Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dark 30 In The News

The Dark 30 Tour gig that I'm speaking at on Saturday is the subject of this news feature, which has just been published. If you can get along to it, it should be a cool event. Okay, that's all from me until next Tuesday.

Taking A Break...

Tomorrow I leave for the Dark 30 Tour in Asheville, NC, where I'll be lecturing on my book, Memoirs of a Monster Hunter. I'll be off-line while away, so will return to blogging here next tuesday (October 2).

Satellite Search For Cryptids?

Here's an interesting article that suggests using satellite technology to search for such creatures as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mr. Biffo's Monster Hunt...

Several blog-posts ago, I wrote a piece on the Center for Fortean Zoology’s forthcoming expedition to Guyana in search of giant snakes and hairy man-beasts.

Well, in addition to the usual suspects embarking on the adventure (which includes Richard Freeman and Chris Moiser), there will be a new crew-member aboard the good ship CFZ: Mr. Biffo.

“Who on earth is Mr. Biffo?” I hear the curious states-side throng ask enthusiastically. Well, now, that is a story all in itself.

Mr. Biffo is the alias of one Paul Rose (or perhaps Paul Rose is the alias; nothing is ever as it seems in this somewhat surreal game…), a 36-year-old London screenwriter, the keeper of the mighty Biffovision blog, and the author of the acclaimed hit British book Confessions of a Chatroom Freak.

He has written for the BBC soap-opera Eastenders, was a lead writer on the cult children’s TV series My Parents are Aliens, and was nominated for a BAFTA award for his work. Not only that: he even wrote for Sooty. A rather annoying, self-righteous little chap (well, actually, he was a glove-puppet), Sooty was a veritable star of children’s television who reached his peak in Britain in the 1970s. In my opinion, however, his pal Sweep – an amusingly anarchistic, violent and chaotic character whose ear-splitting squeaky voice could induce migraines in a millisecond - was the real hero of the show.

But what about Confessions of a Chatroom Freak? Well, as Mr. B’s publisher puts it: “The Internet: the greatest aid to communication in human history, a repository of mankind’s accumulated wisdom and a global community where free speech reigns. But mostly it’s a family sized bucket of filth. Confessions of a Chatroom Freak contains the lurid transcripts of genuine conversations between beautiful chatroom addict LoopyLisa21f and a succession of would-be suitors. By turns disturbing, hilarious, and surreal, Confessions of a Chatroom Freak reveals what our friends and colleagues really get up to online - and then confuses the hell out of them. After Confessions of a Chatroom Freak you’ll never engage in cybersex again.”

And with all of the above in hand, I now introduce you to Paul Rose and/or Mr. Biffo, who I had the pleasure of interviewing yesterday.

Nick Redfern: NR
Paul Rose: PR

NR: Hi Paul; how’s things going?

PR: I’m recovering from my jabs today. I’ve just had my jabs done for Guyana; so I’m a bit sore and spaced out! [Note for American readers: jabs = shots. In Paul’s case, it’s to ensure he doesn’t go down with some bizarre, exotic, flesh-devouring disease while he’s trekking through the wilds of Guyana chasing all-things-monstrous.]

NR: So, this is probably the ideal time to do an interview about the CFZ then!

PR: Exactly!

NR: Well, first thing: how did you hear of the CFZ and get involved?

PR: It’s a strange story in that Jon [Downes] sent me some fan-mail: he’d read my book and he was a fan of a video-game magazine – Digitiser - I’d written years ago. Well, he sent me this email, and at the bottom of it were these links to the CFZ website and Jon’s blog. My curiosity was piqued and I started clicking through the site. And I had an interest in all-things Fortean, anyway. So, then I emailed Jon back and said: “Tell me a bit more about what you do.” And it went from there, really, and Jon invited me down for tea. And somehow I got talked into going to Guyana with them after monsters - as you do!

NR: And was cryptozoology a subject you were interested in anyway?

PR: I sort of describe myself as an optimistic skeptic; I just find that whole world of the unexplained kind of fascinating, and I have my entire life. And I’d very much like to be shown evidence for all these kind of things; I’ve dabbled in hypnotism and psychic stuff. And I want it to be real. It’s the same with cryptozoology, too. I love the way that all of you at the CFZ approach the subject: you have a sense of humor; but it’s very much an open-mind, and a scientific angle, too. And I found that kind of combination refreshing. That’s really why I thought: I’d like to get involved with this, if I can.

NR: And what are your hopes and expectations, if any, for the Guyana trip?

PR: I’m just hoping for a bit of adventure, really. I’m writing a book over the next year, as you know. This will be me hanging out with Jon and the CFZ, and hopefully yourself at some point. And I’m not really going out there with any great expectations. I’m keeping an open mind about it, and hoping I don’t drop down dead with a heart attack, because I’m trying to get in training now. So, it’s an adventure, really.

NR: For the benefit of people reading this, can you go into a bit more detail about the book on the CFZ that you’ll be writing?

