Thursday, May 31, 2007

British Werewolves Still Creating Controversy

From Britain's Stafford Post newspaper, here's the latest on the werewolves of the Cannock Chase:

Wolves may live on Chase - Expert, May 30 2007

A rash of 'caveman' and 'werewolf' sightings near Stafford could have a rational explanation - after one expert claimed REAL wolves could survive on Cannock Chase.

Paranormal investigators around the globe are in a frenzy after the Post revealed reports of a 'strange creature' on the beauty spot were growing.

Theories about the identity of the mysterious beast range from a 'deranged tramp' to a subterranean caveman who has made his home in an ancient network of tunnels beneath the Chase.

However, one investigator, based in Dallas, Texas, told us although he had an open mind on the supernatural explanations for the phenomenon, he suspected wolves, extinct in this country for hundreds of years, could have returned to the ancient hunting ground.

Nick Redfern, originally from Walsall, said this week: "Back in the '80s, reports surfaced of something that became known as the Ghost Dog of Brereton - which was a large dog-like animal seen here. And last summer there were local stories of a wild wolf seen near the M6. So, I'm convinced people are seeing something."

The paranormal expert, who is currently writing a book on reports of strange creatures on Cannock Chase, told us he took the idea of real wolves scavenging there ' seriously'.

"We know that people who have had big cats as exotic pets have released them into the wild when they got too big to handle - so perhaps-something similar has happened here with a wolf."

Derek Crawley is chairman of Staffordshire Mammal Society. He told us wolves, hunted to extinction in England more than 500 years ago, could make a home on the Chase. But he doubts a pack roaming there today could keep such a mysterious and low profile.

"There are enough prey items to sustain a population of large predators there," he said. "As for wolves, theoretically, yes but in reality, no. They are a pack animal so people would see a lot of them. They would confront dogs and other animals. So if there was a population, they would very soon be known about.

"What it could be is huskies. People do train them over the Chase and they can look quite 'wolf-like'." He added: "There are plans to reintroduce wolves but that's in areas like the Scottish Highlands where there are very few people. It wouldn't happen on Cannock Chase."

The Loch Ness Monster - New Film Footage

Intriguing new film footage has surfaced from that most famous of all monstrous locations: Loch Ness. What does it show? Well, that of course is the big question!

Certainly, as you'll see from the video, which is available at this link, the witness has clearly filmed something moving in the loch, and as a result people are already screaming "It's Nessie!" And maybe it is.

The problem, however, comes in trying to judge the size of the thing that is definitely moving in the waters; but perhaps further analysis will answer that question.

Until then, I recommend a "wait and see" approach.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Ohio Grassman

A week or so ago I was sent a review copy of Christopher L. Murphy's book Bigfoot Encounters in Ohio: Quest for the Grassman. Having now read it, I can say that is a very good book that I definitely recommend to those interested in the Bigfoot phenomenon.

Running in at around 150 pages, the book begins with a welcome background section on Bigfoot that acts a great introduction for people new to the subject; and also provides snippets of little-known data that will be of great interest to the seasoned researcher. And then it's on to all-things hairy and large in Ohio...

The issue of whether or not the state of Ohio could indeed support Bigfoot activity is addressed (and answered); and some fascinating historical material on "First Nation" tales and legends of "Wild Men" is discussed.

I was particularly impressed by Chapter 4 - Ohio Bigfoot in Review - which reveals the sheer number of startling reports of man-beast activity in the state; both recently and in decades past. For those that want to learn more about Bigfoot activity that is not solely restricted to the Pacific Northwest, this chapter alone makes Bigfoot Encounters in Ohio essential reading.

Questions pertaining to Bigfoot activity and its habits are raised, the Patterson film-footage of 1967 is studied, and the reader is treated to a wealth of intriguing photographs and drawings that superbly complement the book's glossy pages.

Hancock House - the publishers of the book - have a large back catalog of Bigfoot titles, and in the coming weeks I will be reviewing more of their cryptozoological output.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More on Memoirs of a Monster Hunter

New Page Books, who are publishing my next book - Memoirs of a Monster Hunter - in September have just posted to their website a PDF version of their catalog for later this year, which reveals snippets of some of the cases and data appearing in the book. Click here for the full PDF, then scroll down to the relevant page-entry.

As you'll see, the book includes data on my two expeditions to Puerto Rico in search of the vampire-like Chupacabras; the Goat-Man of Texas; and much more.

