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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Gorillas And On Gathering Hard Evidence Of Sasquatch

 
    One of my favourites on gorillas. I think those involved in Bigfoot research really need to see film such as this as it might provide some insight into Sasquatch behaviour.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3U01hoyg6c&feature=related

    Note how the Silverback at one point 'charges' the hide used by the cameraman. Throughout this film one thing is quite clear: the gorillas involved know the cameramen are there. Wild living creatures are not going to be fooled by some hide or even people using "scent hide" sprays.  The 'charge' seems almost similar to some Sasquatch approaches to tents -they know someone is inside and it might well just be a "brushing against the tent" to us but to Sasquatch it could mean "Hey -I'm out here.  My area."

    If we accept that Sasquatch exists then we have to accept that it has spent many thousands of years adapting to its environment and being able to know when something is "off" in its habitat.  We have stories of bow-hunters covered from head to toe with camouflage in elevated seats that Sasquatch approach and even sniff out. There are even cases of Sasquatch turning to look at 'hidden' hunters.

    I think those looking for Sasquatch need to change their mindsets. Do not hide your scent.  Let any Sasquatch become familiar with it and take it from there.

    If camping in a known Sasquatch area and if it is believed one is active at the time then a trail cam or two could be set up around the camp.  Putting out bait such as fish, meat or fruit is probably not a good idea if you are in a flimsy tent and in bear country. Note also that bears seem attracted to the petroleum in the plastic casing and have been known to smash trail-cams by tooth and claw. This is rather like bears being attracted to the formaldehyde in refrigerators because it smells ant-nest like.

    In a cabin somewhere it might work.  For one thing a cabin would be fairly secure from bear attack and, in the past, have been fairly good protection in what have been called Sasquatch ‘attacks’.  These attacks may be the Sasquatch asserting its territory and making it clear that it owns this particular area.

    Snellgrove Lake and the cabin located there seems to be one such case.  Stone throwing, pounding on the cabin exterior and even, when no one is there, breaking in and trashing the interior. This raises several possible avenues for investigation and research.

    Firstly, of course, there is the idea of hiring the cabin for a year and record and monitor any possible Sasquatch activity.  A good plan of action for a year would be needed, though it should be adaptable.
    Secondly, there is evidence gathering with no cabin base but outside of fishing season so that humans cannot mess evidence up.  In 2002 I was asked by police wildlife crimes officers to draw up some guidelines on gathering evidence of large, non-native cats.  The following is based on these guidelines and though it refers to large cats it can be applied to Sasquatch.

    For over thirty years, since the sightings of puma (Puma concolor) in the Scottish Highlands and also Wales which first got me involved in acting as a Police Advisor on exotic animals, there has been a problem regarding collecting evidence.

    Firstly, there are many people who set themselves up as “Big cat investigators”.  Most of these people do not even have the basic knowledge of a naturalist let alone the knowledge required to assess sightings of large felids.  Many cases over the years have resulted in what has been claimed to be “irrefutable proof –hard evidence” of what has been termed the “UK Big Cat”.  Newspaper photographs of plaster casts of paw-prints said to have come from such animals have invariably shown claws and tell-tale features of canid tracks.  
    It should be noted that there are good photographs of casts showing details of large felid tracks.
    However, these pieces of “evidence” are treated as belonging to the alleged investigator.  Many such pieces of evidence are unbelievably destroyed once the person jumps onto another subject –I am aware of two cases in which good large felid track plaster casts were dumped in waste bins along with incident reports simply because the person involved had lost interest but was not going to give his “hard work to someone else”.  Also, maps, photographs, plaster casts and much documentation has been destroyed by the families of investigators after their deaths as “just hobby junk”.

    Since the mid-1990s, many people have jumped from investigating unidentified flying objects (UFOs) to delving into the paranormal.  When those subjects prove boring these individuals suddenly find a new interest in “UK Big Cats” –it tends to get them into the newspapers and even onto local television more because it is not so fantastical as, say, UFOs.  “Cryptozoology” is the current new craze.

    I have spoken to these people quite often and it is amazing just how little they know and several even noted that they were looking into why “Big Cats” were not seen in the Winter and had a theory that they might hibernate!

    But even those slightly more credible individuals were unwilling to supply casts or photographic evidence pertaining to exotic felids.  The same attitude applied: it was “their” evidence.

    There were, up until 1998, some thirty plaster casts of tracks held by private individuals that were quite clearly diagnostic of exotic felid ranging from lynx (Lynx sp.), puma (Puma concolor) and leopard (Panthera pardus).   These have all been clearly shown in press photographs.  Such casts would provide good, solid evidence of exotic felids but even the offer to buy some of these casts has been turned down.  Others have vanished along with the no-longer-interested investigators.

    Hair samples have also been shown in photographs, as have alleged scat – shockingly, mainly held in un-gloved hands and with the holders face close enough to taint any possible results that might exist.  Other samples shown in plastic bags are often removed to show TV or press cameras.  Some samples held for ten years or more would be pointless to attempt DNA analysis on. 

    The reason why these samples have not been forwarded to a laboratory is purely cost.  Fresh samples analysed by two labs pertaining to a felid sighted in Lincolnshire did return Panthera pardus DNA but this has only ever been publicised at a local level. That said, the photograph of the alleged ‘big cat’ taken on another occasion is of nothing more than a black domestic cat thus proving why all evidence must be clearly checked because, despite a very good description of a leopard seen at zero feet (just over 3 feet/90cms) from the observer the photograph taken was of a black cat seen from a distance –no one was interested in setting up cameras and leaving them in situ.  So called ‘investigators’ with but also without permission of the property holders camped out in tents and one police officer told me “It was like a mini Glastonbury at times –there was even music from radios!” and, naturally, a reclusive cat is going to be attracted to that!

    Photographs or video footage of felids can tend to suffer from distance between camera and felid or, more often, suffer from the fact that there is nothing to compare the size of the cat photographed/filmed to.  A couple of pieces of video footage do contain such items so we know the cats filmed were large.  In one video clip the cats can be quite clearly seen and there are enough items in the clip (as well as some recorded on video later) to estimate size accurately –as in the Jagouarondi footage from Surrey.


    Of course there are photographs of livestock kills that bear all the characteristics of large felid attacks.  In some cases it has been possible to photographs wounds on horses and ponies (such as “Bianca” at XXXXXXXXX farm) and measure and match said wounds to large felid dentition.  Many farmers have offered to keep sheep or other animals killed by what they claim are large cats so that proper post mortem may be carried out to ascertain the truth.  Sadly, cost and transportation of such animals to a veterinarian willing to carry out this work has been a major stumbling block.

   Work has also been carried out by a university on dentition marks on carcass bones that clearly show a large felid was involved.

    There has been enough evidence over more than thirty years to conclusively prove the existence of specific exotic cat species in the UK.  It is, sadly, of no use after so long and with so many “Big Cat investigators” involved in in-fighting.

    What is needed is a concerted effort to not only film/photograph exotic felids but to gather hard evidence that can be studied and from which DNA evidence can be obtained.