PR: Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny how it’s all linked really: I went in to see my publisher, ostensibly about doing a follow-up to the [Confessions] book. We started talking, and they had one idea for a follow-up to that book, and I had a slightly different idea. So, they said: “Well, what do you really want to do? Is there any other book you’d like to write?” I said: “I’m desperate to do a travel book. But I haven’t come to you because you don’t do travel books.” But they then said: “Well, we’ve just started up a travel imprint and signed up three travel books.” So, I replied: “Strangely enough, I’m off to Guyana in a few months…” So, I started talking to them about that trip, and Jon and the CFZ, and it went from there. But, in terms of what’s going to be in the book: that really depends on what goes on over the next year and what happens in Guyana. I’m going to try and meet as many interesting people in the world of cryptozoology as I can. It’ll be a piece of gonzo-cryptozoological journalism.

NR: Good luck with it all, Paul.

PR: Thanks, Nick.

To purchase a copy of Paul’s book, Confessions of a Chatroom Freak, click here; and to check out his blog, Biffovision, click here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Toronto Sun on Nessie...

In a new article, the Toronto Sun profiles Loch Ness Monster seeker, Adrian Shine.

Marcus Matthews: Big Cat Interview

Just recently, the CFZ Press published the book Big Cats Loose in Britain by Marcus Matthews. An excellent study of British-based reports of large, unidentified cats, the book has a long history: it was actually written between 1987 and 1990 when Marcus was still a teenager.
But finally, thanks to the CFZ, it's seen the light day!
For those interested in the mystery of the British big cat, Marcus' book is essential reading - particularly due to the fact that Marcus is one of those researchers who gets out into the field and conducts hands-on investigations; and as a result he has put together an extraordinary body of data conclusively demonstrating that something weird is most definitely afoot in the wilds of jolly old England. I caught up with Marcus last week to ask him a few questions about his book and his studies.

Nick Redfern: NR

Marcus Matthews: MM

NR: How did you become interested in the subject of big cats in Britain?

MM: It all started when I was 14. I was at the Devon Farm Park on Exmoor when a booklet in the farm shop caught my eye, which was Trevor Beer's book, The Beast of Exmoor. I bought a copy, read it, and very much enjoyed it. Then I wrote to Trevor and had quite a lot of correspondence with him. And also when I was 14, I had a sighting on the Mendips of a lynx. My mother and I were driving along and it crossed the road in front of us; it actually jumped on to a wall. I took a photo of it, but it was only in the corner of the photo that it got it. It went under a gate and into an old cattle shed. Later, we went back and found some paw prints and the remains of a dead pigeon. I also had a sighting through binoculars - about a quarter of a mile away - of a puma-like cat on Exmoor in 1987, which was in the Barle Valley, where the River Barle runs through. There have been a number of sightings there.

MM: Also in 1987, a friend of mine, Rupert, and I went down to Exmoor for a week and we were going up the Barle Valley and Rupert had a sighting of a black cat crossing a forestry track. We found traces of where it had crossed the track. Then much more recently, in 2003, a friend of mine, Mark, and I were in Wales, and I had a sighting of a black cat in a country park, near a slate quarry. That was a big panther-type cat, crossing an open clearing. I've found paw-prints on a number of occasions too - such as at Warminster, which is in the book.

NR: For the benefit of people reading this, what is the background to Big Cats Loose In Britain, what can they expect to find in its pages, and how and why did you decide to write it?

MM: The book is basically a county-by-county chronological survey of all the incidents involving big cats, starting with the earliest points in each county - at least, as far as I can ascertain. It covers escapees from traveling menageries in the early days and goes into sightings of the Beast of Exmoor in the West Country and the Surrey Puma. The book covers England and Wales up until 1990; however, when I originally wrote it I also included Scotland.

MM: But we had to leave out the Scottish sightings when it was published because of the length of the book. It's already 384 pages without the Scottish reports. There are some photos in there too. Apart from the photo of the Surrey Puma in the 1960s, most of them are from the 1990s onwards.

MM: With the book, I actually wrote a lot of it in the late 1980s when I was still a teenager. I tried a lot of big publishers; I had a literary agent. Some were interested; but unfortunately I didn't get a publisher. But Jon Downes had always said that he would be interested in publishing it; and so I went to Jon, and I'm delighted he's been able to publish it. He's done a great job, and Mark [North] is very talented and did a very good cover. It's led to articles in the Somerset Standard and the Wiltshire Times newspapers, and in the magazines Your Cat and Our Cat. So it's had good publicity.

NR: And where do you think that in both the past and the present these big cats are coming from?

MM: Some of them, originally, may have escaped into the British countryside as far back as the time of the Roman invasion. The Romans had circuses in Britain and you can surmise that they had big cats as regimental mascots, too. Also, in the Medieval period, people kept big cats. The first menagerie in England was in the 1100s - the Royal Menagerie at Woodstock. There was a panther at Chillington Hall in the 1500s which escaped; a tiger in 1750 - and other records of things escaping.

MM: Certainly, during the Victorian period there were a lot of country house-type menageries and something might well have escaped and not been recorded. I know that in Ireland they imported the Scottish Wildcat onto a number of estates, and they may have possibly bred with the domestic cat and escaped. Most of the reports seem to be of the large black cats - maybe 80 per cent - and the rest seem to be the smaller ones: lynxes, jungle cats, leopard cats, Bengal cats.

