Tuesday, December 22, 2009

There's Something in the Bedroom...


In the References section of my book, There's Something in the Woods, I briefly noted that: "In the early hours one morning in late 2002, I had a nightmarish encounter with a wolf-like, cloaked figure that manifested in our apartment while I was in the depths of a sleep-paralysis-style slumber. It took all my strength to wake up, at which point the foul beast vanished into the darkness."

Collectively, I think, I've had maybe 2 other experiences of a similar nature: one (around 2003) involving a cloudy, shadowy figure leaning over me and preventing me from rising from the bed, and the other of a presence (that I interpreted as malevolent) slowly climbing the staircase at one of my old abodes in England. I struggled to wake-up, knowing full well that its destination was my bedroom (and which occurred at some point in the early-to-mid 1990s).

As a result, I've always taken a keen interest in reports such as these - hence the review that follows!

A lot of words have been written about the strange and unnerving phenomenon (or, perhaps, phenomena would be a better and more accurate word to use) that has popularly become know as Sleep-Paralysis (SP).

Some of those words have been good and some of them have been bad. Others have been wholly skeptical; while many have been firmly pro-SP.

But, what has been lacking until now is a truly in-depth, book-length and definitive study of the mystery written by someone who has actually experienced repeated episodes of sleep-paralysis, first-hand - and in all their terrifying glory, no less.

That situation has now changed (and radically so, too), thanks to Australian author Louis Proud, whose title (just published by Anomalist Books) Dark Intrusions: An Investigation into the Paranormal Nature of Sleep Paralysis Experiences, makes for both remarkable and essential reading.

One might argue that anyone with an above-average knowledge of the paranormal and a keen writing talent could sit down and deeply research the subject of sleep-paralysis and then, as a result, write a paper, a report or a book on the subject.

Well, maybe that's possibly true. But what would be utterly lacking would be the sheer, intense and harrowing personal touch that Proud skilfully brings to his book time and time again.

It's clear to me, at least, that the writing of Dark Intrusions was very much a cathartic experience for the author. And that's a good thing, taking into consideration some of the nightmarish events that he chronicles within the pages of his book - and with refreshing openness and clarity, no less. Indeed, Proud is not at all afraid to dig into his personal life, experiences, beliefs and ideas pertaining to the world of the paranormal as he searches for the answers relative to SP.

And, I suspect, possibly as a result of the fact that he has - in his 25-years - experienced numerous SP episodes, Proud displays the zeal, drive, inquiring-mind and enthusiasm that are needed when addressing such an emotive topic.

So, as a result of not just wanting to get an answer to what lies at the heart of SP, but also to understand, appreciate and reconcile how the mystery impacts upon his own life, Proud brings to the table a vast array of data that is thought-provoking, unsettling, creepy, ominous and...well, you get the idea!

Thankfully, Proud does not fall foul of the mistake that many authors make when writing about such anomalous phenomena: namely, simply reeling off case-after-case in mind-numbing and yawn-inducing fashion. Rather, he also provides the reader with a variety of theories to explain what may well be afoot with respect to SP, and what its relationship to us may be.

It must be said that there is much in the pages of Dark Intrusions that readers of a nervous disposition (or those who have experienced SP) may find unnerving. But for those of you who may be of that particular mind-set, I would say do not avoid Proud's book. In fact, I would actually urge you to digest its pages very carefully: you may very well come away from it profoundly changed and informed - and in a positive fashion, too.

But, that doesn't take away the ominous nature of SP: "Defiled" and "Unclean" are just two of the words that Proud uses to describe at least some of his SP experiences, a number of which have been very sexual in nature.

And, they are highly appropriate words, too - and not just in Proud's case, either. "You knew that I would come" are the bone-chilling words that one victim of SP reportedly heard uttered by an icy, female intruder from the outer-edge.

So, who - or what - are these uninvited guests who have, for countless generations, tormented probably millions of people all around the world in the middle of the night? From where do they come? What is their motivation? Can they be stopped?

