Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not What They Seem...

Did you ever get the feeling that some of the stranger creatures that we seek - whether they're werewolves, Bigfoot, man-like winged things such as Mothman and Owlman, and countless others - might not be exactly what they appear to be at first glance?

Read on...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Observations From Loren

Loren Coleman - over at Cryptomundo - also has a good new post on the breaking story that may have relevance to the Almasty puzzle...

Strangely Good!

Strangely Strange: But Oddly Normal is the title of what promises to be an excellent piece of work from British Fortean writer, Andy Roberts. The new book is basically an anthology of Andy's articles, reports and features that he had written over the years and decades - and that, in many cases, are now very hard to find.

Thankfully, the good chaps at the CFZ have pulled all the material together under one cover and made it easily available to each and everyone. I'll be reviewing it here just as soon as I've devoured its content...

In the meantime, here's where you can get your own copy of Strangely Strange...

Almasty Update

Good mate Richard Freeman of the CFZ has a new post on Russia's very own hairy man-beast: the Almasty. In part, Rich says:

"Genetic evidence taken from a 40,000 year old finger bone in Siberia’s Altai Mountains is pointing to an unknown species of man-like creature that lived in the area along with modern man and Neanderthal man. The finger bone came from a layer radiocarbon-dated to between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago. Evolutionary geneticists Svante Pääbo, Johannes Krause, and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, ground up a 30-milligram sample and extracted and sequenced all of the 16,569 base pairs of its mtDNA genome.

"A team led by archaeologists Michael Shunkov and Anatoli Derevianko of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk found the finger bone in 2008 at Denisova Cave in Russia's Altai Mountains. The DNA suggests a new hominin lineage later than Homo erectus and earlier than Homo heidelbergensis.

"The implications here are huge. In what is, geologically, an eye-blink into the past the biodiversity of the genus Homo was impressive. We had Homo sapiens (modern man), Homo floresiensis (the tiny hominin from the island of Flores in Indonesia) the famous Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal man), and the new species dubbed Hominin X.

"The Altai Mountains are supposedly inhabited by a hairy wildman. It is tall, agile, muscular and primitive. It has no fire and only basic tool use, wielding clubs or hurling rocks. It feeds on berries, roots, vegetation and a wide assortment of animals from rodents to cattle. Despite its titanic strength, the creature is said to be un-aggressive unless provoked. The same creature is reported widely across the former USSR and surrounding countries.

"It is know mainly as the almasty, but in other areas it is called almas, albasy, dev or gul. It is smaller and more human in its appearance than the yeti or sasquatch but larger and more muscular than a man. It is generally thought to be of the genus homo rather than a pongid. Records of it go back hundreds of years in Central Asia and it was included it catalogues of local wildlife."

And here's Rich's full post.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monster Quest and the Gable Film

Well, last night was the final episode - ever - of the History Channel's Monster Quest series. And they certainly went out in style - and controversial style too!

The episode was a good one, in the sense that it presented some very notable testimony concerning Werewolf/Dogman type creatures seen roaming around the woods of northern USA. In addition, Linda Godfrey (of Hunting the American Werewolf and Beast of Bray Road fame) and Raven Miendel (of Raven's Mysterious Haven) made valuable and welcome on-screen contributions about the Werewolf phenomenon.

Much of the show, however, was devoted to a study of the highly controversial Gable Film, said to show a Werewolf-type beast filmed in the 1970s and making a meal of the cameraman in the process.

Sadly - and maybe inevitably - it was revealed to be nothing more than a hoax. And, although the film now resides in the realm of fiction rather than reality, this should not take away the fact that there is still a highly impressive body of witness testimony available that is relative to the Dogmen of Michigan and Wisconsin - so let's all remember that, and focus on the positive.

Here's Linda's thoughts on the Gable Film saga.

And, I noted while reading Linda's post that - further down - she talks about being invited onto Nikki Sixx's radio-show! Sixx is, of course, the bassist in one of my all-time favorite bands: Motley Crue!

