Thursday, October 29, 2009


A couple of strange new posts over at today's Anomalist:

The Creature Rings Twice: A Bizarre Cryptid Sighting From Illinois The Parafactor. In a report dating back to the mid-1960s, a central Illinois woman recalls her sightings of a large, white creature that she described as hairy with skinned features. She first saw the being during a walk home at night as a teenager, then later narrowly escaped the pursuing creature after a face to face encounter through a window. Years later she encountered the creature again in Kentucky as a married mother of two kids. Can the same creature have traveled hundreds of miles through the years to find the same woman? Elsewhere, the post from January on The Mount Vernon Monster has been updated, as several more sightings have been reported.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Websites and Blogs

Good news: Ken Gerhard (who, don't forget, is featured on The Real Wolfman on the History Channel tonight) has a new website devoted to his crypto-work.

And the CFZ's Michigan rep, Raven Meindel, has a new blog.

Check 'em out!

Thunderbirds, Nessie & More...

A fine selection of stories from today's Anomalist:

New Thunderbird Sighting Still on the Track. On Sunday night in Pacifica, Missouri, witnesses describe seeing "a massive flying creature...It was brownish/grey and the body portion was at least the size of a large adult human." It was about 200 feet away and seemed to be following their car. Elsewhere, The Chinese Cat Girl; Sasquatch hunters hope to find proof in Dolly Sods in Virginia; and a 1936 film that claimed to show the first evidence of the Loch Ness monster can be seen online beginning at 8:20 in this video: The Loch Ness Monster: Proof at Last!

Karl Shuker's Latest

The following press-release is just in from the main CFZ office in Woolsery, England:

Today Dr Karl Shuker is a world-renowned author on cryptozoology and animal mythology, with over a dozen books and countless articles to his name, but long before his first book on such subjects had been published he was already a prolific poet.

Yet in stark contrast to his continuing output of scientific writings, his poetry has remained largely unseen by the outside world – only his family, friends, and selected colleagues have ever read any of his very sizable collection of poems…until now.

At last, after having been hidden away for many years in a couple of dusty folders, a rich selection of Dr Shuker’s poems has finally been compiled, enabling the CFZ Press to present this world-exclusive to his many fans and poetry readers in general.

Just as his non-fiction writings have documented a wide range of subjects, so too do Dr Shuker’s verses – from the wonders of the natural world, and the mysteries of other worlds far beyond our comprehension, to deeply personal recollections and contemplations of his past, present, and future, his faith in God, and also a series of poems written especially for children.

Welcome to a world of star steeds and nightingales, childhood’s end and silent farewells, realms of dreams and shadows, memory’s mirror and ghosts from the past, Faerie worlds and flying horses, the voice of the winds and the music of the spheres, roses and rainbows, airports, angels, balloons, butterflies, clowns, dragons, elves, fireworks, monasteries, poppies, Stonehenge, tattoos, UFOs, unicorns, and much much more. Even Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, makes an appearance.

All of these and many others too await your company within the pages of this very different but truly delightful book by Dr Shuker, offering its fortunate readers a fascinating, unique glimpse of a alternate line of literary evolution equal to but hitherto overshadowed by his cryptozoological writings. So let his star steed transport you right now to a magical, enchanting world that only poetry has the power to create, deep within the glorious infinity of our own imagination.

Buy it now:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Real Wolfman

Tomorrow night, the History Channel broadcasts a 2-hour show called The Real Wolfman, which tells the strange, intriguing and notorious story of the Beast of Gevaudan. The star of the show (the beast aside, of course!) is good friend Ken Gerhard, who sets off to France in an effort to try and resolve the puzzle.

Ken has told me a lot about the show over the last few months, and it sounds like it will be an excellent production. Here's the link for times etc, for those who may want to watch the show.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Eye to the Sky

Last week, I was interviewed by Dee Andrew for her Eye to the Sky radio show. We delved deeply into the world of cryptozoology; as well as the data contained in my new book, Science Fiction Secrets.

Anomalist Monsters

Don't forget to check out the last few days of The Anomalist - there have been some cool crypto links posted.

Looking Back At The Lytham Beast

Several years ago a strange creature was seen roaming around the English town of Lytham St. Anne's. Various theories were offered at the time, but the matter was never really resolved; and the beast seemed to vanish as mysteriously as it had arrived - as it often does in such cases! Here's my overview of the affair, newly-posted to my Lair of the Beasts column at

Neil Arnold and...

...the Museum of Monsters.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mac Tonnies Gone

The news that good friend, fellow author and Fortean writer and researcher Mac Tonnies has passed away suddenly at the age of only 34, is tragic, mind-numbing and overwhelmingly saddening.

