Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Russian Bigfoot Book

Here's some excellent news: the Center for Fortean Zoology has just published its "Expedition Report 2008: Russia" on the Center's recent expedition to Russia in search of the hairy wild-man known as the Almasty.

The expedition was a highly ambitous one, which saw the Richard Freeman-led team tackling the harsh Caucasus Mountains as they sought out their monstrous quarry.

My copy of the book literally only arrived in the mail about twenty minutes ago; but even a quick glance at its contents demonstrates that this is likely to be seen as one of the major crypto-publications of late 2008/early 2009.

With an introduction from Jon Downes, a foreword written by Dr. Karl Shuker, and individual chapters penned by each of the team-members (who provide their own unique perspectives, thoughts, memories and opinions on the trip), the book is an absolute treasure-trove of data.

Not only that: the packed and unique photo section alone makes the book well worth buying.

As soon as I have read the book, I'll be writing a comprehensive review. But, even having just had a cursory glance it today, I can say for certain that if you want to find out more about the mysterious Almasty, you will not be disappointed at all.

And here's the Amazon link for purchasing your very own copy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Above Top Secret

Before I begin this review of Jim Marrs' new book, Above Top Secret, I have to say that it is a title to which I was asked to contribute a significant body of material.

Nevertheless, I can state with certainty that this has no bearing on the fact that I consider Jim's latest title to be first-class!

As readers of Jim's earlier books, such as Crossfire, Alien Agenda, Rule by Secrecy, and The Rise of the Fourth Reich will be acutely aware, Jim has an extraordinary knowledge of all-things of a distinctly conspiratorial nature - and this fact shines through in Above Top Secret.

And if, like me, you too are a devotee of all-things-conspiratorial, then this is most definitely the book for you.

Within its packed, 284-pages, you'll find chapters on a whole range of cover-ups, high-level shenanigans, and much more, including:

1. A wealth of material on the controversy surrounding the events of 9/11;

2. A detailed look at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy at Dealey Plaza, Dallas in November 1963;

3. The issue of what did - or, indeed, did not - crash at Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1947;

4. A study of the claims that the Moon-landings were either in part or in whole hoaxed;

5. The recent controversy of the UFO "drones" that dominated much of the UFO arena in 2007;

6. The "Free Energy" issue;

7. The weird story of alleged time-traveller John Titor;

8. The Mayan prophecies pertaining to 2012;

9. Chemtrails and the many and varied issues that a discussion of the subject provokes;

10. Conspiracies concerning the Federal Reserve; and much more, too.

The very good thing about Above Top Secret is that it allows the reader the opportunity to get concise - yet highly informative - data on each of the issues under discussion in a series of strong, self-contained chapters.

So, if you're brand new to the field of conspiracy research, Jim's latest book is a great place to start; as it will allow you to get up to speed on some of the biggest controversies of the modern age.

And, if you're a seasoned player in the field of cover-ups and official secrecy, you'll learn all the very latest data uncovered by the indefatigable Jim Marrs.

In an era of our civilization when nothing is quite as it seems, Above Top Secret is required reading!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Downard's Mystical War

Here's a new book that is likely to be of great interest to Forteans everywhere: it’s the much-anticipated new title from Adam Gorightly.

I ran into Adam again at Ryan Wood’s crashed UFO conference the weekend before last, and he was telling me about the book and its contents.

And just from what he briefly told me, I can say that it’s a good one.

“James Shelby Downard’s Mystical War” by Adam Gorightly

Mind Control, occult scenarios, conspiracy and ritual crimes… In “James Shelby Downard’s Mystical War,” author Adam Gorightly chronicles the famed conspiracy researcher’s life long battles against Masonic Sorcery as an investigator and exposer of the Science of Symbolism, Onomatology (Science of Names) and Mystical Toponomy (Science of Places). “James Shelby Downard’s Mystical War” picks up where Downard left off and follows the bread crumbs down a rabbit hole where only the brave (or crazy!) dare follow.

Available through and

For review copies and interviews contact Mr. Gorightly at

“Adam Gorightly is one of the great divers into the mnemonic deep. If his readers come away with less than the definitive answers about the arcane creatures that populate these waters–from Kerry Thornley to Charlie Manson to James Shelby Downard–it will be only because they have become exhausted by the swim.” - Kenn Thomas, Steamshovel Press

“Adam offers a unique take on virtually every conspiracy of our time. There are few answers to Adam’s rants, but they pose questions only the brave or seriously warped would dare ponder.” –Erskine Payton, “Erskine Overnight”

“Adam Gorightly is a ‘crackpot historian’ of the highest order!” - Victor Thorn,

Darklore II Just Published

Last year, I wrote a chapter on UFOs for the first volume of an ambitious and exciting project that was the brainchild of Greg Taylor of the Daily Grail.

It was called Darklore.

Well, I'm very pleased to say that Darklore Volume II has just been published; and, as with the initial volume, it's packed with fascinating material and contributions from a wide variety of writers, authors and researchers.

Here's Greg to tell you more:

"Darklore is a journal of exceptional observations, hidden history, the paranormal and esoteric science. Bringing together some of the top researchers and writers on topics from outside of mainstream science and history, Darklore will challenge your preconceptions by revealing the strange dimensions veiled by consensus reality.

"Featuring contributions from Stephen E. Braude Ph.D, Nick Redfern, Jon Downes, Blair Blake, Theo Paijmans, Michael Tymn, Greg Taylor and many others, Volume 2 of Darklore offers only the best writing and research from the most respected individuals in their fields.

"In Darklore Volume 2 you'll find discussions of subjects such as the occult underpinnings of modern rock music, the origins of the Illuminati, hallucinogens and witchcraft, DMT and the occult, and much more.

"Find out more about the book - including free sample articles - at the Darklore website:"

As for my own particular contribution, it focuses on that most mysterious of all locales: Loch Ness, Scotland. But the story has a twist to it.

Rather than dwell solely upon the world's most famous monster, Nessie, I have highlighted the illuminating fact that the beast is merely one of many mysteries that dominate the loch and its immediate surroundings.

For example, in my chapter, titled What Lies Beneath..., you will find reams of data on (a) the Great-Beast of Boleskine House (Aleister Crowley, in other words, who had a home at Loch Ness and who got up to all sorts of antics while in-residence); (b) sightings of strange creatures in the loch that specifically fall outside of the standard long-necked and humped-variety; (c) shape-shifters and warlocks in the area; (d) UFOs seen soaring over, and Men in Black roaming around, Loch Ness; (e) eye-opening synchronicities; (f) exorcisms; (g) repeated examples of cameras mysteriously jamming when the monster surfaces from the dark waters; (h) encounters at the loch with big-cats; and (i) even reports of creatures that sound very much like the fairy folk of old English folklore and legend.

In other words, and as I point out in the paper, the Loch Ness Monster is merely one of many Fortean puzzles present at that huge body of dark water.

And, of course, this raises an intriguing question: with so much high-strangeness afoot at Loch Ness, does this mean that the monster itself is not what many assume it to be - namely, a flesh-and-blood beast of undetermined origins and type?

As I note, yes, that may very well indeed be the case.

The whole affair of the Loch Ness Monster is not just strange. In many respects, it's just too strange...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Monster Diary

I do quite a bit of writing (such as introductions, etc) for Timothy Green Beckley's Global Communications publishing company. And, right now, Tim has just published a new title that will appeal to anyone with an interest in weird creatures, monsters and more.

Titled Andrew Crosse: Mad Scientist - Diary of a Monster Maker!, it tells the fascinating story of a man, a monster, a famous novel, and much, much more.

I have written the Introduction to the book, and here's Tim to tell you more:

He was known as "The Thunder And Lightning Man. . ."

Was Andrew Crosse (1784-1855) a real life Dr Frankenstein?

