Monday, August 24, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Birthday!!!

Birthday wishes are in order!

Yesterday, Jon Downes - Director of the Center for Fortean Zoology and monster-hunter extraordinaire - celebrated his 50th birthday!

I first met Jon back in 1997, when the CFZ was a relatively small body, comprised of Jon, Graham Inglis, Richard Freeman, and a few correspondents dotted around the British Isles, and which operated out of Jon's then-cramped little abode on the fringes of the city of Exeter, Devonshire, England.

Today, the situation is very different: the CFZ is now truly an international body, with countless, dedicated people undertaking work, research and investigations on behalf of the group. Not only that: from its humble beginnings, the CFZ today undertakes expeditions across the world in search of all manner of cryptids; publishes an excellent, glossy-covered journal highlighting the very latest in the world of cryptozoology; and puts on a truly superb yearly conference - the Weird Weekend.

And, somewhat appropriately, the CFZ today has its base of operations in a sprawling, centuries-old abode cast out of ancient stone, situated in an old and picturesque English village, and of a type that Sir Henry Baskerville himself would be proud to call home.

On his special day, I am proud to call Jon my friend. Jon has overcome obstacles, fought against the nay-sayers, worked hard to make the CFZ the organization that it is today, and found love with his beloved Corinna.

So, as Jon (or, as I have decided to call him from now on, "Ye Great Olde One") celebrates his half-a-century, I raise my glass to a man who has overcome the odds to follow his heart, to do something on his own terms and no-one else's, and to further our knowledge as it relates to the fascinating world of cryptozoology.

Cheers, Jonny!

Beasts of the Lake

My latest Lair of the Beasts article has just been published over at Mania.com and deals with the startling range of weirdness that can be found within the depths of a certain lake that me and Dana lived next to for 4 years in Dallas. Truly a strange place; but the perfect location if you're into monster-hunting, of course!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A 1970s Wolfman

Here's a very interesting new story highlighted at today's Anomalist:

The Wolf Woman of Mobile Alabama The Paranormal Pastor. Dating back to early 1970s in the Mobile, Alabama area, a "wolf-woman" was reported extensively by several residents startled and confused by what they say they witnessed. Described as possessing a beautiful woman's face and upper body attached to a wolf's body, the unknown creature was witnessed over a week-long period, yet harmed no one. Although no stranger to folklore, the werewolf or "skinwalker," is a legendary creature that has the ability to change into animal form through sorcery or evil means thus creating the reputation it enjoys today. But a more reasonable explanation may lie within a report filed in the same area in the late 1800s.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Western Isles Mystery Animals

CFZ Press has just published an excellent new book that I had the opportunity to briefly dig into while I was at the Weird Weekend last weekend: it's the latest in the on-going series of books designed to chronicle the many and varied weird animals, creatures, monsters and zooforms of each and every British county.

The latest title (written by author Glen Vaudrey) is Mystery Animals of the British Isles: The Western Isles.

I'll be doing a big review of the book right here as soon as I have read it.

Enjoy!

An Owlman Tribute?

Some people are speculating that this new Owl-like Crop formation that has appeared in the fields of England is a tribute to the Harry Potter stories. I like to think, however, that it's a tribute to the closest thing that Britain has to Mothman - namely, the glowing-eyed Owlman of Mawnan, Cornwall...

Hobbit Latest

The Anomalist informs us of the latest news on the ongoing "Hobbit" controversy:

Hobbits Walked Out of Africa The Australian. A new analysis by Australian and Indonesian scientists indicates that Homo floresiensis, the tiny human-like creature discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004 and nicknamed the Hobbit, is not a deformed modern human, as some critics have claimed, but the small-brained, long-armed biped may actually have been the first human-like creature to walk out of Africa. Previously researchers suspected that these Hobbits had descended from Homo erectus but had shrunk over time because of their confinement on an island.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to the Woods!

Finally home again in sunny Dallas, Texas after a week in jolly old England, and normal service will be resumed tomorrow!

In the meantime, check out the Center for Fortean Zoology's blog for all the pictures, news, reviews and more from last weekend's Weird Weekend gig, at which I spoke.

Highlights of the weekend for me were (finally!) getting to meet Neil Arnold in person; and seeing my old mates Jon Downes, Richard Freeman, Graham Inglis, Mark North, and Andy Roberts again.

However, the absolute highlight was getting to hang-out with Punk-Rock God, Rat Scabies, drummer from the legendary band The Damned, who entertained the audience with a lecture about his research into (and his book on) the mystery of Rennes Le Chateau.

In the picture above, I seem to be holding an invisible pint of beer, while Rat (in white t-shirt and black-coat) looks on, slightly mystified. Well, I was jet-lagged, it had been a long day, and a few pints had indeed been consumed...

Monday, August 10, 2009

GOING OFFLINE

I'LL BE OFFLINE FROM NOW AND UNTIL WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19.