It’s difficult (as it always is in such situations) to put my thoughts and feelings into words. But, my first thoughts are, of course, with Mac’s family at this terrible time.

I first came across Mac in 2004, when Paraview-Pocket Books published his book, After the Martian Apocalypse, which is a very good, and highly balanced, study of the Face on Mars controversy. I interviewed Mac not long after the book came out for the now-defunct Phenomena Magazine, and we stayed in touch, and soon became friends - albeit at the time purely by email and sometimes by lengthy night-time phone-calls, during which we would chat about Forteana, music and more.

Then, in late 2006 - at Paul Kimball’s New Frontiers Symposium in Halifax, Nova Scotia - we got to meet up, along with Greg Bishop and several others for a weekend of Forteana, UFOs, Cryptozoology, and general high-strangeness.

Needless to say, it was a fun few days, and I have a lot of good memories of Mac from that gig - he gave a fine presentation, everyone had a great time, and there was a cool vibe in the air. After that, me and Mac continued to stay in regular contact. Indeed, only a couple of months ago I interviewed him for an upcoming project, about which he was very excited - and now he’s gone; which I am still finding hard to believe and accept.

Mac was a great thinker and a thoughtful individual. He was a person with much to say and who had the skills to say it, too. And, with the manuscript of his planned book The Cryptoterrestrials nearly completed, I truly believe that Mac was about to come into his own in the Fortean field on a very large scale indeed.

He was also my friend, and I’ll greatly miss him.

Mac was taken far too early; so let’s always remember the man, the friend, and the work that he left behind. That’s really all I want to say right now.

PS: The photo above shows Mac (on the left) with Greg Bishop, sharing a laugh about something at Paul Kimball’s 2006 gig. This is the Mac I will remember.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Encyclopedia of Lake and River Monsters

Here's another new book that you may want to buy: James Foster Robinson's Encyclopedia of Lake and River Monsters.

And, about which, we learn: "The lakes and rivers of the world are said to harbor monsters. Many look like dinosaurs from another age. Others are snake or eel-like while some are human-like amphibians. These monstrous creatures come in all sizes and shapes, not to mention color. They exhibit many different mannerisms from hostility to inquisitiveness to total disregard. Legends and stories can be found about them in all the folklore of different cultures around the world. Today the experts calculate that there are over two hundred and fifty lakes inhabited by some sort of creature. This Encyclopedia of Lake and River Monsters has been compiled to provide a starting point for those who are interested in pursuing the subject."

The Vermont Monster Guide

Here's a new book that may be of great interest: The Vermont Monster Guide by Joseph A. Citro, and with illustrations from Stephen R. Bissette.

As the blurb for the book states:

"Though not widely acknowledged, the Green Mountain state is home to more winged wonders, wet weirdoes, and crypto creatures than any other state in the country. You probably know about Champ, the elusive monster of Lake Champlain. But what about Northfield's Pigman? And Richford's The Awful? Wherever you are in Vermont--in town or country, river or lake, land or sky--you're never far from the unknown. Or the unexpected.

"Joseph A. Citro, respected monster hunter, brings to light over sixty Vermonsters, many captured in exquisite, ghoulish detail by the pen, brush, and ink of artist Stephen R. Bissette.

"Designed as both a cautionary tale and handy field manual for those who dare, The Vermont Monster Guide will be of interest to natives and tourists, to young and old...though it may not be suitable for readers with fragile constitutions. The authors' previous collaboration, The Vermont Ghost Guide, is a popular favorite and the perfect companion to this volume.

"WARNING: The authors and publisher are not responsible for any unfortunate encounters that may result from the reading of this book.

"About the Author: JOSEPH A. CITRO has written numerous novels, collections of arcane folklore, and ghost guides chronicling the dark side of Vermont and New England. His classic, Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls, and Unsolved Mysteries, is the most comprehensive collection of offbeat Vermont lore ever assembled.

"STEPHEN R. BISSETTE has been a professional cartoonist, illustrator and artist for over thirty years and is a teacher at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. He is best known for his award-winning collaboration with writer Alan Moore on DC Comics' Saga of the Swamp Thing."

Lambton Worm Musings

Lindsay Selby provides a thought-provoking commentary on the controversy of the legendary Lambton Worm...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mass Mysteries

Well, I can now report (now that I'm finally home and catching up on things) that the 2009 Mass Mysteries Weekend gig at the weekend went very well, and my Chupacabras lecture was well-received, as was Loren Coleman's presentation on the very strange links between Tom Slick, the Yeti and the CIA.