Plan Of Action

    Over the years certain areas have become known large felid “hot spots”. 

    Certain farms are frequently visited, have livestock killed by or just passed through by large felids.  Farmers and locals have been more than willing to have investigators keep observation of these areas.  The problem is that felids have not just good hearing and sense of smell but seem able to, via instinct, know when something is different or that people are nearby.  These animals live and survive on their instincts and are never going to show themselves out in the open.

    We have enough evidence in the form of reports from observers and enough has been done to establish geographical territories and note prey animals.  This needs to be backed up by hard evidence.  Hard evidence that it might be possible to gather from known areas frequented by these felid.

    MAP 1 shows a rough idea of ‘Corryn Gwall Farm’ which allows us to show how evidence might be gathered

 
    Farms tend to be somewhat more cluttered than this diagram shows but it does represent a number of known, regularly frequented farms.  It is necessary to maximise the number of ways in which to gather evidence, as shown in the next diagram.







A-G indicate locations for camera traps able to take daytime/night time images.  As these are usually fastened to posts or other objects it is possible to move them should it seem one particular route is used more often than others.  The beauty of these cameras is that their use is quite flexible.


    A  is fastened onto a tree looking up a rough track approaching the farm.  This is a track that other wildlife may use as animals tend to use “game trails” rather than trudge over or around obstacles in wooded areas.  This camera would need to be focussed at a point where a marker post has been left indicating various heights (30 cms, 60 cms and 90 cms) so that any animal photographed can have its size accurately assessed. 

    B would be focussed on the same track but pointing down the track so that an image of any animal can be captured as it heads toward the farm.  Again, a height gauge post would be placed on the track.

    C is, of course, dependent upon whether there is a convenient pond from which wildlife might drink.   Damp mud could also provide spots from which tracks might be cast.  It is always worth considering placing a drinking point if no pond exists and to make sure the ground around it is always wet.  However, this is all dependent upon the property owner.

    D would be positioned at the front of the house looking up any entrance/approach road.  Large felids have been reported entering/leaving farm courtyards by the main entrance.  It would also show where a felid might be heading so that a camera trap can be moved to that area.

    E camera could be trained on the pond/water source and any wall leading to it.

    F could be angled to take photographs of anything approaching/getting over a back wall or fence.  There are a large number of reports in which felids have jumped up onto  a wall and remained there for several seconds to one minute, looking around.

   G This should be fastened to a tree or post pointed in the direction of any livestock that is reportedly attacked frequently.

   All of these cameras must have a height gauge post in shot but, as noted, all are flexible in where they can be placed.

   In the diagram a short hurdle has been placed across the rough track.  Something around 50-60 cms in height ought to suffice.  The idea is that deer or other animals can walk over or get under the hurdle but that a felid moving over it might leave hair samples behind.  There are a number of ways in which such hair can be caught.  The idea of placing a string of barbed wire across the top is ruled out as there is no wish to injure any animals.

    Favoured methods are:[1] “roughed up” wood that can snag hair, and,[2] double sided tape.  Obviously, the obstacle would need to be checked each morning and any hair collected and placed in a sealed plastic bag.

   The double-sided tape hair snag would also work on a fence or at strategic points along a wall.  Again, this would need checking each morning. So that there is no question as to where hair has been found it is important that, before removal, it is photographed in situ.  Sterile gloves must be worn and any sample placed in a sealable plastic bag marked with date/time collected as well as location taken from. 
   The same applies to any unidentified droppings found.  Farmers and others living in the country tend to know what a fox, deer or badger dropping looks like but it should be a case of “unsure –secure” and a sample collected and bagged as per hair samples.  In addition to this it might be worth placing a marker where the dropping was found for future reference and to see whether droppings are deposited there regularly.
 
   The importance of photographing any trace evidence before bagging cannot be over-emphasised.

   When it comes to tracks the person checking each day or who lives on the property should be given a guide to tracks of deer, rabbit, badgers, foxes, dogs and felids so that they can eliminate non-felid.

    The idea of a sand-trap located on the property should be looked at.  A 90 cms x 90 cms area covered with 3-4 cms of sand (or substitute material) might solicit tracks so that it can be assessed what is visiting the property.   

   It must be made perfectly clear that even with all of the above it is not a case of evidence of any type being obtained within a few days or even weeks.  We know that certain felids wander their territory so even when they return it is no guarantee that evidence will be obtained.  It might take a year but the chances are improved if the owner of the property has seen the felid or has noted where it seems to go to/come from as they do seem to be creatures of habit at times.

   The cost of game trail cameras and DNA analysis are the big drawbacks unless a backer can be found.

   I think that regular trail-cams can be used but, in the case of Sasquatch, need to be placed higher up a tree (so bears cannot get to them) and angled.  Any number of trail-cams are available but even though they can take a large number of photographs the batteries will die and once the card is full that is it –just after that last image is taken Sasquatch could walk right in front the camera, sit down and peel a grape!  So, every week or so the batteries will need checking and the card replaced.  This adds more human contamination/smell to the area.

   I believe that the best way forward are cameras such as the Raptor Cellular camera system that will capture a photograph and email it to you via a cellular network upon motion-activation.  The built-in camera will capture colour photographs during the day and via a no-flash Infra Red mode at night. All photos are stored on the included UBS Flash Drive and the battery operated system can last several months in a remote location –I’ve heard of several adaptions of these devices to solar energy where a solar panel is placed high in a tree meaning that you can get endless image feed.


   With cameras, hair traps and so on, enough evidence can be gathered to satisfy most scientific minds without the need to kill – though some claiming to be “scientists” have stated publicly that “nothing” will convince them and a couple have stated that even a body “does not mean there is a population.”

    There is another question that needs to be addressed.  Whether to go armed when looking for Sasquatch?  We know nothing about these creatures but if they are similar to gorillas then the chasing/charging at those who encounter them could just be juvenile status posturing.  Gorillas will try to sort out disputes amongst their group without violence if they can.

    However, we have seen via the work of Steenburg, et al, that females have been encountered as well as possible family groups.  If Sasquatch have learnt anything from observing hunters it is that they kill wildlife.  Humans thusly equal a possible threat to young or females.  Any creature that can kill large wild hogs and deer with its bare hands is a potential danger to humans if encountered in the wrong situation or if the human involved breaches some territorial taboo.

    Remember that the Sasquatch hunter is going to be out in sometimes mountainous or hilly forestry making a fast exit impossible. If cornered by a Sasquatch and the animal does not back off what options are left?  I do not advocate immediately shooting any Sasquatch because of “false charging” but I do think that there is some form of protection –after all, Sasquatch seem to have bears in their territories and if you attract an aggressive bear to you…

    The whole point is, however, to gather as much physical evidence as possible –there is no such thing as “too much evidence”!

     


Monster Caught Off Brasil..?

