Monday, March 31, 2008

The North American Symposium on Sasquatch Research

If you're in the US and are interested in attending a Bigfoot symposium, here's a good one.

CFZ 2003 Year-Book: Back in Print

The CFZ's 2003 Year-Book is now back in print; professionally bound and with a new introduction from Jon D.

Monsters: In the News...

Having been on the road for the last four days, I haven't had much chance to check out the Net, aside from a cursory glance at things here and there. But here's a few stories that made their way to my Inbox while I was gone:

1. Carving the creatures;

2. The saga of the Lizard Man continues to rumble on;

3. Thanks to Kithra for bringing these two new British big-cat reports to my attention: story one ("we watched beast for thirty minutes") and story two from Shingle Street, Suffolk. Interestingly, Shingle Street is not far from Woodbridge: home to Britain's most famous UFO encounter - at nearby Rendlesham Forest, a place where ghostly black dogs, big cats and other weird beasts have been seen for years. And Shingle Street has a decidedly controversial and strange wartime secret attached to it, too;

4. Lisa Shiel and Regan Lee dig into one of the stranger aspects of the Bigfoot controversy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Britain's Black Cats

Big-Cat? Big-Dog?

Monster Hunt: Coming in August

I don't know anything about this book - Monster Hunt: The Guide to Cryptozoology by Rory Storm - aside from the fact that it's now listed at Amazon and goes on sale in August. Here's a list of other titles by the author.

Bigfoot - A Media Story

Bigfoot in the news...

Natalie Osborne-Thomason: Psychic Quest

A couple of weeks ago I had a fascinating conversation with a woman named Natalie Osborne-Thomason, who lives in Northampton, England. Natalie has had a lifetime of strange experiences, including encounters with a paranormal werewolf-type entity - with glowing red eyes, no less - and a large and black, mysterious cat. She has written several books, including one I definitely recommend: Psychic Quest, a book that received a glowing review from Fortean Times. Check it out (US link and UK link).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Neil Arnold on London's Water-Beasts...

Neil Arnold reveals some of the stranger things swimming in the dark waters of London...

The CFZ in Guyana: A Review

Last night I finished reading one of the two new book releases from the Center for Fortean Zoology: The CFZ Expedition Report 2007. The other latest release from CFZ Press - Michael A. Woodley's In the Wake of Bernard Heuvelmans - will be reviewed here next week.

But what about the Guyana book?

Well, this is one that definitely does not disappoint.

As readers of this blog will know, late last year the CFZ sent a five-person, CAPCOM-sponsored team to the wilds of Guyana to search for a whole range of weird and wonderful beasts - including giant anacondas, a hairy man-beast known as the Di-Di, an unidentified aquatic animal, and much more.

Consisting of CFZ zoologist Richard Freeman; Lisa Dowley; Dr. Chris Clark; journalist, author and TV script-writer Paul Rose; and the William Burroughs of cryptozoology: Jon Hare, the team spent an exciting - and at times distinctly harrowing - time battling heat-stroke, insects, broken bones and much more as they sought to unravel the truth and separate fact from folklore with respect to the monsters of Guyana.

And now, with the publication of the Expedition Report, you can finally read the full and unexpurgated story of what happened on what was surely the most difficult trek that CFZ investigators have ever endured.

With an Introduction from Jon Downes and a Foreword from Dr. Karl Shuker, the main body of the book is split into five sections, giving each of the team members the opportunity to record their own thoughts, recollections and observations of the expedition.

Your initial reaction might be that if no less than five people are all talking about the same expedition, things would get both repetitive and tedious pretty quickly. But you'd be very wrong.

The great thing about each team-member's report is that it is very different, unique and personal to the individual in question.

For example, as CFZ resident zoologist, Richard Freeman digs deep into the meat of the matter: he reveals some truly startling and eye-opening accounts pertaining to (a) wild encounters with Bigfoot-like entities (including one of a truly vicious nature); (b) red-faced pygmy-sized beings that Richard believes may be related to the Homo florisensis of the Indonesian island of Flores; (c) the savage Water-Tiger (is it a mystery felid, a mustelid or something else?); (d) numerous accounts of truly huge anacondas reported from Guyana, and much more.

Paul Rose's contribution is a very humorous one that focuses more upon the trials and tribulations that came with trying to get fit for the expedition; the hazards facing anyone who decides to head off to an exotic location in search of monsters; and the highs, lows and challenges that come with a road-trip on the other side of the world. Paul also reveals the intriguing story of his own encounter with a mystery animal a few years ago on the Isle of Wight.

As Jon Downes rightly points out, the expedition seems to have turned Jon Hare into a modern day William Burroughs, and his brief contribution will not disappoint - in any capacity!

Dr. Chris Clark reveals welcome material on 30-foot-long snakes, more on the mysterious pygmies of Guyana, as well as his own thoughts on the expedition as a whole and what was achieved.