With audiences of about 100 per night, it was a cool event - and one that also featured presentations from good friend Peter Robbins (on the Rendlesham Forest, England, UFO event of December 1980); ghost-hunter Jeff Belanger (on hauntings at the White House); paranormal expert, Chris Belzano (who spoke about the mysteries of the Bridgewater Triangle); Matt Moniz on Bigfoot and a recent foot-cast of the hairy-critter; and Andrew Lake on the Ghosts of Rehoboth.

All of this was followed on Sunday afternoon by a bus-tour of the Bridgewater Triangle, which included a trip to various locations where hairy man-beasts have been seen in the woods.

It was an informative, enlightening and fun gig - thanks to all the hard work of John Horrigan, Tim Binnall, and the rest of the team. If you haven't had chance to check it out yet, do try and get along next year, for what is rapidly turning into a must-attend event.

Scott Herriot's Bigfoot Encounter

Over at The Blogsquatcher, Bigfoot researcher Scott Herriott describes his very own encounter with the hairy man-beast. I have met Scott on several occasions - most recently last month, at the annual conference of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy in Tyler, Texas (where I took this photo). He's a cool guy, and I definitely recommend you check-out his films Squatching and Journey Toward Squatchdom, which are as amusing as they are informative!

Monsters, The Anomalist, Books & More...

As is always the case when I've been away for a week or so, the biggest challenge relates to catching up on everything! And, of course, there's a lot to relate.

Firstly, from The Anomalist (which one and all should be checking out every day!) we have the following:

Bigfoot in New Jersey The Paranormalist. John Carlson is a New Jersey resident, husband, father and self-employed web designer. He's also an avid student of all things that have a hint or two of high strangeness. Carlson runs a blog dedicated to everything of an anomalous nature, such as this tale of the night his wife heard what might have been a Bigfoot near Lake Owassa in western New Jersey.

Patterson's Little Known Death Bed Confession Cryptomundo. Loren Coleman, following the recent Texas Bigfoot conference, reveals a revelation from one of the two principals responsible for the remarkable 1967 Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film.

New Moon Rising: Return of the Werewolf The Independent. "If vampires are popular, it follows that werewolves must soon arrive." So says bestselling author Brad Steiger whose The Werewolf Book led noted reviewer Stephen Applebaum to call on Steiger for opinion as moviemakers seem to be turning from the vampire genre to the werewolf genre in soon-to-be released films.

Bigfoot Believers Gather in Felton Santa Cruz Sentinel. A meeting over the weekend, put together by Michael Rugg of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, CA, brought a host of Bigfoot researchers and aficionados, as well as the just plain curious, to the museum and the town community center in Felton.

Meanwhile, in the town of Seligman, "Java" Bob Smallsback of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., has arrived to begin researching claims by a man building a cabin nearby that he had twice sighted the elusive creature. Smallsback says he was able to track the creature, finding a "fingernail" where he believes it stubbed its toe, as noted in Reported Bigfoot Sightings in Northern Arizona.

Mike Dash reviews the 1935 work of poet R. L. Cassie in which Cassie describes monsters he says inhabit the lochs and rivers around his home in Achanalt, not far from Scotland's Inverness. Did Cassie really observe creatures up to 900-feet-long? Or was he intent on presenting information so outlandish it would resound against the tales of the Loch Ness Monster reports that had captivated the world a few years before? You'll find Dash's report at The Monsters of Achanalt.

The True Story of the Boar Man of Seminole Woods! Cryptozoology Online. A Florida resident reports on a mysterious and frightening encounter he and his date had while driving through an area known as Seminole Woods in Palm Coast.

Moving on from The Anomalist's treasure-trove of stories of the last few days, there's good news from Richard Freeman over at the CFZ office in England. Both Rich's book Dragons: More Than A Myth?; and Jon Downes' Monster of the Mere book are finally available for purchase in the US for the first time. Here's the Amazon link to Jon's title; and here's the link to Rich's.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Back home from Boston now, and normal service returns tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I'll be offline from today for a while, as I'll be speaking at the annual UFO Show and Monster Mash in Boston on Friday and Saturday. Normal service will be resumed next week!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Mass Monster Mash

This coming Saturday night, I'll be lecturing on the subject of the Chupacabras at the annual Monster Mash gig at the Hibernian Hall in Watertown, Massachusetts. I'll be doing an illustrated presentation about (a) my various expeditions to Puerto Rico in search of the beast; and (b) explaining my views on the so-called "Texas Chupacabras."

And, if crashed UFOs are your thing too, the night before (also at the Hibernian Hall) I'll be talking about my studies into all-things of a Roswell-like nature at the UFO Show. I spoke at both events last year, and a fine time was had by all.