Found this interesting in that it made TV news.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiavWz7PGsw

Monday, 26 December 2011

The Shark Eating Monster




    I have always said and written,and I’ll always continue to do so,that there are quite probably unknown sea creatures awaiting discovery by science.  The “fabled” Kraaken has proven to be real –a giant squid [Architeuthi sp.],other “sea monsters have proven to be Ribbon Fish [genus Trachipterus] and so on.  The Coelacanth fish was thought extinct until they started getting caught and identified by scientists in the 20th century. 

    It is highly possible that many of those sea “monsters” identified and classed by Bernard Heuvelman [see Some Things Strange And Sinister] may exist,though some could be out there not yet classified or,perhaps,even reported for fear of ridicule. 

 Sadly,with Man depleting food sources and polluting waters,not to mention the various pieces of naval military hardware undersea [there is still reasonably strong evidence –if circumstantial—that some whale pod beachings may be caused by such equipment] it might just be that numbers of any existing unknown-to-science species are falling.

    Every time a new “mystery monster” is washed ashore somewhere I check it out as well as I can.  To date,decomposing,partially eaten whales,angler fish and known species have all been the culprits. 

    In 2004 I rushed to Severn Beach,South Gloucestershire,after a phone call from two men who had been out in a boat and seen a huge silvery,semi-submerged creature moving slowly not far from the beach.  When I got there I realised that the “mass” was around 70 feet [almost 22m] in diameter.  It was silvery,reflecting light but tinged with a green colour and to the rear [more seaward] end was what looked like very long,dark ribbons of matter extending out at least 20 feet [6m].  As I got closer the rush of adrenalin began to die down as I got a much better view.  Two locals walking dogs helped me pull the “globster” ashore.  It was a huge piece of industrial cellophane with bubble wrap under it and pockets of hair.  As it had been in the water some time it had a greenish slime on parts of it.  The ribbon like material was a mass of seaweed.

    It was a danger to fish and seabirds so at least we got it out of the water and disposed of.  The two men who had reported to “thing” turned up with a trailer attached to their vehicle and a huge water-tank on it in case the thing needed preserving and taking somewhere.  They were very apologetic and felt worse than I did:I did make them promise that they would call me if they saw anything odd again –better a wasted journey than lose the chance to find a new species or odd sea creature.

    But Eric Frank Russell,the science fiction author and,it seems,a devotee of “Forteana” has left a very annoying legacy in the shape of a 1953 report to origin of which I still have not tracked down after ten years!
     
    According to Russell’s account [1]: 




Echizen kurage, Nomura's jellyfish --

Above:Don’t panic!  A Jelly-fish but with a diver Photoshopped in to make it look like a giant.  A diver would have to be insane to get that close to a real giant –though would still not be large enough to be the 1953 creature.
Below:The recognised size of a giant jellfish  Nomura’s Jelly-fish [Nemopilema nomurai] (c)National Geographic

Photo: Diver tagging Nomura's jellyfish




           ”A report dated 1953,made by an Australian diver working in the
           South Pacific,tells of something that may have been more familiar
           to the ancients and formed the source of a few of their best horror
           stories.  Wearing the latest type of diving-suit,the narrator had been
           testing it by trying for a depth record in deep ocean.”

    Then comes the mind-boggling account:

           “All the way down I was followed by a fifteen foot shark which
           circled around full of curiosity but made no attempt to attack.  I
           kept wondering how far down he would go.  He was still hanging
           around some thirty feet [9m] from me,and about twenty feet [6m]
           higher,when I reached a ledge below which was a great,black chasm
           of enormous depth.

           “It being dangerous to venture farther,I stood looking into the chasm
           while the shark waited for my next move.  Suddenly the water became
           distinctly colder.  While the temperature continued to drop with
           surprising rapidity,I was a black mass rising from the darkness of the
           chasm.  It floated upwards very slowly.  As at last light reached it I
           could see that it was of dull brown colour and tremendous size,a flat
           ragged edged thing about one acre* in extent.  It pulsated sluggishly
           and I knew that it was alive despite its lack of visible limbs or eyes.

           “Still pulsating,this frightful vision floated past my level,by which
           time the coldness had become most intense.  The shark now hung
           completely motionless,paralysed either by cold or fear.  While I
           watched fascinated,the enormous brown thing reached the shark,
           contacted him with its upper surface.  The shark gave a convulsive
           shiver and was drawn unresisting into the substance of the monster.

           “I stood perfectly still,not daring to move,while the brown thing sank
           back into the chasm as slowly as it had emerged.  Darkness swallowed
           it and the water started to regain some warmth.  God knows what this
           thing was,but I had no doubt that it had been born of the primeval slime
           countless fathoms below.”
 
*1 acre = 4046.86 square metres or 43560 square feet –so this was sizeable!

    There are some odd aspects to this.  We know that sharks will start to sink if they stop swimming but what made this one hang motionless rather than swim off if it sensed a dangerous predator?

    A report published in the journal Nature describes a remarkable gel found in the shark snouts that allow them to detect minute temperature changes. Such a sensitivity to such differences could help lead sharks to thermal fronts in the ocean that are teeming with quarry.  Being cold-blooded,sharks rely on external water temperatures to keep them warm.


    A shark head contains a number of sensors known as ampullae of Lorenzini that can help the animal detect electric fields emitted by the earth's magnetic field or by other sea-dwellers.

    There are many things that affect where shark species are found.  One being the temperature of water,the amount of light available,the amount of salt in the water, or even the water currents.  The kinds and amounts of food sources available as well as the types of predators all have an effect.   Possibly the most important of these factors is temperature.  It is interesting to remember that sharks cannot stand  large changes in temperature.  This means that shark species that  like cold water stay near the Arctic,while shark species preferring warm water stay in the tropics. That said,sharks that like cold water can easily live in warmer places by simply swimming down to the depths where the water is colder.  Many kinds of sharks live near the water's surface,and a few live deep in the sea.

    The diver noted the sudden drop in temperature prior to the creature rising from the chasm.  The shark,in this case a warm-water dweller,hit suddenly by a wave of cold could become inactive.  This would explain the sudden inactivity.  But surely it could have detected the other creature using its natural senses?  It seems quite obvious,the cold wave hit the shark before it sensed any danger.  This would explain that particular aspect.

    The assumption is that the creature was some huge form of jelly-fish.  But this seems almost unlikely.  An experienced diver,particularly one expert enough to depth-dive in new gear would be equally experienced,especially in those warm waters,to seeing jelly-fish.  Surely he would have said “the biggest jelly-fish I had ever seen –an acre across in size”?  He does not.  From this we suppose that it did not look like such a creature,even if sounding a little like one.

    The jelly-fish tentacles could be described as looking like “cooked noodles” and hang underneath the body and can be as long as 1 cm to 120 feet [36.5m] which is longer than,say,a basketball court.  Tentacles can number a few to as many as 800.  These tentacles are concentrated around the mouth because,after the prey is stung by the tentacles they then pull the food up to be eaten. The stinging cell is located at the top of the tentacle;when its prey swims by the jellyfish will touch the fish with its tentacles –automatically killing it.