And, finally, there is Lisa Dowley, who provides the reader with a very welcome, and highly detailed report that takes the reader from the very beginning - at Heathrow Airport, London - and right into the heart of the heat-soaked landscape of Guyana. Like Richard, Lisa has much to discuss about what the team was told with respect to the various unknown animals said to roam the land, such as Guyana's equivalent of the Yeti, and the Water-Tiger. Lisa also reveals a great deal on the team's trip to a small cave that housed a couple of urns containing ancient human remains; as well as her struggle to overcome a broken finger, smashed shoulder, and infected toe.

In addition, the book contains a fantastic photo section, that is comprised of no less than 68 pictures, and that graphically, and collectively, provide the reader with a truly excellent insight into Guyana's terrain, landscape, culture and weird and wonderful creatures.

You also get for your money an insightful piece from Jon Downes that describes his own recollections as he coordinated things from the CFZ Head Office in England, handled media publicity, and liaised with me when things got somewhat hairy after contact was mysteriously lost with the "Guyana Five" for a day or two.

And with another report from Richard Freeman on giant snakes, and a paper that details the sterling work of the next generation of the CFZ - Ross, David and Greg - this 239-page book is a fantastic addition to the CFZ's already-impressive output.

For me, the thing that stands out more than any other about this book is the way in which it reveals the team's dedication, enthusiasm, love of adventure and intrigue, and the willingness to (literally) risk life and limb as they seek to uncover the truth - and actually come away with copious amounts of notable data, too.

A book that tells us as much about strange creatures as it does about the people who search for them and why, The CFZ Expedition Report 2007 is a revealing, insightful and informative look at what really goes on when the CFZ goes on an overseas, exotic quest for monsters.

Monster Bunnies!

Don't mess with these guys!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Looking for Nessie

I well recall watching back in 1992 a BBC TV show titled Desperately Seeking Nessie, which profiled a man named Steve Feltham, who had taken the decision to quit his job and his regular life, and head to the shores of Loch Ness to seek out the monster of its darkened depths. And he's still there, nearly two decades later. And what is it that continues to drive Steve onwards and upwards in his search for the truth? You can now find out for yourself.

Regan Lee on the "Paranormal Bigfoot"

At her Trickster's Realm column at Binall of America, Regan Lee says: "The idea of 'paranormal Bigfoot' and supernatural or paranormal phenomena with other cryptic creatures is hard for some to take seriously. (It was for me, at first, many years ago.) But go deeper, and you’ll find something even stranger: some sort of bizarre connection between shadowy military, paramilitary, mind control and psy-op factions and strange creatures, such as Mothman, Bigfoot, and others."

Here's the rest of Regan's article.

If you are of the belief that Bigfoot is merely a flesh-and-blood animal - albeit one that is not yet categorized - the article is likely to raise your blood-pressure to significant degrees.

If like me, however, you are of the view that there is something decidedly weird about Bigfoot, you'll find it thoughtful and intriguing!

Loren Coleman on "Night of the Demon"

Following on from my post of a few days ago on the death of Night of the Demon actor Brian Wilde, Loren Coleman digs deeper into the film. Enjoy!

Tom Slick: Under the Spotlight

Craig Woolheater, of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy, profiles one of the most intriguing characters that ever populated the field of cryptozoology: Tom Slick. Click here and here for details.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lovecraftian Monsters

A two-foot wide starfish and jelly-fish with twelve-foot tentacles: H.P. Lovecraft would be proud! And on the subject of Lovecraft...

The Zorgy Awards

Nope, it's not the Oscars or the Emmys, but it is a welcome bit of light relief and fun in a field that is all-too-often filled with humorless, self-important, ego-driven souls. It's the Zorgy Awards. And I actually do quite well in both the cryptozoological and ufological stakes! Thanks to all who voted and to the mighty zorgster himself!

Monsters of Guyana: In Print!

The Center for Fortean Zoology's new book on its November 2007 expedition to Guyana in search of giant-snakes, hairy man-beasts, the mysterious Water-Tiger and much more is now available for purchase. As soon as I've read it (a copy is on its way to me right now), a full review will appear here.

In the meantime, to purchase your own copy of CFZ Expedition Report 2007 Guyana (which has a foreword from Dr. Karl Shuker) click here.

Loch Ness Terror

The Sci-Fi Channel's film Loch Ness Terror comes to DVD next month. And on a related matter, there's this, and, over at Cryptomundo, a review of the film from Loren Coleman. In the entertainment stakes, it's not a bad film at all, and one that follows the path of many such productions. In other words, various characters meet gruesome ends courtesy of a marauding monster. I know some people get a little too serious about how cryptozoology is portrayed in on-screen fictional films. However, my view is that a bit of light entertainment, in which the body-count rises as the monsters get ever more angry and vengeful, never hurt anyone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Big Cats - Stories Wanted

If you've had an encounter with a big-cat in the English county of Yorkshire, contact author Andy Owens, who is writing a new book called Paranormal West Yorkshire and looking for stories to include.