And, now that Linda is hanging out with the Crue, perhaps I should mail her my spare black-leather jacket and a few skull-rings...?

Finally, Raven has prepared her own statement on the Gable affair too, which makes for very good reading.

Black Cat Weirdness

Here's an interesting post over at today's Anomalist:

Where the Phantom Panthers Roam The Paranormal Pastor. First the Good Pastor reviews some of the history of Erie, PA, a town that takes its name from the Eriez tribe of Native Americans which once called the area home. The Eriez took their name from the panther skins they wore. So, was what Pastor Robin Swope saw at 2:30 in the afternoon on February 17, 2010, a black panther, a vision called up from the history of the Eriez tribe or a shadow creature, much like the shadow men often reported by people who experience the paranormal? Here Pastor Swope recounts the sighting, revealing that there were no paw prints in the snow where the creature passed. Key quote: "As soon as I saw the creature, I knew it was something...else."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blogsquatcher & Bigfoot

As always, The Blogsquatcher presents us with a new, thought-provoking post on the world's most famous hairy man-beast, Bigfoot.

Over at Cryptomundo...

Over at Cryptomundo, you can find some good, new posts on a number of interesting issues, including news of a remake of a certain classic movie; and much on tonight's final episode of the History Channel's Monster Quest - which focuses a great deal of its attention on the notorious Gable Film.

Check out CM for these stories and more!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines

Due to a few book deadlines, I'll be offline the next few days, but should be back blogging by the end of the week...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Monster Milestone

Over at Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman celebrates a certain something within the field of cryptozoology. What is it? Click on the link and you'll find out!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tales of the Chupacabras

If you're in Austin, Texas this coming weekend, this may interest you...

An Irish Cryptid

Over at Cryptomundo, there's a great new post on a certain Irish mystery beast...

The Elmendorf Beast

As part of his current expedition in search of the "Texas Chupacabras," Jon Downes tells us:

"Five years ago I was catapulted into the world of Texas Blue Dog research when I visited a ranch in Elmendorf just south of San Antonio with my then girlfriend and a TV crew from the Discovery Channel who were shooting the pilot of a series that they later decided not to make. At least, I assume that they never decided to make it although they never actually had the courtesy to write to me telling me so. However, I digress. The ranch is owned by rancher Devin Macanally who shot the first known specimen of a Texas blue dog there in July 2004. Today we are going to return."

I'll update you soon as I hear more from Jon...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jon D in Texas

As many followers of this blog will be aware, Jon and Corinna Downes have been in the US for the last week, and will be around until next Sunday, when they fly back to England. And, as many of you will also know, the purpose of their trip is to undertake an extensive investigation of the so-called "Texas Chupacabras" reports - an investigation arranged by Richie and Naomi West, a great couple who me and Dana got to meet and hang out with over the course of the last two days.

Jon, Corinna, Naomi and Richie drove up to stay with us on Sunday morning, and the 5 of us then headed out to Valley Ranch, where Jon was due to lecture on the subject of the aforementioned "Texas Chupacabras" for the Dallas-Fort Worth MUFON group - a lecture that was very well attended, that attracted a lot of interest, and which saw Jon talk extensively about both the Texas beasts and their Puerto Rican counterparts.

Then, yesterday, it was a trip to White Rock Lake, Dallas (the reported home of several giant-catfish and possibly a large alligator), followed by a visit to Dealey Plaza and the infamous Grassy Knoll, where JFK was assassinated by...well, take your pick: there's plenty of candidates to choose from!

But, before we knew it, the day was over, and it was time for Jon, Corinna, Naomi and Richie to depart, to head south, and to prepare for the next step of their quest. But, it was very good to see Mr and Mrs D again, even if just for a couple of days, and Naomi and Richie have great plans for future CFZ-based activities here in the US. Keep watching this space...