Other speakers include Peter Robbins; Loren Coleman; John Horrigan; Jeff Belanger; and Chris Balzano. Also: Tim Binnall will be hosting a panel-discussion. Then, on the Sunday, there is a trip out to the Bridgewater Triangle - an area famed for its high-strangeness, including a wealth of weird beasts and unknown animals.

So, if you can get along, you're guaranteed a cool time!

A Peculiar Painting

Dr. Karl Shuker highlights at his blog a painting showing two mysterious animals. Any ideas as to what they may be...? If you do, Karl will be very pleased to hear from you!

World of Weird - Tonight

You can catch me on World of Weird radio tonight, where I'm sure we'll cover a wide range of Fortean puzzles! Here's the link for all the info.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Creature Sighting: 1960s

Here's another new and interesting post from Kithra:

“When I was 13 or 14 (in 1962/1963), I was at boarding school in Newbury, Berkshire, just 2 miles from Greenham Common Air Base. One day a friend decided to run away. The night she did this I was concerned for her safety and, after ‘lights-out’ I watched from my dormitory window. It would have been sometime after about 9.00 p.m., and I watched for a long time. I saw her go down the long drive, (at least the length of two hockey pitches), and disappear out of sight. For some reason I stayed watching the main road that ran past the end of the school grounds. Suddenly, on the road, looking to my left, I saw a very tall figure that can only be described as a ‘Michelin Man’.”

And here’s the rest of Kithra’s post…

Mothman on the Move?

Over at Phantoms and Monsters: a fascinating, and unsettling, new story that sounds very Mothman-like...

Sabine Baring-Gould

Mark North has an interesting new post on Sabine Baring-Gould, author of the classic, The Book of Werewolves.

A Spectral Snake

Although I have not mentioned it here before now, when I was over at Jon Downes' Weird Weekend gig in August, fellow creature-seeker Neil Arnold and his girlfriend Jemma had a very weird, terrifying and unsettling experience.

However, now that Neil has gone public with the story, you can get the facts for yourself.

As Neil says: "Being a full-time monster hunter should be about traipsing through forests in search of strange creatures. Large, exotic cats in local woods. Elusive critters in remote lakes. Peculiar insects. Escaped wallabies. A bit of ‘Nessie’ here, and giant birds there. Yet what happened to me at this years ‘Weird Weekend’, was the most terrifying moment of my life."

And, here's the complete article.

Weekend Anomalies

From The Anomalist, over the weekend:

A "Smallfoot" Report? Inexplicata. In June of 2006 a well-known watchmaker and artist was driving on a highway when he saw a strange creature resting quietly on the shoulder. The animal had a monkey-like appearance with short arms and very straight long legs. When the driver stopped about 30 yards short of this creature, the apelike being did not move and turned its head toward the truck. The witness then saw that the animal had glowing red eyes and that its body appeared to be covered with something resembling "short, whitish feathers." What was that?

Goatmen and Satyrs Cryptomundo. Wondering what should be done about all the reports of "goatmen," Loren Coleman brings up Mark Hall's theory that these may actually be reports of satyrs, who wrote: "Their extraordinary physical capabilities have caused them to be called ‘goat-men’ out of a mistaken perception of their mode of locomotion..." Includes a detailed account of the sighting of a satyr-type creature in Louisiana in 1993. In another story, the question is raised: What Happened To Minnesota’s Kangaroos?

A "Thing" Sighted In Weardale Still on the Track. Something flew out in from of Jan Edwards' car the night of Oct. 7th. "Whatever it was, was not a bird, and was not a moth or bat. It was approx. 3 feet long, about 1ft wide at the head, tapering down to a short tail. It was white and almost see-through – like a cloud, perhaps – pear-drop shaped, and moved very fast." What was it? Elsewhere, UFOlogist Michael Swords discusses a cryptozoological matter, the Loch Ness Monster, in A Big "FISH" in a Small Pond.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thylacines, Water-Beasts and More...

From today's Anomalist:

Thylacine Sighting Still on the Track. Neil Arnold hears off a sighting that took place on January 17, 2005. The witness was 80 miles east of Melbourne, when an animal crossed the dirt track. "It was Golden retriever size, as clear as day, and I could see the set of impressive stripes down its back." Elsewhere, a Strange sighting of Normandy Nessie is described by a reader of the Tampa Bay Weekly and Maotherium Discovered in China.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CFZ News

Glen Vaudrey - author of Mystery Animals of the British Isles: The Western Isles - has a couple of good, new posts over at the main CFZ blog: one on horned snakes and the other on dragons and sea-serpents.