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's Not A Monster But...

It may not be a monster, but there is definitely something weird on the loose in jolly old England: namely an albino wallaby!

Check out this link, which includes a video of the animal, blissfully hanging out in a field with a bunch of sheep.

Wild Thing!

The Scottish Wild-Cat continues to thrive...

Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids...

Check out this story concerning an intriguing new exhibition titled Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids. It's on display at the American Museum of National History, and runs from May 26 to January 6 of next year.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mystery Big Cats - A Review

I was recently sent a review copy of Merrily Harpur's book, Mystery Big Cats. I had heard very good things about this title, but had yet to read it - until last weekend. I've digested a good many published works (books, self-published papers, magazine articles, etc.) on sightings of unidentified Big Cats in the UK, and the problem that I had with many of them was that, frankly, they were deathly boring.

Reams of recorded material along the lines of: "10 June 1966: Puma seen near city of London; 18 August 1977: Wildcat seen on Scottish Highlands, etc., etc." may be of interest to those who wish to have access to a complete data-base of every such case ever reported. However, simply relating such material in robotic, unimaginative style does not a good book make.

Thankfully, Merrily's book inhabits very different territory.

This is a publication that is all things: informative, insightful, thought-provoking, and written by someone who has a keen appreciation, awareness and knowledge of her subject matter; as well as a fine understanding of British folklore, history, mythology, and the complex mysteries inherent in the conundrum that has come to be known as the British Big Cat.

Mystery Big Cats is essential reading for anyone wanting to develop a good understanding of the subject, and what may very possibly lay at its heart.

Many readers of this blog will be aware of the longstanding theories that suggest Britain's Big Cats are all escapees from private zoos, traveling circuses, and the descendants of exotic pets released into the wild when the British Government's Dangerous Wild Animals Act was passed in 1976.

However, as Merrily expertly demonstrates, that theory is very much an article of faith. Indeed, she reveals how, upon rigorous scrutiny, and as a catch-all theory, it quickly falls down. So what are these mysterious beasts then, and where did they come from?

Theories pertaining to indigenous Big Cats are discussed, as are the parallels (and differences) between the Big Cats and the Phantom Black Dogs of British folklore. But, again, although some students of the phenomena have made a connection between the two -- with the Big Cat being seen as the modern day equivalent of the Black Dog -- the evidence is highly controversial, and the similarities tenuous.

Nevertheless, people are clearly seeing something. And Merrily makes this very obvious, too. It is to the reader's advantage that Merrily is a skilled writer - the result of which is that even though the book relates the details of numerous Big Cat encounters spanning countless decades, her style is neither boring nor repetitive.

And this is made all the more apparent when she digs deep into problematic issues surrounding (A) physical evidence for the presence of flesh-and-blood creatures in our midst; (B) photographic and film-based data; (C) the intriguing ability of the beasts to avoid capture or killing; and (D) why, curiously, so many of these animals are - time and again - seen near railway tracks and other specific locations.

So, what is it that people are seeing? Well, this is where Merrily's research really comes to the fore. It would not be fair of me to reveal to those that wish to read Mystery Big Cats for themselves the intricacies of Merrily's theory.

I can say, however, that this book will likely polarize readers into one of two camps: those that see merit in the theory, and those that are determined to look elsewhere. I will also say that Merrily's theories move away from the world of the strictly physical and into other realms of existence, into the world of ancient British folklore, and the nature of what reality is (or is not!), how we perceive that same reality, and what the presence of the Big Cats really means to us as a species.

This is a truly excellent piece of work that does not shy away from controversy - and, to me, that is a good thing. Merrily has produced a first-class piece of work that will enlighten, entertain, and lead to much musing and pondering with respect to her conclusions.

Readers outside of the UK should note that Mystery Big Cats is only available from Britain; and therefore if you wish to purchase a copy, it is recommended that you contact the publisher Bob Trubshaw for shipping rates, payment methods, etc. at

Werewolves on the Radio

I'll be interviewed this evening from 7PM to 8PM EST on Magickmind Radio and will, in part, be discussing the recent wave of alleged werewolf sightings in England.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

CFZ Director Jon Downes Under The Spotlight

Midway through last week, I interviewed Center for Fortean Zoology Director Jon Downes about the group, its origins, work, expeditions, and plans for the future. And here it is. Enjoy! (Photograph above taken at the 2006 Weird Weekend Conference in the village of Woolfardisworthy, Devonshire, UK).