And, finally, here's Corinna's report on the weekend...

Monster Quest This Week

From The Anomalist:

Sierra Sasquatch: The Last Call Blast for MQ? Cryptomundo. Loren Coleman explains what's ahead for fans of "MonsterQuest" in this week's episode, with images and video. The popular program will address whether there are some "family units of Sasquatch" and whether difference in sizes of footprint casts indicate the presence of "juvenile Sasquatch." The episode will air Wednesday night.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Raven, A Wolfman & Monster Quest

Good friend Raven (of Raven's Mysterious Haven) has an announcement. In Raven's own words...

"If you would like to check out the episode of MonsterQuest that I participated in, it is entitled America's Wolfman and it will air on March 24th on the History channel. You may want to check your local listings for air times.

"I have to tell you guys, this was one of the most memorable times in my life thus far. Those of you who know me personally, know that I and my family have suffered a tremendous amount of loss accompanied by overwhelming stress in the past two years, and this project came as both a healing intermission and a wonderful experience which I will never forget.

"The film/production crew and everyone on the expedition were fantastic!
I dont think I have ever laughed so much in my entire life. What a great bunch! We had so much fun in between filming! They have become a dear part of my heart and hopefully lifelong chums as well. I truly hope our paths come together again in the future.

"I hope this post finds you all enjoying this beautiful spring-like weather.
Many blessings to you. Your Mistress of the Mysterious, Raven M."

Nordic Beasts

Lindsay Selby highlights sea-serpents of a distinctly Nordic nature...

From Today's Anomalist

Today at The Anomalist (click on this link and it will take you to each of the stories listed below):

Mystery of 75 Starlings Falling from the Sky BBC News. In Somerset, England dozens of Starlings shockingly crashed to their deaths in front of onlookers. With no apparent sign of foul play, the local animal welfare officer was at a loss to explain the odd behavior. Those who saw the birds slamming to the ground claim to have heard a "whooshing" sound just before the accident. Speculation leans toward an attacking bird of prey that may have scared the flock into a bad maneuver in an attempt to escape. But could a weather anomaly have been involved? Elsewhere, Large Light Green Luminescent 'Birds' Observed Over Hayward, CA. And speaking of mysteries, What Is This Mystery Fish? Again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Modern Monster

Early last year, I was contacted by a young film-maker named John Mascella, who was making a kind of road-trip-style documentary on Bigfoot to be titled Modern Monster. Well, John traveled to sunny Texas a few months later, and filmed me speaking about my views on the whole Bigfoot controversy for an hour or so.

As a teaser for the finished production, John has now posted a clip from the film at You Tube, which you can see below. And keep checking in here for more details on Modern Monster.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shockingly Good News!

Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay - by Dr. David Waldron and Christoper Reeve - is a brand new book that is sure to be of interest to anyone and everyone with a fascination for Britain's legends of phantom black-hounds. Indeed, as the blurb for the book says:

"The tale of the Black Dog of Bungay and the infamous attack on the church of St Marys in 1577, has inspired and fascinated residents and visitors to the town for centuries along with tales of Black Shuck the Ghostly Dog of Norfolk. To this day sightings of the Black Dog are common through the region and form an integral part of local folklore and myth. At the same time, the history of the legend itself tells its own tale of the town of Bungay and how the community has responded to crisis through local folklore and myth. This book, a collaborative effort between local historian Christopher Reeve and historian and anthropologist Dr David Waldron, traces the rise of this story from its origins in the trauma of the English Reformation to the contemporary era where it has become a central part of Bungay's communal and civic identity and a colourful and intriguing aspect of local folklore."

And, here's where you can find more about the book, how to order your very own copy, and much more. Miss it at your peril!