NR: And what plans do you have for the future?

MM: Well, I have a lot of material on other sightings which I hope to use in a follow-up volume. Jon wants me to do one for CFZ Press for 2009. And I'm working on a booklet at the moment about the local area.

NR: Thanks, Marcus.

MM: Thank you.

If you want to purchase a copy of Marcus' book Big Cats Loose In Britain, click here (for UK readers) and click here (for US readers). Marcus liaises closely with a number of high profile, well-respected big cat researchers in Britain, and you can learn more about his work and contact him here and here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mystery Animal Caught On Film

Just recently, myself, Linda Godfrey and a number of other researchers were given access to an intriguing piece of film footage that appears to show an unknown - and distinctly strange - animal.

And now the footage has been made public - by Steve Cook, a Michigan DJ who has the film in his possession.

Linda and I have been discussing the film over the course of the last week; and as my views are very similar to Linda's, I have related her thoughts below. Here's what she has to say:

"The film is grainy, blurry, shows a lot of nondescript landscape and begins with some ordinary shots of a lady chopping a log. It appears that the filmmaker saw the creature while riding in a truck, jumped out of the truck to shoot it, then was surprised by a side ambush and ended up with a view of the creature's fangs and gaping maw -- perhaps after the camera was tossed to the ground in haste as the filmer hustled back into the truck. (I think the mouth shots are the least convincing part of the film.) But the first stills that show the creature clearly indicate a canine-headed animal moving through knee-high undergrowth. It has pointed ears on top of its head and shoulders, which ordinary dogs (or bears or other quadrupeds) do not have. It turns and moves to one side, charging through the brush in a way that would be very difficult for a human to do."

Here's the link to Linda's full-post on the story.

And here's the link to Steve Cook's site, where the film can be viewed.

Precisely what the mystery critter is, I don't know; but it's sure to provoke a lot of controversy in the coming weeks.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Hobbit" News...

The latest on the Indonesian "Hobbit."

Kentucky Monsters On The Rise...

Several months ago, I was contacted by a guy named Bart Nunnelly, a fellow seeker of all-things-strange. Bart was deep in the process of writing his book, Mysterious Kentucky: The History, Mystery and Unexplained of the Bluegrass State.

Bart sent me some extracts from his manuscript and asked if I would be willing to add a blurb of endorsement to the book. Well, after having digested the material, I quickly said yes.
Fans of the paranormal will find much of interest in the book’s pages, as will those with a fascination for the state’s mysterious history, Edgar Cayce, Fortean fish-falls, vampires and more.

UFOs feature heavily, too. Early tales of mystery airships and strange lights in the sky set the scene for what is to come, including: a striking 1993 event involving the Jefferson County Police Force; the “Liberty Abduction” case (a reported alien abduction event involving three women - Louise Smith, Mona Stafford and Elaine Thomas) of 1976; the controversial death in 1948 of military pilot Captain Thomas Mantell; and a classic Men in Black-type encounter from 1966. And, of course, no book that details the many and varied UFO encounters in Kentucky can afford to ignore the famous Kelly, Hopkinsville case of August 1955 that can best be described as Close Encounters of the Third Kind meets Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

"And what of cryptozoology?" I hear you ask.

Well, you ain't gonna be disappointed - not at all.

Bart's book contains some highly intriguing data on Bigfoot, werewolves, lake-monsters, lizard-men, goat-men and more. It also contains some fascinating information on Bart's (and his family's) own encounters with mystery critters - some of which offer theories to explain the Bigfoot puzzle that extend much further than the realm of straightforward flesh-and-blood entities.

The book is packed with photos and excellent drawings from Bart (who is a highly talented artist), and skillfully weaves a picture of Kentucky as a state rich in folklore, mysteries, dark woods full of fantastic beasts, and monstrous creatures roaming the countryside by nght.

Mysterious Kentucky is an excellent book from an author who demonstrates a great affection and love for his home state, first-class knowledge of his subject matter, and a highly entertaining writing style.

Linda Godfrey Reviews "Man-Monkey"

Linda Godfrey, author of Hunting the American Werewolf and The Beast of Bray Road, reviews my book, Man-Monkey.

Here's the link to Linda's original post; and here's what she has to say:

I would buy Nick Redfern's new book, Man-Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot, for the title and charming British place names alone: Grubstreet, Cannock Chase, and Shugborough Hall. Sounds like a landscape straight out of Harry Potter. But the hairy, apelike creature that has haunted this part of the British Isles since 1879 is anything but kid-stuff. Sightings that included a giant "chimpanzee", a large and hairy, upright bear, a werewolf-like "Moon Beast" and more became the targets of Redfern's five-year, on-site investigation. In the course of his work, Redfern scrounged up forgotten old files, interviewed dozens of witnesses, and quaffed endless flasks of tea in his hunt for the truth about this furry fiend. Redfern examines explanations from the natural to the Fortean, allowing that the ancient myth of the shape-shifting Kelpie just may play a part in these strange appearances. This book is an important contribution to the annals of furry, upright creature lore and belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in unidentified animals or unexplained mysteries.