Did he create the building blocks of life in his laboratory? Or was he delusional? Or perhaps even a total fraud?

His contemporaries in the scientific community were puzzsled by the very nature of his experiments. And while the eye does not deceive, they were unable to duplicate his findings and reproduce under controlled conditions the striking life forms that were plainly visible and clearly moving around Crosse's laboratory table.

To the farmers living in the area surrounding Crosse's palatial Fyne Court, he quickly became recognized as a heretic dabbling in dark areas that led him to be on the receiving end of a significant number of irate letters from God-fearing folk who summarily and loudly accused him of blasphemy, or even trying to replace their God as the ultimate creator.

The contentions of the nearby country folk were only compounded by Andrew Crosse's ability to seemingly capture bolts of lightning and direct them through a mile long coil of copper wire that was suspended from poles and trees all around his estate. Events reached a boiling point when Crosse started to receive anonymous death threats. There were those who firmly blamed him for a failure in the year's wheat-crop; and there was even a demand that an exorcism of the whole area be undertaken in the surrounding green hills.

Here, in his own words, Andrew Crosse describes in great detail his life and times and the experiments that caused such a gret controversy in his day -- and continue to frighten and bewilder us even now! In a breathtaking update paranormalist Nick Redfern takes us behind the scenes and actually describes Crosse's relationship with the creator of the Frankenstein novel, Mary Shelley.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Silver Bridge: A Review

As promised, here's my review of the newly-republished edition of Gray Barker's classic book on Mothman: The Silver Bridge.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Silver Bridge Update

I mentioned here last week that Gray Barker's book on the Mothman puzzle - The Silver Bridge - has just been re-published; but that it wasn't yet on Amazon. Well, the good news is that Amazon now have it, and here's the link. Finally, you can get this much-sought-after title without having to spend (literally) a couple of hundred dollars! For those unacquainted with Barker's book, I'll be doing a new review of it here next week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Barker, The Beast, The Book

Gray Barker's own, unique take on what is arguably that most mysterious of all crypto-creatures - the Mothman - is now back in print.

Yep, his classic title, The Silver Bridge (the original of which regularly goes for a whopping $150.00 and above online) has just been re-printed.

My review-copy arrived yesterday; however, Andy Colvin - the author of The Mothman's Photographer trilogy of books and the driving force behind the new edition - tells me it won’t be available on Amazon until later this week or possibly next.

It's been at least 15 years since I last read Barker's book; and so rather than review it here from memory, I'm going to re-read it and then write my review.

I'll let you know when I get an update about its online availability. Until then, here's what the back-cover blurb says about Barker's book:

What kind of book is The Silver Bridge? Well, it is primarily not about the collapse of the “Silver Bridge” in Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia, which killed almost 50 people back in 1967 - though it does describe the strange events that preceded the collapse.

Is it about “Mothman,” the hypnotic bird-man who terrified the Ohio and Kanawha Valleys in 1966 and later became as famous as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Or…Is it a dramatic, emotional docudrama, such as when we hear the sobbing of a sad child, calling for his dog after the unfortunate animal has been mysteriously snatched out of this world?

And what about Woody Derenberger, wondering whether he should tell his neighbors about the otherworldly “Indrid Cold,” who stopped his van on Interstate 77 for a mind-shattering “interplanetary” interview? It can’t be science fiction, because these events actually occurred, as a search through the newspaper files of this time will prove.

One suspects that Barker has in fact written something completely different. It’s a new genre of sorts, about a creature that, ironically, may be very old. Ancient lore tells us that flying avatars similar to the Mothman, such as the Garuda, Thunderbird, and Piasa, have been around a long time.

The Silver Bridge is multi-layered and will likely be interpreted differently by each reader. Some will rave of its “deep psychological content,” others its “social commentary.” Many will be content to sit back and simply enjoy this hair-raising narrative - though it might well creep nightmarishly back into their minds late at night, like the barely audible chanting of robed figures in the foggy, moonlit woods. Regardless of what The Silver Bridge really is, one thing is certain: it will haunt you forever…

This 2008 edition features new introductions by ufology legends Alan Greenfield and Jim Moseley, as well as a foreword by paranormal researcher Andy Colvin, aka “The Mothman’s Photographer,” whose book trilogy of the same name renewed interest in the MIB conspiracies discovered by Barker. ISBN: 978-1-4392-0427-6

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Otherworldly Affaires

As someone who is basically agnostic on the issue of life-after-death (but also as a person whose views sometimes veer towards general acceptance of the idea, and sometimes towards the theory that physical death is, quite literally, the end) I'm always cautious about reading books on the afterlife.

And particularly so when it involves the denizens of the spirit world coming back to visit us, and for one prime reason: generally the author (whether they are a firm believer or a hardened skeptic) has a viewpoint that he, she or they are trying to make us accept as the definitive truth.

I have, however, had a couple of genuinely odd experiences myself that may be indicative of an afterlife (one, ironically, involving not a person; but our pet dog who died in 2003). So, for the reason cited above, it's with a slightly wary mind - yet, I must stress, always an interested mind - that I approach such books.

Fortunately, there's no need to have such concerns about Brad Steiger's new title, Otherworldly Affaires - originally published in 1971 as Haunted Lovers, and which is as relevant and as vital today as it was nearly forty years ago.

Steiger's book is, as you might have already deduced from its title, a study of such issues as (A) lovers who returned from the grave; (B) ghostly wives and husbands who came back to warn their loved-ones about their future relationships - sometimes out of concern about the people they were getting involved with, and other times out of near-homicidal jealousy; (C) those whose lives were tragically cut short (such as military men on the battlefield) and who returned to say a final goodbye to their partners; and (D) much more, including stories that range from the uplifting and the thought-provoking, to the downright sinister, malevolent and utterly crazed.

Yes, it seems that if the afterlife is a reality, then at least some of the many and varied character traits and emotions that dominate relationships, marriages and affairs in this world continue on into the next.

Or do they?

To his credit, Steiger does not force any particular scenario upon his readers. For example, he gives much intriguing space to the idea that perhaps many encounters with deceased loved-ones might not actually provide evidence of life-after-death.

Rather, he reveals, there is a possibility that at the moment of death it may be possible for a person to transmit a final, loving message - and one that perhaps even results in a spectral manifestation of the person in question - to their spouse or partner, before death takes them forever.

Steiger also discusses the possibility that perhaps it is within the confines of the mind of the surviving partner that the game really begins. By that, I mean he offers the idea that maybe - overcome by grief and intense emotion - the person left behind is so devastated by the passing of their loved one that they create an image in their mind of their husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend.

He goes a step further, however, and muses upon the idea that perhaps this same image can be unconsciously externalized and seen. Of course, the person has no idea that they are actually viewing something they may have unwittingly created.

The important factor that Steiger notes, however, is that visions such as these (whether created by the human mind or the result of an actual return from the grave) generally provide a great deal of comfort to those left behind to pick up the shattered pieces.

And in a field that often portrays the after-life as one of purely love and light, Steiger does not omit those accounts and reports demonstrating that sometimes deceased lovers might not have our best interests at heart, and that occasionally display symptoms of violent poltergeist-like activity.

So, having now firmly digested Brad Steiger's Otherworldly Affaires, where do I stand?

Well, I'll tell you: as was the case before I read the book, I remain firmly convinced that something significant occurs at the moment of death; and that - at times - that same something of significance can continue to manifest itself in the weeks and months that follow a passing - whether it's a human-being or, in the case of me and my wife, a loving, devoted dog.

But, I'm just not sure whether the experiences are external or internal.

I can, however, say that whatever your views on the idea of an afterlife, Otherworldly Affaires is a book that will provide a great deal of food for thought for anyone who wonders about what, if anything, awaits us when we die; and if we can come back and be with those we love.

