In my first book I outlined some Bristol ghost cases as well as my own experiences -in St Werburghs, Knowle and elsewhere in the city (and beyond it).
So, I have contacted a number of Bristol based (non-paranormal) groups and asked whether they might have accounts of the ghostly and weird in their archives. Local historical societies do sometimes have such accounts.
But do I limit the accounts to just Bristol, England?
The thing with writing these books is that you do not want to limit your readership! I know that you can start out with a definite idea about a book and what it will focus on and them -BAM!- something crops up and you think "But this does not fit in with the theme of the book -do I not use it?" And then your book expands in theme.
With Some Things Strange & Sinister and Some More Things Strange & Sinister I had files and reports that were accumulated from when I first began looking into all things "unusual" when I was an unbearded teenager. Before Lord (Brinsley) Clancarty and Sir Victor Goddard and Grey Book. But, while Unidentified Flying Objects were my main focus I still side-stepped and dipped my toes into other mysteries.
It's odd that, after a major wave of UFO activity in and around Bristol in the late 1970s -which I had to investigate myself because Contact UK and the British UFO Research Association had only one investigator covering a vast area (me)- I went on holiday to Dalborn in Germany. I sat by the kitchen window and was settling back to read a book when an extremely bright light flew up from the forest. "A flare" I thought -it was a military exercise area with a garrison town, Detmold, nearby.
Then it ascended in a very clear arc. "Flare in the wind!" I thought. But it was mid-evening and cloudless with a crystal clear sky and absolutely no wind.
Above: rough movements of the Dalborn light that ascended from the forest area c. 1978
Then another ascending arc. I realised, after years of investigation and study and talking to thousands of people that it was no flare. It was no helicopter. "Oh **** off!" I thought and turned away to read my book. I was not going to get involved with UFOs on my holiday.
Next day I heard about a UFO. There were odd glances in my direction. "What does 'Herr Professor' know?" Nothing. I sat to read a magazine. Opened it up and some man named Meier in Switzerland claimed to have taken UFO photos (bad ones) and had been in contact with aliens. "NO!" TV that night -a news item on UFOs.
It just never stops.
A conversation with someone about local wildlife and "they reckon there are big cats in the countryside" and this even happened talking to the gas engineer who was talking about fishing and things he'd seen while fishing.
Okay, UFOs was "officially unofficial" but between 1977-2005 I was an exotic wild animals advisor to UK police forces so I "hmmed" and "ahhed" and just noted where the man had gone fishing.
Then talking to someone on a bus stop on totally mundane matters when they mention a ghost or haunting.
As you get older you tire of being in an official car chasing a bright object in the sky (and the near crashes). You get fed up of climbing up cranes, onto rooves, going into dilapidated buildings and fieldwork that involves you hiding out in a tree.....
The point here is, while I remember it, that at 58 years of age I have spent most of my life looking into weird things -when a youngster in St Werburghs it was odd insects including a 'furry', fawn coloured 6 inch (15cms) caterpillar. In school in Southmead I was on the team, under the guidance of the head science teacher, who looked into what was causing paint on cars to dissolve -but only in the school car park. What was the humanoid figure with large head that was seen near the Pen Park cave in Southmead?
It goes on!
So I have over 50 years of nosing into things. If there is an explanation I find it. Only by ruling out the explainable are you ever going to find the unexplainable.
As a naturalist I like creature reports -whether at sea, on land or in the air. As someone who once was an amateur astronomer and still love science I like to hear about UFOs.
So, I say "Bristol Ghosts" but I know full well that "the plans of mice and men....."