    However,the diver did not mention tentacles and the shark was seen to convulse after being touched by the upper-side of the creature –an electrical charge rather than stinger?  The shark was then drawn up into the creature’s mass which does sound like a jelly-fish or an animal that consumes its food in a similar way.  It would be far more comforting to say this was a phenomenally huge jelly-fish unknown to science but are there similar reports?

    In 1865 a giant lion's mane jellyfish was found in the Massachusetts Bay. The bell was 7.5 feet[2.28m] and it's tentacles measured 120 feet[36m] long and a width of 245 ft.[74.6m]. 

    In 1969  two divers reportedly encountered a jellyfish that they claimed was 150 to 200 ft  [45.72 -60.96m] in diameter.   There also have been reports over the years of giant jelly-fish attacking small boats and pursuing divers.

    One of the most famous encounters,sadly in the days before phone-cams,digi-cams or even video-cameras,occurred during 1973.   The ship “Kuranda” was sailing toward the Fiji Islands when it hit a storm and,colliding with a big wave,found a “gigantic jellyfish” .  Captain Langley Smith estimated it to have a weight of around 20 tons and it had ended up spread across the deck to a depth of two feet[60cms]; it also possessed a fine set of tentacles that the captain believed would have stretched in excess of 200 feet[60+m] .  Sadly,one seaman who was hit by the jelly-fish tentacles came away with severely burned skin and died from the injury.   

    The weight of this jelly-fish also started to push the ship down and an SOS resulted in help from the vessel “Hercules”.  The Hercules crew managed to get the jelly-fish off the Kuranda with a high pressure hose.   Some slime from the jelly-fish was saved and upon later analysis proved to come from a species known as “Lion's Mane”. 

    The “Lion's Mane” jelly-fish [Cyanea capillata] is the largest known species. Its range is confined to cold,boreal waters of the Arctic,the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific.   They are seldom found farther south than 42°N latitude,though a similar jelly-fish,that may well be the same species,are known from the seas off Australia and New Zealand.   The Arctic Lion's Mane is one of the longest known animals –with the largest recorded specimen having a bell [body] with a diameter of 7 ft. 6 ins.[2.3m] and the tentacles reached 120 ft.[36.5 m].

   But,again,a diver should recognise a jelly-fish whether it was huge or not.  The photograph in this chapter shows a photoshopped fake image of a diver near a giant jelly-fish while the other photograph shows the real size of these giants known as “Nomura's Jelly-fish” [Nemopilema nomurai ].  Even the faked image does not compare in size to the Kuranda or 1953 creatures.

    What I find interesting is the fact that this creature took the shark.  No eyes were seen so how did it know the shark was there but ignore the diver who stood as motionless as he could be?  I do not believe that this was a lurk,wait and attack incident.  I have to wonder whether this thing –whether an unknown jelly-fish or something else— simply rose into warmer waters to touch/kill anything that happened to be around and stunned by the rise of colder water such as fish;the shark was just in the wrong place at the right time?  The diver was lucky that he saw it before it “saw” him.

    I will continue to try to track down this account’s original source –though it is a mammoth task with no exact date—and,hopefully,perhaps additional.  This really was something strange and sinister.






1.      Russell,Eric Frank,Great World Mysteries,Dobson Books Ltd.,
         1962:pp.123-124

2.      Fanthorpe,Lionel, and Fanthorpe,Patricia, The World's Greatest Unsolved  
         Mysteries,Hounslow Press,1997. Quotes the account but no source credited.

3.      Eberhart,George M.,Mysterious Creatures: a guide to cryptozoology,
         v.2:p.197  [again quotes but no source].

4.      ditto:p.197

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Crashed UFO In Wales?

The following is taken from the chapter looking at crashed UFOs in Some Things Strange & Sinister (2009): 
 http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/some-things-strange-sinister/14958906?productTrackingContext=author_spotlight_338105_
 
Some Things Strange & Sinister

Probably the best account comes from Wales.The full details are given in the book along with photographs of Fragments "A" and "B".

    During the 1970s there were said to be three Crash-Retrievals from the Berwyn Mountains area.  In February, 1972, according to a man who claimed, in 1980, to have been part of an “Alien Craft Search-and-Retrieve” unit of the Special Air Service [SAS] Regiment, he and six other men “climbed Berwyn Mountain to see if there were any survivors from an ‘aircraft’ that had been intercepted and shot down by RAF interceptors.  ‘Mick’ was, apparently, unaware of the task of the unit he had joined –it was so secret its purpose was only explained to him after he returned to base.

 
‘Mick’ and his team reached wreckage at 00:30 hours and he was shocked to see “a damaged but perfect flying saucer just as described by George Adamski” (the Contactee).  A huge hole was in one side where the saucer had “been hit by two Sidewinder missiles that had forced the craft to crash”.  Next, several red canister grenades containing a “gas deadly to alien physiognomy[sic]” were thrown into the craft through the hole.  ‘Mick’ was very shocked when a “quite tall, long blond-haired man in grey-green jump suit” came coughing through the hole in the craft.  Captain ‘S’ stepped forward and shot the alien in the head.


    The men were told to “adopt standard procedure: anything alive- shoot”.  Three other aliens, all looking near identical, were found in the craft.  All were dead.  The men radioed their base, the men stood guard until a “massive helicopter” came in and carted off the craft.

    Also in 1980, another report cropped up that we had heard of before and felt it necessary to open a file on.

    On the 23rd January, 1974, there were explosions and strange lights seen over Llandrillo, Corwen, Llanderfel and several other locations.  National TV and Media reported on the event for a short while but quite soon the “facts” emerged.  People in the area thought that an aircraft had crashed on the Berwyn Mountains and anywhere between one to five witnesses rushed to the area where a “strange light display” was seen.  However, the witness(es) were stopped by police and very threatening men in civilian clothing and rudely told to leave the area “or face the consequences”.

    Then came the military jets, helicopters and ground vehicles.  Talking to Ufologist Margaret Fry, and in later correspondence, I pointed out that I did not believe there had been any crashed UFO.  I told her how, in 1982, someone who claimed to have been an RAF Flight Lieutenant had contacted Franklyn and myself and told us the following story:

          “On the 18th January,1974,I and a colleague were alerted by the
           CO [Commanding Officer] that we might be needed for an IO
           [In-Out] job.  I can name neither my Army Air Corps unit as you
           have requested or base as both are still operational.

          “We were armed and our job was confirmed on 19th January when
          we took an Army unit up past Birmingham and,on the 20th,we
          took said units to Llangollen/Llandrillo.  Here one of our units took
          a party of troopers to Porton Down and another followed later:we
          were told that if anyone tried to open one of the oblong boxes we were
          carrying back from Wales he was to be arrested or,if he resisted,shot.

          “A friend claims that he flew a Sikorsky that took some wreckage and
           a ‘gremlin’ to Porton Down.  He later suffered a nervous breakdown
           after seeing more of the ugly looking gremlins.”


    There are problems here as I explained to Margaret.  The Army Air Corps is not a part of the RAF.  Later, ’KM’ did identify his Commanding Officer and unit/base.  I was told that I would put his, Franklyn’s and my own lives at risk if I dug too deeply.  I was later sent “a piece of the alien craft” that had crashed in 1974.