And for presenting, without prejudice, a varied and fascinating range of theories to account for the stories that he relates, Steiger is to be applauded. Unbiased, informative, and definitely fascinating!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fort - Back in Print

Good news: publisher Tim Beckley has just released a 4-book set of Charles Fort's classic titles: Wild Talents; Book of the Damned; New Lands; and Lo!

Here's what Tim has to say about the books: "I first purchased a copy of one of Charles Fort's books when I was about 13 years old. It was perhaps my first inkling that there were others who were interested in probing that which remains just on the other side of the unknown. I'm very proud to be able to present Fort's works in a large print, large format edition, as I believe this will open up his works to a whole new audience."

And as Tim also notes:

"Charles Fort was a collector of strange tales which he gleamed from dusty newspapers and out of print scientific journals. He spent over 20 years in public libraries in the UK and later in America where he combed the shelves of the NY Public Library in search of the strange and unknown. This resulted in 4 works of approximately 1,000 pages pertaining to the most unusual subjects you are likely to read about anywhere in any era. . .and the stories are well researched and documented.

"Fort's works have long been sought after and were finally made available long after his death. We are proud to be able to present the following four volumes in never before presented large print editions. The books in this set are: 1. WILD TALENTS -- 2. BOOK OF THE DAMNED -- 3. NEW LANDS. 4. LO!
"In a breezy easy to read style Fort presents hundreds of episodic tales from the borderland of human understanding such as. . . Strange Disappearances. . . The Man Who Couldn't Drown. . . Mysterious Cattle Rippers. . . Blonde Beast of Patagonia. . . Human Vampires. . . Lake and River Creatures. . . Bizarre Slayer of Sheep. . . Spontaneous Human Combustion. . . Mirages of Cities and Towns. . . Phantom Figures. . .THe Original Cat Burgler. . . Original UFOs and Airships. . . Submarine Objects. . . Possible UFOnauts. . . Fossils in Meteorites. . . AND MUCH MORE."

I strongly recommend all four books if you haven't got them already. And as Tim correctly notes, all of Fort's titles are packed with tales of all-things mysterious.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Aztec Saucer Crash

As I mentioned here in an earlier post, I was recently interviewed for a new edition of Frank Scully’s old-time UFO book, Behind the Flying Saucers, which was the first title to address the controversy surrounding the alleged UFO crash at Aztec, New Mexico in 1948.

Here’s the Amazon link for those who might want to buy the new edition of Scully’s book, and here’s what Tim Green Beckley (who is republishing the book) has to say about it:

“The CONSPIRACY JOURNAL is very proud to offer this expanded version of perhaps the most seminal book in the history of the unexplained . . . a case that now stands right beside the UFO crash at Roswell, MN for its credibility and veracity. For years the Aztec case was spurned by serious researchers who did not have access to all the information now available on the crash. . . In addition to reprinting the entire, unabridged, text to the rare 50s Scully book (reset in an easy to read, ‘large print,’ large format edition) journalist Sean Casteel has dug deep to provide the reader with an updated account of what really happened outside this isolated desert town near the Four Corners. His up to date research on Aztec includes material supplied by such outstanding researchers as NICK REDFERN — STANTON FRIEDMAN — ART CAMPBELL — SCOTT and SUZANNE RAMSEY.” –Tim Beckley Conspiracy Journal.

Tim continues: “AN IMPORTANT RE-EXAMINATION OF AN HISTORICAL UFO CASE! - - - Were 16 alien bodies recovered from a dome-shaped device that crashed near the town of Aztec, New Mexico circa 1948? . . . Why does the FBI continue to withhold 200 pages of classified material on the case for alleged ‘national security reasons?’ . . . Was the incident covered up with a camouflaged ‘front story’ presided over by con men and scam artists, who were perhaps in the government’s ‘back pocket?’ . . . Did President Eisenhower make contact with aliens around the same time, thus adding weight to this and other UFO crash cases?”

Well, I had my copies of the book arrive in the mail yesterday, and I have to say that regardless of your personal thoughts on Aztex (hoax, real, disinfo op, the list goes on…), this new edition will be a valuable addition to your UFO library.

Not only does it allow you to obtain a brand new edition of a much sought after title (and indeed the first alleged non-fiction book on crashed UFOs - it was published in 1950), but you also get several other things too; including an interview with me about the FBI’s files on Aztec and their files on the key players in the strange saga: Silas Newton and Leo Gebauer.

You also get an interview with Stan Friedman, who offers his opinions on the affair and on the so-called “Farmington Armada”; black-budget ops; and the question of: “Why New Mexico?”

Scott Ramsay is interviewed about his ongoing research (which includes a section on some of his interviewees) and his forthcoming book on Aztec; and Art Campbell speaks about both the case, other reported New Mexico events, and the “Eisenhower met aliens” story of 1954.

So, all in all, if crashed UFOs are your gig, then you’ll definitely want this. And if you’re looking to learn more about the early years of UFOs in general, this is an essential purchase, in a handy, affordable package!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aliens on DVD

Like his book I know Why The Aliens Don't Land!, Jeremy Vaeni's DVD No One's Watching: An Alien Abductee's Story is very much a personal one. And that's a good thing. There are far too many alien abduction-themed books and documentaries out there that are filled with the theories and conclusions of the relevant writer and/or researcher, instead of the views of the person(s) involved.

Over the course of 97 minutes we get to learn much about Jeremy as a person, his early UFO-related experiences, his encounters with unknown entities, and the ways in which these events have transformed Jeremy's life from childhood to adulthood.

Jeremy does not shy away from bringing his friends and family into the picture, as he seeks to understand - and relate to the viewer - his life's experiences in the domain of the unknown.

A brave piece of work that is very honest, open and thoughtfully made, No One's Watching is (due to the fact that it's made by someone who has personally experienced the abduction phenomenon and who is willing to share his experiences) required viewing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Deceptive Messengers

A couple of weeks ago I was sent a copy of a new edition of Jacques Vallee's classic 1979 book, Messengers of Deception. If you don't have the original, then the reprint - courtesy of Daily Grail Publishing - should definitely be at the very top of your "To Buy" list.

Vallee is, of course, a legendary figure within Ufology and the author of many books. For me, however, Messengers of Deception is his most important and relevant, and the one in which I personally feel he gets closest to the truth about certain aspects of the UFO puzzle.

If you are of a closed-mind when it comes to the issue of unidentified flying objects, and you only view things from the perspective of a black-and-white, nuts-and-bolts, "ET is among us and here to help" scenario, then you are very likely to find yourself disagreeing with Vallee in his thoughts, his observations and his conclusions.

If, however, you're not just another wide-eyed "I want to believe" type who salivates at the very words "Take me to your leader;" and if you didn't digest Vallee's book the first time around, I most definitely recommend you do so now. I first read the book when it was published (I would have been around 14 at the time), and I still re-read it every few years. And every time I do so, I get something new and thought-provoking from its pages. And something chilling, too.

Basically, the book is a first-class look at how, and why, the UFO subject and the people within it (both witnesses and researchers) have been carefully and ingeniously manipulated and stage-managed by shadowy figures with a plethora of agendas - and some of those agendas are distinctly sinister, too.

And I do not exaggerate when I say "sinister."

Within the 280 pages of Messengers of Deception, you will learn much about the psychological manipulation of the human mind, both at an individual level and at a collective level, and you will be exposed to a strange and surreal world where nothing is quite as it seems. This is a world where the UFO issue is predominantly a tool of influence, one designed to alter mind-sets, attitudes and much more - and possibly on a global scale, too.

The stark truth of the matter (a truth that the ufological die-hards who still yearn for the "good-old-days" of Ufology stubbornly refuse to believe) is that we have been conned, we have been deceived, and we have been manipulated by powerful characters, and to a point where deliberate and deceitful paradigm shifts have occurred that only benefit those with power, riches and dark motivations based around control of the masses and the creation of false belief systems. And, as Vallee expertly demonstrates, the UFO issue has proven to be a highly valuable tool in this manipulation.