N: Jon, what, basically, is the CFZ?

J: The CFZ is the world’s largest mystery animal research group. I founded it for fun, rather than anything else fifteen years ago. And, since then, it has slowly become not just the largest in the world, but the fastest growing crypto-zoological group in the world, too. My passion for unusual animals went back to my childhood, and I was determined to follow my dreams of establishing a group one day that would one day put us where we are now, and in a way that benefits everyone who gets involved.

N: What were some of the earliest investigations that the CFZ was involved in?

J: Well, this has been my hobby for years; so even when I was a child and when I was growing up I got involved in crypto-zoology. So, growing up in Hong Kong, I did a few minor researches of my own into tales of strange creatures said to inhabit the island; and I did work when I grew older into the Big Cats that have been seen in the UK. When we started the CFZ in 1992, it was still some years before we did any foreign expeditions. We’ve always been completely self-funded and so just didn’t have the money back then to do too many investigations overseas. So, a lot of our research for the first five or six years was just based in the UK – such as, as I said, the Big Cats that have been reported here. For American readers: whereas in the United States you have quite a few interesting cat species – pumas, bob-cat, lynx – in the UK we’ve only got one species of wild cat, which is the Scottish Wild-Cat. But for decades there have been a string of reports of mystery cats from pretty well every county in the UK. These reports have always fascinated me; and although some of them are exotic pets that have escaped, or are animals released into the wild when the government legislation on keeping these things changed, I’m coming more and more to the belief that the people who have suggested that there actually is an indigenous British species of largish cat are on to something. And it would be unscientific to ignore that.

N: How important did you consider it in the early years – and today, too – not just to focus on conventional animals like the Big Cats, but some of the weirder things like the Owlman of Mawnan, which suggest paranormal rather than pure flesh-and-blood origins?

J: Over the years I’ve done a lot of research into things that can’t be explained in a purely zoological frame of reference. The Owlman has been reported intermittently for the last 31 years; and it is sort of analogous with the Mothman of West Virginia. That’s probably the thing that – even now – I’m probably best known for: my book The Owlman and Others. However, it has to be said that the things I’m concentrating on now are more living creatures. But you have to be scientific about this. If you are investigating reports of an animal in an area, and if it does become more and more obvious that the creature cannot be flesh-and-blood, then it’s just as un-scientific to ignore it as it is to think that all crypto-zoological things are paranormal.

N: You always strive to create for the CFZ and its members a sense of community and a feeling of everyone being in this together. How important is that to you?

J: Terribly important; and in some ways more important than anything else. It was one of the reasons that I set up the CFZ in the first place. Fifteen or twenty years ago, when I first had the idea to do this for the rest of my life, I was looking around at organizations to join. And although there were a few groups to join, they were all at war with each other; and even some of those that weren’t still seemed divisive. Also, it was terribly hierarchical. They did do expeditions; but the only people who seemed to go on the expeditions were those with money or the people at the head of the organization. I found all that totally wrong. What I wanted to do – and what we do now do – was to have ordinary members of the CFZ go along on expeditions. It would not just be the head of the group. So, I’ve been doing my best to build a proper community. And I think we are doing well, and have a close-knit and vibrant community – from all across the world and of various races, beliefs and religions, which has to be a good thing. But then I’m an old hippy, so that’s how I think.

N: On the issue of expeditions, how important is to actually get out into the field and do things, rather than just proclaiming this or that via the Internet?

J: There are too many people in this business who call themselves crypto-zoologists, but who are nothing of the sort. They spend their time never going anywhere anymore exciting than their little computer screen. But the whole ethos of the CFZ is that we questions things; we go out and look for things ourselves. And this has always proven to us to be scientifically valid. For example, last summer, we sent a 6-person expedition to the Gambia and we were looking into local dragon legends. We went there assuming that it was going to be the Gambian equivalent of some sort of living dinosaur, such as that alleged to live in the Congo. We, at the CFZ, have always been of the opinion that all of these so-called living dinosaurs are actually semi-aquatic monitor lizards; albeit very large ones. But when we got to the Gambia, we found that all of the local people didn’t believe in a giant lizard or a dinosaur-type creature. Instead, they believed the creature was a giant snake. So, we went looking for one thing; but came back with stories of something completely different. And you have to go and check these things for yourself; otherwise tales get told and spread by people who have never been out there or investigated something for themselves. So what happens is that legends build up; and it’s usually only cleared up when someone actually personally travels to the area in question and investigates it. And, most important, you have to share your findings. There are so many people in this subject who are just content to quote each other from the comfort of their own armchairs and they continue to perpetuate things that people assume are fact, because they haven't actually gone to the places for themselves to ascertain the real truth.