And, good news: after falling sick following his return from Sumatra, Adam Davies is now out of hospital.

Animal Aggression

A very interesting new post from Andrew Gable on unexplained animal aggression.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Two weeks ago, I attended the annual conference of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy in Tyler, Texas (an event I am reviewing for a future issue of Fortean Times magazine). Well, while there, I met a woman named Yolie Moreno, who is the brainchild behind a new product called the Sasqwatch.

And what, I hear you all collectively cry, is the Sasqwatch? Well, as it's name suggests, it's a cool-looking watch that has a definitively Bigfoot-like appearance and quality to it, and which any and all self-respecting researchers, investigators and fans of Bigfoot definitely need to own.

Yolie was kind enough to mail me a "review-copy" of the Sasqwatch, which arrived in the post yesterday, and which you can see wrapped across my wrist in the new photo above.

Do I recommend the Sasqwatch to one and all? Of course, I do! Just remember: if you're out looking for Bigfoot, and you are actually fortunate enough to stumble across the legendary hairy beast, you're going to want to know at what time the historic encounter occurred - right? Definitely! And the Sasqwatch will allow you to do just that.

So, for that reason, now is the time to invest in your very own Sasqwatch, which can be obtained right here, at the official website that has been established to market this unique and special item. And, remember, Christmas is just around the corner, if you're looking for unusual gifts for family and friends...

Mothman/Owlman News

From today's Anomalist we have this intriguing story:

The Mothman of Pottery Mound Graham Hancock. Gary A. David suggests that there are precedents to the late 1960s Mothman phenomenon in the high plain of central New Mexico in about the middle of the 14th century. Archaeologists excavating the Pottery Mound site outside of Los Lunas have found some murals that seem to depict what we today call Mothman. What prompted the depiction of this strange insect-human hybrid? It seems that the night flying hawk moth and the Datura plant may have a lot to do with it. Does this potent psychoactive plant open a dark doorway through which the inter-dimensional Mothman flies toward the light?

How curious that, also this week, we hear news - thanks to Jon Downes - of an apparent new sighting of Britain's cousin to Mothman: the Owlman of Mawnan Woods, Cornwall.

Is something in the air, perhaps? And, yes: I do mean literally!

And, in case you're wondering, the photo above does not show the Owlman! It's an unfortunately-stuffed little fellow my wife, Dana, took a photo of at the Lake Worth Goat-Man event last Saturday. But he does look kind of appropriate for this story, right?

Orang-Pendek in Singapore

Richard Freeman, freshly back from Sumatra, discusses apparent sightings of Orang-Pendek in Singapore.

Rich notes that: "Creatures strikingly like the orang-pendek have been reported elsewhere in Asia; on the Malayan peninsula where it are known as ‘mawas’ (a name given to both small and large mystery apes), Borneo where it is known as ‘batutut’, and in the valleys and foothills of the Himalayas where it is called ‘teh-lma’ (a type of small yeti as opposed to the man-sized ‘meh-teh’ and the classic giant ‘duz-the’). However, I was unaware until recently that such creatures had been reported in Singapore."

And he continues right here...

Hunting the Cannock Werewolf

Intrepid journalist Jonny Dangerous heads off to Cannock Chase to find the werewolf of the woods...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Anomalies at the Anomalist

Here's the most recent crypto posts from The Anomalist:

'The True Believer' Is 'Not About Bigfoot' Daily Tidings. Filmmaker Nathaniel Bennett of Medford, North Carolina, is creating The True Believer, a 30-minute film about two brothers from Mississippi who come to Oregon to look for Bigfoot. Elsewhere, the forthcoming opening of the International Cryptozoology Museum gets more local press in Bigfoot and friends coming soon to a storefront near you, which Loren Coleman comments on in Cryptozoology Museum Volunteers Are MVPs. And an excerpt on bigfoot science from Living Anomaly, a work in progress by the "Blogsquatcher."

Man Spots Strange Creature in White Plains WTOP. Last month in Maryland, a man who speaks fluent Spanish, but little English, went to the County Sheriff's Department to report having seen a brownish type animal that he described as a chupacabras. Investigators poured flour on the ground in the area of the sighting and also set several traps, but without result. A follow-up report the next day, entitled When bizarre animal stories are a way of life, explains that Robert Beyer of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been responding to animal nuisance for 30 years. One turned out to be a tiger. Says Beyer: "Never say never." Elsewhere, still more on the Tyler, Texas Bigfoot conference at Primatologist: If Bigfoot exists, it's not an ape and Texas Bigfoot Conference more boring than you would think. Why was the reporter disappointed? "I went to the 2009 Texas Bigfoot Conference expecting people in gorilla suits milling about among semi-crazed gangs of gonzo, tattooed, barrel-chested beandips..."