    Another account, allegedly from a former SAS officer, backed up all of ‘KM’s account and I was very suspicious.  Margaret was quite excited and out of pure corteousy, I eventually relented and sent her small pieces of the material sent me.  I received a letter from Margaret in return stating that “…you will readily see that I must include your bit of information…in my account for Alien Encounters and International UFO Reporter…”  I telephoned Margaret and told her that everything ‘KM’ said I had proven to be a lie. I also pointed out that everything had been sent in complete confidentiality.

    This, I was told, was me being naive as that was part of the secret conspiracy plan: to ‘prove’ the account was fake to hide the truth.

    I had no idea how to politely tell Margaret what I thought of that theory when she dropped a bombshell: she had the fragments I sent her analyzed and they were made of “unknown metals”.  I pointed out that I believed (in fact, knew) the material was a mix of alloys but I was challenged to explain “why the elements are unknown on Earth”.

    In fact our test results were similar.


    Another “UFO fragment” from a 1979 ‘crash’ in the same area was actually granite with iron oxide traces on the surface.  Again, this was from an “ex-RAF” man with links to a Cheshire UFO group.

    In fact, both Margaret and Tony Dodd, a fellow Ufologist, suggested in articles that the military had advanced warning of an alien crash of two days.  This was just too much of a coincidence to have been information from anyone other than ‘KM’ himself.  

    In 1979 the true events of that night were explained to Franklyn and myself when we met a senior police officer, thanks to the Home Office, who in 1974 had been involved in the incident.  

    I imparted some but not all of this to Margaret Fry but it was dismissed (especially as some information was still regarded as confidential so I could not give names which, since Margaret did not seem to accept the confidential nature of previous correspondence was probably just as well).   

A copy of our report and conclusions on the incident was sent to both the Home Office and MoD.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Books

Hello All.
Just a note to remind people that the books Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister and The Red Paper:Canids are currently on offer at £10 each.  After Christmas they'll go back to their pre-offer price of £15.00 each!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Alexandr Fedenyow -RIP


Below image of the Russian Almasty variety called Leshiy created by Alexandr Fedenyow, who was also a graphic artist.

"I’m sorry to inform you that on December 15, 2011, at the age of 46 died suddenly Alexandr (Sasha) Fedenyov – a ‘troublemaker’ on the Cryptozoology (Russian) site… Ural’s tracker… Memory Eternal to him! Went to his mother, returned to his home, after a few hours they discovered him breathless. The autopsy showed swelling of the lungs (suffered from asthma). Died December 15, buried on the 17th. Not long ago he very much wanted to go to the Ural’s tayga where he many times met with a hominoid, but had no opportunity… And I am very sorry that I could not help him in this". ~ Igor Bourtsev

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mysterious Creature Caught On Video?

 I'd ask for footage or phtographs of the area in question because I was looking for the "creature" but only saw what looks like a crane "picker" (a large sized version of the little ones you find in arcades and fairs to try to "grab a prize").  Then I realised that's what they were talking about.


Pity.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVKYgarUTQM

ANOMALOUS OBSERVATIONAL PHENOMENA: In Search of Giants by Thomas Steenburg

ANOMALOUS OBSERVATIONAL PHENOMENA: In Search of Giants by Thomas Steenburg: I got this book in the post yesterday and gave myself a day off to read it. It was quite an interesting read and there was only one thi...

ANOMALOUS OBSERVATIONAL PHENOMENA: On The Scientific 'Need' To Kill A Sasquatch

ANOMALOUS OBSERVATIONAL PHENOMENA: On The Scientific 'Need' To Kill A Sasquatch: There is a point I need to make, yet again, and this time sparked off by Thomas Steenburgs book that I just reviewed on this blog. I do ...

On The Scientific 'Need' To Kill A Sasquatch

There is a point I need to make, yet again, and this time sparked off by Thomas Steenburgs book that I just reviewed on this blog.

I do totally and utterly disagree with some of Steenburgs final words:

"I sometimes wonder if those who are against the shooting of a sasquatch really want to see this mystery solved at all. After all, if the creature is proven to be real, then the puzzle will be over."


Steenburg notes that in his spare time he became a hunter. Not of Sasquatch but "game". So, the idea of shooting and killing a Sasquatch to solve a "puzzle" is no big deal to him, though he does point out that killing a "bunch of them" isn't a good idea.

The idea that "science" must be satisfied is an utter nonsense in todays world. There are many new primate species discovered that have not been killed (sadly some have but by native hunters -the ramifications if it ever turned out that some biologist or other person had said "get me a dead one and I'll make it worth your while" well...).  Good photographs of new bird and mammal species and even formerly thought of as extinct species has proven good enough. Collect feather samples, droppings, hairs, etc., for testing as well as game trail camera and video footage.  Case proved.


I've outlined previously a good, adaptable, way of going about this with Sasquatch. A combination of still photographs/video footage, hair samples and even (if possible) faeces and footprints of any animal means its there and alive.  Do research and learn how many newly discovered species then become endangered or "at risk" because they have been scientifically proven to exist.


This is the 21st century. To say that a bunch of people sat on their arses in laboratories or universities, even museums, must  be given a body to satisfy them is nonsense.  I've seen and met these people who have knowledge on the subject based on TV programmes, the odd magazine article or lousy website they just checked on. "No such thing" they say.  Well, prove it. Carry out a year long study, talk to witnesses and go out and do field research -that is what science is about. "No. We don't need to -it doesn't exist" they reply. These are NOT scientists and deserve no respect let alone a sacrifice to them.


There is enough research work carried out by John Green and many others showing that these creatures have food sources and huge geographic areas to wander and live in.  So they can survive.  Work carried out on genuine Sasquatch plaster casts has shown dermal ridges and other features beyong hoaxers -we can even estimate weight, etc.. 

Scientifically minded individuals who have gone out into the field have heard vocalisations (scientifically tested and pronounced "unknown"), they have found the Sasquatch "nests" and heard the stone and wood-knocking that shows these creatures have some intelligence.  On two occasions I have seen recorded for tv (Snellgrove, etc.) the reactions of these persons as large stones are thrown at them from out of the forestry.  There is that look, yes, some of them may have believed Sasquatch was real and done the lab work, but getting stones thrown at you from forestry is unexplainable and a kick of reality to the ass.  Unless, of course, some Grizzly has woken up early from hibernation and decided to practice its baseball throwing?

What is the Sasquatch population? we have absolutely no idea.  They could be hanging on by a thread as far as existence as a species is concerned. Look at it this way: a mother Sasquatch has young and has to feed them solid food and train them how to forrage. 

She is out alone, grubbing around and a hunter sees her. Every hunter we know of has never fired at a Sasquatch because it looks humanlike but say the hunter spotting the female thinks "Goddam. I shoot this one I'll be world famous and my financial problems will be over -I'll have proven these things exist!"

Bang.