Big Cats Coming...

Yesterday, I conducted a big interview with Marcus Matthews, author of an excellent new book: Big Cats Loose In Britain. Marcus had some fascinating things to say with regard to the nature, history, origins and activity of Big Cats in the UK. The interview should be posted here by Tuesday.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Man-Monkey Review

Matt Salusbury reviews my lecture at last month's Weird Weekend gig on my book Man-Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot.

Spare a Thought...

Only a week after narrowly avoiding death in a serious car crash, CFZ Director Jon Downes is facing more woe and bad luck, as you will see from the most recent posts at his blog. Spare a thought for Jon - who doesn't deserve the hassle that has been piled on him in the last week - and send him your best wishes for a speedy and positive conclusion to his current financial nightmare. Friends and colleagues have been rallying around to offer advice and support to Jon and hopefully it will all work out okay.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monster Hunting Memoirs on the Radio

I will be discussing my monster-hunting activities on the Richard Syrett radio show tonight. Appropriately, it's broadcast at the witching-hour (East-Coast-Time). Expect much on Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, werewolves, Bigfoot and more.

Mysterious Kentucky Review Coming...

I have just finished reading Bart Nunnelly's excellent new book Mysterious Kentucky. A review will be posted in the next couple of days.

Linda Godfrey's New Book On The Horizon

I'm very pleased to announce that the publication of Linda Godfrey's next book - Strange Wisconsin - is just around the corner. Linda is the author of (among several others) The Beast of Bray Road and Hunting the American Werewolf. If you are even remotely interested in werewolves, you have to get hold of copies of these essential titles right now. And even though I haven't seen it yet, I'm fully confident that Strange Wisconsin will be a fine read, too. Order your copy now! Here's the publisher's words on the book:

Pig men, trolls, the curse of Miller Park, the Golden Plates of Voree. When it comes to weird, Wisconsin has got it! And nobody is better at telling the bizarre stories of the state's odd side than best-selling author and paranormal authority Linda Godfrey. Join the fun on an eyebrow-raising tour of people and places you won t believe! Linda S. Godfrey, writer, illustrator, and investigator of the paranormal, is the author of The Beast of Bray Road, Hunting the American Werewolf, and The Poison Widow and co-author of Weird Wisconsin and Weird Michigan.
And in an e-conversation with Linda just a few minutes ago, she told me that for devotees of all-things-cryptozoological, Strange Wisconsin is full of stories of the infamous Man-Bat; the Washington County Bear-Wolf (and Goatman); and a wealth of data on Bigfoot encounters in the state.

New Book On Florida Mystery Animals

Here's a new book that looks to be of great interest: Florida's Unexpected Wildlife.

And here's what the publisher has to say:

"A sober, engaging, and authoritative introduction to Florida's hidden animals, from rare visitors, to introduced species, to mysterious and cryptic 'maybe' creatures."--Paul H. LeBlond, co-founder of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Society.

"Newton takes the general reader, the traveling tourist, and the curious cryptozoologist on a tour of the strange animals and weird cryptids to be found in one of the most popular vacation destinations in existence, Florida. Florida's Unexpected Wildlife is one of those unique guidebooks that need to be purchased by everyone!"--Loren Coleman, author of Cryptozoology A to Z.

Throughout the world, sightings of animals unrecognized by modern science are reported on a daily basis. Since the 1950s, the study of these "hidden animals" has been known as cryptozoology and though many of the reports have been exposed as hoaxes, some have resisted explanation.

In Florida's Unexpected Wildlife award-winning author Michael Newton describes exotic species recognized by state wildlife authorities; "extinct" species whose passing is disputed or disproved; various aquatic "monsters" said to occupy Florida's rivers, lakes, and offshore waters; alien big cats; and the search for the elusive, enigmatic Skunk Ape--a local relative of Bigfoot. Newton's tales are riveting, and include a six-foot tall emu encountered by a jogger in a subdivision and a "sea serpent" carcass discovered at the mouth of the St. Johns River in the mid-nineteenth century by passengers aboard a schooner. The stories are illustrated with photographs and the incomparable paintings of artist William Rebsamen, hailed as the "John James Audubon of cryptozoology."

While "monster hunters" can use Florida's Unexpected Wildlife as a field guide, casual readers can simply enjoy the many fascinating tales and the wealth of evidence collected in this book. Grab your binoculars and enjoy the quest!

A Sheepish Porker

Over at Phantoms and Monsters there is a strange story (with photo) of a pig with a fleece. Bizarre isn't even close!

Regan Lee on Owlman and Forteana

Regan Lee has written an interesting article that focuses on the connections between owls and Fortean events. The infamous Owlman of Mawnan Chruch, Cornwall, England (which was the subject of Jon Downes' acclaimed book The Owlman and Others) also gets a mention.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Weird Weekend: A HUGE Review!