Brian Wilde RIP

Brian Wilde was a British actor who has just died at the age of 80. His name may not be too familiar to people outside Britain; however, his face was a regular one on British TV - particularly in the BBC comedy shows: Porridge and Last of the Summer Wine.

Wilde also had a pivotal role in my all-time favorite film: the 1957 production of Night of the Demon (released in the US as Curse of the Demon), starring Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins and Niall MacGinnis. A true classic, the film has more than a few Fortean elements to it - including, for fans of cryptozoology - a close-encounter with a paranormal big-cat.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lisa Shiel: Bigfoot and The Invisible World...

Lisa Shiel has a new, three-part feature at her Backyard Phenomena blog called The Invisible World.

In part one, Lisa begins: "All paranormal phenomena are connected. I can't prove that statement. But when you study the paranormal for very long, strange things start to pop out at you. Paranormal phenomena often cluster in certain areas, or around certain people. Bigfoot, UFOs, poltergeists, fairies...the lines between them begin to blur. The phenomena also share traits in common: the ability to appear/disappear at will; a tendency to abduct humans; the belief by percipients that the phenomenon will impart some great wisdom to them; a long, worldwide history of legends and sightings; an elusive quality that makes scientific study of the phenomenon impossible. The list could go on and on. I also see another aspect common to all the phenomena—they seem to come from 'elsewhere.'"

With that, I most definitely agree.

Here the links to the relevant parts of Lisa's feature: Part One; Part Two; and Part Three.

A Peculiar Pool

An odd one, to say the very least...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On Uncanny Radio Tonight

Check out tonight's Uncanny Radio show - it looks to be a very good one and will focus on Florida's Skunk-Ape.

Here's the blurb from Uncanny Radio's website:

Charlie Carlson is the author of a dozen Florida books, big and small, and over 200 magazine and newspaper articles about Florida's past and folklore. He is a past president of the Seminole County Florida Historical Society and serves on the advisory board of two museums.

Known by his younger followers as Florida's Master of the Weird, Charlie has appeared in numerous television documentaries, including playing the role of Professor Charles Moorehouse in The Curse of the Blair Witch on the SciFi Channel and in Blockbuster's rental video, Stix and Stones.

He is featured in a DVD titled The Hunt for the Devil and in several television documentaries related to unexplained phenomena and Florida history in addition to producing his own documentaries. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television talk shows across the country and in Florida, in addition to being featured in an equal number of newspapers and magazines.

His current activity is producing and appearing in a one hour ghost hunt DVD, a production of Blue Heron International Pictures, titled "Henry Blackhart is Dead."

For more information contact: Dot Diehl or Kelly Roberts, PR agents

A British Big Cat Encounter

Another mysterious, big black cat has been seen in England.

Rendlesham Mystery Animals in "Beyond"

The new issue (No. 14) of Britain's Beyond Magazine has an article from me on one of the nation's most mysterious locations: Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk. Although chiefly known for its famous UFO incident of December 1980, the forest has been a hotbed of unusual animal activity for years. My article includes a wealth of stories concerning sightings in the forest of big cats, ghostly black dogs and a strange creature that became known as the Shug-Monkey. And only a stone's throw away, I reveal, is a place called Orford - the site of a centuries old "Wild Man"-type encounter. If you thought that UFOs were the strangest thing about Rendlesham Forest, it's time to think again!
Also: check out Karl Shuker's article in the same issue on lake-monsters.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


A modern-day equivalent of the infamous Black Dogs of old England? Well...not quite...but this ominous-looking beast is definitely just as weird. And you may just see it patrolling the streets near you one day...

The Hobbit Debate Continues

The controversy surrounding what the little people of Flores were - or indeed were not - continues to circulate, and with no sign of coming to an end anytime soon.

Memorias de un Cazador de Monstruos

For those who speak Spanish, a new edition of my Memoirs of a Monster Hunter book has just been published in South America and is titled Memorias de un Cazador de Monstruous. Several of my books have been published overseas (Cosmic Crashes was published in Portugal, both A Covert Agenda and The FBI Files were published in Poland), and it's always interesting to see a new edition even if I can't read it!

The publisher is Alamah, and here's their website-page on the book.

In the Wake of Bernard Heuvelmans

Here's a book that should be required reading for anyone with an interest in sea-serpents: the brand new publication from the Center for Fortean Zoology.

Titled In the Wake of Bernard Heuvelmans, it's written by Michael A. Woodley, with a foreword from Dr. Karl Shuker.

The blurb that goes with the book states: "Ever since humankind first ventured out onto the oceans, sailors came back with stories of sea monsters. For two hundred years, scientists have been attempting to classify these 'creatures' within an acceptable zoological frame of reference. The most important of these was produced by Professor Bernard Heuvelmans half a century ago. Michael Woodley, takes a look at Heuvelmans' classification model, re-examines it in the light of new discoveries in palaeontology and ichthyology over the past fifty years, and reaches some astounding conclusions."