Dead Sasquatch.  Science has its proof and some young Sasquatch either die through starvation or get predated upon by a bear or even puma. With one shot a vital family group can be wiped out -it's happened with other wild species just this way.  As far as we know Sasquatch may even be borderline panda-like in its mating -and we know how well that's gone for them.

Steenburg notes (252):

"The town of Cobalt, Ontario, had a creature in their area for years.  Locals gave it the name Old Yellow Top because it had a streak of light-coloured hair on the top of its head.  It was around from the late 1950s through the 1960s.  The last reported sighting of Old Yellow Top occurred in 1970..."

An animal tends to keep within its own territory and this may be applicable to Sasquatch, though some suggest there may be yearly migrations, that said Chimpanzees and Gorillas tend to inhabit one area but do move around though not long migrations.  I think it safe to consider that Sasquatch may do like-wise. A suggested trek from Canada, through the US and down into Florida for instance does not seem likely.  Any animal knows its local food sources, watering holes and places of safety and though they may wander around a huge territory it is unlikely they migrate. 

Though there is the suggestion, from reports, that Sasquatch might live in family groups we have no idea whether this is a permanent thing or restricted to mating and rearing of young only.

So, if we take it that, factually, we have no idea regarding breeding or population size, then shooting and killing for 'proof' is out of the question. In wildlife research we depend on eye-witness observation of individuals and/or family packs/groups, knowledge we already have on the animal, faeces, hairs and even paw/hoof prints to study.  We do not go all hissy and demand something is killed so that we can be satisfied an observer is telling the truth.

There are cases on record of individuals being chased or, in their opinions, warned off by Sasquatch (for whatever reason).  "Chases" are usually half-hearted with observers stating that the way the creature moved was so fast it could have caught them at any time -but didn't.  Now, let's say that a hunter gets into this situation but knows nothing about Sasquatch -heck, he probably laughed hysterically over his beer every time someone mentioned seeing Sasquatch- and does what he would do naturally if a Grizzly was charging him: aims and fires his rifle.

What does he do if he kills it.  Most observers state the Sasquatch looks "almost human" or even "Orang Utan-like" (and they can look quite human).  If he has any intelligence then he has a major problem.  Yes, he has proof that these things are real and there's money in this. But then it hits him: can he be charged with killing a Sasquatch? If he fobs it off as "I've provided scientific proof at last" what would happen if those scientists prove it near or almost human?  Is that murder?  Will he be targetted for the rest of his life by "tree-huggers"?  Will someone try to kill him in revenge?

Best to just leave the body and let nature take its course.  In a month there won't be anything left to be stumbled upon and "dead Sasquatch!" shouted around the world -they did a bullet in the remains...

But then we have hunters who have levelled their rifles at the backs or fronts of Sasquatch. What if they actually pulled the trigger and then realised what they have done?

Same situation as "self defence" shooting.

It is a topic you can debate for hours.

The thing is that this may have happened more than once over the last century and that hunter never went into the woods again and never offered a really good reason why.  Self Defence or simple 'sport' killing it is still the death of a creature that could be vital to a population. I'm glad certain areas have legislature or are looking at such to protect these animals rather than issuing proclamations like "Hey , we wanna prove we got Sasquatch: $10,000 to whoever brings a genuine one in for study!"

You want people to stop saying "You've wasted your life, man -they don't exist!" then go all out to gather the evidence but don't even think about killing a creature to prove it. Leave the population to continue and think of the best ways to prove your case -a miniature transponder fitted into a dart that can penetrate or stick to a Sasquatch so you can follow it , .22 slugs have allegedly been fired into Sasquatch with no noticable affect so a dart implanting a tracker, even if only in thick skin is no problem.

There are other ways -some including transponders placed inside food.  Sasquatch want to steal from a cabin then hang your salmon/meat up outside with the transponder in it.  Yes, after a few days it'll be passed through the Sasquatch digestive system BUT you'll have tracked/plotted its route for a while and the device will lead you to Sasquatch faeces!

I would genuinely sooner let Sasquatch remain a "mystery" than prove it existed with a body and all that entailed. Let the Sasquatch hunters/scientists stamp their feet.  Why should we, as humans, demand that any species be killed just so that we can say "I told you so"?

It is definitely wrong to demand a body -if a trucker or motorist hits and kills one okay. That is an accident but hoping that one is killed that way so you can have a clear conscience...?


In Search of Giants by Thomas Steenburg

I got this book in the post yesterday and gave myself a day off to read it.

It was quite an interesting read and there was only one thing I found annoying.

Steenburg prints the Q & As he has gotten from interviews after 
he has given us a brief sighting account. In the Q & A section he then writes what the observers saw in their own words. For a book on rarely covered sightings this is annoying. I really do not want to read about the observation three times in a short space.

Better to give the date and time and allow the observers statements to give the detail.  If there are odd aspects such as, in one observation, a witness reporting large stand-up ears then you can write "I questioned him on this..." and publish the relevant lines.

Better still, if you want to present the word-for-word statements by observers put them in appendices at the back of the book so those interested can go through them later.

And there were other aspects that I found distracting froim the gist of the book.  Observer Joseph Verhovany apparently had/has an accent that made him talk in broken English. So some things he said were not understood -"discreprancies" popped up such as finding out part-way through an account that Verhovany had dog(s) with him.  In the Q &A Steenburg writes that he cannot understand something Verhovany says. This made the whole observation being recorded pointless.

I am guessing that Steenburg recorded these Q & As on a dictaphone?  The procedure should be, as police will tell you, record on tape  and on paper so that this does not happen. A standard basic report form might also be helpful. In the past, when I've come across witness to events who do not speak English as a first language, I get them to give their accounts in their mother-tongue so it can be translated into English later.

But I'm now guilty of distracting myself from the purpose of Steenburgs book. We hear time-and-again, about Bigfoot/Sasquatch in the United States.  We hear repeatedly, though to a much lesser degree about the Yeti.  However, South America and Canada get very little coverage.

Steenburg is trying to balance out the record and in his work, as he notes, sticks to the Canadian (his) side of the border and this is good. It means that an investigator will get to know the country and reports from it well and that means getting into a good position to know the hot-spots, etc., etc..

Firstly, one thing I have never seen in documentary programmes, apart from the Patterson-Gimlin event, is the mention of breasted Sasquatch.  Albert  Ostman, if you believe his account, mentions female Sasquatch but that is really it in general. Steenburg shows that female Sasquatch ARE reported and that Canada has some interesting reports.  Reports that I think in certain cases are just as important, if not more so, than certain oft-cited US events.

So, yes, world, Canada does have Sasquatch sightings.



My negative points are raised from years of investigation and the need to get facts.  Some will argue that this is what Steenburg is doing.  Fair enough but I think the same can be done by the appendices idea. Did the book put me off? Nope. I'm now going looking for Steenburgs other books!

Well worth reading.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sunday Sermon: On Books And Stuff And Why I Am Really Quite Normal






If I so much as mention Bigfoot/Sasquatch or even unknown sea creatures to people I meet I get that look.  You know the one -a slight wry smile with that look of "he seemed quite normal earlier!"