Essential reading, excellent reading, yet ultimately highly disturbing reading too...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dr. Shuker's Casebook

Just recently, fellow-author and seeker-of-the-strange Karl Shuker asked me if I would write the Foreword to his new book, Dr. Shuker's Casebook, and to which I quickly answered "Yes!"

Well, I can tell you that Karl's new book is one not to be missed - at all. The official publication date of the book is this Saturday; however, as I won't be around at the weekend, I figured I'd go ahead and give Karl's book the publicity it deserves a couple of days early.

And the best way to do that is to copy below for you my Foreword to the book that will give you a good indication of the many and varied stories that it contains.

So, here it is: my Foreword to Dr. Shuker's Casebook

Whether it’s due to the fact that we both hail from the mighty and majestic West Midlands (oh yes, it is, I assure you!), or simply that he is a damned good researcher and writer (or both!), I always look forward to a new book from Karl Shuker; and this one most definitely does not disappoint.

And so when Karl asked me if I would write the Foreword for his new book, I quickly said that yes, indeed I would. Whereas pretty much everything Karl has published so far has been on cryptozoology and weird and wonderful animals, Dr. Shuker’s Casebook is a little different. Yes, it is full to the brim with tales of strange beasts; however, Karl also delves into other areas of Forteana with which he is not generally associated.

This, however, is a very good thing, since we get to learn about a variety of other mysteries that are of interest to Karl. And, indeed, there are enough of them to fill Birmingham’s glorious Rotunda and Bull-Ring several times over!

So, what do you get for your hard-earned pennies?Well, I will start with those highly unusual, and almost legendary, winged cats. Karl provides excellent historical background on these unusual critters, carefully separates fact from fiction, and legend from reality, and gives the reader a fine study of this peculiar phenomenon. Even if you’re only vaguely familiar with the winged-cat controversy, this is one you won’t want to miss.

And what, I hear you ask, about the mystery animals of Senegambia? Encompassing hairy man-beasts, giant bat-like entities and much more, they collectively make great food for thought as Karl reveals the strange stories of some little-known and elusive beasts of a distinctly exotic and far-off land.

Sky-Beasts is an excellent chapter and one that addresses the theories of researchers such as Trevor James Constable, who suggested the idea that bizarre life-forms might very well soar high in the skies above us, and may perhaps be responsible for at least some UFO reports. Today, Constable’s theories are sadly forgotten by many within Ufology, and so it’s highly refreshing to see Karl turn his attention to a subject and a theory that perhaps has implications for both the UFO controversy and cryptozoology.

Merfolk – strangely humanlike entities that are said to roam the world’s oceans and seas - also feature prominently in Karl’s book. Of course, any mention of mermaids inevitably provokes furious debate. Fortunately, Karl knows a great deal about this topic and is able to discuss the matter in a fashion that both informs and intrigues. As for how the mysterious Aquatic Ape fits into this story, well…I’ll leave that up to you to find out.

The famous ‘Green Children’ of Suffolk’s Woolpit also come under the Shuker microscope, something that leads to such questions as: were they feral children, the denizens of the fairy world, or – if such a thing were possible – something even stranger?

Tulpas – creatures of the mind, thought-forms, or however you want to term them – are a particular obsession of mine. And to see that Karl has devoted a whole chapter of his book to this particularly controversial topic was a fine surprise for me. If you ever mused upon all the fuss that the Tulpa issue provokes, Karl provides the perfect study of the subject, and a look at some of the more significant tales of a distinctly mind-monster kind.

Flying humanoids such as Batsquatch, Mothman, Owlman, Britain’s little-known Monkey-Bird, and the Flying Man of Russia also have pride of place. The thorny (or should that be horny?) issue of unicorns is dissected, as are frog-falls, ball-lightning, will o’ the wisp, earthquake lights, various other aerial puzzles, and ghosts and specters.

Then there are those weird messages from space: manuscripts, papers, artifacts and even Joe Simonton’s famous faerie pancakes. Doppelgangers: they’re here too; as are the mysteries of Easter Island, the wonderfully-named Vegetable Man, the Monster of Glamis, and menacing, spectral werewolves.

In other words, Dr. Shuker’s Casebook is a fantastic and rich collection of oddities that will fascinate everyone with a thing for Forteana. And now, turn the page, turn off the lights and by the flicker of an old candle and a full moon, enjoy the book!

To learn more about Karl and his new book, here's his website address. And here are the Amazon US and Amazon UK addresses where you can purchase the book right now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hunt the Dogman

I received in the mail last week a copy of an excellent DVD titled Hunt the Dogman: The Director's Cut from friend, author of the book Mysterious Kentucky, and fellow seeker-of-the-strange, Bart Nunnelly.

Bart's film (made by Grendel Films) is an excellent one, and as you will guess from its title, is a study of a diabolical beast that roams the woods of Kentucky.

The Dogman is one of Bart's particular interests, and we follow him on his quest for the truth of the creature as he seeks out interviewees (including various eye-witnesses and author Linda Godfrey), undertakes on-site investigations, and takes us on a road-trip into the unknown.

The film is packed with data, testimony and more that will be of interest to fans everywhere of cryptozoology, werewolves and strange beasts. Bart's story is very much a personal one (his mother discusses her own encounter on-screen), and one filled with enthusiasm, a passion for the subject matter, and some stunning revelations on the Dogman, the Beast of the Land Between the Lakes, and the Spottsville Monster.

Copies of Hunt the Dogman can be purchased at the link above.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Behind the Flying Saucers: It's Back!

I was recently interviewed for a new edition of Frank Scully's old-time UFO book, Behind the Flying Saucers, which was the first title to address the controversy surrounding the alleged UFO crash at Aztec, New Mexico in 1948.

I'll be reviewing the new edition and the expanded material right here as soon as my copy arrives. In the meantime, here's what Tim Green Beckley (who is republishing the book) has to say about it:

"The CONSPIRACY JOURNAL is very proud to offer this expanded version of perhaps the most seminal book in the history of the unexplained . . . a case that now stands right beside the UFO crash at Roswell, MN for its credibility and veracity. For years the Aztec case was spurned by serious researchers who did not have access to all the information now available on the crash. . . In addition to reprinting the entire, unabridged, text to the rare 50s Scully book (reset in an easy to read, 'large print,' large format edition) journalist Sean Casteel has dug deep to provide the reader with an updated account of what really happened outside this isolated desert town near the Four Corners. His up to date research on Aztec includes material supplied by such outstanding researchers as NICK REDFERN -- STANTON FRIEDMAN -- ART CAMPBELL -- SCOTT and SUZANNE RAMSEY." --Tim Beckley Conspiracy Journal.

Tim continues: "AN IMPORTANT RE-EXAMINATION OF AN HISTORICAL UFO CASE! - - - Were 16 alien bodies recovered from a dome-shaped device that crashed near the town of Aztec, New Mexico circa 1948? . . . Why does the FBI continue to withhold 200 pages of classified material on the case for alleged 'national security reasons?' . . . Was the incident covered up with a camouflaged 'front story' presided over by con men and scam artists, who were perhaps in the government's 'back pocket?' . . . Did President Eisenhower make contact with aliens around the same time, thus adding weight to this and other UFO crash cases?"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Chase Masterson - On CD

Last summer, I spent five days in the town of Roswell, New Mexico. The reason, of course, was to lecture at the annual Roswell UFO Festival that is held every year to celebrate the famous (or perhaps infamous would be a better term!) "UFO crash" of the summer of 1947.

And considering that it was the 60th anniversary of the incident, the town was absolutely packed with visitors, all curious to learn about what really happened deep in the deserts of Roswell on that fateful day.