N: What sort of relationship do you have with the mainstream media – TV, radio, newspapers, etc.?

J: This is an incredibly important area that a lot of people don’t appreciate. There are a lot of people in this who refuse to talk to the press; and I’ve actually been verbally attacked for sending out press releases when we’re doing things, amid claims that we’re just self-publicists. But this is nonsense. In fact, if you don’t work with the media and don’t highlight what you are doing, then you don’t get coverage of a sort that might lead to help in terms of funding, publicity, and assistance on expeditions - and you don’t get your findings out to a large audience. As long as the media treats us with respect, then I’m happy to work with them. For example, in the north of England last year there was a series of sightings of giant eels in one of the lakes. A local newspaper approached us for comment; and then they ran a story. That led to more eye-witness reports, and it ballooned to where we were able to go up there with a full-scale team on-site and really look into this.

N: What led you to set up CFZ Press as an outlet for your books and those of others in the field?

J: Without exception, when I’ve been published by other companies, there is always massive editing; they want control of the cover design, the artwork, the editorial content, and I won’t play that game. CFZ Press offers to anyone who wants to write books for us the ability to have control of their books in terms of content, style, etc. We publish the books; but we are not in the game of changing people’s books to suit our terms or beliefs. No-one messes with the original concept. Plus, all of the money we make from our own self-written and published books is put back into the research; and for other people that write books for us we do, of course, pay a royalty rate to them.

N: And what do you have coming up over the next year?

J: In a couple of weeks’ time we are off to do some follow-up work in the Lake District as part of our project to record giant-eel data in the UK. I’m hoping to get to Hong Kong in September to do some research there into the mystery animals of the island – part of which will be to make a film on the sightings of the last tigers of Hong Kong; and another on sightings of unusual monkeys seen there. We have CFZ TV now, which allows us to make our own films, on our terms, for all to see. At the end of September we’re off to an island off the coast of Scotland where there have been reports for more than a century of giant eels. Then in November, the CFZ will be sending a team to Guyana, looking for giant snakes. And sometime next year with Corinna, my soon-to-be-wife, I’ll be going to a little South Atlantic island called St. Helena, which is home to a giant type of earwig.

N: What would you say to anyone – young or old – who wants to get involved with the CFZ and crypto-zoology?

J: I think that joining the CFZ is a good introduction to crypto-zoology; and I’m not just saying that because I set the group up! Doing so gives you access to a whole data-base of material, to a community of people on a day to day basis. It also gives you access to our magazine, Animals & Men, and the chance to come along on expeditions, share information, make friends, and really become part of a community that actually does something worthwhile. I do this because it’s my calling; you have to be passionate; and you have to be prepared for a lot of struggling in the wilderness. But it all pays off if you are doing it for the right reasons. It’s a wonderful thing to do with your life. Too many people today are obsessed with incomes, mortgages etc. So, I would encourage particularly young people with an interest to follow their dreams if this is what they want to do, and don’t get caught up in the 9 to 5 world, mortgages and such responsibilities. People should be adventurous and follow their passions – that’s what we do, and it’s what I always tell people who want to come into this field, too.

N: A final question, and it’s one that I hope won’t sound too depressing; but after you are gone, will the CFZ continue? And if so, what are your hopes for the group in, say, a century from now?

J: That’s a very good question. I hope it will be a long time before I have to hand things over to someone else, as there is still much that I want to do. I still have that drive and passion that I had as a child; and so things for me are still on-going. One of the things that has always annoyed me about a lot of researchers and groups, is that while there are a lot of good people out there doing good work, when the head-honcho dies it invariably all falls apart and comes crashing down. I don’t ever want that to happen to the CFZ. It will continue. My health isn’t particularly good; and so I want to make damn certain that what I have dedicated my life to – the hunt for mysterious animals – survives after my death. And we are taking those steps. We have the beginnings of a proper visitor center, we have a worldwide network, and we have many people who now play a significant role in the group. So, in a hundred years time I am confident that the CFZ will still be there, even though those involved now will be long gone. And who knows, perhaps in one corner of the 22nd Century CFZ Visitor Center there will be a little statue of a fat bloke with a beard, and a cigarette in his hand. But that’s not what it’s all about. I’m doing this to ensure that those who are interested in the things we investigate have a place to go and people to turn to, to work with and to create an on-going community with. And that has to continue; and I have no doubt that in 2107 the CFZ flag will still be flying high.