And here's some background on the author, again courtesy of the CFZ:

"Michael Woodley has been an avid fan of Cryptozoology for as long as he can remember. He credits his early fascination with the discipline as being the catalyst for his life long love of Biology. He has published scientific articles on subjects ranging from Environmental Engineering to Physical Anthropology, and is the author of The Limits of Ecology: New Perspectives from a Theoretical Borderland - a book of essays on Theoretical Ecology, and In the wake of Bernard Heuvelmans - The history - and Future - of Sea-Serpent Classification. Michael holds a BSc degree from Columbia University, New York. He is currently studying for a PhD at the University of London, where he is investigating plant-bacteria interactions."

From what Jon Downes has told me already, I think this is likely to be one of the most significant and important books ever published by CFZ Press.

A copy is on its way to me for review, so as soon as I've received and read it, you can expect a full review right here - followed later by an interview with the author.

If you're reading this in the US, click here to buy the book. For UK readers, click here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Radio Bigfoot - Tonight

This just in from the people at Beyond the Edge Radio:

Beyond The Edge Radio welcomes back co-host Sean Forker to Friday night's show. Join Sean and Eric your Co-hosts as they talk all things "Bigfoot" with special guests Steve "The Squatch Detective" Kulls and "Sasquatch Watch of Virginia director" Billy Williard, both co-hosts of their own show "Squatch Detective Radio," to the show Friday night March 14, 2008 at 9:00 pm est.

Steve is a New York State Licensed and Bonded Private Investigator and former heavy metal front man. Steve became interested originally in the Bigfoot phenomenon in 1975, at the age of 5 when he saw "The Legend of Boggy Creek." Years later, Steve read a local publication called "Monsters of the Northwoods."

In 1999 Steve formed the Adirondack Research Organization, which was the first In 2006 the website was reformatted to a national organization. The organization has taken on the controversial from day one and intends to keep on track with the latest developments and gaining exclusives.

Steve is a member of the North East Sasquatch Research Association (NESRA), Northern Sasquatch Research Society (NSRS) The American Bigfoot Society (ABS), The Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers (AIBR) and the Sasquatch Research Initiative. Steve is also a member of the searching for Bigfoot field investigation team.

To visit Steve's website go to

Billy Willard, is Vice President of an environmental consulting firm and oversees such projects as leaking underground petroleum tanks, soil and groundwater remediation projects and performs environmental site assessments. Billy is an OSHA Hazwoper Supervisor and holds many other credentials.

Billy became interested in the Bigfoot Phenomenon early in life as a kid after watching such movies as Legend of Boggy Creek and the Creature from Black Lake . In 2005, Billy and his son Josh formed the Sasquatch Watch of Virginia. Billy is a member and investigator for the American Bigfoot Society (ABS), The Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers. (AIBR), the Northeast Sasquatch Researchers Association (NESRA), Squatchdetective and the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society (PBS).

Sasquatch Watch of Virginia is a privately funded Bigfoot/Sasquatch scientific research organization. We conduct field investigations and scientific field research within the areas of reported Bigfoot/Sasquatch encounters in Virginia .Through the years, we have researched this mystery at numerous Bigfoot/Sasquatch encounter locations. You may visit our website at

Join us for a fun filled night of searching for the elusive "Bigfoot" as Eric and Sean Welcome Steve the Squatch Detective Kulls and Billy Willard of Sasquatch Watch of Virginia, as once again we take you on a journey Beyond the Edge!

Eric Altman – Co-Host
Sean Forker – Co-Host and Producer
Instant message us at beyond_the_edgeradio on Yahoo Messenger
Or beyondter on AOL messenger
Call in: 1-646-716-9640
“Beyond The Edge Radio.” “If you’re not listening you’re just stupid!”

Eric Altman
Director,Co-host, Conference Chairman
Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society
Beyond The Edge Radio

An Irish Big Cat

Is a big-cat on the loose in Ireland? Maybe...(with photo).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Animal Attacks....

Mystery animal attacks horses....

Coming Soon: The Island of Paradise

Over at his Still on the Track blog, CFZ Director Jon Downes has much to say about what he's up to right now, including the following on his very-soon-to-be-published new book, The Island of Paradise:

"My biggest news is that last night, after having worked on it, on and off for nearly four years, my new book - The Island of Paradise - is finally completed. It is, I believe, the most comprehensive book ever written on the subject of the mystery animals of Puerto Rico, and it tells the story of my two expeditions there in 1998 and 2004. Weighing in at over, 120,000 words, it is going to be a fairly massive tome. Because Nick Redfern accompanied me on the second expedition, and also because I have libelled him unmercifully throughout the volume, I am allowing him a right of reply, and, the manuscript is presently with him, so he can add his comments to the end of each chapter."