These (and many more) questions are carefully addressed by Proud as he takes us on a wild-ride that includes such matters as: the Old-Hag controversy; Incubus and Succubus encounters; poltergeist activity (such as that relative to the famous Enfield Poltergeist saga of 1977); out-of-body experiences; Buddhist teachings and beliefs; the nature of the human-soul; the afterlife; altered states of mind and body; and much more.

Certainly, for me at least, one of the most fascinating aspects of Dark Intrusions was the material that focuses upon Alien-Abductions. If you read this chapter, and come away still thinking that AA's are merely the result of genetic experimentation undertaken by bug-eyed scientists from Alpha-Centauri, then there's absolutely no hope for you.

Proud demonstrates (and in a way that a number of AA researchers and writers are now beginning to suspect and understand) that the AA puzzle is one that also has major bearings upon questions relative to the after-life and the human life-force - and, of course, SP.

Those acquainted (or even unacquainted) with the studies of Dion Fortune, Stan Gooch and Trevor James Constable will find much of an enthralling and captivating nature, too.

But, for absolute downright creepiness, there is the story of the late Joe Fisher, author of The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts, which is as cautionary as it is mind-bending.

Equally fascinating is the story of how Proud himself deliberately tried to place himself into SP mode - with startling and notable results.

In other words, this is a truly excellent and wide study of a phenomenon undertaken by a man who has not only been touched and changed by SP himself, but who has had the courage to seek out the answers to this mystery, and who ultimately triumphs, rather than merely playing the role of victim to the menacing entities that invade our slumber.

As Proud states: "...the SP state puts you in direct contact with your soul."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Albion Dreaming

Countless newspaper articles, magazine features and books have been written - and from a whole variety of wildly differing perspectives - with respect to lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD as it is far more famously known.

Many of those same publications have focused their attention upon (A) such people as Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert; (B) the CIA's various "mind-control"-based projects of the 1950s that involved the testing of LSD on both witting and unwitting individuals, and (C) the rise of LSD usage, and its associated culture, in the USA in the 1960s.

Of course, this is wholly understandable; since all of the above are integral facets of the story, or players within it. What has been sorely absent until now, however, is a detailed, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and insightful study of the history of LSD in the British Isles. Fortunately, that situation has now been rectified by Andy Roberts in his latest book, Albion Dreaming: A Popular History of LSD in Britain.

Andy's book is not only vital reading for anyone wanting to gain a deep appreciation of the significant role LSD has played in shaping whole swathes of British culture over the course of the last five or six decades; but it also exposes the deep hypocrisy that exists when it comes to attitudes (on the part of government agencies, the police, the media and the public) relative to illegal drugs (as LSD certainly is) and legal ones, such as alcohol and tobacco.

From the opening pages, it's clear to see that Andy has done his homework. The reader will gain a great understanding of how LSD came to Britain, and we learn many facts that some unacquainted with the drug may find surprising: namely, that ground-breaking research was undertaken - and notable successes were achieved - in the British Isles in the 1950s by certain elements of the medical community, who utilized LSD in the treatment of patients suffering from a variety of psychiatric conditions and mental-illness.

This is a truly fascinating section of Albion Dreaming and captures both the essence of 1950s Britain, and the nature of the doctor-patient relationship of the time that, needless to say, was manifestly different to that of today.

Andy also delves deep into the way in which the military and the Ministry of Defence of the 1950s tentatively immersed themselves in the world of LSD, as they sought to ascertain its effects on the human mind. And it's here we learn of some amusing tales of LSD-fueled squaddies staggering around the green and pleasant woods of England, as the LSD kicks in and they try - but completely and utterly fail - to act like soldiers.

Of course, Andy's humorous narrative aside, there is a very serious side to this: it was precisely this type of experimentation, and the profound effects on the guinea-pigs in question, that led the world of officialdom to realize the truly consciousness-changing effects that LSD has on the human-mind. And it is these same consciousness-changing effects that ultimately led to the downfall of the burgeoning LSD culture in Britain - at least, on a large, nationwide scale. But, I'm getting slightly ahead of myself here.