Helen Lester (aka Helen of Troy) is a good friend of the CFZ and has written a HUGE review of last month's Weird Weekend gig, which can be found here. Thanks, Helen!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dark 30 Reminder

If you're in Asheville, NC on Saturday 29 October, I'll be speaking on Memoirs of a Monster Hunter at the Dark 30 Tour gig along with Jim Marrs and Josh Warren.

Memoirs of a Monster Hunter Lecture

For those in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area and who may be interested: I'll be speaking on my new Memoirs of a Monster Hunter book at the monthly meeting of the DFW Mutual UFO Network Group on Sunday October 14.

For details, times, admission etc., check out DFW MUFON's website.

Monster Sightings In New Article

This newly-posted article includes some intriguing first-person accounts of strange and weird beasts.

Meeting of the Monster Hunters...

This past weekend, my wife and I met for dinner with fellow Texas-based monster-hunters Ken and Lori Gerhard. Ken is the author of an excellent book titled Big Bird, which is an in-depth study of the many winged monsters that have been seen around the US (and particularly Texas) for decades. Ken and I are thinking of working on a joint project or two; so as news on this front develops, I'll keep you informed. To learn more about Ken and Lori's work, click here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Where's Nessie?

"Where's Nessie?" asks the Highland News.

Jon and Corinna

The CFZ Press Office released the following statement this afternoon:
"CFZ Director Jonathan Downes and his wife Corinna were involved in a serious road traffic accident on the M25 last night, involving four other vehicles. Their Jaguar was a write-off and they were taken to hospital. However, they were discharged in the early hours of this morning. The police have stated that although a prosecution is likely to take place, it would not be against Mr Downes, who was completely blameless. Apart from shock, and superficial scratches and bruises, it appears that Mr and Mrs Downes are unhurt. More news when we get it."
I'm sure everyone joins me in wishing Jon and Corinna a speedy recovery from what were thankfully minor injuries.

Weirdness in Print

Las Vegas's City Life reviews Weird Las Vegas and Nevada, a new book that contains some interesting crypto-driven data.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The "Sea Clergy"

An intriguing article on an equally intriguing animal...

The Cannock Chase: Never-Ending Weirdness

Time and again I have highlighted here the many weird sightings of mysterious beasts (including Bigfoot, big cats, and werewolves) deep in the heart of England's Cannock Chase woods. Well, the weirdness shows no sign of stopping - indeed, it's positively escalating.

Here's the first new story; here's the second; and here are a couple of other new paranormal-driven stories from surrounding towns and villages: story one and story two.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

John Kirk: Monster Hunter

Back in 2004, I met John Kirk, a fellow Brit, monster-hunter and all-round good chap, at the annual conference of the Texas Bigfoot Research Center. Here's a good, new article on John and his research.

More on the CFZ's Guyana Expedition

The publicity mill for the CFZ's forthcoming trip to Guyana in search of giant snakes and hairy man-beasts continues at a steady pace. Here's the first of two new stories, and here's the second.

Kithra on Dragons and Ley-Lines

Here's an interesting article I missed when it was published earlier this year. From Kithra, it's an illuminating and thought-provoking piece that links tales of dragons with ley-lines.

Winged Terrors of Britain...

The current issue of Taps Paramag includes an article from me on the British equivalents of the legendary Mothman of Point Pleasant, Virginia. In the article, you can learn all about Britain's Mothman, gargoyles, bat-winged beasts, and even pterosaurs that witnesses claim to have seen soaring around the nation's skies.
For those wanting to find out more about Taps Paramag and the article, click here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Mass Monster Mash

Here's another conference you may want to attend - the Mass Monster Mash on Saturday October 13, at Watertown, MA, and which includes lectures on the Dover Demon and Bigfoot.

Mr. Biffo on Jon Downes and the CFZ...

Mr. Biffo speaks on Jon Downes and the CFZ...

The Texas Paranormal Conference

This Saturday (Sept. 15) sees the Texas Paranormal Conference come to Dallas. Among the speakers is Luke Gross on Bigfoot. Here are the details.

Mothman: The Festival

For those interested in attending the forthcoming Mothman Festival at Point Pleasant, Virginia, you have only a few days left to get your ticket. Here's the details.

And another on Guyana...

The CFZ-Guyana expedition is already making big waves: here's another, breaking story on the November expedition.

More on the CFZ Guyana Expedition

Here's a new article from Britain's Metro on the CFZ Guyana Expedition.

The CFZ: Major New Monster-Hunting Expedition Announced

The CFZ is pleased to announce a major new monster-hunting expedition. Scheduled for November of this year - and in conjunction with CAPCOM, one of the biggest computer-game companies in the world - the CFZ will be traveling to the South American country of Guyana in pursuit of giant anacondas and a strange and violent beast called the Didi, which is said to rip the tongues out of cattle. It promises to be an illuminating trip!
Check out the new blog that has been set up by CFZ-UK for those interested in following the exploits of the expedition team.

CFZ's Jon Downes Interviewed

An interview I did with CFZ Director, Jon Downes, has just been posted to the Paranormal Report website.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Bigfoot: A Shape-Shifter?

An intriguing article on Bigfoot and shape-shifting.

