Monday, January 31, 2011

Horse-Mutes, Water-Beasts and Curious Connections

Mike Hallowell discusses a new story of horse-mutilation in northern England that practically harks back to the infamous story of George Edalji.

In one of those Fortean curiosities, I used to live - for many years - only a 2-minute drive from where Edalji lived at the time of the 1903 horse-killings in the ancient hamlet of Great Wyrley that the man himself was suspected of playing a central role in.

And, literally - and I do mean literally - only about a 1-minute drive from the old Edalji residence is a body of water known today as the Roman View Pond.

It was from there, in the hot summer of 2003, that hysterical rumors wildly spread around the nearby 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 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 mates 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,” as the more sensationalistic elements of the press tirelessly insisted on calling it, 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 fall 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. To this day, Jon is convinced that the bones of the crocodilian lay buried deep in the muddy floor of Roman View Pond.

Forteana is, undoubtedly, full to the brim with curious twists, parallels, turns, and connections!

Of Dragons and Horns...

Richard Muirhead digs into 2 intriguing stories that are worthy of the attention of anyone with an interest in cryptozoology and animal oddities...

Creatures of Cass

Check out Shadowcass' new blog, A Christian Witch Looks At Life, where you will find a number of recent cryptozoological posts, including this new one: What's It All About, Sasquatch?

Regan & Mothman

Over at UFOMystic, Regan Lee has a new post on that most enigmatic of all crypto-critters: Mothman...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adam Davies Interviewed

Tim Binnall has emailed me with the latest news from his Binnall of America show - an extensive interview with Extreme Expeditions author Adam Davies. Don't missing this one! Here's Tim to tell you more:

Adam Davies, In Search of India's Mande-Burung & Sumatra's Orang Pendek
1 Hour, 49 Minutes

Extreme explorer Adam Davies returns to BoA:Audio to tell us about his 2010 expedition to India in search of mysterious creature known as the Mande-Burung. He'll tell us how the journey came about, the conditions in India during the expedition, how witnesses describe the Mande-Burung, and the evidence for the creature that Adam and his team collected during the trip. We'll also get an update on Adam's ongoing quest to prove the existence of Sumatra's Orang Pendek, including extremely promising new DNA findings and what Adam sees as the best way to take the investigation to the 'next level.'

It's a fun and informative edition of the program with Adam Davies, a hardcore cryptozoologist who has traveled to the ends of the Earth stalking the world's most mysterious creatures.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bigfoot & UFOs

Yep, you know from a blog-post title like that, that the subject matter is going to be controversial! Well, yes it is, but in a very good way. Check out my review of Stan Gordon's new book, Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook.

As I note, in part, in the review:

"...Now, I know for sure that any book suggesting Bigfoot may somehow be inextricably linked with the UFO phenomenon - and vice-versa, of course! - is bound to raise hackles in certain quarters.

"However, the fact of the matter is that there is surely not a Bigfoot researcher out there who has not been exposed to (at the very least) a few creature cases that absolutely reek of high-strangeness, and that place the hairy man-beasts into definitively Fortean - rather than zoological or cryptozoological - realms.

"Whether those same Bigfoot researchers are willing to admit they have come across such cases - or are willing to give such reports some degree of credence - is a very different matter, however!"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bigfoot Quest Comes To An End

As you'll know, each week I highlight right here the upcoming episode of Bigfoot Quest, a long-running radio-show that has provided the Bigfoot research community with some excellent guests and stimulating conversations. Sadly, the show is coming to an end - tomorrow night. Here's Mike and Bob to tell you more about the final episode, and here's wishing them well in all future endeavors:

Hello Friends:

It's now been over three years, thirty eight months to be exact, since the Bigfoot Quest radio show first debuted on the BlogTalkRadio network. During our time here, Bob and I have really enjoyed hosting this show and truly consider it an honor to have been able to do so for as long as we have! We always did our best to bring our listeners an interesting, informative and entertaining experience with every new show we aired. But it is said that all good things must eventually come to an end, and our show here on BTR is no exception to this rule. Over these past three plus years on BTR we’ve had some great guests that have helped make this show a success and we’ve also enjoyed the support of our listening audience. If not for all our guests that have been gracious enough to accept our invitation and find the time to appear on this show and our loyal listeners who join us in our chat room Tuesday nights or download and listen to the show through the archives, this show would not be possible! So in gratitude Bob and I want to say a heart felt thank you to all of you who have made Bigfoot Quest possible and hope many of you will join us in our final live show chat this coming Tuesday night! So please join your hosts Bob Coyne and Mike Killen one last time for this special farewell to BTR show! We invite our listeners to take a final walk down memory lane with us as we look back over the last thirty eight months of the Bigfoot Quest radio show. If you have a special remembrance about a specific guest or show topic from one of our past shows, we’d love to have you call in to talk about it with us on this final show.