But it wasn't just members of the public and UFO researchers who were in town. Also on the bill at the Festival were Chase Masterson, of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Dean Haglund from The X-Files.

I was fortunate enough to have dinner and lunch with Chase over the course of the weekend (and, yes, I can say she is as hot in person as she is on screen), and learned that as well as being an accomplished actress, Chase had also recorded two CDs of music. Moreover, I was delighted when she gave me copies of the CDs to review.

The review in question originally appeared on a site that appears to have vanished into complete and utter oblivion, and whose name I will therefore avoid mentioning. However, as this blog is run entirely by me, I figured why not re-post the review here, for all to see? So here it is!


Ad Astra! and Thrill of the Chase are two CDs from Chase Masterson, star of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and numerous sci-fi movies. You might be forgiven for thinking that Chase's musical output would mirror her on-screen persona and be filled with songs of other-worldly encounters, aliens, far-off worlds, UFOs and more. However, you would be very wrong.

Collectively, both of Chase's CDs are an eclectic mix of sultry jazz and blues, and with a sprinkling of Broadway inserted for good measure. Comparisons with Billie Holiday are both justified and accurate as Chase purrs her way through classic tunes penned by the likes of Gershwin, Berlin and Sondheim.

Very much evoking that long-gone era when Sinatra's Rat-Pack ruled, and when cool-looking characters prowled the cocktail bars and hotels of Vegas, this is definitely late-night music best listened to with a chilled drink in-hand, the lights down low, and a hot babe on your arm.

Chase has a strong voice, yet one that does not overpower the musical background, and provides the listener with, collectively, 16 songs that will take you back to times past, but that sound refreshingly modern too.

To learn more about Chase's music, click right here.

He Knows Why The Aliens Don't Land!

Although not strictly a new book (it was published in 2003), a copy of I Know Why The Aliens Don't Land! by Jeremy Vaeni was recently sent to me (by Jeremy himself) for review here; and given the fact that it's a highly informative book, and one written with clarity, intelligence and a high degree of wit, it certainly deserves to be profiled - and, of course, to be read!

Jeremy's is very much a personal story; one that begins in his childhood, and one that reveals a wealth of data on the man, his character and how the UFO issue came to play a part (and a big part, too) in his life.

In many ways, his book reminded me of classic Hunter S. Thompson: Gonzo, containing a plethora of entertaining characters and situations; but most important of all, having something significant and relevant to impart, and to make the reader think, ponder, consider and absorb his words on all-things alien and more.

I need to stress that the book is not written in a conventional style: it's a mix of interviews, thoughts, ideas, news stories and more, all interspersed with Jeremy's humorous take on all-things-ufological and on life itself. But this doesn't take away from the book's relevance or importance; and in many ways, taking the approach that Jeremy has actually provides a refreshing diversion from the stereotypical UFO/alien abduction book.

Like many abductees, Jeremy's experiences with the intelligences behind the UFO phenomenon have clearly formed and manipulated much of his life, and we get to read some intriguing and insightful data suggesting - as is also the case with a lot of abductees - that Jeremy is not the only member of his family to have encountered those pesky little gray guys with the big, black eyes.

Traumatic night-time encounters with the unknown, vehicle interference cases, ominous and black "Flying Triangles" - they're all a part of the life and experiences of Jeremy. But rather than become the victim of the Gray guys' actions - as unfortunately does happen to some abductees - Jeremy rises above it all, and strives to make sense of the high-strangeness and craziness in his life, and in a fashion that many will be able to relate to.

And, it's when faced with the unknown, that retaining a healthy sense of humor becomes vital - which Jeremy does capably.

As I said earlier, Jeremy's is not a conventional book. But as it's written by someone who has personally encountered the unknown, lived to tell the tale, and provided his own unique (and courageously open) take on things, in many ways I Know Why The Aliens Don't Land! makes for much more interesting and compelling reading than all those abduction books that - in monotone style - simply reel off case after case, yet utterly fail to capture the nature of the experience at an emotional, personal and human level that Jeremy skilfully describes.

Jeremy also has a DVD available titled No One's Watching: An Alien Abductee's Story that I'll be reviewing shortly.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reviewing the Island of Paradise

NOTE: This review was first published in the new issue of Stuart Miller's Alien Worlds magazine. Thanks to Stuart for letting me republish the review right here.

Island of Paradise

By Jonathan Downes

A Review by Nick Redfern

As someone who is themselves an author, I am often asked to write reviews of other people’s books. And so, when Alien Worlds’ editor, the good (most of the time, at least) Mr. Miller, asked me if I would be willing to review the latest mighty tome from British writer, crypto-zoologist, and director of the Devon-based Centre for Fortean Zoology, Jonathan Downes, I immediately said yes.

Reviewing Jon’s book, Island of Paradise – which is an on-the-road, warts-and-all, study of a week-long expedition to Puerto Rico in 2004 in search of the infamous Chupacabras – was somewhat of a departure for me; and I’ll tell you why.

The vast majority of all the books I review are focused upon the adventures and exploits of other people. Island of Paradise, however, is very different; in the sense that it’s a book in which I play a central role. Nevertheless, I hope this has not influenced my opinion of the book!

It was in the summer of 2004 that Jon and I headed off to the rain-forests of Puerto Rico, courtesy of the Sci-Fi Channel, who wanted to film us chasing the Chupacabras and UFOs for its now-defunct show Proof Positive – which was a pretty well executed combination of The X-Files meets CSI, albeit in a non-fiction format.

For seven days we rampaged and roamed around the island in search of the vampire-like beast, and heard tale after tale of crashed UFOs, dead aliens, bizarre conspiracies linking the Chupacabras with extra-terrestrial experimentation, secret military operations, black ‘Flying Triangles’, and much more. And, thanks to Jon, the whole story of that distinctly bizarre week is now finally chronicled in print.

The best way I can describe Island of Paradise is as a Fortean version of Hunter S. Thompson’s fabulous The Rum Diary that told of the master’s own journalistic adventures on Puerto Rico back in the 1950s.

Jon skilfully captures the essence of what makes Puerto Rico so magical, in terms of its history, its culture, its people - and its overwhelming weirdness, too. Truly, as Jon demonstrates, Puerto Rico is a locale that attracts the adventurer and the thrill-seeker like no other. And given that it was a veritable hot-bed of activity of the ufological, vampiric and downright uncanny kind, what else could I, or indeed we, do but welcome the aforementioned weirdness with wide-open arms.

If Jon and I were going to spend a week hunting vampires and/or aliens courtesy of the Sci-Fi Channel, then, as he reveals, there was no better place to do it than deep within the heart of the island of paradise, and while regularly fuelled by the finest of local cuisine and a plentiful supply of ever-present chilled margaritas and imported beer. Onward!

Having digested Jon’s book, I can safely say that one thing stands out more than any other: only an adventure involving the Centre for Fortean Zoology could result in a deep discussion of Fireball XL5, Earl Grey Tea, Guantanamo Bay, Chupacabras DNA, Roswell, and the United States’ ominous Department of Homeland Security!

I was pleased to see that Jon included in the pages of his book a description of our time spent at our base of operations: the Wind Chimes hotel in downtown San Juan. For those who weren’t there, it might seem superfluous; but for Jon and me it was a time to rekindle a friendship that had been separated by the Atlantic for a couple of years; and it was a time to make new friendships with the Sci-Fi Channel’s crew.

There is something unique about the camaraderie that comes with hanging out alongside fellow thrill-seekers and adventurers – all from different corners of the globe, most not even knowing each other, yet all thrust into a strange and surreal quest to seek out the truth about a diabolical beast said to roam a real-life paradise.