Moving on, Andy provides an excellent, and highly in-depth, account of the role that LSD played in the definitively-massive cultural changes of the 1960s, and particularly with respect to how music, art, the written-word and more were all radically altered and revolutionised by LSD use. Free-festivals, widespread availability of LSD, famous names in the rock world freely admitting to taking the drug, and countless stories of people opening their minds to new experiences - and not harming anyone else at all in the process - abound.

But then it all begins to get a bit dark.

Government clamp-downs, large-scale and nationwide police operations (such as the notorious Operation Julie), phone-tapping by the authorities, the demonising of LSD by the media, and the disapproving attitudes of old men in court-rooms with the power to punish and crush on a large scale, (yet with scarcely any appreciation or understanding of what LSD actually is) dominate the story as the book progresses right up until the present day.

No doubt there are those who will say that the police and authority figures have every right to clampdown on those who take LSD due to its illegal status. But, as Andy makes clear in Albion Dreaming, matters are not quite so clear-cut.

As Andy correctly points out, alcohol and tobacco are both legal drugs in Britain, both are highly addictive, and both can have an effect on the mind and body - and often in extremely tragic fashion, too. For example, one only has to look at the current figures and statistics concerning the number of British citizens affected by lung-cancer and liver-cirrhosis every year. Shocking and not pretty are very apt descriptions indeed. Yet, the right of the individual to purchase cigarettes and alcohol is accepted almost uniformly and without question within Britain.

So, why should the situation be any different for LSD? After all, studies show that the body has a high tolerance to the drug, it does not have the massively-addictive qualities of cigarettes, and it certainly does not result in liver-failure and death. And, as Albion Dreaming skilfully and factually shows, the scare-mongering stories of people on LSD thinking they can fly and throwing themselves out of windows to their deaths were simply that: scare-mongering stories.

The answer as to why LSD is treated differently and was ultimately made illegal, is actually very simple: unlike many drugs - whether alcohol, tobacco, painkillers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicine, the list goes on - LSD does not dull the senses. Rather, it achieves precisely the opposite: it opens, expands, transforms and elevates the mind to whole new levels and realms.

The aforementioned products that do dull the senses are perceived by those in power as being fine, because they keep the masses asleep - which is precisely how our leaders want us; and particularly so in the current world where freedom of speech and privacy of the individual are rapidly becoming things of the past.

The fact is that ever since LSD became a player in the lives, culture and activities of huge numbers of British citizens (you may be surprised to learn approximately just how many...), the government's response to the drug has been one dictated wholly by fear - or, rather, fear of the unknown.

And it's also a fact that when the setting and the mood are right (something which Andy stresses the absolute need for), LSD - perhaps more than any other drug - has the ability to radically and forever transform the individual, and in a deeply spiritual fashion, too. Users report a deeper appreciation for nature and for the world around them, and a realisation develops that modern-day society has tragically lost something very important that ancient-man (whose use of psychedelics, all over the planet, was longstanding and deep) was keenly aware of: the profoundly spiritual nature of life.

Now, when I talk about spiritual issues, I'm not talking about the modern-day world of organised religion - which is largely designed to control people via fear, guilt and the use of moralistic fairy-stories - but with respect to our relationship concerning the world in which we live, our culture, our heritage, our past, and also: the way in which the human mind is capable of so much more than simply existing in the 9 to 5 rat-race.

I scarcely need to say that no government wants its people surfing uncharted areas of the brain, and taking control of their own lives in revolutionary-yet-mind-opening ways - but I will anyway. The way in which LSD has the ability to do all of that and much more is graphically spelled out by Andy.

But, it was the clear potentials present within the LSD-driven culture that led those who did not (and still do not) wish to see the status-quo affected to take firm and hard action: the British Government, in other words.

So, while thousands of people every year will receive the devastating news that they are dying of alcohol-induced liver-failure, or from the ravages of cigarette-induced lung-cancer, the official fight against allowing the populace the right to become spiritual mind-surfers of the outer-edge continues.