When: Tuesday January 25, 2011

Time: 9:00 P.M. Eastern

Bob Coyne
Mike Killen

Rumors of Beasts

Within the realm of Cryptozoology, there are, of course, countless cases, stories and incidents that - even though they are highly interesting in nature - never make it past the stage of rumor. And this is the subject of my latest Lair of the Beasts column at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blogsquatcher News

Do you remember The Blogsquatcher? Well, if you don't, then you certainly should! He had an excellent blog that highlighted the truly high-strangeness aspects of the Bigfoot phenomenon - aspects that suggested Bigfoot may well be something more, or less, than mere flesh-and-blood.

Sadly, he elected to close down his blog, but now he's back, and - in an informative and insightful post - reveals why he took the decision to move on.

Atomic Big-Cats?

The media says "Yes!" Neil Arnold says "No!"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hell Hounds of Britain

Britain's ghostly black dogs of times-past: were they really the denizens of some terrible underworld, or might they just have been regular dogs that legend, mythology and even deliberate deception - undertaken centuries ago for ingenious purposes - mutated into something very different? Or can the truth be found in all of the above? Here's a few possible answers to those questions, in my latest Lair of the Beasts column for

Animal Deaths & National Security

The recent wave of deaths of animals around the world - of fish, birds and, as a new story at today's Anomalist reveals, hundreds of cattle - has generated a wealth of theories for the deaths that range from perfectly natural "die-offs" to a coming apocalypse of Biblical proportions, and just about anything and everything in between.

An issue that has not been addressed at length, however, is that relative to concerns that elements of the government may have with respect to these events. Is there official, behind-the-scenes worry about what is presently afoot? Very possibly.

And I say "very possibly" because official, governmental concerns about the nature of sudden animal deaths - and animal disease - have been in evidence for decades. If, that is, one knows where to go looking for that same evidence.

Bacteriological Warfare in the United States is a fascinating FBI document – declassified into the public domain via the terms of the Freedom of Information Act - that covers the years 1941 to 1950. Notably, of the file’s original 1,783 pages, no less than 1,074 have been firmly withheld from declassification by the FBI.

The file reveals a wealth of illuminating and disturbing data on animal disease and death, and their potential, theoretical links to bacteriological warfare and sabotage by enemy nations and individuals.

For example, J.R. Ruggle, the FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge at the Savannah, Georgia office of the Bureau in the early-to-mid 1940s, wrote thus to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on February 3, 1943: “This office has received a copy of a communication from JOHN T. BISSELL, Colonel, General Staff, Assistant Executive Officer, Military Intelligence Service, Washington, D.C., dated December 29, 1942, to directors of intelligence in all Service commands…”

Colonel Bissel’s communication read: “It has been brought to the attention of this division the possibility in the immediate future of an attempt on the part of the enemy to plant bombs containing germs or to endeavor to create an epidemic, such as hoof and mouth disease, among cattle and other livestock. It is requested that should any information concerning the above come to the attention of the Directors of Intelligence of the Service Commands or the A.C. of S. [Assistant Chief of Staff], G-2 [Army Intelligence], Western Defense Command, that the same be transmitted by the most expeditious means to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 War Department.”

Evidently, such matters were of keen concern to U.S. Intelligence. And that concern did not go away any time soon. In 1944, the FBI prepared a document that dealt with the scenario of a widespread attack on the U.S. cattle herd via unconventional, bacteriological warfare. The document states:

“A review of the book entitled ‘Sabotage’ by Michael Sayers and Albert E. Kahn, which was published in September of 1942, discloses the following data:

“The complete record of sabotage carried out by Chernov, supposedly of the German Intelligence service in Russia during 1930 to 1936 is too long to put into the book according to the authors, but includes - killing off pedigree breed-stock and raising cattle mortality by artificially infecting cattle with various kinds of bacteria – effecting a shortage of serum to counteract epidemics of anthrax so that, in one instance, 25,000 horses perished as a result of Chernov’s sabotage – infecting tens of thousands of pigs with erysipelas and with certain plagues by having virulent bacteria placed in medicinal sera.