The X-Cats

The Anomalist has a link to a fascinating article that speaks for itself:

Britain's 'Big Cat X Files' Revealed Telegraph. There have been more than 100 sightings of exotic and unidentified animals in England since 2005, according to Natural England, a government agency responsible for investigating such incidents. Of these, 38 were "big cats" reports. Though their investigations have yet to find conclusive proof of the presence of the mysterious creatures, they show the extent to which Natural England takes the reports seriously. Other reported animals include 14 coypus, a large South American rodent; 28 wild boar; and 2 cases of raccoon dogs, which are native to Asia and Russia.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Alligators on the Loose?

We've all heard those stories about alligators roaming the sewers of New York. But what about Dallas, Texas? Are such creatures living in stealth, and only mere minutes from downtown? Read on...

A Blue Dog Witness

Jon and Corinna are going full-steam ahead with their investigation of the Texas beasts, and here's the latest: an interview with an eye-witness, undertaken by Corinna.

The Nittaewo Puzzle

Lindsay Selby delves into yet another fascinating mystery of the crypto-kind...

The Texas Project: Press Release

I spoke with Jon Downes by phone over the weekend, and all is going good. And here's the press-release to accompany Jon and Corinna's current expedition to Texas to seek out the truth of the state's "Blue Dog"/"Texas Chupacabras" phenomenon:

For Immediate release:

The earliest animal recognisable as the ancestor of modern dogs, foxes and wolves was Prohesperocyon, which evolved in southern Texas about 40 million years ago. Other species followed, and Texas can rightly be called 'The Cradle of Dogs.' Now, in the early 21st Century there are strange new dogs around in the Lone Star State.

Jonathan Downes (50) and his wife Corinna (53); the Director and Administrator of the UK-based Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ], the world's largest mystery animal research organisation; fly to Texas on Friday. Together with their friends and colleagues Richie and Naomi West, who very generously financed the expedition, they will spend two weeks continuing the research into the Texas blue dogs, first carried out by Jonathan Downes in November 2004.

When the first acounts of blue, hairless dogs from Texas first began to filter into the cryptozoological community back in the summer of 2004 they were widely dismissed by cryptopundits as being of mangy coyotes. The CFZ was never happy with that explanation, basically because according to the testimony of every veterinary expert whom we consulted, if an animal was as riddled with mange (or any similar condition) as to be completely hairless, then it would be so ill as to hardly be able to walk, let alone run around, attack chickens or sire progeny (which - by all accounts - are as hairless and blue as the adults).

Some pundits, especially in Texas have described them as "chupacabras". This Spanish term meaning - literally - 'goat sucker', was coined on the island of Puerto Rico (subject of two expeditions by the CFZ) in the mid-1990s to describe a hairless, semi-bipedal animal with spikes down its back, suspected of being responsible for the vampiric deaths of domestic livestock across the island. "The Texas blue dogs have nothing to do with the chupacabras" says Jonathan, who has written two books about the Puerto Rican enigma. "They are clearly members of the dog family, but they are something that deserves a proper scientific investigation."

Jonathan visited Texas in November 2004, and has been continuing the investigation at long distance ever since. He believes that the explanation for these creatures is a complicated one, but one which will very much repay the effort the CFZ will be putting in. There is a dedicated blog for this expedition, which will be updated daily. It can be found at http://texasbluedogs.blogspot.com/

Watch this space!

Jon and Corinna are available for interview. Pictures are available.
For further details (UK) telephone Graham or Oll on 01237 431413 or (US) Naomi on 254-238-1909


* The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is the world’s largest mystery animal research organisation. It was founded in 1992 by British author Jonathan Downes and is a non-profit making (not for profit) organisation registered with H. M. Stamp Office.

* The Texas expedition is being filmed by London-based Minnow films for a major BBC2 feature documentary on the CFZ

* Life-president of the CFZ is Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE, best known for his ground-breaking youth work organising the ‘Operation Drake’ and ‘Operation Raleigh’ expeditions in the 1970s and 1980s.