But then, if I go into a sudden lecture on history I can get the same look -or worse.  An acquaintance once telephoned me and asked what I was "up to?"  I replied: "I'm currently re-reading Julius Caesar:Man, Soldier & Tyrant by J. F. C. Fuller-" before I'd even finished there was the laugh, though it was quickly followed by a "Well, I shouldn't be surprised really!"

I am not just interested in the "established" history. I am fascinated by the “Lost” history.  For instance, that Irish sailors reached the Americas long before the Vikings and many others.  Bristol was one of the most important ports in Medieval times and our founding father traders had secret sea route maps but where did Bristol merchants get their maps?  Why are pineapples depicted in Ancient Egypt and also in a mural at Pompei –they are New World fruits in the Old World?

Then we have all the lost technology from the past (do not even as a joke mention “Ancient Astronauts” to me.  Man is creative and inventive and we do not need to pull aliens into everything from the building of the pyramids to the Easter Island heads (we know through archaeology how these were built).  Al Andalus (or Andalusia) was ruled by “The Moors” for 800 years after moving into the Iberian Peninsula around the 8th century.  They quite literally re-introduced civilisation to Europe. Mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, architecture and even medicine was far more advanced than that in the rest of Europe –people travelled to Al Andalus (where religions were not in conflict) to learn these skills.  What the Spanish later did in their Reconquista was set Europe back hundreds of years.

There is so much to learn out there and when people say “Who cares –that’s in the past!” I just have to look at them and ask why they are alive!

But then we have those old questions regarding ghosts, demons and the like.  According to the church it has not yet decided upon the ghost and ghostly.  Now, if after over 2000 years of Christian religion, full of ghostly events and practically based upon some ghostly events, hasn’t yet decided it is only because it simply just has not bothered or, even more likely, coming upon events it cannot explain it decided that it “never happened” or to talk about it is “blasphemy” or might incur the attentions and mischief of the Devil so “be quiet”.  The Devil –another Church creation that doesn’t appear in the Bible.

Growing up you hear things. I once lived in a house in St. Werburghs, Bristol, where the back room overlooking the Mina Road Park had a very weird feeling.  As kids my brother, Peter and I had this as our bedroom.  I have never ever slept well and so I got used to the huge glowing eyes looking in through the window at night (an owl) and how things mysteriously moved about the room during the day (windows left open during the day and a jackdaw popped in –I caught it one day moving things and I don’t know which of us looked more surprised!).

But the room had a very strange feel and it was where I had my first hypnagogic event (a waking dream): the dark silhouette of a traditionally dressed witch with full high pointed hat –I even through a book at ‘her’ as she moved past the bed.  My gran did wonder why the book was on the floor when she came in to wake us up in the morning.  My mother and father had this bedroom at one point but my mother flatly refused to stay in it –even during the day she would not go into it unless someone was with her and she never said why.
One morning we heard a “thump” and my gran and parents rushed upstairs to the room in question.  My brother had been knocked out having hit his head on the ceiling. “He must have been bouncing on the bed” was my fathers explanation: yet we had not heard a sound before which we should have done had he been bouncing on the bed.  Also, which I realised even then, he must have been performing Olympic style leaps to hit the high ceiling!

Eventually, a lodger, Fred, moved into that room. Within three years or so he was taken to a mental hospital but we had all realised this was inevitable –sadly, people deteriorating mentally is no rarity.  Then the new lodger moved in.  Derek was young, bright and breezy and had no trouble with “the room”.

I could go on and on but throughout my formative years I encountered one thing after another that some might call “ghostly” –witnessed just by myself or with others. Our home in Knowle, Bristol, had thrown up a few oddities and one evening we were sat around and I looked at the Christmas decorations as the latest “event” was mentioned. On TV someone was talking about “the devil” so I said: “If the devil exists let him pop a red balloon!”

“Bang!”

A red balloon popped.  I thought it was hysterically funny.

Even in Germany the ghosts and ghostly kept popping up.  So, that I was reading books by Elliott O’Donnell, Harry Price and others by the time I was thirteen should not surprise anyone.

One day, after school, I went into the Greystoke Avenue Library, in Southmead, Bristol, and looked through their “Older readers” section.  In those days, if under 16 you weren’t really allowed to venture over to the adult section but the librarians let me.  I had read most of the paranormal/ghost books but saw two I had not read before.  I was in a hurry and on leaving the library discovered I had accidentally picked up a copy of Brisley Le Poer Trench’ The Flying Saucer Story.  I was annoyed. I could not take the book back until next day (lending policy). 

On that day I read The Flying Saucer Story and much more than forty years later I’m still suffering the results of that read! It was only later that I heard from my parents that before I was born they had been on the farm in Germany and seen a large ball of light (UFO).  So it was fate!

 


And wildlife. I have never had a problem in this area.  While in Sevier Street, St. Werburghs, I looked out after a Summer rain shower to see an approximately six inches (15 cms) long caterpillar of some type –it was literally covered in long, fawn colour hair so it looked like a long mop.  It moved up the wall between the outhouse and coal shed and to this day I have never been able to identify what it was.

In Germany, while collecting wood for the fire in woods just outside Dalborn, my father about six feet ahead of me with the wood-cart, there was a sudden silence. I turned to my left to see a young fallow deer, a true “bambi”, looking at me curiously. Some ten feet (3m) beyond it, in amongst the trees, stood the mother also looking at me. This lasted some time before we all mutually moved off.

My grand mother had lived in Dalborn since the Second World War but had never seen any hares.  She was a bit miffed when I returned from a walk to describe watching groups of hares and even hare ‘boxing matches’! 

When I was a bit older I did walk through the forestry and hear an odd noise. I looked down and saw wild boar piglets and at that point I broke into a cold sweat because I became aware and then saw the sow.  She stared at me as I slowly moved away, walking backwards and not taking my eyes off her.  She never charged me.

On one holiday, as a family, we went with our grand-father to pick dandelions for his giant rabbits.  The route was a familiar one to us –out through the farm orchard, down the tractor path and then along a basic road between cornfields and the forest. As we passed a tree stump a good few feet from the forestry my grand-father casually mentioned that the stump was where he had seen “the sturm-geist” (storm ghost/spirit). Now, Opa had suffered a stroke so his vocabulary was good but not great –he was still “re-learning” full speech.  The storm ghost had an ugly face and was covered in hair and when he saw it the beasty leaped from the trunk and into the forestry.  “It sounds like a chimp or monkey of some kind” I said.  Opa smiled that smile: “No. We don’t have monkeys here.” I thought “We don’t have monkeys but we do have storm spirits!”  Of course, Opa was probably thinking “He thinks we have monkeys in the forest?”

Opa had been alone that time but when we were all together on the rough track one day, right next to where the sturm-geist had been seen, he said “Look there!” All we saw was a glossy black, hair-covered back leap into the coniferous forestry. If you’ve seen black furred/feathered creatures you’ll know that in bright sunlight the fur/feather has that sort of brownish, even purplish glint.  So did this beasty.  I rushed forward determined to see what it was but the forestry was so wild at that point I could only get five feet ort so –but we all heard it crash through the branches of the trees.