Well, of course, Jon mercilessly libels me throughout the book! It is, after all, a suitably apt revenge for the things I write about him all the time!

Joking aside, yesterday Jon sent me a Word document of the now-completed book (of which I've now read about 60 per cent) and I can already say for certain that The Island of Paradise is a fantastic study of all things monstrous and strange on Puerto Rico. Indeed, it includes fascinating data on the Goat-Sucker, the Devil-Birds, the Moca Vampire and more.

The book also digs deeply into the UFO angle of the whole controversy - an angle that includes stories of crashed UFOs, disturbing genetic mutations on the island, and some seriously weird X-Files-style tales.

And, as Jon says, I'll be writing a kind of "diary entry" at the end of each chapter that will provide my own thoughts, opinions and recollections. Running at more than 300 pages and with numerous photos, the book is one that will appeal to Forteans everywhere. Plus, Jon's art-team has come up with a great cover for the book that suitably captures the atmosphere of our 2004 expedition to Puerto Rico.

I'll let you know as soon as The Island of Paradise is published.

PS: For those that are wondering, yes that is a photo of me getting up close and personal with a tasty female Goat-Sucker while roaming around the island with Paul Kimball in late 2005.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bigfoot and the Orb Controversy

Bigfoot researcher and author Lisa Shiel delves into the mysterious world of Bigfoot and Orbs.

As Lisa says: "Sightings involving glowing orbs and Bigfoot, while rare, do exist in the annals of paranormal research. Glowing orbs also associate themselves with fairies and UFOs. The synchronicity of Bigfoot and glowing orbs seems even more prevalent than sightings of the two together. Both phenomena will occur in the same small area—say, on one person's property—at different times. But what are orbs, and why do they occur with or in the same area as Bigfoot?"

And for the rest of the article, and Lisa's views on the matter, you know what you have to do: click right here.

Beasts of London - In the Top 50

Congratulations to Neil Arnold - author of the book Monster! - whose Beasts of London blog is now listed as one of London's top 50 websites by Time Out. Nice one, Neil!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monsters on "Culture of Contact"

Last night, Jeremy Vaeni interviewed me for his Culture of Contact show. The interview has just been posted online and here's the link. You'll hear much about the Puerto Rican Goat-Sucker, Bigfoot, lake-monsters and a great deal more. We also get into several other Fortean-driven topics too. Enjoy!

Big Cat Gig At You Tube

Jon Downes has just alerted me to some excellent news: he has just posted to You Tube all of the various videos of the speakers who lectured at last weekend's Big Cats in Britain conference.

Here's the link.

You'll see that a couple of the links have the date listed as 2007, rather than 2008. Jon assures me they are from this year's event, however, and that the insertion of the incorrect date is what - in highly technical and scientific terms - is known as a screw-up and will shortly be rectified.

Take a look: you definitely won't be disappointed. There are hours and hours of first-class presentations from the leading lights of cryptozoology on mysterious big cats roaming the UK and elsewhere.

A Monstrous Round-Up

A few monstrous items for your entertainment: (a) The latest on the Palau Hobbits; (b) The Jersey Devil resurfaces (kind of); and (c) The renewed interest in the Lizard Man continues to grow.

Bigfoot Blanket

Thanks to the Blogsquatcher again for alerting us to yet another piece of film-footage that purports to show Bigfoot - and this time a dead one...allegedly. Frankly, I'm not impressed; and I have to agree with the Blogsquatcher when he talks about the hair seemingly having the consistency of a towel, blanket or rug.

Bigfoot Goes To Austin (Kind Of...)

Anomaly Magazine highlights the showing of the new film, Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie, at the Alamo Ritz in Austin, Texas. Catch it this Friday night at 11.59 p.m if you're in town.

Monday, March 10, 2008

On the Radio: The British Bigfoot and More

Last week, researcher and fellow-Brit Sam Willey interviewed me about my book Man-Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot, as well as my wider cryptozoological studies. The interview is now online and can be downloaded here.

Monster Expeditions: Now and Soon

As preparations begin for a new East Texas Bigfoot hunt, a quest to uncover the truth about a certain Florida-based beast is pushing ahead right now.

Linda Godfrey on the Wisconsin Werewolf

Linda Godfrey, America's leading and fearless werewolf-slayer (well, okay, in reality Linda is a werewolf researcher and author - but slayer sounds much cooler, right?), discusses all-things hairy, wolfish and monstrous (and a few other weird tales and legends, too) from her home state of Wisconsin.

Neil Arnold on Kent Big-Cats

Neil Arnold, author of the excellent book, Monster! (and the forthcoming Mystery Animals of Kent) is featured prominently in this article that details the latest big-cat reports from the British County of Kent.