“In another point, the authors have asked the question: ‘Could such wholesale sabotage of agriculture as took place in the Soviet Union take place in the United States of America?’ They then answer the question that, regardless of how fantastic it might sound, such diabolical sabotage was actually practiced by German saboteurs in 1915 in the United States of America.”

The FBI elaborated further: “Anton Dilger, a German-American medical graduate from John Hopkins University, was in Germany when the First World War broke out. He offered his services to the Kaiser, and was promptly detailed by Colonel Nicolai to do secret service work in the United States. Dilger returned to America with a supply of cultures of glanders and anthrax germs. Financed by von Papen, he set up a laboratory in Chevy Chase, near Washington, and started breeding germs on a large scale for infecting mules, horses, and cattle awaiting shipment to the allies.

“This man then organized a band of some twelve assistants to travel around the country, carrying Dilger’s germs in small glass phials stopped with corks through which a needle extended. This roving band jabbed their deadly needles into the livestock.

“They also spread germs by placing them in fodder and drink. Thousands of soldiers, as well as horses and cattle, died as a result of Dilger’s germs. At last Dilger revolted against his mission of silent death. He was murdered by German spies a few months before the end of the war. Could it happen here? It did happen here!”

The FBI’s declassified records from 1945 reveal that the issue of cattle being potentially affected by bacteriological warfare was a major one. A memo to Hoover dated July 6, 1945 states: “You may be interested in the following information which was reported by the SAC [Special-Agent-in-Charge] of the Norfolk Field Division following a Weekly Intelligence Conference on June 28, 1945.”

The document refers to the work of a man (whose identity is concealed to this day within the pages of the declassified documents) employed by the then-Army Air Force at Langley Field, Virginia, and who had “been assigned to handling investigations concerning the landing of Japanese balloons in the states of North and South Dakota and Nebraska.”

In a summary report, the SAC at Norfolk informed Hoover: “I was interested to learn that recently several Japanese balloons were found in that territory which were determined to have been carrying bacteria. The bacteria consisting of anthrax, are placed in the hydrogen. I was told that such bacteria mainly affects cattle. When the bacteria lands on wheat or other types or farm land where food is being raised for the cattle, the bacteria remain in the food when it is eaten by the cattle, and upon human consumption of the milk or meat, the bacteria can be passed on.”

Particularly notable is a July 11, 1949 document that refers to the FBI’s desire to acquire “world-wide information on animal diseases and animal population.”

And, one year later, the FBI was still collecting such data. On October 19, 1950, the FBI prepared a document titled Abnormal Loss of Hogs in Nebraska and Illinois that dealt with an unusually high number of hog deaths in the aforementioned states - as a result of cholera. The files, however, make it clear that, in official, FBI quarters, the nature of the animals’ deaths had been viewed with deep suspicion.

It was concluded that the deaths were due to a “variant virus” or “atypical virus” that stemmed from “local conditions and the physical conditions of the hogs.” The important factor, however, is that this document was found within a file specifically focused upon bacteriological warfare. In other words, the FBI was still looking closely at any and all animal deaths that might not have wholly conventional explanations.

Of great significance is the fact that one of the cases that the FBI examined – and that is described in a heavily-redacted memo of May 29, 1950 – dealt with the discovery of plague-infected rats at the highly sensitive Sandia Base, New Mexico, and which was viewed in some quarters as being the result of nothing less than a deliberate attempt to clandestinely introduce a widespread plague on Sandia by hostile, unknown sources. Significantly, the Sandia Base was, from 1946 to 1971, the primary nuclear weapons installation of the Department of Defense.

Moreover, a document prepared by the FBI’s Special-Agent-in-Charge at its Albuquerque, New Mexico office on June 22, 1950, titled Bacteriological Warfare – Espionage-Sabotage (Bubonic Plague), refers to rumors then flying around the official world that an outbreak of bubonic plague in New Mexico’s rat population may have been the result of deliberate, bacteriological warfare-related activities by – once again - hostile, unknown forces.