N: Jon, many thanks indeed.

J: My dear boy, you are very welcome.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bigfoot: The Interview...

Well, okay, I'll admit it: that headline isn't entirely accurate. It's not an interview with Bigfoot. Rather, it's an interview about Bigfoot.

Last week, Lisa Shiel, author of the book Backyard Bigfoot (for which I wrote the Introduction) interviewed me about my theories concerning the hairy beast, the paranormal aspects of some cases, and various investigations that I have undertaken.

The interview is now on-line and can be read by clicking on this link.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Seeking Strange Cats...

Scottish Big Cats (BCIB) have backed an appeal to landowners and gamekeepers throughout Scotland to help in the hunt for a mystery black cat about the size of a Scottish wildcat.

To date three bodies of this cat species have been discovered; and a historical reference dating to the 1930's has also been found. Unlike the popularly named Kellas cat, which is simply a black form of wildcat, this animal appears to be unlike any known species of feline.

The shape of the head is long and narrow, with a small cranium for the skull size. It has a very large Roman nose and extremely long canine teeth. Specimens obtained to date have been provided by gamekeepers in the course of their duties.

Author Di Francis has requested that any such cat caught alive is not killed but kept secure until the animal can be sedated and removed safely from the trap. Both she and members of the BCIB are keen to examine any strange looking cats discovered dead as a result of road kills or keepering.
Nicknamed the Rabbit-headed-cat because of its resemblance to a cartoon rabbit, this creature may be an exciting zoological discovery.

If you see an animal that fits the description, or find one dead, please contact any of the following:

Mark Fraser (BCIB Ayrshire) 07940 016972 -

Shaun Stevens (BCIB Argyllshire) 07778 511679 -

Di Francis (Banffshire) 01542 810760 -

Cryptozoology on Precognitive Dissonance Radio

Once a month I’ll be interviewed on S. Miles Lewis’ Precognitive Dissonance radio show, discussing the latest news and stories on all-things weird, and with specific, regular updates on what's going on in the world of Cryptozoology.

The first show - recorded last Thursday night - includes data on the new wave of British werewolf encounters and can be accessed in MP3 format here.

You can also go to the home-page of Miles' show to learn more about the program.

Miles is a cool guy doing a lot of hard work to bring the latest news to one and all.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The British Werewolf Saga Continues...

For those that can't get enough of British werewolf stories, here's a posting I made in March of last year to Cryptomundo on some of my current investigations.

Note that one of the witnesses cited in the 2006 article talked about seeing a werewolf-style beast that could walk on both two and four legs - just like those seen on the Cannock Chase recently...

A pattern emerging, perhaps...?

Friday, May 18, 2007

The UK Werewolf Controversy Grows...

Not surprisingly given the nature of the controversy, the story of the werewolves of Britain's Cannock Chase woods is creating a wealth of comments and opinions. Here's the latest.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Memoirs of a Monster Hunter - Coming in September

Coming in September of this year from New Page Books is my new book Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, which details all of my many and varied cryptozoological investigations undertaken since moving to the US in 2001. Details of the monstrous contents of the book will be revealed closer to the publication date!
I will be discussing the book in a fully illustrated lecture at the Asheville, NC Dark 30 Tour event on Saturday 29 September, and I can promise some amazing scoops for those attending the gig.
Fellow authors Josh Warren (who is organizing the event and who can be contacted for further details at the Dark 30 Tour website link in the above paragraph) and Jim Marrs will also be speaking.
It promises to be a great day!

Do Werewolves Roam The Woods Of England?

Well, I said that I was going to publish the details of the latest wave of British werewolf sightings to my blog next week; however, a bit of free time came along this afternoon, so here's the story a few days earlier than expected.

Britain has a long history of lycanthropy - from the tale of the notorious Flixton Werewolf that terrorized the north of England more than a thousand years ago, to the strange sagas of the Hexham Heads, the Abbotsham werewolf, the wild Wolfman of Lynton, and countless others.