A Muddle of Mermaids ShukerNature. An extraordinary report, filed at the online Fanoos Encyclopedia, about a dead mermaid that had perished on the shores of Batroun. "The corpse was immediately shipped to Germany under very tight security, before heading to the University of Birmingham where it was put in the care of Dr. Karl P. N. Shuker." Comments Shuker: "This report has no basis in reality - for the simple reason that I can categorically confirm no mermaid remains, alleged or otherwise, have ever been sent to me to examine!" Also of cryptozoological interest, two festivals this weekend: Honobia Bigfoot Festival Takes Off and Lake Worth Monster Bash ~ October 3.

An Exotic Escapee?

Neil Arnold with a very interesting story concerning an out-of-place cat seen in the English county of Kent...

Adam Davies - Seriously Ill

This just in from Jon Downes:

"We have just had a brief telephone call from Adam Davies who is seriously ill in hospital with an unknown condition. It is suspected that this may be a tropical disease of unknown origin that he picked up whilst on the recent trip to Sumatra, so he is in an isolation ward with nothing but his mobile `phone for company. We will let you know what happens as soon as we know ourselves. Remember him in your prayers. Adam joked to me on the 'phone that in the light of recent events, some idiot would say that he really just had a light head cold, and that we were exaggerating things just in order to make an impressive effect."

The Goat-Man Gig

Back in the summer of 1969, something very strange allegedly happened at Lake Worth, Texas. As the stories, legends and tales told it, a wild creature was seen roaming the darkened woods and roads of the lake, striking terror into those that crossed its diabolical path.

Witnesses reported seeing a big, fast-moving beast that jumped on their cars, and that flung a large tire at a group of people who were in the area trying to find it. The cops scoured the woods for any evidence of the monstrous thing, and the local media was highly entertained in the process.

And thus was born the legend of the Goat-Man.

Since then, the tales of the Goat-Man have become legendary in and around Lake Worth. And, it must be stressed, the legend has as many disbelievers as it does believers. For some, mistaken identity, hoaxing and hysteria can explain everything. Others have concluded that Bigfoot was to blame; while there are those (like me) who find the whole story very intriguing, but who have not formed any strong opinion one way or the other - mainly as a result of the inevitable passage of time, and a lack of hard evidence one way or the other.

But, that hasn't prevented the Goat-Man from thriving.

Indeed, he, she or it has been the subject of a book (The Lake Worth Monster by Sallie Ann Clarke); a couple of documentaries; numerous newspaper stories; and even a song or two. And that's not all: this past Saturday saw the first ever Lake Worth Monster Bash held at the lake - and right in the heart of Goat-Man Territory. Or, as it's known today: the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge.

Well, living only about 20 or 30 minutes away meant I just had to attend! And I'm glad I did, as a fine time was had by one and all - even my wife, Dana, whose interest in cryptozoology is (to put it diplomatically!) "minimal," had a great time!

I have to confess that when Dana and I set off for the lake around 9.00 a.m. on Saturday morning, I did wonder if anyone would actually show up. After all: how many people would want to learn about a 40-year-old story of a beast described as half-man and half-goat?! Actually, the answer is: quite a lot! Indeed, by around 11.00 a.m., the car-park was practically full, and the crowds were out in force.

And there was much to do and see, too. Recognizing that the Goat-Man was (and is) an integral part of Lake Worth's history, the FWNCR put on a great event. Craig Woolheater and the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy were there, highlighting the work of the group. And Sean Whitley, writer, director and co-producer of Southern Fried Bigfoot - an excellent documentary on Bigfoot in the American South - had a table promoting his film.

For those who wanted to get into the spirit of the Goat-Man legend, there was the "Throw Like the Pro - Tire Hurling Contest," where people could try and recreate the Goat-Man's legendary tire-throwing caper of '69. There was a hike to Greer Island - a small body on the lake where the beast was supposedly seen; and a trip to the quarry where the tire-throwing incident occurred.

For the children, there was a reading of the book Cam the Man Hunts for the Spooky Goat Man, written by local author Stephanie Erb; and a chance for the kids to build their own monster at the Kids' Monster Headquarters.

In addition, there were some very welcome stalls and displays that highlighted local wildlife, including exotic insects and much more. And there was a group, too: The Skip Pullig Band, who played their new song, titled (what else?) The Goat-Man.