The FBI noted with respect to its interview with a plague expert, who is identified only as a “Miss Greenfield”: “[She] is acquainted with the presence of the plague among wild rodents in New Mexico and in the United States for several years. It has now reached an area from the West Coast to a line running north and south at approximately the border of New Mexico.”

The FBI continued: “From August 1949 there were four cases among humans in New Mexico. Briefly, these four cases, one of which was fatal, were reported in New Mexico. Each case indicated that the victim had shortly before the illness, handled wild rodents which he had killed. The one case in New Mexico which was fatal was not diagnosed as the plague until after death.”

Notably, the FBI subsequently received from the Public Health Service two charts displaying the outbreaks of plague in both New Mexico and the continental United States during that period. And as the FBI noted with respect to the Public Health Service: “…they have found positive evidence of the plague among wild rodents in the states lying west of a line directly north of the east boundary of the state of New Mexico.”

The FBI’s Special-Agent-in-Charge at Albuquerque concluded his report thus: “Miss Greenfield has been requested to advise this office concerning any pertinent developments of the plague in New Mexico or in the United States that may come to her attention. In the event such developments are received, the Bureau will be immediately advised.”

And, in essence, those are the significant, declassified portions of the file that relate to animal disease and death that some perceived as potentially sinister in nature.

We now know that senior elements of, and agencies within, the government were taking a deep – and secret – interest in cases of potentially unusual disease and death in the U.S. animal population in the 1940s and 1950s.

We may also consider it highly likely that very similar, secret interest and concern is afoot today with respect to the recent wave of bird, cattle and fish deaths that have so dominated the news in the last month or so - regardless of the ultimate reasons behind the deaths.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Mothman Speaks

For fans of Mothman, good news! The new book from Andy Colvin - who, arguably more than anyone else - is keeping the flame of Mothman alive - is now available. Titled The Mothman Speaks, it is, like all of Andy's previous books on the subject, a huge one, running at almost 500 pages.

I'll be reviewing the book as soon as I have read it. Meanwhile, here's the product data on the book:

Spurred by the realization that the 9/11 attacks were accurately predicted - in 1967 - by a childhood friend who was seeing Mothman, Seattle artist Andy Colvin began filming a reality series, The Mothman's Photographer, documenting his experiences growing up in West Virginia. The Mothman Speaks chronicles the thoughts and feelings of several Mothman experiencers in the years immediately after the attacks. These revealing letters, penned during a wave of odd synchronicities, sightings, and encounters, indicate that Mothman may be a guardian angel of mind-bending proportions. Increasingly, the Mothman events look to be as important and miraculous as the famous events at Fatima. Interwoven with these personal diaries are discussions between Colvin and other witnesses and experts that reach back into the mysterious history of the Ohio Valley, giving a fuller context for the phenomenon. Colvin also tracks the relationship between the paranormal and the media - how the two seemingly work together to help form public opinion and belief. Also included is a chapter featuring previously unpublished material from the late John Keel, author of "The Mothman Prophecies." "A great paranormal/conspiracy thriller..." -Lesley Gunter, The Debris Field "Many enlightened truths, all converging..." -Dreamers Online "Really enjoyable..." -Karyn Dolan, Through the Keyhole "The best conspiracy going..." -Harriet Plumbrook "Fantastic! Should be in everyone's Paranormal Top Ten..." -Regan Lee, UFO Digest "All-encompassing... The most important new development in the study of the Mothman entity." -James Smith, "Until I read Andy's work, I had no idea of the scope of this experience..." -Walter Bosley, Latitude 33 "A breakthrough in how we perceive the mysterious..." -Greg Bishop, UFO Mystic "It's too bad we all don't go through this kind of learning process..." -John Keel