Indeed, Andy's book is as much about the right of the individual and the aforementioned hypocrisy and double-standards, as it is about the history of LSD and its cultural setting in Britain. Whatever your view on drugs - legal, illegal, prescribed or otherwise - Albion Dreaming is a book that deserves your attention.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monsters in Vermont

A few weeks ago, I received in the mail a review-copy of the book, The Vermont Monster Guide written by Joseph A. Citro, and with excellent artwork provided by Stephen R. Bissette. And, I'm very pleased to say, the book is an extremely entertaining study of weird beasts in the Green Mountain State. You can find my review of the book at my weekly Lair of the Beasts column at Mania.com.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Karl Shuker: New Book

The following press-release is just in from the main CFZ office in Woolsery, England:

Today Dr Karl Shuker is a world-renowned author on cryptozoology and animal mythology, with over a dozen books and countless articles to his name, but long before his first book on such subjects had been published he was already a prolific poet.

Yet in stark contrast to his continuing output of scientific writings, his poetry has remained largely unseen by the outside world – only his family, friends, and selected colleagues have ever read any of his very sizable collection of poems…until now.

At last, after having been hidden away for many years in a couple of dusty folders, a rich selection of Dr Shuker’s poems has finally been compiled, enabling the CFZ Press to present this world-exclusive to his many fans and poetry readers in general.

Just as his non-fiction writings have documented a wide range of subjects, so too do Dr Shuker’s verses – from the wonders of the natural world, and the mysteries of other worlds far beyond our comprehension, to deeply personal recollections and contemplations of his past, present, and future, his faith in God, and also a series of poems written especially for children.

Welcome to a world of star steeds and nightingales, childhood’s end and silent farewells, realms of dreams and shadows, memory’s mirror and ghosts from the past, Faerie worlds and flying horses, the voice of the winds and the music of the spheres, roses and rainbows, airports, angels, balloons, butterflies, clowns, dragons, elves, fireworks, monasteries, poppies, Stonehenge, tattoos, UFOs, unicorns, and much much more. Even Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, makes an appearance.

All of these and many others too await your company within the pages of this very different but truly delightful book by Dr Shuker, offering its fortunate readers a fascinating, unique glimpse of a alternate line of literary evolution equal to but hitherto overshadowed by his cryptozoological writings. So let his star steed transport you right now to a magical, enchanting world that only poetry has the power to create, deep within the glorious infinity of our own imagination.

Buy it now:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Friday, October 2, 2009

Love in an Alien Purgatory

Love in an Alien Purgatory: The Life and Fantastic Art of David Huggins (Anomalist Books, 2009) is a book that is as intriguing and thought-provoking as it is unique and alternative.

Written by well-known UFO researcher Farah Yurdozu (who, originally from Turkey, lives in New York City and writes regularly for UFO Magazine), the book tells the story of one David Huggins, a skilled artist who has experienced a lifetime of encounters of a distinctly "alien abduction" nature with...well, some form of intelligence from elsewhere.

And that's the refreshing thing about this book: it doesn't force any particular theory on the reader. Indeed, as Farah notes, very wisely and astutely, early on: "Although we still have very little evidence indicating that these visitors are from another planet, it is reasonable to assume that they are coming from another realm that is completely different from our earthly reality."

With that view, I am most definitely in agreement. And so, with that said, let's press on.

I used the words "unique" and "alternative" above for a very good reason. Rather than laboriously chronicle his experiences with apparent entities from elsewhere on reams of paper or in Microsoft Word, Huggins has taken a much different approach: as a very talented artist, he has used canvas, oils and more. In other words, the book is a definitively visual diary of Huggins' encounters; rather than a written one.

And what is the nature of those experiences? For the most part, they are of the type we have come to expect from people exposed to the "alien abduction" puzzle; such as: (A) childhood encounters with alien beings; (B) very personal and sexual experiences that seem to be linked with an agenda to create a hybrid, alien-human race; (C) evidence of longstanding interaction with advanced - yet curiously fragile, and perhaps even sickly - intelligences; (D) a suggestion that Huggins has been monitored on a large-scale for most of his life; and much more.