And it didn't end there: Sallie Ann Clarke has loaned her collection of Goat-Man memorabilia to Lake Worth's Hardwicke Visitor's Center, which has a whole section devoted to his Royal Goatness, and which is well worth seeing. Plus, canoe tours around Greer Island; a chance to feed the island's resident population of Bison; and hayrides around the lake were all part of the day's events.

In other words, this was very much a fun, family-oriented, interactive experience that paid homage to the original legend of the Goat-Man; but one that also allowed people to learn about the important work of the FWNCR. And it got the kids away from the computers and the TVs for a while, and let them see that there is a real world outside, full of fresh air, mysteries, adventures and much more.

All in all, it was a cool, informative and entertaining day - and here's looking forward to the next Goat-Man gig!

Friday, October 2, 2009

On the Track # 25

As you can see, today is a bit of a video day! And here's yet another one: the latest edition (no. 25) of the CFZ's in-house, online magazine, On the Track. This month, you'll find much about the Killarney footage; the expedition to Sumatra; and a certain Welsh sea-monster...

Dave Archer Interviewed

CFZ stalwart Graham Inglis interviews team-member Dave Archer about the CFZ's recent expedition to Sumatra in search of the Orang-Pendek.

The Killarney Film

From Jon Downes: "I was asked to post this sequence of the film with its original soundtrack to rebuff claims that I had somehow digitally manipulated it. Here it is. The original footage is still on the camera should anyone be interested enough to want to analyse it, and is available to any serious researchers, whether or not they are affiliated to the CFZ."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yeti-Beer and More...

Good friend Micah Hanks, in a new post over at Culture of Spirits, says:

"Culture of Spirits author Chris McCollum and I have recently been visiting a host of fall-themed beer tastings, which include samplings of a variety of popular pumpkin ales and Octoberfest brews. Several times while visiting one of our favorite local brewery supply stores, Hops and Vines in Asheville, North Carolina, Chris and I had begun to notice the variety of craft breweries that feature paranormal themes on their labels.

"Indeed, one of my favorite beers of all time is the seasonal Bigfoot Barleywine brewed by the Sierra Nevada Company in Chico, California (see image at right). However, on closer inspection, a sizable (and surprising) number of other brands carry imagery ranging from UFOs, Ghosts, and cryptozoological mysteries, to famous mystics like Rasputin, Nostradamus, and several other odd themes."

And on the subject of cryptozoology, Micah gives his views on what sounds like a fine beer - Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti!

In Micah's own words:

"Great Divide Oak-aged Yeti (9.5 %). At one time in the history of paranormalia, before 'Bigfoot' was the common name for large hairy hominids seen around the world, 'abominable snowman' was the widely accepted term (with American varieties famously called “ABSMs” (a loose acronym for Abominable Snowmen of America). The creature behind the name, in native Nepalese, is 'Yeti', the legendary homin-haunt of the Himalayas. Great Divide’s Yeti pours a characteristic dark, deep black with a choclate-colored head and a good bit of lacing. However, this brew isn’t merely chocolate in color; chocolate, coffee, and hops round out the flavor of this dark oaky anomaly. The Yeti also has a good amount of creaminess, yet lacks a noticeable alcoholic taste at such a high ABV. Some would lead you to believe the oak flavor (for which it gets its name) is simply too much, but hey, if I were a Yeti, I’d probably live in a tree. At least it’s authentic."

Sumatra Updates

From today's Anomalist:

Jungle Ape Man Spotted by Brits Sun. The British tabloid has published the photograph of an alleged Orang Pendek footprint, which was found after two of the four members of an expedition to Sumatra caught a glimpse of the creature. According to Testing The Evidence, posted on the journal of expedition member Adam Davies, the author of Extreme Expeditions, they found hair of the creature at two locations; a piece of Rattan, which it was probably chewing; two separate Orang-Pendek trails; as well as additional eyewitnesses. Elsewhere, a video interview with expedition member Dave Archer.

Mothman News

This just in from Andy Colvin, author of the Mothman's Photographer series of books:

I just returned from the Mothman Festival, where I signed books and gave an impromptu talk at the old State Theatre (special thanks to Ghostly Talk Radio for recording and logistical support - will send link when they have the talks posted). As usual, there were some unusual events and even a surprise appearance by a man who once lived in the "Mothman Vortex" house... Also more on the Painter's Key synchronicity and the riddle of my two watches, which both mysteriously stopped at 1:11 in mid-August...
At the forteanswest site:
Keep flapping, Andy.

Cannock Chase is Spooky!

Yes, having investigated sightings of big-cats, werewolves, Bigfoot-type beasts, over-sized snakes, wallabies, wild boar, and much more in the woods of the area, I know that the Cannock Chase is spooky!