My cousin later threw almost an hissy-fit as we explained the event.  I have no idea why he was so vehement in his dismissal of the sighting.  His explanation?  It was a “fishing bird.” I was puzzled having never heard of a “Fishing bird” –I found out it was a cormorant. I’ve seen so many cormorants over the years (we have them in Bristol) that I know it was not that we saw.  And besides, our critter was leaping not flying.

On another occasion I observed what I thought was a badger emerging from forestry across some fields.

 
Everyone, including the local ranger, assured me that there were no badgers in the area. A few nights later I got up to go to the bedroom window because it was hot and sticky and the midges were being noisy pests. I heard a noise in the flower bed, about three feet (90 cms) below the window.  I looked down and there, looking up at me, was what for all the world looked like a fluffy black fox with white facial markings –almost raccoon like.  I tried to reach for the camera at my bedside that had a flash on it and trying to do so without taking my eyes off the critter.  My hand knocked the camera and I tried to grab it –when I turned back the animal was gone.

Next day..there was that look again in amongst chuckles as I explained what I had seen. I was dreaming it seems. No such animal existed. Alright, now I knew what people reporting a UFO or Sasquatch felt like!

Back in England I went through all my books and –there it was.  Fluffy black fox with white markings!  But it was not a fox, rather it was a raccoon-like dog which is a rather primitive wild canid that can hibernate and they were kept by fur farmers before escapes in the 1930s and, of course, during the war.  I had seen one the furthest west they had moved (though that was not known at the time.
Next year I took the book and showed everyone I could in Dalborn.  Not a single odd look just the very, very annoying response of “Yes. You saw one –so what?”  I was sure this was a conspiracy.
So you can imagine I thought everyone considered me a nut-case.  However, one day my aunt said to my mother: “Ask Herr Professor if he wants coffee.”  I looked around and she was looking at me.  I had no idea up to this point that the family called me “Herr Professor” or that some of the locals were also referring to me in that way.  Apparently, my constant nose-in-books, asking questions and checking everything from insects, unusual plants and animals out had earned me a reputation!

The books, of course, varied.  I had been introduced to Brinsley Le Poer Trench (later Lord Clancarty) and his outlook on “flying saucers” and I had read of Price and O’Donnell and their ghost hunting experiences.  My big heroes were later added to: Major Donald E. Keyhoe and his take on the flying saucers and Ivan T. Sanderson who covered many topics but then, he had travelled and lived in much of the world and seen and investigated much.  Sanderson had introduced me to underwater UFOs (USOs), the Patterson-Gimlin film and, with Abominable Snowmen:Legend Come To Life, set me on another avenue of study.

I corresponded with George Haas of the Bigfoot Bay Area Group, Dimitri Bayanov in Russia on the Almas and many others covering subjects from hairy hominids, sea creatures, UFOs, ghosts, astronomy, aeronautics and beyond. I investigated my first UFO when I was around 15 years of age and joined many different UFO groups –I even famously fought with two Men In Black characters on my doorstep (quite a few witnesses).  I have chased (on foot) UFOs at Warminster, on roof tops, along roads -and nearly crashed twice.  I never ever understood why people wanting to find “the truth” just stood on the spot not daring to face the phenomena face-on.

The same applies with ghosts or even unusual creatures: you do not endanger yourself but you don’t just stand there saying “Well, that was a mystery wasn’t it?”

And those over-sized “coffee table” books full of photographs and full colour illustrations did not help.  “Is this true?” I’d ask myself.  How could I trust some stranger who just wrote this account or offered a photograph without checking it all out myself?  Sadly, those huge books are a thing of the past to a degree.
But when I kept being asked about my “officially unofficial” UFO work, or my work as a wildlife consultant to UK police forces and so on I got fed up.  I decided to put it all (well, some of it) in writing.  Some Things Strange & Sinister was my look at ghosts, poltergeists, UFOs, local and world-wide mysteries and, where-ever I could I gave an explanation.  Explaining something away is not being a sceptical debunker.  Only after you’ve looked at all the possible explanations can you say this was a hoax, that was misinterpretation or, sorry Charles Fort, that never happened.

Dead aquatic creatures washed up on UK shores as well as on Tanzanian shores. Alleged ‘mermaid/man’ carcasses and so much more.

I could, like others, just sit back and say this was all real.  No need to disbelieve. An easier life by far but then that would mean believing that real flying saucers had crashed at Aurora and Roswell. I’m not that dumb. No, I have to look into these things.

In some cases it has taken 20, 30 and even 35 years to get to the bottom of an event/case but to me that is worth it. Now I know what the facts are. And I need to point out that I am not a “Cryptozoologist”, a “Ufologist”, a “Fortean” or any other pseudo-ologist!  I am a naturalist/researcher-investigator.  That’s it.
When I wrote my second book, Some More Things Strange & Sinister I put together a lot of what I had learnt as a naturalist, historian and researcher-investigator.  From gorillas in the UK before they were actually scientifically discovered, primate historical mysteries and oddities, tales of all sorts of wildmen from the United States, England and Europe.

I looked at the mystery of a strange city said to appear in Alaskan skies each year.  Unlike other writers and ‘researchers’ over the years I went out and found the quoted source and the oft-mentioned photograph of the city-in-the-sky.

The so called “Girt Dog Of Ennerdale” which, in 1810, killed sheep and was eventually killed.  Everyone has written on it in the “mystery big cat field” or in cryptozoology and Forteana.  It’s been a werewolf, a vampire beast, a hyena a UFO creature of some kind and even a tiger, lion or a Tasmania thylacine (the current cryptozoological favourite explanation).  I went out and got the, again, oft-quoted sources and found that there is no great mystery and definitely no big cat or thylacine. The facts are in the original sources.


The Beast of Gevaudan –again, so many silly explanations but going back to original sources and corresponding with the French natural history museums, the explanation is clear –and there are later incidents correlating with “the beast” events.
Sea creatures and so-called “flying light wheels” emerging from the sea, the Great Serpent of Carthage, mystery snakes and so much more and all pulling together everything I have learnt since I was a child.


The Red Paper: Canids covered Ennerdale but also the natural history of foxes in the UK from the point where they were going extinct through to mass importation of foxes for hunting.  Wolves roaming the British countryside long after they became extinct here, jackals, coyotes, arctic foxes and much more –the hunts, where they came from and cases never before reported on.  One naturalist called it “an explosive book!” 
I try to make each book, no matter what the subject matter, interesting for the reader whether they are UFO or cryptozoology buffs or simply curious.  Photographs, maps, charts and much more, though sadly, the idea of full colour plates is way to expensive. To think. To learn and enquire into the strange, the unusual or even history is what makes us humans.


Before I shift off this mortal coil I want to pass on this information and keep delving into things that grab my attention…and try to carry on earning some kind of living!

Long winded, I know, but it tells you something about me. 

I really am quite normal.