The New Issue of "Fate"

The new (March) issue of Fate Magazine contains several crypto stories that are gonna interest and entertain you: one on a Florida sea-monster; a Bigfoot story subtitled "Bigfoot Abduction Suspected;" and from Rick Roberts an article titled "The Beast of Bolivia: Unknown Creature Terrorizes North Carolina Town."

More on the Lizard Man

The Lizard Man, dead animals and more: yep, the controversy continues to rumble.
Story One; and Story Two (with video).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Jon Downes on the Owlman

Jon Downes has posted an article on the British equivalent of Mothman - the macabre Owlman -to the CFZ's website; and it's essential reading for anyone interested in weird winged things. And with that, here's Jonny......

In April 1976, Tony Shiels, known to many as 'Doc' and sometimes as 'The Wizard of the Western World' wrote a letter:

"A very weird thing happened over the Easter weekend. A holiday-maker from Preston, Lancs., told me about something his two young daughters had seen ... a big, feathered bird-man hovering over the church tower at Mawnan (a village near the mouth of the Helford River). The girls (June 12, and Vicky, daughters of Mr Don Melling), were so scared that the family cut their holiday short and went back three days early. This really is a fantastic thing, and I am sure the man wasn't just making it up because he'd been told I was on a monster hunt. I couldn't get the kids to talk about it (in fact, their father wouldn't even let me try), but he gave me a sketch of the thing drawn by June.

"There have been no reports, so far as I know, of anybody else seeing the Bird-Man ... even if it turned out to be just a fancy dress hang-glider, you'd think someone else would have spotted him ... but Mawnan is not a place for hang-gliding! I really don't know what to think ... it's as if a whole load of weirdness has been let loose in the Falmouth area since last autumn!"

Although, if you read any of the books on general mystery animals such as Alien Animals by Janet and Colin Bord, or indeed any of the contemporary copies of Fortean Times the claim that Cornwall had been particularly weird at the time is often made, it is not until you visit the Cornish Studies Library in the back streets of Redruth, sit yourself down at one of their microfiche machines, and physically examine twelve months or more's issues of The Falmouth Packet, The West Briton and The Western Morning News that you can see quite how strange the time actually was.

For a period between the late autumn of 1975 and the early spring of 1977 it seems that Southern Cornwall was seized by a period of collective madness. Much of this is chronicled in some depth in my book The Owlman and Others but even there I think that I failed to give a true picture of quite how strange the area had become.

There were dramatic extremes in the weather - droughts and floods - heatwaves and frozen wastes. The local animal life went (figuratively and literally) crazy; one unfortunate woman was imprisoned in her house by hordes of attacking birds which literally beat themselves to death against the walls of her house, which was dripping red with their blood. Another woman was similarly imprisoned by a mob of feral cats, dog attacks trebled, swimmers were attacked by dolphins (who also saved other swimmers from drowning), and there were reports that cattle belonging to local farmers had developed the power of teleportation. Most interesting to the fortean were the burgeoning numbers of UFO sightings and the reports of three entirely different sets of mystery animal in the region; Morgawr (the Cornish Sea Serpent), the Cornish mystery big cats and the Owlman of Mawnan.

Here's the rest of Jon's weird story! And, if you haven't read it, be sure to check out Jon's book on the subject: The Owlman and Others.

On The Trail...

...of the white whale.

Captured On Film: But What Is It?

New footage of, well, something caught on film. To view it, scroll down the page-link and click on the "Latest Video" section. It's very brief, but intriguing. As The Blogsquatcher notes: "The host looks properly spooked about it..."

Predator-Style Beast on the Radio...

Thanks to The Anomalist for this one: details of the latest episode of the excellent new Uncanny Radio show co-hosted by Linda Godfrey, author of two of the best cryptozoological books of this decade: The Beast of Bray Road and Hunting the American Werewolf.

Interview: Bestselling Author Brad Steiger
Award winning authors Linda Godfrey and Stephen D. (Manwolf) Sullivan welcome New York Times bestselling author Brad Steiger, one of the mainstays among paranormal authors, to their new downloadable weekly podcast. Steiger discusses spirit parasites, globe lights, mimics and several other potentially harmful entities as described in his book Shadow World, while Linda fields reports of a "Predator-style" beast sighted in Michigan.

Texas Mysteries: A Forthcoming Lecture

Hidden Headlines of Texas by Chad Lewis is an excellent book published last year and available at Amazon for purchase.

This is a real gem as it details countless little known newspaper articles on all-things weird in the state of Texas from the latter part of the 19th Century to the early years of the 20th Century.

I wrote the Foreword to the book and - living in Dallas, Texas myself - I can safely say that if you are even remotely interested in the historical weirdness of the Lone Star State, then this is a book you will most definitely not want to miss.

As for cryptozoology and weird animals specifically, how you can resist learning about (a) the mystery puma of Whitewright; (b) the story of the seven-legged calf; (c) the 40-foot-long tapeworm that was removed from a child’s stomach; (d) the shaggy Wildman of the San Antonio River; (e) giant eagles; (f) a ten-horned cow; and (g) the Lovecraftian pig-baby of Groesbeck.