But, this time, it's not me making the statement. Rather, the local press are highlighting the fact.

Just a few days ago, I was contacted by Annette Belcher, one of the writers at the local Stafford Post newspaper, who asked for a comment-or-two from me about this latest development; and which, of course, I was pleased to provide.

Here's an extract from Annette's article, so you'll have a full understanding of what this new story is all about:

"It’s official - the Chase has been hailed one of the spookiest places in the country. The beauty spot, which stretches through Stafford, is renowned for its werewolf sightings, according to a latest paranormal study. It is all revealed in the work of paranormal researcher Lionel Fanthorpe, 74, from Cardiff. The study looks into paranormal events in the UK during the past 25 years. The study provides a breakdown of Britain’s spookiest places and focuses upon unexplained incidents reported to the police and leading paranormal organisations since the 1980s. There have been 21 reported cases of werewolf sightings, with the Cannock Chase werewolf being the most renowned."

And here's the link to the full article.

But, hang on, I haven't quite finished yet...!

Over the last decade or so, intriguing reports have surfaced - from the many and varied little pools and ponds that can be found in, around, and on the outskirts of, the Cannock Chase - of sightings of exotic fish, crocodilians and much more of a distinctly out-of-place, aquatic nature. Without doubt, the most famous example of such activity occurred a number of years back at a small and semi-secluded body of water known as the Roman View Pond - that exists on the fringes of Cannock.

It was from there, in the hot summer of 2003, that hysterical rumors wildly spread around the town of Cannock to the effect that a giant, marauding crocodile was on the loose. Local police, representatives of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), and the nation’s media all quickly descended upon the scene, as they valiantly and collectively sought to ascertain the truth about what, at a local level, fast (and inevitably!) became known to one and all as the "Cannock Nessie."

Of course, the facts were somewhat more sober and down to earth. As my good friends Jonathan Downes and Richard Freeman of the Center for Fortean Zoology demonstrated to practically everyone’s satisfaction when they visited the area at the height of the sightings, the "beast" was likely nothing stranger than a three-foot-long Spectacled Caiman – a crocodilian reptile found throughout much of Central and South America.

It was the conclusion of Jon and Richard that the unfortunate creature had probably been housed locally by an unknown exotic-pet-keeper – that is, until it grew to a point where it became completely unmanageable, and was then unceremoniously dumped in the pool late one night and under the protective cover and camouflage of overwhelming darkness.

Almost certainly, Jon believed, the creature would not survive the harsh autumn and winter months that were destined to follow. And, sure enough, as the English weather changed for the worse, sightings of the mysterious beast came to an abrupt end.

Nevertheless, whenever I am back in the area, I always stop off at the pool and cast a careful eye firmly in its dark direction – just in case something monstrous and unholy decides to once again surface from the depths and put in a brief appearance.

So, why - you may well ask - am I bringing this up now?

Simple: there has been a new development of a very similar nature at yet another body of water in the area: a small, 3-meter-deep pool that is hidden in a corner of the Brickworks Nature Reserve at Wimblebury - which is only a stone's throw from the heart of the Cannock Chase.

As the Chase Post newspaper notes, up until recently "...the only things lurking in the murky waters were six bicycles, a shopping trolley and scaffolding poles."

But all that recently changed, as the Post also notes in a brand new story.

Cannock Chase Council officials, concerned about vegetation dying, have made a startling discovery, says the Post.

The Post explains that amongst the usual debris and rubbish, "...there were fish in the water, lots of fish - 20,000, to be precise. Even more baffling, there were not just native species: as well as roach and perch, ornamental varieties such as brown goldfish and koi carp were found."

The Post expands further: "Ray Smythe, clerk at Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Parish Council, said: 'No one knows how on earth they got there. We can only think someone released them, but I’d be surprised if anyone knew the pool was there.'

"Members of Stoke-on-Trent Angling Society have been drafted in to net the mystery fish - and move them to nearby Milking Brook. A spokesman for the club confirmed the operation had been a success. He said: 'We estimated that around 20,000 fish were transferred to Milking Brook. This needed three journeys, which, in each case, involved three tanks full of fish. I can confirm very few fatalities occurred during the operation.'"

There's little doubt - as Jon and Richard's fine detective work demonstrated a few years ago - that someone was even then releasing exotic creatures into the pools of the Cannock Chase. Whether or not this latest development is directly linked to the earlier activity - or if it's an example of someone else adding to the ever-growing body of out-of-place animals that inhabit the Cannock Chase - is something that remains to be seen.

But, this new story only reinforces what I said at the beginning of this blog-post: Cannock Chase is spooky! And long may it remain so!