But, Jon demonstrates, it was without doubt the day we go our hands on a shining, silver jeep that things really took off…

There’s something special about driving around in an open-top jeep in a place like Puerto Rico with one of your best friends, with the wind in your hair (for those who have hair…), and in hot pursuit of the unknown, while ear-splitting punk rock reverberates out of the CD player.

Barely one hour into our expedition, as Jon records, everything got a bit surreal. No expedition of this type would be complete without an excursion into the darkened depths of a shadowy old cave. That a bat decided to piss on my head while we were in there only made things more memorable. With much humour, Jon records how I decided not to bother with rabies injections of a type that Ozzy Osbourne was forced to undergo after his own legendary encounter with a bat; and instead I hoped that the little pisser wasn’t rabid, and that I wouldn’t wake up the next day like one of the frenzied souls from 28 Days Later or the spectacular 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Needless to say, I didn’t.

Of course, I knew that all of this would serve as good fodder for Jon’s planned book on our trip around the island, and so I merely wiped my head with my bandanna, swore at the offending beast and his or her brethren and continued roaming and filming. And a crew of a dozen, led by the good Mr. Downes himself, laughed heartily!

Perhaps of most interest to readers of this magazine is what Jon has to say about an alleged UFO crash deep in the El Yunque rain-forest of Puerto Rico back in 1957. Jon tells the reader of our fascinating encounter with a woman named Norka who was able to fill in some of the gaps suggesting that at least something had genuinely crashed on Puerto Rico back in the 1950s, and who was also a veritable fountain of knowledge on all-things monstrous too.

As long as I live, I will never forget that moment when Norka told us of her own personal encounter with the Chupacabras late one night in 1975, and Jon and I turned to each other and realised that the beast Norka had seen was practically identical to the notorious Owlman of England – a creature that Jon had hunted, and been haunted by, for years. It was truly a pivotal moment in that memorable week.

As we sat on the balcony of Norka’s beautiful home high in the hills of El Yunque, sipping cold drinks, listening to her stories, and with the sun bathing down on us, I knew that we were experiencing something very special, and that beneath its beautiful exterior, something – or some things - dark, ominous, dangerous and bizarre dwelled on the island. And Jon’s chapter on this particular encounter most certainly does not disappoint.

One of the things that stood out for me upon reading Island of Paradise was how the initial quest quickly became something very different – and particularly so when new, and unforeseen, factors came into play. We had flown to Puerto Rico with the intention of trying to determine, for the benefit of the Sci-Fi Channel, if we could find, examine and identify any evidence for the existence of the Chupacabras – such as undeniable DNA. Yet, by the end of the week we were deeply immersed in stories of crashed UFOs, genetic mutation, bizarre changes in the island’s ecology and much more.

I will never forget that week in the summer of 2004 when Jon and I roamed Puerto Rico’s rain-forest, its lowlands and its little villages in search of monsters, UFOs and aliens. It was an experience that will stay with me for all my life, and one that (as the book records) was as much about friendship, adventures and good times as it was about hunting for the Chupacabras and for the remains of wrecked alien spacecraft. And at the end of the day, that was good enough for me.

As for Jon: well, Island of Paradise tells it all, just as it was – the good, the bad and the plain strange.

If you’re looking for the definitive book on the Chupacabras, its potential links with the UFO controversy in general (and crashed UFOs in particular), and what goes on behind the scenes of an on-site, week-long investigation in an exotic and mysterious world, then Island of Paradise is most definitely the one for you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

2012, Marie Jones and More...

Just recently I reviewed right here the new book from Marie Jones, 2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning? Marie has just written a highly illuminating and intriguing essay on the theme of her book, and here it is:

2012: The End Game Begins
By Marie D. Jones

The world is abuzz with talk of the year 2012; however, not everyone is looking forward to the year with the same outlook or expectations. For some, the year hints at apocalyptic end times, a period in which the world will be thrown into utter chaos and violent upheaval. A turbulent and tumultuous epoch in which both natural and man-made disasters will decimate and possibly lead to the extinction of life as we know it.

Other, more optimistic people perceive this date as a moment of awakening, a massive global transformation of consciousness…one which is to be anticipated with joy and celebration.

Perhaps, the real outcome lies somewhere between the two extremes.

The mythology behind the 2012 enigma focuses on the ancient Mayan Long Count Calendar which was a Mesoamerican calendar system that mysteriously ends on December 21, 2012. Interestingly enough, that date also coincides with the winter solstice. This date further corresponds with a predicted “galactic alignment” which is believed to occur when our solar system passes directly through the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Although there is some valid argument for other “end dates” as prescribed by the intricate and sophisticated Mayan calendar, including the alternate end date of October 28, 2011 (as well as an end date of December 23, 2012, rather than December 21), most experts who have studied the Long Count agree that time is coming to an end.

But what kind of an end? In the human mind, the etymology of the word “end” conjures a certain finality – one in which there is no hope.

Thousands of years before our current civilization, did this seemingly simple agrarian society actually predict that life would end altogether, snuffed out in an explosive supernova of disaster upon plague, warfare upon extermination?

Both the Judeo-Christian and Islamic end time scenarios, which are based upon Western fundamentalist Abrahamic thought, do indeed herald a time of literal cleansing. A time when the earth will suffer through the coming of the Four Horsemen bearing gifts of war, famine, plague and death - with the ultimate judgment day not too far behind. Certainly, there is ample evidence in other religious traditions of an ending of one age, as in the Hindu “yugas” or ages that mark a cyclical pattern of both external and internal creation and destruction. This ongoing cycle or “kalpa” also has an end date when, according to Hindu belief, the final avatar will incarnate as Kali and bring about the destruction of all wicked people. Is that likewise an “end?”

Even the oldest creation stories and mythologies tell of a cosmic cycle punctuated by a Big Ending, so to speak, although many native traditions believe that the end, though violent and deadly to be sure, would then be the beginning of a new era of peace, harmony and enlightenment.

The Mayans themselves have suggested that their own end date is really nothing more than the finishing point of a particular age or “underworld,” the one we are living in right now, the Galactic Underworld, and the entry point into the Universal Underworld of both conscious evolution and revolution. There is nothing in Mayan tradition, lore or belief that envisages a scenario in which we will all die and the planet will cease to exist. Rather, the idea is one of amazing and collective rebirth. A period of newfound cosmic awareness, an era in which humanity expands their collective conscious awareness.

Then why all the angst and fear when people speak of 2012? Maybe, the answer is within us. Perhaps it is as simple as basic human psychology. Nobody likes change, especially when it is preceded by great stress, trials, tribulations, and challenges, the likes of which we are already seeing in the years leading up to 2012.

Even if we were to ignore completely the Mayan Long Count Calendar and its Aztec sister version (which speaks of the very same end time transformation) and even if we did not ascribe to the religious traditions that await total human annihilation at the hands of a final battle between the devil and the Christ (don’t worry, the good guys will be raptured, we are told!), there is still ample evidence that the next few years will be rife with chaos, disorder and destruction. Why? Because what we resist persists and often grows, and if there is indeed a wave of spiritual transformation gaining momentum, then coming resistance will be more than enough to make us wonder if we will, indeed, wake up to a brave new world on the first morning of 2013.

As we have seen over the last several years, global power is shifting to the East, with economic turmoil already gripping much of the West in a headlock of plunging home values, rising energy costs, shaky markets, and a widening gap between the rich and the poor. As we approach (if we have not already) peak oil, the quest for easily extracted fuel will exponentially increase­­‑-­even as the population skyrockets in urbanized areas as well as in nations such as China and India which will only serve to further demand while supplies continue dwindling to depletion. Access to potable water threatens to plunge the entire globe into new wars, even as corporations scramble to privatize what little natural resources remain.

Global climate change is destroying indigenous and island lifestyles, and creating chaos all over the world as more nations are forced to deal with brutal drought, while others battle unprecedented flooding. Warm places are getting warmer, Arctic Ice is melting, and the unfortunate people of Tuvalu are watching as their entire island sinks mercilessly into rising ocean waters.