In the 1960s, on a West Virginia backroad, Andy Colvin and his family and friends had encounters with the supernatural birdman popularly known as Mothman. Following those encounters, Colvin found that he could draw, sing, and take photographs, and that he had a photographic memory. Colvin was quickly recognized as a prodigy, and was eventually offered a National Merit scholarship to Harvard University in 1977. While attending graduate school at the Univ. of Texas at Austin, Colvin helped found U.T.'s Transmedia Dept. and the Austin Film Society, an organization now credited with bringing commercial filmmaking to Texas. In 1985, Colvin used his tuition grant money to purchase the only 8mm camcorder then available, becoming the first filmmaker in Austin to shoot in the new format. His documentation of the lives of Austin "slackers" influenced the seminal cult hit that defined Generation X, "Slacker" - a project for which Colvin helped raise funds and equipment. Colvin's band, Ed Hall, appeared in the film and on the soundtrack. Colvin also influenced the soundtrack of another breakthrough film, "El Mariachi," which effectively redefined how independent films are made. Following graduate school, Colvin worked on Hollywood films, toured with his experimental performance troupe, The Interdimensional Vortex League (once named America's "most underground band" by Europe's hip arts magazine, "Blitz"), and began making small, ethnographic documentaries about unusual tribes, subcultures, and personalities. His 25-year study of modern Texans, Multislack, is due out in 2012. Colvin's work has been seen or heard in all 50 states, and in several foreign countries. His writing has been featured in various magazines, including D'Art, the arts journal for the Church of the Subgenius. Colvin's unique career has been studded with various mind-blowing, synchronistic events, some of which allowed him to study with, or somehow collaborate with, some of the greatest creative minds of the 20th Century, including Nam June Paik, Lee Friedlander, Keith Haring, Dennis Hopper, David Lynch, Robert Anton Wilson, Laurie Anderson, Daniel Johnston, Vito Acconci, and the Butthole Surfers.

Here's Andy, photographed by me last month when we were roaming around some of the stranger parts of the California desert...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dogman News

Living in Texas, this caught my attention today: a new story of a Dogman roaming around the Lone Star State. Check it out!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bigfoot Quest: Tonight's Show

From Bob and Mike at Bigfoot Quest re tonight's show:

Hello Friends:

Please join your hosts Bob Coyne and Mike Killen as we welcome Joe Beelart and Cliff Olson back to the show. Our guests will entertain us all Tuesday night by sharing a few of their many adventures in the upper Clackamas River Basin near Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson. Joe and Cliff have been active in field research for quite some time now so they have plenty of experiences to share with us on this show. If you can, please join us in our live show chat. It's always a lot of fun and we love to interact live with our listeners.

Notice: As of February 1st, 2011, Mike and I will be leaving Blog Talk Radio after 3 years on their website. However, we do have another site in mind to try out and we will be sending the particulars out in an email within the next several weeks.

When: Tuesday January 11, 2011

Time: 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time

Bob Coyne
Mike Killen

Investigating the Horse-Man

From today's Anomalist:

The Horse Man of Bede - Still on the Track.

The borough of South Tyneside in the UK is said to be home to three anthropomorphic cryptids: the Cleadon Critter, a Bigfoot-type hairy hominid; the Splitback Demon (an odd “lizard man”); and a hairless, blue-skinned, blue-eyed weirdo called, well, Blue Eyes. But now comes news of a fourth. Witnesses report a man standing in the middle of the road wearing a long, black coat with a hood, who banged on their car with the flat of his hand as it came to a stop. An eccentric human? Not exactly, as although from the waist up the stranger looked reasonably conventional, from the waist down he was anything but. He had two legs, but they were not human legs; they were actually those of a horse.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kithra on the Bird-Deaths

Kithra has a very thought-provoking new post on the escalating bird deaths that you may find interesting - here's the link.

Bird Deaths Continue...

...This time it's in Sweden...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Uncanny UK

Here's a great site I heartily recommend: Richard Holland's Uncanny UK. As many of you may know, Richard was the editor of Britain's Paranormal magazine, until its recent, untimely demise. Fortunately, the closure of the magazine isn't detracting Richard from continuing his writings at his own website - which, as this link demonstrates, includes some fascinating cryptozoological stories.

Rail Monsters

Over at Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman notes the links between sightings of hairy man-beasts and railroad lines. On reading Loren's post, I was reminded of the fact that there are numerous reports of large, out-of-place cats seen in the direct vicinity of railroads in Britain. Rather oddly, there are a significant number of sightings of such cats on British golf-courses, too. One particularly thought-provoking book that addresses this issue is Merrily Harpur's Mystery Big Cats, which delves into some controversial - but stimulating - areas of the Fortean kind.

Cougar or Hairy Man-Beast?

Linda Godfrey addresses a recent savage, deadly attack on a horse in Deerfield, Wisconsin. Was the culprit a cougar, as has been suggested? Or, as Linda notes, might the attacker have been a beast of definitively cryptozoological proportions...?

Animal Deaths...

A very weird bird story from Arkansas...

And it's not just birds, either...