And the good news is that Chad is coming to Texas next weekend to promote his book. Here's the Press-Release for those that may want to attend his lecture:

Bizarre Texas History

Denton TX – UFOs sightings in the Texas sky are not a new phenomenon; in fact, a mysterious airship was reported in Denton in April 1897. Chad Lewis, author and paranormal investigator, will explore this sighting and other bizarre stories reported in turn-of-the-century Texas Newspapers.

Join us at the Emily Fowler Central Library at 502 Oakland Street, March 15, 2008 at 3:00 for this fascinating presentation cosponsored by the Denton Area Paranormal Society. Copies of the book “
Hidden Headlines of Texas” will be available for purchase.

For more information, contact Laura Douglas, Special Collections Librarian, at 940-349-8749 or at

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Monster-Hunting Mr. & Mrs.

A welcome, behind-the-scenes look at how the fair-maiden Corinna tamed what was once known as "The Beast of the Center for Fortean Zoology."

The Texas Bigfoot: A New Website

Check out the new website of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy for all the latest news on what's afoot in the Lone Star State.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Island Mysteries

Meanwhile, over at one of my other blogs, dark things are afoot on the island of Puerto Rico...

The Cretin Hop

As the Ramones said: "1, 2, 3, 4, cretins wanna hop some more."

CFZ Yearbooks - Back In Print

Well, I'm pleased to announce that the CFZ has just re-issued in perfect, bound-format two of its older, previously self-published titles: The CFZ 1996 Yearbook and The CFZ 1999 Yearbook.

These are very welcome new editions of the now hard to find originals, and are packed with masses of material from earlier years of the CFZ's research and work.

Within the pages of the 1996 edition you'll find papers on Sky-Beasts and Cloud-Creatures by Dr. Karl Shuker; the legendary "black dog" known as Black Shuck; out-of-place big-cats; flying snakes; dinosaur survival; the Loch Ness Monster; and much more.

The 1999 edition offers much too, including a lengthy paper from Jon Downes and Richard Freeman on the question of whether or not pockets of neanderthals still survive; the Beast of Bluebell Hill; and a host of other papers on all-things cryptozoological.

Both books come with brand new introductions by Jon Downes that reveal welcome information on the original editions, and, for those that weren't there to see it, thoughts and memories on what life was like at the CFZ in its formative years.

For me personally, it's good to see that the early research, files, papers and articles of the CFZ have not been lost to the fog of time and are becoming available - and in professionally produced volumes for all to see, no less.

You won't be disappointed by these two new CFZ titles - guaranteed!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lion on the Loose?

Is a lion on the loose in the English county of Nottinghamshire? Interestingly, Nottingham (as well as being the home of Robin Hood, of course) has also been the site of several Bigfoot-type reports - and within Sherwood Forest, no less.

Corinna Downes on "Ethna's Journal."

Although most of the books that the CFZ publishes are on the subject of cryptozoology, there have been exceptions, such as Jon Downes' The Blackdown Mystery (a hilarious look at the British Ufological scene and a certain "crash-retrieval" incident from the 1990s).

And another exception is the recently-published Ethna's Journal, written by Corinna Downes, wife of CFZ Director, Jon.

Jon describes the book as follows: "Ethna's Journal is the first novel by my darling wife, Corinna. Ethna's Journal tells the story of a few months in an alternate Dark Ages, seen through the eyes of Ethna, daughter of Lord Edric. She is an unsophisticated girl from the fortress town of Cragnuth, somewhere in the north of England, who reluctantly gets embroiled in a web of treachery, sorcery and bloody war. Well, of course I would have said nice things about it - whatever it was like - because, n case you haven't noticed, I love my wife, and will always support her in her endeavours. However, the book happens to be really good. It is very reminiscent, to me, at least, of Michael Moorcock, around about the time he was writing the Runestaff series, and Ethna - the eponymous heroine of Corinna's book - is considerably more three dimensional a character than Dorien Hawkmoon, and a damn sight more sexy!"

A few days ago I caught up with Corinna at CFZ HQ and talk to her about her book, the writing process, and more. Here's what she had to say:

Nick: "Corinna, I thought the book was excellent, and particularly for a first-time author. Have you had a long history of writing, or was this your first attempt?"

Corinna: "I used to write really weird poems when I was in my teens; and I had a couple of attempts at writing other things, but then gave up. But then this one just kept going, really."

Nick: "And what was it that prompted you to focus on this particular story?"

Corinna: "Well, I just love that whole era; that whole time in English history. I shoot the long-bow too, which was one of the main weapons of that time. I used to do archery at a local technical college; and one day I saw someone there with a long-bow and I thought I'd have a go, and fell in love with it. This was about three years ago. Now, I shoot in the back garden here at the CFZ!"