* CFZ Director Jonathan Downes is the author and/or editor of over 20 books. His latest book is Island of Paradise, his first hand account of two expeditions to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico in search of the grotesque vampiric chupacabra.
* The CFZ have carried out expeditions across the world including Russia, Ireland, Sumatra, Mongolia, Guyana, Gambia, Texas, Mexico, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Loch Ness, and Loch Morar.

* CFZ Press are the world’s largest publishers of books on mystery animals. They also publish Animals & Men, the world’s only cryptozoology magazine, and The Amateur Naturalist, Britain’s only dedicated magazine on the subject.

* The CFZ produce their own full-length documentaries through their media division called CFZtv www.cfztv.org. One of their films Lair of the Red Worm which was released in early 2007 and documents their 2005 Mongolia expedition has now been seen by nearly 82,000 people.

* The CFZ is based in Jon Downes’ old family home in rural North Devon which he shares with his wife Corinna (53). It is also home to various members of the CFZ’s permanent directorate and a collection of exotic animals.

* Jonathan Downes presents a monthly web TV show called On the Track (available through YouTube) which covers cryptozoology and work of the CFZ.

* The CFZ are opening a Visitor Centre and Museum in Woolsery, North Devon.

* Following their successful partnership with Capcom http://www.capcom.com/ on the 2007 Guyana expedition, the CFZ are looking for more commercial sponsors.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bigfoot & Infrasound

The Anomalist alerts us to another very good post from The Blogsquatcher on Bigfoot and Infrasound:

Everything You Wanted to Know About Infrasound The Blogsquatcher. The Blogsquatcher shares some firsthand experiences in the search for the elusive manlike creature many people report having encountered around North America. One of the notable effects of a Bigfoot encounter is under review in this report, the effect referred to as "infrasound," the supposed ability of Bigfoot to project various sensations to witnesses, often clouding the witnesses abilities to make any sense of what's happening due to such things as overpowering sensations that don't seem to account well with the level of the encounter. Does Bigfoot have an ability to affect the mind and the sensations of witnesses?

CFZ in the USA

Some time tomorrow, Jon and Corinna Downes will be flying from Heathrow Airport, England into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; which is just a 20-minute drive from our home.

The reason? To embark on an ambitious 2-week-plus expedition/project (which could never be undertaken without the very kind and generous support, help and coordination of Richie and Naomi West, who Jon and Corinna will be staying with) to dig deep into the mystery of the Texas "Blue Dogs;" or "Texas Chupacabras," as the beasts have become known.

Jon and Corinna have set up a blog to chronicle there adventures right here in the heart of the Lone Star State, which can be found at this link. And me and Dana will be seeing them for a few days when Jon rides his stallion into town to speak for the Dallas-Fort Worth MUFON group about his research into the Blue-Dogs and the Puerto Rican Chupacabras.

The dynamic duo of Jon and Corinna will be regularly updating the new blog; so you'll be able to keep a regular eye on what's afoot in the world of Mr. and Mrs. D and the Blue Dogs.

Is America ready for Jon Downes to be unleashed upon the nation? Can Texas survive? Only time will tell!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bigfoot's Pad Paranormal

For those who may want to listen in, I'll be on Bigfoot's Pad Paranormal radio tonight, which can be found at this link. Expect much discussion on all-things monstrous!

Isle of Lewis Monsters

Lindsay Selby continues to dig into early accounts of water-based beasts seen in and around the British Isles; and here's the latest: on a strange creature seen at the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

Monday, March 1, 2010

On The Track 30

Congratulations to Jon Downes and the UK-CFZ team for having just uploaded the 30th edition of their online, monthly look at what's afoot in the world of Cryptozoology: On the Track.

It takes the gang a lot of time and effort to prepare, film and format the finished product - but, it's well worth the effort!

And here's the brand new edition, Number 30:

A Michigan Monster

Lindsay Selby reveals the details of an old, but interesting, lake-monster encounter: in Michigan, USA.