Bart Nunnelly's "Mysterious Kentucky" Arrived

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Bart Nunnelly's Mysterious Kentucky book was soon to be released. Well, I had my copy come a couple of days ago. If you are into Bigfoot, werewolves, lake-monsters and more of a mystery-animal nature, you definitely won't want to miss this. I'll be writing a big review of the book next week.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

John Keel on Mothman

Acclaimed Fortean author John Keel has written an article for the new issue of Fate magazine on one of the strangest cryptozoological critters of all time: the Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia that became the subject of his classic title: The Mothman Prophecies.

We don't see too many new articles from Keel nowadays; so this one makes for great reading in more ways than one. Here's the link to extracts from the article.

Karl Shuker: The "Extraordinary Animals Revisited" Interview

Dr. Karl Shuker's new book, Extraordinary Animals Revisited is now among us. I interviewed Karl last week about his book and work, and had hoped to get the interview transcribed and posted here a few days ago. However (and as is often the case, I have to confess!), I got delayed by other things (of a mundane rather than a monstrous nature!), but have finally now got it done.

Karl lives only about a ten-minute drive from where I used to live in the UK, and he is one of the leading lights in the British cryptozoological community.

Here's the blurb to Karl's book as prepared by CFZ Press, and following that is my interview with him.

"This delightful book is the long-awaited, greatly-expanded new edition of one of Dr Karl Shuker's much-loved early volumes, Extraordinary Animals Worldwide.

"It is a fascinating celebration of what used to be called romantic natural history, examining a dazzling diversity of animal anomalies, creatures of cryptozoology, and all manner of other thought-provoking zoological revelations and continuing controversies down through the ages of wildlife discovery.

"Handsomely supplemented by a vista of enchanting Victorian engravings to evoke the spirit of the period from which the inspiration for this book is drawn, Extraordinary Animals Revisited offers an enthralling introduction to a veritable menagerie of truly astonishing beasts.

"From singing dogs to serpent kings, pseudo-plesiosaurs to quasi-octopuses, hounds with two noses and birds with four wings, the Sandwell Valleygator and New Mexico's medicine wolf, cobras that crow and snake gods that dance, giant solifugids and rodent colossi, devil-birds and devil-pigs, furry woodpeckers and marsupial hummingbirds, archangel feathers and the scales of the Eden serpent, scorpion-stones and elephant-pearls, tales of the peacock's tail, parachuting palm civets, missing megapodes, blue rhinoceroses, glutinous globsters, anomalous aardvarks, a platypus from Colorado, man-sized spiders from the Congo, de Loys's lost Venezuelan ape, Margate's marine elephant, a flying hedgehog called Tizzie-Wizzie, a mellifluous mollusc called Molly, India's once (and future?) pink-headed duck, the squeaking deathshead, the vanquished bird-god of New Caledonia, and much much more - all waiting to amaze and amuse, a pageant of natural and unnatural history."

The interview:

(Nick Redfern: NR)

(Karl Shuker: KS)

NR: Karl, what was it that prompted you to expand Extraordinary Animals Worldwide into Extraordinary Animals Revisited?

KS: Well, it originally came out in 1991 and it had a lot of very unusual cryptozoological things in it; a lot of subjects that had never been covered before. It got good critical acclaim, it did its print-run, sold well, and then that was it: it was never reprinted. And I felt it was a shame - with it having so much crypto stuff in - that people particularly overseas had never seen it.

NR: What are some of the highlights of the new Worldwide version of the book?

KS: Well, the front cover is a good place to start! I knew that would cause controversy! It's the photograph of the famous, supposed South American ape: de Loys' ape, said to have been killed in 1920. I covered that in the first version of the book; but only as a very small chapter. But since then, a lot of new material has come up, and a lot of interesting new research has been done. I've found out intriguing things about it as well; and so I thought: this whole chapter could be completely rewritten.

KS: Although a lot has been written about de Loys' ape, I don't think so much has appeared in one book before. I've had a lot of information from other people saying they've seen a second photo of the creature, but with people on either side of the monkey. That, of course, is important because the big question is: how big was this thing? You can't tell from the picture. But with people, you would have a scale.

KS: It's a bit like the search for the famous Thunderbird photo: lots of people claim to have seen the second de Loys photo; but where? And these are reliable people who say they've seen a second de Loys photo: an American professor, who is interested in anthropology; book-sellers, who specialize in cryptozoology and who say they've seen the photo; and a zoo-keeper friend of mine, who has been into cryptozoology all his life, says he has definitely seen this second photo. So, all that information has never been in any other books.

KS: I've quoted directly from the people's letters. The most intriguing one that only came out very recently is a letter from one of the people on the expedition with de Loys, who stated that the whole thing was definitely a hoax; it was the pet of de Loys: a pet spider-monkey that had died during the expedition. And, just as a joke, they propped it up and took a photo. Then the whole thing got completely out of hand and de Loys didn't know what to do or how to retract it. It took on a life of its own and he was very embarrassed about the whole subject. And this letter was written in the 1960s, and has only very recently been found. So that seems to be the end of the story.

NR: And what other crypto-style stories does the book include?