But quite possibly nothing compares with the incredible wave of wolfish-weirdness that has recently descended upon Britain's Cannock Chase - a large area of forest land in central England, and a location that has become a veritable hotbed for encounters with big cats, ghostly black dogs, Bigfoot-like entities, and now werewolves.

The Chase is located only about 4 miles from where I used to live; and so I know the area very well, having spent a considerable amount of time there investigating the strange beasts said to roam those darkened woods (for my forthcoming book on the subject that will be published by the Centre for Fortean Zoology's CFZ Press, and titled The Lords of the Gray Woods: Strange Creatures of the Cannock Chase).

Last summer, startling reports surfaced of a wild wolf on the loose in the vicinity; however, if the current spate of sightings prove to be accurate, then that wolf might be a little more monstrous than has been previously assumed.

On April 26, 2007, the Stafford Post newspaper (which covers the area in question) stated the following: "A rash of sightings of a 'werewolf' type creature prowling around the outskirts of Stafford have prompted a respected Midlands paranormal group to investigate. West Midlands Ghost Club says they have been contacted by a number of shocked residents who saw what they claimed to be a `hairy wolf-type creature' walking on its hind legs around the German War Cemetery, just off Camp Road, in between Stafford and Cannock. Several of them claim the creature sprang up on its hind legs and ran into the nearby bushes when it was spotted."

The newspaper continued:

"Nick Duffy, of West Midlands Ghost Club, said the stories of werewolf sightings in Chase area were something that he had encountered before. He said: 'The first person to contact us was a postman, who told us he had seen what he thought was a werewolf on the German War Cemetery site. He said he was over there on a motorbike and saw what he believed was a large dog. When he got closer, the creature got on his hind legs and ran away.'"

The Post quoted Duffy as adding that: "I’ve spoke to many witnesses and I know when they are putting it on. But what struck me as strange about this was the way he told it. I'm in no doubt that he was telling the truth."

The creature was also apparently spotted by a scout leader walking over the forest land earlier in April. The man, who the Post stated did not want to be named, said he saw what he initially believed was a large dog prowling by the bushes. It was only when he got into his car to drive away that he realised something weird was afoot.

He said: "It just looked like a huge dog. But when I slammed the door of my car it reared up on its back legs and ran into the trees. It must have been about six to seven feet tall. I know it sounds absolutely mad, but I know what I saw.”

And this week, both the Chase Post newspaper (whose official website is home to countless weird animal reports from the area) and the Birmingham Post ran the following story:

"A tribe of subterranean creatures who surface on Cannock Chase to hunt for food could be behind a rash of 'werewolf' and Bigfoot sightings near Stafford. And the mysterious beings could also be responsible for a string of pet disappearances, it has been claimed.

"West Midlands Ghost Club, our area's top paranormal investigation group, say they have been contacted by a number of shocked eye-witnesses who claim they have come to face to face with a 'hairy,wolf-type creature' at the beauty spot. A scout leader and a local post man are amongst the' credible' witnesses to contact the club.

"Theories behind the sightings range from a crazed tramp to aliens. But now another paranormal expert has put forward the theory the sub-human beast is not a werewolf at all - but a Stone Age throwback. The investigator, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us : 'Strange sightings in this area have been made over many years by civilians, military, police, ex-police and scout leaders on patrol. Some incidents have been reported and logged but others not - some people don't want to be classed as mad.'"

The newspapers elaborated further: "The strangest rumour has come from a senior local resident who believes the mysterious intruders to be subterranean," he told us. "The creatures have made their way to the surface via old earthworks to hunt, for example, local deer."

And, on the surface, the far-fetched tale could be easily dismissed. However, the Post's source added: "It's a fact that there has been significant mining activity under Cannock Chase for centuries. And it's a fact there is a high rate of domestic pet disappearance in the area - especially dogs off the lead...just ask anyone who walks their dog near the German War Cemetery..."

Well...I'm not quite prepared to say that monstrous, hairy beings dwell deep below the Cannock Chase in some dark, cavernous abode, but there is no doubt that the cemetery in question (photograph above; copyright Nick Redfern) has been an absolute beacon for monstrous and weird activity for the last two decades.

And, it's certainly the case that the area has been the site of animal (particularly deer) mutilations, and tales of marauding "things" lurking in the woods.