Steve Alten's The Loch

Over at my Lair of the Beasts column at Mania.com, you can find a new review from me of Steve Alten's excellent novel, The Loch. If you haven't read it, you should! It's an excellent story based around that most mysterious of all beasts - Nessie.

Check it out!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Cornwall Thing

Thanks to Kithra for the latest news on a creature that has gone quiet lately. Frankly, the photo in this story isn't clear at all; but people have apparently been seeing something weird around Cornwall over the last few months.

Exactly what it is...well, that the big question!

Friday's Monsters

Today's Anomalist includes the following:

Did Gardener Find Fossilized Footprint? The Province. Last summer it was feet encased in sneakers being found in the waters of Canada's British Columbia. Now a rock has turned up with what the couple who found it think might be the imprint of an ancient human foot. Unlike the sneakered feet, this possible footprint turned up in the garden of Neil and Earlene Bitterman of Hudson's Hope. Is it an ancient footprint, or a case of pareidolia? Meanwhile, with summer vacations upon us, wise cryptid seekers might find vacation inspiration in Forbes Traveler on Cryptozoology. Meanwhile, a quick vacation jaunt is possible for those who still hope to hit the Centre for Fortean Zoology's Weird Weekend 2009, August 14 - 16 in Woolsery, North Devon, England, and here's what you'll experience: Definitive Running Order for the Weird Weekend - Or at Least We Hope So.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Monstrous Anniversary

The Anomalist highlights the 40th anniversary of the controversial Goat-Man saga of Lake Worth, Texas - situated only a few miles from where I'm sitting and typing this right now! Of course, the case is filled with tales of hoaxing, mistaken identity, and claims that the events were all-too-real. Will we ever know the truth? I doubt it; but here's the latest anyway:

"Couples Say They Saw a Lake Worth Monster 40 Years Ago Star-Telegram. Tales of the Goat Man, pretty much dormant for forty years, are being revived around Fort Worth, TX, as reporter Chris Vaughn resurrects the archives of the 1969 reports of a 7-foot-tall hairy, scaly, goatlike creature spotted near the west fork of the Trinity River as it enters Lake Worth. With an alleged 1969 photo of the 'creature.' Were mischievous high schoolers hoodwinking the citizenry of Tarrant County in the summer of 1969?"

Southern Fried Bigfoot at WW

If you're planning on attending the Weird Weekend gig in Devon, England on the weekend of August 14-16, you'll get chance to see an excellent production called Southern Fried Bigfoot. Here's the info!

And, here's my review of the film, as written last year.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Crypto Books...

Jon Downes updates us on the new books looming on the horizon from CFZ Press...

Hairy Anomalies

From The Anomalist: a wealth of stuff on all-things hairy and human-like.

As you'll see from the link on the so-called "Gable Film," the plot is most definitely thickening...

Update on Bigfoot Activity in Old Hartford Castle Area Examiner. Eddie Middleton updates alleged Bigfoot reports that originate from the vicinity of what's known as the Hartford Castle near Hartford, IL. Gate guards from an installation near the ruins of the Hartford Castle continue to report activity Middleton thinks could indicate a Bigfoot presence, and a gate guard reportedly quit after a face-to-face confrontation with a howling Bigfoot. There's more on the alleged Hartford Bigfoot activity in A Big Blackberry Feast for Bigfoot! Meanwhile, The Blogsquatcher reveals possible Bigfoot activity further east in Handprint Found in Ennice, North Carolina, and points west for the Gable Film Update at Oregon Bigfoot. Elsewhere, at Cryptomundo Loren Coleman announces a changed release date for a Benicio del Toro movie and breaks the news of a new book release in Wolfman at Bay.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cryptozoologists and Fashion

Here's a fun post from Loren Coleman on what Cryptozoologists wear. Personally, I think there's nowhere near enough black clothes in this post!

Anomalies of the Day

The Anomalist has had a good range of crypto-stories over the last few days, and here they are:

The Most Monsters? Cryptomundo. Loren Coleman announces the publication of Joseph A. Citro's new book The Vermont Monster Guide and presents photos of the author and illustrator Stephen R. Bissette, both wearing hats. There are more headgear happenings brought to light by Coleman in Hats and Heads, Part Dos. With photos and video.

Sky Serpents Fortean Times. From the Fortean files today: The July issue of this famous magazine includes Jerome Clark's carefully researched report of the many tales of flying serpents, and these reports were not tales of the gliding snakes from South and Southeast Asia. The reports Clark cites came from witnesses in the fledgling United States. Were flying serpents common to the early American skies? With image gallery.

Thanks Guys!

The guys over at Haunted America Tours have good things to say about my book, There's Something in the Woods. Cheers, guys!

Weird Weekend Update

Here's a bit of publicity (via my regular Lair of the Beasts column over at Mania.com) on the Weird Weekend gig I'll be speaking at in England on August 14-16.