KS: Well, ever since I was a child I've been interested in cryptozoology. I've never been a lions, tigers, elephants type of person. I've always liked the unusual stuff; so it was a general progression into cryptozoology for me. Also: I've never been overly interested in the more famous ones, such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot. There were so many people looking into things like those that I thought: they spend their lives doing that; so I'll look into some of the more unusual things.

KS: One item in the book came from watching Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World television program. They had one episode which was a general crypto episode and it opened with Clarke saying something like: "Even on a small island like Sri Lanka, we have mystery animals, such as the horned jackal and the devil bird." My ears pricked up and I thought: I've never heard of either of those, so I started to look into some of these lesser known mystery animals - this was back in the 1980s. Those two animals both feature in the book.

KS: The book also has a chapter on canine curiosities: real animals, in terms that we know they exist, like the New Guinea singing dog - which is a kind of dingo relative that has this peculiar howl which is almost like a yodel. There are a lot of myths and legends surrounding the singing dog, all of which are in the book. Then there are some completely mysterious dogs, like the Bolivian mitla - which has been described as being a cat-like dog or a dog-like cat. It resembles a dog but is very feline in movement and behavior.

NR: So, the book will appeal to both cryptozoologists and those with an interest in some of the more unusual stories from mainstream zoology?

KS: Yes, and that's what happened when the first version of the book came out in 1991, too. But this version is much longer than the original - this one's over 300 pages; and the original was about 200. Jon Downes loved the original book, and when he asked me if there was anything that I would like the CFZ Press to reprint, I suggested Extraordinary Animals, and Jon loved the idea, so that's what we've done, with full updates.

NR: What is perhaps the weirdest thing in the book?

KS: Well, Bill Gibbons, the famous explorer who hunts for Mokele Mbembe in the Congo: he gave me the details on a quite appalling creature with an unpronounceable name - a lesser known mystery creature in the Congo - that is described as being a spider, but about the size of a small human.

NR: Bloody hell!

KS: Yes: so, if you've got arachnophobia, don't read that section!

NR: And do you think that could possibly be a real creature rather than just a myth?

KS: Well...the problem with it is simple anatomy: a spider that got to the size of a human would have great difficulty breathing, because of its respiratory system. Yet, the local people are adamant that it exists, and they say they keep well away from it.

NR: I'll bet they do!

KS: So, what do we make of it? If it's real it might have evolved with a different form of respiration. We just don't know enough about it yet.

NR: To backtrack a bit, how did you get interested in cryptozoology?

KS: Well, as a child, I got books bought for me: legend and mysteries. And the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and the Yeti were in one of these. And I found all this intriguing. Then, when I was about 12 or 13, the inevitable happened: my mother bought me a copy of On the Track of Unknown Animals. And that absolutely did it for me. I must have read that book dozens of times and I can virtually quote it. Then I became totally hooked and bought all the books I could find on the subject.
KS: I even found stories of crypto things right here in the Midlands [England]: such as unusual fish in the Walsall Arboretum; a giant eel in the Gas Street Basin canal system in Birmingham; and a few mystery cats, too. [Note from Nick: Karl's story about giant eels in the canals of the English city of Birmingham is notable, as I have heard pretty much identical tales - one of which is reproduced within the pages of my recently-published Man-Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot book.

NR: And how many books have you written now?

KS: This is the twelfth one. I've also been a consultant or contributor on about another dozen books, too, and have written several hundred articles.

NR: And what sort of plans do you have for the future?

KS: Me and Jon [Downes] have been talking about other books, including possibly one on prehistoric survivors. Jon and I have also discussed a project that I can't talk about right now; but it's crypto and a complete one-off, and nothing has ever been done like this before. But you'll have to wait for that one.

NR: Cheers, Karl.

KS: Thanks, Nick.

To purchase copies of Extraordinary Animals Revisited, click here and here.

Lisa Shiel on Bigfoot and Synchronicity

Lisa Shiel - author of the book Backyard Bigfoot - looks at Bigfoot, the paranormal, and synchronicities.

Ghostly Encounters at the Castle Ring

As I have noted on many occasions in the past, the ancient and historic Castle Ring that can be found in the woods of Cannock, Staffordshire, England has proven to be a veritable hotbed of cryptozoological activity, with several reports of shambling, black figures, and at least one big cat encounter, having surfaced in the last decade.

Located near the village of Cannock Wood and constructed between 500 B.C. and A.D. 40, Castle Ring is an Iron Age structure commonly known as a Hill Fort. The highest point on the Cannock Chase, it is 801 feet above sea level, and it main ditch and bank enclosure is fourteen feet high and, at its widest point, 853 feet across.

Little is known about the mysterious and long-forgotten people who built Castle Ring, except to say that its creators were already in residence at the time of the Roman invasion and remained there until approximately A.D. 50.

And now there's a new angle on the mystery of Castle Ring: ghostly orbs and spirit beings. The story - from this week's Chase Post newspaper - is related below, and here's the original link.