Whatever is going on, it seems that something is being seen; and as someone who has undertaken a wealth of investigations into werewolf and wolfman encounters, I shall be following this story very closely. Indeed, as soon as I get the chance, I shall be back, descending on the area once again myself.

All comments, encounters, reports and opinions are welcome here at this blog!

If you decide to check out the story in person for yourself, remember to keep a careful watch if it's a full moon...

Werewolves on the Prowl and more...

Yesterday, I extensively interviewed CFZ Director Jon Downes about the history of the CFZ, its current activities, upcoming expeditions and plans for the future - both in the short-term and long-term. The interview was a very insightful one, and a transcript will appear next week.

Also appearing next week will be a feature on a weird series of Werewolf-style sightings that have occurred recently at a large forest in central England called the Cannock Chase - which is only a few short miles from where I used to live.

The Chase can be a weird, eerie place at times, and it's quite appropriate that hairy, paranormal man-beasts should be prowling those dark woods!

The werewolf story will be appearing here on Monday; and I'll be discussing it on Miles Lewis' radio show tonight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I’ll leave it to radio show host S. Miles Lewis to explain in his own words what is happening this coming thursday night:

Nick Redfern will be our guest Thursday night (May 17th) from 7-9pm CST, on PreCognitive Dissonance via the Anomaly Radio Network.

Hosted by SMiles Lewis and Craig York, this show is a weekly news roundup and discussion of the latest Cryptozoology, Fortean, Parapsychology and Ufology news.

This week on PreCognitive Dissonance, we’ll be interviewing writer and researcher of all things anomalous, Nick Redfern.

We’ll be exploring his research into CryptoZoology, Ufology, Conspiracy and Much More!

Plus, Nick will be launching a regular monthly News Roundup on the show!!!

You can listen to this show and many others any time of day by going to and clicking on the LISTEN buttons.

Anomaly Radio plays paranormal and parapolitical, talk and rock, webradio programming that streams 24/7/365.We hope you tune in!

SMiles Lewis

Monday, May 14, 2007

Major New Film On Dragon Hunters Released



A team of British cryptozoologists from the Centre for Fortean Zoology have released a film, documenting their expedition into the swamps and jungles of West Africa, in search of a dangerous dragon-like monster known as the Ninki-Nanka.

The six person team visited the Gambia and Senegal last summer, to investigate the legend of a monster so awful, locals believe that to look upon it is death. The Ninki-Nanka is said to resemble a gigantic crested serpent and provokes terror in the locals even to this day.

"One man was so frightened of the monster he refused to enter a swamp where, years before, a sighting of the beast had caused a whole village to be abandoned. We had to speak to him from behind a bush, where he was hiding in terror," said Richard Freeman, Zoological Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology.

The team spoke to many people who claimed their relatives or friends had seen the dragon, and had subsequently died. One man, who claimed to have seen the beast himself, described it as a monstrously huge snake with a horse-like head, and a crest. He believed that only a herbal potion from a holy man saved him from the Ninki-Nankas' curse. When shown pictures of an Apatosaurus, a Komodo dragon, a Nile monitor lizard, and a Chinese dragon, he chose the Chinese dragon as being most like what he saw.

The beast was also blamed for causing a lorry to crash, as it slithered out on to a rural road. The team visited the crash site, where the lorry is still on the side of the road.They spoke with keepers at a sacred crocodile pool, who recount an ancient song to keep the monster at bay, and were even given a supposed Ninki-Nanka scale for examination.

The team also investigated two other unrelated mysteries; a supposed sea serpent carcass - buried on a beach by an amateur naturalist - and the continued existence of a tiny lizard known only from five museum specimens.

Just as tangled as the African forests, are the jungles of the mind, where legend, and superstition, are entwined with natural history. The film goes some way towards exploring both of these shadowy places.

The music for the film was composed especially by Paul Whitrow, a Bristol-based record producer from the legendary Bristol recording studio, Channel House, best-known for his work with Portishead, John Getty, The Mission, Alison Moyet, Imogen Heap, and cult indie band, the Blue Aeroplanes, as well as Japanese production company Creativeman.

The film can be seen - for free - on the CFZtv site, together with the team's other documentary films.

Watch the film Here: http://www.cfztv. org/gamfilm. htm

Friday, May 11, 2007

Explore Dragons

Richard Freeman is the Zoological Director of the Center for Fortean Zoology; formerly the Head of Reptiles at England's Twycross Zoo; a lover of doom-laden, Goth-driven music; a good friend of mine; and an acknowledged expert on the subject of dragons.