Nick: "How would you describe the book"

Corinna: "It's about a young woman who lives a fairly solitary life in this isolated fortress and who doesn't feel loved by her father because when she was born her mother and twin-brother died. Then this chap comes along and she suddenly gets embroiled in a journey - she grows up really, changes, and gets involved in sorcery. And so it's her journey, through her life."

Nick: "How did you find the writing process, in terms of having to get to grips with writing a full-length book?"

Corinna: "I really enjoyed it. I had no intention of publishing; I was just doing it to get what I was thinking in my head down on paper. The reason being that a lot of her is based on me, in a way: my thoughts. She's sort of me, really. So, if I felt frustrated about something, it would come out in the book, in a diary fashion. I'd often do an hour or so on the laptop before I went to sleep, and it worked well. It was pleasurable to write the book rather than just a task that I had to do."

To buy your own copy of Ethna's Journal, click here.

Even though I say so myself, Corinna's book is a very entertaining page-turner and well worth investing in. So, you know what to do: buy!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lisa Shiel, Bigfoot and the Paranormal

Lisa Shiel digs further into the controversy of Bigfoot and the Paranormal:

"Must a Bigfoot-type creature seen with a UFO or other high strangeness be called something other than Bigfoot? Many researchers would say yes. Why?They often have quasi-logical explanations for saying creatures spotted with UFOs aren't Bigfoot, even though the beasties look like Bigfoot. But the real explanation lies in the underbelly of Bigfoot research—the researchers' feelings. Too often emotion becomes entangled with the investigation, as the researcher struggles to justify throwing out sightings that disturb him. High strangeness associated with Bigfoot clearly disturbs a lot of people. Therefore, researchers attempt to separate the so-called flesh-and-blood Bigfoot from the so-called paranormal Bigfoot. But there's a problem.Bigfoot is paranormal, no matter how you view it."

Here's the rest of Lisa's post.

British Big Cats - On The Loose

As further evidence to my post of earlier today, here's two more stories of big-cats roaming around Britain:

Story One and Story Two.

Interestingly, the latter case involves a creature seen prowling around a graveyard in a cemetery in the English county of Kent. Graveyards are regular haunts for strange beasts in the British Isles - the legendary phantom black dogs of centuries-past being a perfect case in point. And there have been several such encounters with big-cats at the German Cemetery in the woods of England's Cannock Chase.

Physical beasts, paranormal entities, or a curious and poorly understood blend of the two?

Monster-Hunting Q&A

Loren Coleman under the microscope.

The Return of the Lizard-Man!

Now here's a character we haven't seen in a while...

Big Cats 2008 - A Review

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I recently received a copy of the CFZ's latest book: Big Cats in Britain Yearbook 2008 edited by big-cat authority, Mark Fraser. Well, I read the book over the weekend, and I can say for certain you don't want to miss this one if big-cats are your thing.

Indeed, for the big cat devotee, the latest Yearbook contains much that will inform, intrigue and entertain. After a foreword from Merrily Harpur - author of the truly excellent book Mystery Big Cats - we are treated to a review of the 2007 Big Cats in Britain Conference by Christine Hall. Christine's review takes a slightly different, and welcome, approach, however, as it delves deep into the value of such events, rather than merely its content.

And as Christine astutely concludes with respect to the conference: "It brought gravitas to a subject often perceived as fringe, although it was clearly demonstrated by the speakers that the issue of big cats in our countryside is a very serious issue with many ramifications."

Brian Percival's paper, Mixing Art and the Curriculum, is an interesting one and delves into mysterious big cats seen in the north of England; as well as a notable project involving England's Bolton Museum and Art Gallery.

Every Village Should Have One by John Beart reveals details of his own, personal encounters with big-cats; and Rick Minter explores reports of such creatures on the loose in the English county of Gloucestershire.

Christopher Johnston explores the issue of territory vs. range with respect to these elusive beasts of Britain; Frank Tunbridge has an article titled Black Panther Killed on Bypass; and Chris Hall reveals how discussing the big-cat issue in passing conversation can bring forth intriguing witness testimony.

However, the most important contribution is the Big Cat Diary, which, from pages 45 to 230, details countless big-cat reports in 2007 from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Southern Ireland.

The reports are both impressive and diverse and should convince pretty much anyone and everyone that large, unknown cats do inhabit the UK - and may well have done so for a very long time. You'll find in these sections masses of data that would otherwise be very hard to locate. For that reason alone, the book is an essential purchase.

And everything is rounded off by Mark Fraser, who provides an excellent summary on the history, work, aims and objectives of the Big Cats in Britain group.

Great value for money and highly informative!

"On The Track" - Episode 6

The new episode of the Center for Fortean Zoology's On the Track has now been posted to YouTube and details the latest news, views, discoveries and more from the world of the CFZ. Enjoy!