Of course, anyone who has had even the remotest exposure to accounts of alien abduction will instantly recognize that such assertions are absolutely staple parts of the subject. However, it's the artwork that really makes Huggins' story stand out.

After a fine introduction from Farah that firmly sets the scene, that relates the history of Huggins' experiences, and that allows us to understand what it is that drives and motivates the man himself, we see his story unfold before our eyes via a large body of very skilled artwork.

Indeed, Huggins is extremely good at capturing the apparent other-worldly nature of his visitors from the outer-edge.

For example, he claims longstanding contact with a female being he names "Crescent" - who appears to be a classic example of a "hybrid" entity. And the paintings of Crescent that can be found on (particularly) pages 20 and 28 - as well as those of other alleged hybrids at the top of page 51 - do, to my mind, superbly serve to portray the truly alien nature of the entities at issue.

However, those same images also suggest a sense of eeriness and detachment; and perhaps even menace. But that's just my own opinion, of course. Whatever the true nature of Huggins' encounters, he is to be congratulated for portraying the creatures in a fashion that is both memorable and slightly unsettling.

I don't know why I find them unsettling - but I do. Perhaps it's the long-black wigs and the obvious attempts to try and pass themselves off as more human-like than they really are - as they seek to secretly and stealthily move among us - that makes me come to such a conclusion.

Actually, the one thing that stands out more than any other in my mind, is that the particular entities in question seem to conjure up imagery not of literal extraterrestrials, but of Mac Tonnies' cryptoterrestrials - beings that originate right here on Earth, but who masquerade as aliens to hide their true nature and intent; which may not be entirely benign.

But, maybe I am wrong about the origin and intent of the creatures at issue. As I said, that's just my own view, having digested the words, pages and many paintings contained in the book. Perhaps the story that Farah tells of Huggins' experiences is a wholly positive one. Time, I earnestly hope, will tell.

Regardless of what lies at the heart of the alien abduction/hybrids story in general, and Huggins' story in particular, Love in an Alien Purgatory is a truly fascinating study of one man who has experienced some bizarre - and, at times, distressing - events in his life, and who has used his own skills and talents to try and make some sense of those same events in a positive, uplifting and always visually-appealing fashion.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Giants on the Earth

Giants on the Earth is a new title published by Global Communications - the ever-busy brainchild of long-time player on the UFO scene, Timothy Green Beckley. And, if you're into tales, stories and data on giants of the distant past, and the not-so-distant past, too; then this is most definitely the book for you!

Biblical giants, the Nephilim, accounts of Goliath-like entities returning to the Holy Land and much more dominate the opening pages of the book. And, they are quickly followed up by intriguing accounts of over-sized aliens - such as the 10-foot-tall creature allegedly seen in Sagrada Famila, Brazil in August 1963. Of course, no mention of giant-sized aliens would be complete without a nod in the direction of the infamous Flatwoods Monster of that long-gone year of 1952. And, indeed, Tim treats us to the intriguing tale of the monstrous whatever-it-was.

Then, it's on to hulking flying monsters - such as the reported Thunderbirds and Pteradons that have been sighted throughout Papua, New Guinea; Mexico; South America; and the Texas-Mexico border area. For cryptozoologists, this section will be of great interest - not least for the cool artwork that accompanies this specific chapter, and the particularly-detailed attention given to the aforementioned Thunderbird sightings.

We're then treated to an indispensable series of chapters and sections that tell of historic encounters with giants in the United States, Britain, the Middle East, Australia and elsewhere.

The Book of Enoch, the Epic of Giglamesh, and much more all come into play in a new book that is required reading for those with a particular fascination for gigantic people, huge aliens, Godzilla-sized beasts of the sky, and much more!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Brad Steiger's Real Vampires

As you'll recall from my earlier post on Brad's new book at this blog - Real Vampires: Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Dark Side - I contributed a section to the book: on the blood-sucking monster of Puerto Rico known to one and all as the Chupacabra. But, having now digested the entire mighty tome, it's time for a full-length review.