Malaria, a humid-weather disease, is moving into highlands where it never existed before while other diseases threaten to derail any attempts by our most cutting edge pharmaceuticals to fight them. West Nile Virus, SARS, MRSA and avian flu all seem poised to pounce upon nations of people unprepared for pandemics, let alone regional epidemics. And lest you think our public health and emergency preparedness systems will save us, let me remind you of the horrendous failings apparent during Hurricane Katrina.

But don’t despair! The news is not all awful. Science, medicine and technology promise to explode into the stratosphere in the coming years. Computer technology historically follows an established pattern known as “Moore’s Law” which describes an important trend in the history of computer hardware whereby the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuits increase exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. Some technologists believe that this increase is steadfastly moving towards a “singularity,” when growth, development and transformation will come together in a climactic head, ushering in a brave new world of artificial intelligence. Before we know it, life itself will seem to be a sci-fi movie!

Quantum computers, bioengineering, human longevity experiments, and nanotechnology stand at the forefront of major advances in the way we live, and even die. With astonishing new genetic research, we may one day see the end of all disease. With the promising new exploration of bionics, we may never need worry about heart or liver failure again, knowing that we can order a new one that combines the best of both computer technology and biology - creating new types of living systems that promise to change not only our quality of life…but our whole culture itself.

Naturally, some may fear the rise of artificial intelligence and the coming singularity due to the (perhaps warranted) concern that humans will be somehow made obsolete – or worse, that we may lose control to the very machinery that we created…machinery that can think faster and more efficiently than we do. Others still wait excitedly for the development of technologies which will make life easier than ever. However, even the promise of an easier life comes with a price. Rising rates of heart disease, cancer and obesity are directly linked with the increasingly sedentary lifestyles of most developed nations. Add to that existing rates of disease in undeveloped nations, and emerging diseases entering and re-entering the fray, and humanity may not be wiped out at all by a big, bold natural disaster or nuclear war.

Alarmingly enough, we may get snuffed out by the tiniest of threats, those packing the biggest punch of all – viruses that invade our bodies. Viruses pose a very real, very significant threat to humankind as our bodies are too weak and stressed to fight back, with pharmaceuticals rendered ineffective from years of overuse.

Surprisingly, the greatest challenges that face humanity and the earth in general, over the next few years are all preventable. With that being said, the biggest mystery is why we are not doing more to prevent them now…while we still can…and when it truly counts. Global climate change is creating a need for new ways of co-existing with the earth. Already, water shortages are threatening to derail peace agreements and further escalate already tense relations between nations into the stratosphere of war. Even the decreasing rates of food production, coupled with over inflated prices and a global market that favors the rich, hint at another coming disaster; the spread of famine into regions never having experienced lack of food before.

So what can we do as individuals, communities, and nations? How does one prepare for 2012? If the world is going to end for good, then obviously no preparation is needed. However, if the Mayans and others were right, and the ending is really more of a beginning, can we indeed prepare at all?

The green movement, focusing on building sustainability now, is a great place to start. We should be doing anything possible to make the coming changes less disruptive and damaging, whether that means conserving, recycling or raising awareness of the carbon “footprints” we each leave…and how we can lessen those footprints. Local communities are already springing up around the concept of contained, sustainable living, with residents pitching in by growing food, sharing water resources, bartering services and even watching out for each other’s children to create a new sense of connectedness and unity. Should this effort spread, we may be able to greatly diminish the potential for death, disaster and disease that our overpopulated, stressed out and soon-to-be tapped out planet is quickly plummeting towards.

Ultimately, the year 2012 may be more about internal transformation rather than external change. Even with increasing numbers of super storms and earthquakes, an asteroid or two coming too close for comfort, the highest sunspot cycle activity in years, global shifts in political and economic power, and a host of other earthbound changes, we may need to concentrate on the internal work to be done first. Spiritual transformation is on the lips of many awaiting 2012. Perhaps by altering our collective consciousness we can change not only our own lives, but our destiny as a people. Wouldn’t it be great to wake up on the first morning of 2013 to a better world than we ever imagined?

The problem is that before we can realize it…we must first have both the insight and the foresight to imagine it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Joshua P. Warren: Seeker of Satan

Joshua P. Warren is a good friend of mine; he's a Fortean, an author, a film-maker, and a guy who likes to live life to the full and have fun - just like me!

And, right now, he has an excellent new documentary available titled Inside the Church of Satan.

Late last year, I was hanging out at Josh's sinister and dark abode in Asheville, North Carolina, and he quietly asked me if I would be willing to be interviewed for a new documentary he was filming.

Well, actually, I have to confess that Josh's abode isn't sinister and dark at all - I was just trying to set the tone. It's really very pleasant! But I digress.

It was around the witching hour, somewhat appropriately, when Josh told me that the film would be highly controversial in both subject matter and content, and if I didn't want to take part, he'd totally understand.

Well, I'm always up for a bit of controversy! And so I said: "Hell, yes!"

The "Hell" part of my reply to Josh was kind of ironic, as the subject matter of the documentary was to be The Church of Satan - the brainchild of the late Anton LaVey.

Of course, any mention of Satan and Satanic worship inevitably conjures up in the minds of many people stark images of human-sacrifice, dark and disturbing goings-on in sinister and shadowy woods by the light of a full moon, and much more, right?

But precisely how accurate is that imagery?

That, in essence, is the crux of Josh's documentary, which sees our intrepid hero invited into the heart of the Church as he seeks to separate myth from reality.

And Josh does so in a highly entertaining and skillful way, and in a film that is packed with intrigue, adventure, wit, menace and more. And it's full of surprises too: the biggest surprise being that the Church is not at all as it's portrayed by the media, or perceived by much of the general public.

I won't spoil things for those who want to see Josh's film for themselves (and, believe me, you definitely should see it!); but I will say that is without doubt one of the most fascinating on-the-road-style documentaries I have seen in a very long time. And at more than 2-hours in length, it's great value for money, too!

Josh is to be applauded for going where no-one (in the media) has gone before, and for providing a unique insight into a world that few people - outside of the Church itself, of course - have ever experienced.

Riveting, entertaining, excellently-produced and highly informative - and all in equal measures!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Mothman's Photographer II

Last night, I finished reading Andy Colvin's book, The Mothman's Photographer II. This is one of those books that is essential reading for those of you fascinated with Mothman.

Somewhat appropriately, and like the Mothman mystery itself, the book is full of all sorts of twists and turns, dark and disturbing scenarios, contains as many questions as it does answers, and definitely defies convention.

The book basically tells the very personal story of Colvin's interest in, and obsession with, the Mothman; something that began in his childhood in the sixties when he and his friends constructed a "shrine" to the Mothman - and after which strange and bizarre things began happening to Colvin, to his family, and to those around him.

In many ways, Colvin's book is more mind-bending than John Keel's The Mothman Prophecies. But this is a good thing: rather than simply go over old ground, and recount the original story, Colvin describes for us how the Mothman personally affected, manipulated, and possibly guided, his own life experiences, right through to the present day.

And it's written in an appropriately unconventional style too: via interviews, transcripts, personal comments and thoughts, and more.

For those who view Mothman as purely a crypto-zoological puzzle, you'll find yourselves at odds with Colvin, who places the creature in a very different category.

Essentially, Colvin views the Mothman as being akin to the Garuda - the majestic bird-like entity of Buddhist and Hindu mythology. Colvin's view is that the presence of the Mothman at the Point Pleasant, West Virginia bridge-collapse of 1967 (as described in Keel's book) was not in any way sinister.