Spirits are alive on Castle Ring
Sep 5 2007
Spirit beings are 'alive and well' on Castle Ring.
Local paranormal investigators claim the spirits revealed themselves on camera during a ghost hunt at the historic site.
A dozen investigators took part in a 'psychic picnic' followed by an evening vigil at Castle Ring, Cannock Wood, a couple of weeks ago.
And members say they were astounded by the pictures of spirit mists and orbs - said to be the manifestations of spirit beings.
They also took dowsing rods traditionally used for finding water. But these began spinning in reaction to the spirits, they claim.
Organisers Dave and Viv Llewellyn say the psychic press now says there is scientific proof that such energies exist.
Dave told The Post: "Spirit energy was respectfully asked to allow their energy to come close and show themselves by spinning the rods and appearing on camera."
Dave said when pictures were taken without asking the spirits to appear there was nothing there. But when the group, which included psychic mediums, asked, the mists and orbs appeared.
"The change in energy could be felt quite distinctly," he added. "If someone felt there was something there, we stopped at points around the ring."
The investigation took place at Castle Ring from 9pm-10.20pm.
"One or two were nervous," Dave admitted. "But no-one had anything negative. They were just all inspired and fired up to learn more. This has not been done for entertainment, but by serious minded people."
Similar responses also took place during an earlier vigil that night near the German and Commonwealth Cemeteries at Cannock Chase. Organisers say orbs actually followed them along a pathway.
The event was organised in conjunction with Nicky Jones from Bridgtown psychic centre Into the Light.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Dark 30 Tour and Cryptozoology

On September 29 I'll be lecturing at the Dark 30 Tour in Asheville, NC. In addition to speaking about my books On the Trail of the Saucer Spies and Celebrity Secrets, I'll be devoting a significant amount of time to my new book, Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, and will be revealing some never-before-seen intriguing photos from my 5-years of hunting crypto-creatures in the US.

Here's the Press Release on the event for those wanting to go along:


For immediate release

For information: Joshua P. WarrenShadowbox Enterprises, LLC (828) 253-7736,

Asheville Gets Paranormal Tour in September: Jim Marrs, Nick Redfern, Joshua P. WarrenAsheville, N.C. (September, 2007) --

For one night, the world's greatest mysteries converge on Asheville, North Carolina, via three of the country's most notable experts on the weird.

Jim Marrs, Nick Redfern, and Joshua P. Warren make the second stop on their "Dark 30" Tour, which will delve into ghosts, UFOs, strange creatures, conspiracies and secret societies on Saturday, September 29, 2007, 1 p.m., in the Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company, 675 Merrimon Avenue.

The ten-hour-event is designed as the most comprehensive presentation on these controversial subjects ever produced.

"The concept was simple," says Warren, event Producer. "Let's take the biggest, most critical questions of our lifetimes and bluntly address them face-to-face with the best experts. There are restrictions on what we can say through TV, radio, and other media. But in person, we can finally tell the blatant truth. Some attendees will be uncomfortable, others will be elated. But we're frustrated, and we're ready to talk."

The trio is no stranger to censorship. Marrs, Redfern and Warren all investigated accounts of high strangeness in Roswell, NM, in 2005, and were shocked by the subsequent media cover-up that continues to this day. In addition to individual programs, the three will take the stage together in an open panel discussion on what really happened in Roswell, including new details never before made public.

"We're staking our reputations on this event," Warren stresses. "This is the only way to reach the public without intervention." Jim Marrs is a New York Times best-selling author, whose book "Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy," was a basis for the Oliver Stone film "JFK." His newest books are "The Terror Conspiracy: Deception, 9/11, and the Loss of Liberty" and "Psi Spies: The True Story of America's Psychic Warfare Program." He will speak on conspiracies and secret societies from the dawn of mankind to present day.

British native Nick Redfern is the author of numerous books including "Three Men Seeking Monsters," and "On the Trail of the Saucer Spies: UFOs and Government Surveillance." He will present on UFOs and strange creatures (known as cryptids), plus government files on the rich and famous.

Joshua P. Warren, host of Clear Channel's "Speaking of Strange," is the author of numerous books including "How to Hunt Ghosts," and his newest, "Pet Ghosts: Animal Encounters from Beyond the Grave." He will speak on ghostly phenomena and ESP, revealing the most amazing new photos and videos captured.

The event debuted in Kansas City, MO last December. The tour's second stop is Asheville, North Carolina, Warren's home town. It will be the first trip to Asheville for Jim Marrs and Nick Redfern, both now residents of Texas.

In addition to individual presentations and the panel discussion, the program includes a book signing and more.Less than 120 seats are available.

Tickets are $55 per person in advance, and must be purchased via online.

Tickets will be $60 per person at the door, if space is available. More information is also available on the website:

Texas Vampires?

Having been busy during the course of the Labor Day Weekend, I've got a bit behind on keeping up with things.
However, one thing that has most definitely caught the attention of Forteans everywhere in the last few days is the story of the weird beast killed earlier this year in Texas.
Frankly, I'm not going to say much about this as - although it's certainly an interesting story and other, similar such creatures have been found in Texas in recent years - I'm personally convinced that all of these animals are canids with a serious case of mange.
Let's hope DNA testing lays the matter to rest.