJ.
Brian is a young college student from Long Island who is currently majoring in criminology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He plans to pursue a career in law enforcement with an eventual goal of applying to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Besides working with the CFZ, Brian is also a field researcher for the Mutual UFO Network and has written articles on cryptozoology and ufology, as well as on the paranormal, conspiracies, folklore, and the occult. His blog can be found at forteanhistoricalarchive.blogspot.com, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
The Zooforms are those cryptozoological puzzles that at first glance appear to be flesh-and-blood animals; but that on closer examination seem to be far stranger indeed.
And to his credit, and in the pages of Monster! Neil has chosen to dig deep into the mystery of the Zooforms - as Jon Downes termed them - and has provided a wealth of data on this particularly fascinating aspect of cryptozoology.
NR: Nick Redfern
NA: Neil Arnold
NR: Neil, tell us about the basic theme of the book.
NA: The book covers forms – not necessarily creatures though – but things like apparitions that seem to take on an animal form, or a semi-animal-form, and that have existed in folklore down the centuries and all across the world. But they have never really been categorized in one complete book before; and they don’t fit into cryptozoology as simple, undiscovered creatures. But they definitely needed to be categorized; and so that’s what I've done with Monster!
NR: What are some of the strangest things you've investigated that you personally believe specifically fall into the Zooform category?
NA: Definitely the British Bigfoot reports that I've uncovered: I have ten or eleven amazing reports from here in [the British county of] Kent alone, which I couldn't believe. One was from a woman I used to work with who had seen one in the woods about one hundred yards from my house - which was very, very strange - and the woman hadn't told anybody about it for thirty years. In these British Bigfoot reports, they are all seeing things with red, glowing eyes, and these reports are hard to categorize. Although people are seeing big hulking things that are covered in hair, I don’t actually think they are the same things that people are seeing in America; because I personally think that the American Bigfoot is actually flesh and blood. But the things in the UK, I don’t think are flesh and blood: these are more like classic Zooforms.
NR: Do you feel that we are on the right path towards understanding the true nature of what Zooforms actually are?
NA: Well, science likes to try and explain things. But the Zooforms are similar to things like the Old Hag attacks. Science likes to say the cause of the Old Hag encounters can be anything from tiredness to stress; but it still doesn't explain why most people who have the experience very specifically see a hag-like figure. So that’s the thing with zooforms: like the Old Hag, they take on specific forms: black-dogs; lake-monsters; the Mothman. And that’s what science can’t explain: why they appear as these specific forms. It seems that this does become a kind of social thing. A lot of these things are cultural fears, so maybe it’s to do with the human psyche as to how they appear in certain places and countries when we see them. I've discussed with people before the idea that if someone’s not there to see it, does it still appear? And it seems very likely to me that these things actually need to be seen.
NR: You mean they need to be seen in the sense that they are a Tulpa that feeds on the energy of the witness?
NA: Yeah, I definitely think a percentage of Zooforms are Tulpas; and they are being manifested by some people, and then other people who see them are unaware of it being done. But then there’s the other thing that if you believe enough in something it actually starts to happen. Certainly things like the Black Dogs of England, the Mothman and the Goat-Sucker fall into this category. With the Goat-Sucker, I think that this is a sum of various parts: cultural fears, and one or two flesh and blood animals that people are connecting with the Goat-Sucker legend. Then people begin to see what they want to see, and they fear what they want to fear. Then they mold the picture in their head, it gets more molded by society and then it begins to appear in the form that it’s known now. I think that Zooforms can become stronger when the belief in them increases, and there are more people to feed them.
NR: How did you get interested in cryptozoology?
NA: It began when I was eight or nine years old; and for two reasons. My grandfather gave me a book on mysterious monsters at that time – and I have dedicated the book to him – and he and my father would talk about folklore and creepy local stories. Then I watched the Legend of Boggy Creek, which I think a lot of researchers tend to cite as the creepiest experience they had when they were a kid. Then, when I was eleven or twelve, I started hearing local reports of big cat sightings. I've had a few experiences here, as I do spend a lot of time in the field. But I like to keep the zooform things separate to the big cat reports.
NR: So, you've had some personal experience of the things you have investigated?
NA: Yeah. As well as the big cats, I have also had a few things which actually almost made me give up my research. That was to do with the Tulpa-type of things. It was mainly during the night: not being asleep; but almost in a dream state. I remember talking to Jon Downes and Richard Freeman about it and I got quite concerned after a while, when I actually started seeing things. This book just started out as a small article and when I got deep into it, I was sitting up all hours of the night and working on it and people were saying: “Oh, maybe you just had a dream.” But I wasn't asleep and I was seeing certain things – almost like blobs - and it was kind of freaky.
NR: What was the defining moment for you that led you to conclude that at least some of these cryptozoological things weren't physical in the sense that we understand the term, at least?
NA: It was really just the sheer volume of reports where people were reporting things that couldn't be easily categorized; and where a lot of them were ghost-like, even though they looked like animals. So I felt it was important to catalog this side of cryptozoology for people – even if something had only ever been seen once, so that there would be as much information for the reader as possible.
NR: What plans do you have for the future?
NA: I want to do a book on the mystery animals of Kent, where I live; and there could be a follow up to Monster! It’s just finding the time to do it.
NR: What do you hope that the publication of the book will achieve?
NA: Well, at first I was just planning on writing an article on Zooforms. But then as I got more information, I thought about a self-publishing idea. But then Jon [Downes] showed a lot of interest; and we thought: well, no-one’s ever done an A to Z book before just on Zooform phenomena, so let’s publish it; and that’s what Jon has done. So, hopefully, people will recognize it as that: a complete guide to Zooforms. And I’m hoping it gets a good worldwide reception as it covers Russia, India, America, England, Puerto Rico; lots of countries. So I’m hoping people will realize there are things out there that don't seem to fit into conventional cryptozoology and they’re everywhere.