Rather, Colvin sees the Mothman/Garuda as being basically a benign entity, and one that surfaces from its strange realm of existence at times of peril and strife, and when things are distinctly ill with the world. Part-helper, part-guide, it's inextricably linked with us - but generally for the better, Colvin believes.

But it's also a creature whose presence should not be taken lightly - nor should the fact that the creature's presence at Point Pleasant may have been tied in with a whole host of other activity, including classified government projects in the fields of mind-manipulations and psychotronics, synchronicities, the Men in Black, dark and tragic prophecies, the world of big-business, the military-industrial complex, and much more.

The Mothman's Photographer II is a fantastically strange trip into a world without rules, where just about anything goes, and where convention is thrown out of the window. But it works - and it works very well.

If you read the book, you are likely going to come away with a new view (or, at the very least, a modified view) of Mothman, thanks to a man who had the vision and guts to follow his instinct and present his data, ideas, theories and thoughts to those willing to listen.

And, given the fact that it seems the nature of Colvin's life was almost pre-destined from the day he first immersed himself in the world of the Mothman, perhaps he was meant to write the book. And perhaps we're all meant to read it. If so, Colvin has done us a great service in providing a book that is unique, unusual, riveting reading, and beyond thought-provoking.

Read and prepare to have your mind blown, bent, reorganized and, if you get the message, elevated, too.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

2013: Beginnings or Endings?

Over the last few days I've been reading the new book from Marie D. Jones: 2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning?

And having now completed it, I can tell you that her book is an excellent study of the many and varied controversies concerning the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012.

Is the world going to come to a fiery conclusion on that potentially fateful - and fatal - day? Or will we see a positive transformation that ushers in a whole new Golden Age-type era for Humankind? Or will we see absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happen at all?

These - and many others - are the questions that Marie's book skilfully asks and answers.

So where to begin?

Well, at the beginning, of course!

After a thoughtful and insightful foreword from best-selling author Whitley Strieber (who has written at length himself on the issues of future disasters and cataclysmic events), we are treated to an excellent lesson in history from Marie, who reveals the notable story of the Mayan culture, how the Mayan calendar came into being, and what it was that led to the situation that we now find ourselves in: namely, wondering what the hell might happen in only four-and-a-half-years from now!

And that, of course, is the crux of the book.

Marie leaves no stone unturned as she addresses the issue of what our world, and our civilization, might be like after 2012 rolls over into 2013.

Are we going to see death and destruction on a scale that echoes the Old Testament? Will we experience monstrous earthquakes, floods and environmental disasters that overwhelm us into destruction? Is it possible that there could be some form of religious rapture looming ominously on the horizon, and one that comes to its climax in December 2012?

In asking these questions, Marie also gives us much-welcome data on such characters as Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Zecharia Sitchin, and she demonstrates that it's not impossible that the latter days of 2012 and the years that follow could prove to be very bad indeed - if, of course, the whole "End of Days" ideas and beliefs have some merit to them.

But, don't go slashing your wrists just yet!

Marie's book is not one of doom and gloom, and neither is her approach to the subject matter: she stresses in the book that as far as the Mayans are concerned, "Yes, they say, the world will end. But only the world as we know it. The Mayans believed in spiritual transformation and the acceleration of conscious evolution."

In other words, what we perceive to be doomsday might be the equivalent of the caterpillar turning into the butterfly - a positive end, and a fantastic new beginning. Again, Marie details for us the beliefs of the Mayans in this particular area (as well as the similar beliefs of different cultures), life-cycles, world-cycles, and the issue of the so-called "Thirteen Heavens" that are all integral parts of the story.

Marie also discusses a very important matter in the chapter of her book titled Who's Behind the Curtain? Namely: "How much of what happens to us is predestined, as fate, and how much of it is free will or choice?"

For me, this is a very important question, as I feel that very often when it comes to predictions, and those who subscribe to them, there is often a sense of "Why do anything? It's going to happen anyway."

In this same chapter, and on this same aspect of the large 2012/2013 controversy, Marie also delves into the fears that surfaced around the whole Y2K saga, and has much to say that is good food for thought.

And then we get to the real Armageddon issues: if everything goes bad, how is it going to end for us? As far as the planet itself is concerned, might it be due to climate change, pollution, super-storms? How about atmospheric calamities? Or Godzilla-sized volcanoes and earthquakes? The list is both alarming and overflowing.

But what about the Earth's worst infestation, that one thing which has wreaked more havoc and careless death and destruction than just about anything else? What am I talking about? Us, of course! That insanely reckless, Damian-like child known as the Human Race!

Marie's thoughts on this matter make it abundantly clear that we have a potential to do far more damage than Mother Nature: population explosions, increased poverty, the possibility of water (our most valuable commodity) becoming a scarce luxury for future inhabitants of our planet, the very weird and highly ominous die-offs of bees all across the world recently (a tiny creature that is actually an integral part of our society), and energy sources running out might all be factors that hasten along the end.

And, of course, there's the disease angle: viruses, SARS, Bird-Flu, West Nile Virus. Could these, and other emerging health-hazards, lead to our downfall as a species? Possibly.

Marie also looks at such intriguing areas as (a) the potential shifting of power on the world-stage from West to East; (b) the rise of the European Union; (c) China's expanding role in a future world; (d) the current and future state of the Middle East; (d) future-trends in terrorism, and a great deal more.

Health is an important factor in Marie's research too: might advances in technology and medicine allow us to dramatically extend our life-spans? Will we see a merging of man, machine and computers that transforms us for the better?

On the other hand, what about all the gigantic, diabetic, fat people lumbering around from one fast-food place to the next in their motorized carts? Will we see a population doomed by the fact that whole swathes of it can't eat food in sensible portions anymore?

Here in Dallas, Texas I see such gargantuan behemoths all the time - and I see their children, too: 10-year-old kids huffing and puffing because they can't walk half a mile. Why? Because all they do is eat, drink gallons of soda, watch TV, eat, drink gallons of soda, watch TV, etc. And then what? That's right: along comes diabetes, heart-disease, daily insulin injections, and early deaths.

It would be ironic (and, in my slightly warped view, darkly humorous, too) if the age of the burger ushered in the age of the end. But again, maybe there is hope: the book shows that those aforementioned advances in technology and medicine might bring us back from the brink of extinction via the french-fry and the quadruple-cheese fatty-burger. And here we get into some fascinating areas, including matters related to artificial intelligence, robot technology, and artificial life.

And there's another area that offers some hope: namely, the idea that we, collectively as a species, do something to save us and save our world.

This is the crux of Marie's cleverly-titled chapter: Shift Shapers. After reading this chapter, you will realize that there are things that can be done, and that may very well help us. But, as you'll also see, it requires not just physical change: it also requires a radical change in mindset, in the way we think, and with respect to how we view our world - not as something that is our property to arrogantly exploit and plunder. But as something to care for, to nurture, to protect - because if we don't we may not have any sort of future.

As the book draws to a close, you are treated to a series of papers, essays and commentaries from various authors and writers giving their views, opinions and thoughts on what might happen on - and after - December 21, 2012. And those same views, opinions and thoughts are as varied and as intriguing as you might expect.

And there you have it: an in-depth, expertly written study of a subject matter that is quite literally just around the corner. In a few short years, we will know what 2013 has to offer, and if radical change is going to occur a few days before the end of 2012.

Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be bad. Maybe, nothing will happen, aside from the fact that perhaps all of the talk of death and disaster - as the date gets ever closer - will galvanize us to try and prevent the human and planetary disasters that could indeed overwhelm us. Or maybe it's already too late and the countdown to the end has already begun.

Written, refreshingly, by someone with no personal axe to grind - or personal theory to push in our faces - Marie's book lays out for us all the data, the theories, the possible futures that await us, and much more.

2013 is an essential read, and one that is at various times uplifting, disturbing, highly thought-provoking, but never without importance or relevance to anyone and everyone alive today.