Here's the very latest from Jon Downes on this year's Weird Weekend gig:
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of the year again - the time of the year when work starts in earnest on preparing the grooviest weekend in the Cryptozoological calendar: the CFZ Weird Weekend.
As Oll Lewis wrote recently:"Once a year in Woolsery something magical happens. A quiet village turns into a meeting place for monster hunters for the weekend when the CFZ hosts the weird weekend. The monster hunters are joined by experts from other fields in Forteana for a weekend of talks, where they present their latest findings. Unlike other conferences though the weird weekend is not all talk; it also includes lectures, events and cake eating competitions aimed at (mainly) at children to entertain the younger generation at the same time as their parents."
The Weird Weekend is, indeed, a magical three days. For one weekend in the year the little North Devon village of Woolsery becomes the weirdest place in England, if not the whole planet. The Villagers enter wholeheartedly into the fun, and many of them get involved in organising what has become the largest Cryptozoological Conference in the English-speaking world.
Now in its tenth year, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of investigators into strange phenomena. Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights.
Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever!
This year I think that we have surpassed ourselves with our choice of guests. There are still two more major guests whom we are waiting to confirm, but so far, the following speakers are confirmed:
ANDY ROBERTS: The big grey man of Ben McDhui
NEIL ARNOLD: Zooform Phenomena - monsters amongst us
MAX BLAKE: Unknown animals in pet shops
PAUL ROSE: My life with the cryptozoologists
ALAN MURDIE: Forteana from Colombia
JONATHAN McGOWAN: TBA
NICK REDFERN: Planet of the Apemen - Stalin's hybrid army
RONAN COGHLAN: TBA
TIM MATTHEWS: Crop Circle Confusion
PAUL VELLA: The Minnesota Iceman
Dr KARL SHUKER: Book launch
RICHARD FREEMAN: Expedition report
OLL LEWIS: Welsh dragons and the gwiber
MICHAEL WOODLEY: A proposed system of taxonomy for cryptozoology
JONATHAN DOWNES: Compere
It is - we think - a pleasantly eccentric mixture of academia and entertainment, of old guard and young turks. The oldest speaker is in his sixties, and the youngest isn't out of his teens.
Nick Redfern is flying in all the way from Dallas, and Oll Lewis is walking less than a quarter of a mile to get there. There will be theatre, music, films, art exhibitions, and comedy as well as the lectures. There are stalls, workshops, a children's play area, a sumptious menu and cheap drinks. It is a place to see old friends and meet new ones.
And, as long as you book in advance, it is only £20 per head for the whole weekend. Kids under 16 are free, as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult.
I would seriously suggest that you buy your tickets well in advance from The Weird Weekend Website as well as booking your accomodation equally well in advance.
Last year there were no B&B rooms available for love or money within a five mile radius of the village by the time that the beginning of August came around.....
So, this year it is the 14th-16th August...see you there.