His first book on the subject was Dragons: More Than A Myth?; and that has now been followed by his latest title: Explore Dragons, published by Heart of Albion Press.

If you are in any way, shape or form interested in tales of dragons, as well as the facts, fiction, mythology, folklore and more pertaining to this often overlooked aspect of cryptozoology, then this is a book definitely worth investing in.

Whereas Richard's first book focused upon account of dragons that spanned the entire globe, Explore Dragons - for the most part - tackles those accounts that originate within the British Isles, such as the famous Lambton Worm; the story of St. George and the Dragon and other reported "dragon slayers;" as well as encounters with such beasts in surprisingly recent times.

The book also includes an excellent summary of the various locations around the UK from where dragons have been reported - a very welcome addition for those interested in traveling to some of the sites in question.

Richard also addresses the crucial question of: "What are dragons?" As the reader will learn, countless creatures may have led to the creation of the image of the dragon that we know today. However - interestingly enough - that doesn't mean that such literal creatures did not exist in some form, as Richard intriguingly demonstrates.

The book is also packed with superb drawings and useful photographs. But for me, it is Richard's sheer breadth of knowledge on the subject; as well as his passion for the history, legends and folkloric aspects of all-things dragon-like in merry old England that shines through.

From the ancient town of Glastonbury to the mysterious depths of the nation's lakes and lochs; and from Britain of centuries-past to the present day, this is an excellent study of a phenomenon undertaken by someone with a true enthusiasm for their subject matter.

Readers outside of the UK should note that Explore Dragons is only available from Britain; and therefore if you wish to purchase a copy, it is recommended that you contact the publisher Bob Trubshaw for shipping rates, payment methods, etc. at

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Bigfoot in UFO Magazine

The newly-published issue of UFO Magazine includes an article titled Wild Women: Weird Bigfoot Research, written by Regan Lee.

It focuses on the work, books, and theories of Lisa Shiel, and her book Backyard Bigfoot, for which I wrote the Introduction.

The magazine is now on the newsstands and you can purchase Lisa's book (which delves deeply into the intriguing links between Bigfoot reports and other anomalous phenomena) here.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Adventures of Crypto-Woman!

Well, it's only fair that since CFZ Director Jon Downes has his own blog, that his soon-to-be-wife, Corinna, should have hers too.

And here it is!

The CFZ-USA Shop

For those interested, you can now purchase your very own CFZ-USA coffee mugs and t-shirts, all emblazoned with the official CFZ-USA logo.

This link provides both purchase details and photos of the material for sale.

And there will be more to come too...

More from the CFZ-Australia Office

More from the newly-established Australian Office of the CFZ:

On the track of unknown animals...

We're on the hunt for volunteer researchers based in Australia and New Zealand!

Do you have a strong interest in zoology/nature?
Are you fascinated by animal mysteries and apparently 'extinct' or endangered species?
Do you enjoy getting out in the Australian bush? Are you fascinated by our unique wildlife?

If so, then this could be the best 'job' for you! What's involved? Collecting and sharing articles and sighting reports from your local area, interviewing witnesses, taking photographs and contributing to this blog and the CFZ magazine, Animals & Men.

What are the rewards? The CFZ runs its own magazine and publishing-house, so there's ample opportunity to get your work or contributions published, as well as the chance to rub shoulders with like-minded individuals and have some fun while contributing to the very neglected fringes of zoological research.

It is our aim to create a comprehensive database of publicly-accessible mystery animal sightings in Australia, published annually.To do this, we need to rely on a network of talented and dedicated researchers, writers and explorers who enjoy adventure, and are willing to share their findings with like-minded individuals.Are you up for it?

If you're in Australia or New Zealand, then drop us a line here:cfzaustralia@ au
If you're reading this and you're in Canada or the US, go here. If you're in the UK or anywhere else, go here.

CFZ Oz Team

Friday, May 4, 2007

The CFZ Goes Down Under

We're very pleased to announce that a CFZ Office covering Australia and New Zealand has just been established. For details click here.

The CFZ is fast becoming a global organization; and we welcome input from anyone and everyone, wherever you may be, to join us on our journey in search of unknown animals.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ever Wondered What The CFZ Is Really All About...?

For those wondering what the Center for Fortean Zoology is all about...