First, I have to say that, in my own opinion, this is one Brad's finest books - and for several reasons, upon which I'll now explain and elaborate.

There can be very little doubt that even the merest mention of the word "Vampire" conjures up imagery of either (a) the classic vampires of yesteryear as portrayed on-screen by the likes of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee (you know the ones I mean: they rather resemble pale-faced waiters in cloaks!); or (b) the latter-day vampires with whom Hollywood is so enamored and who resemble the offspring of some dark alliance between Marilyn Manson and TV's hottest Goth: the delicious Abby from NCIS.

As Brad is very careful to make abundantly clear to his readers, however, the cinematic vampire with which all of us are acquainted is - largely, at least - a creation of enterprising, enthusiastic and skilled screenplay writers, authors and horror-devotees. Separating the fictional vampire from the factual one, is a key aspect of the book - and a very welcome and informative aspect, too.

The genuine vampire, we learn early on in the pages of the book, is a far darker and ominous entity than anything Hollywood could ever throw at us - it is a predatory beast that stalks us by night; one that feeds upon the human life-force and drains us of emotional energy; that dwells in some darkened, elusive dimension of undetermined origins; that oozes negativity; and that has been using, abusing and exploiting us for thousands of years.

And, it is in getting this particular point across that Brad's book scores major points. Digging deep into ancient texts, manuscripts and tales, Brad acquaints us with the likes of the diabolical Lilith; with demonic entities of a truly black nature; with belief systems pertaining to the shedding of blood; and the way in which the vampire can (both metaphorically and literally) get its teeth and claws into us.

Brad also addresses what he calls "A Gallery of Classic Vampires," in which you will find much on disturbing characters like the notorious Elizabeth Bathory; as well as other vampire-style souls, including Vincent Verzini; Albert Fish; and John Haigh.

Of course, some of these were merely deranged souls - not literal vampires, in the sense we understand the term. However, Brad demonstrates that sometimes, those who we see as merely mentally-ill individuals drawn to drink blood may actually be the victims of something far more significant and sinister.

As Brad explains: "Many researchers believe that the spirit parasite can seize the controlling mechanism of the host body and direct the enslaved human to perform horrible, atrocious deeds. The spirit parasite might implant murderous thoughts into a host's mind, such as the desire to taste human blood, to slash a victim's throat, even to eat some of the person's flesh. After the crime has been committed, the vampiric spirit parasite withdraws back into another dimension of time and space, thus leaving the confused human being alone, charged with murder, while the true assassin has escaped."

Of particular interest to me, is the section of the book where Brad delves into the connections between vampires and werewolves - definitely a heady combination! Equally as parasitic as classic vampires, these hairy beasts of the full-moon are shown time and again as being entities that we would be very wise to avoid - both mentally and physically.

Real Vampires is also packed with insightful data on the history of blood-based cults; the way in which widespread hysteria can have an effect on tales and legends of vampirism; those unfortunate souls afflicted by mental-illness and who believe themselves to be definitive blood-suckers of the night; ominous beings that feed on us - emotionally and spiritually - in our sleep; and the truly macabre Shadow People.

All in all, then, Brad Steiger's Real Vampires is a massively in-depth study of a phenomenon that is both ancient and very real; that is as dark and disturbing as it is misunderstood; and one that should not be dabbled in lightly.

They may not all resemble Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee - and, unfortunately, they may not all look like Abby either. But, as Brad demonstrates time and again, the vampire is a creature of genuine, deadly and shadowy proportions.

Definitive and required reading for anyone wanting to learn the truth about real-life parasitic entities from the outer edge...

Ghostly Pets

When I learned that Tim Beckley's Global Communications had just published a new edition of Elliott O'Donnell's 1913 book, Animal Ghosts, I knew it was one that I had to review.

In December 2003, my wife, Dana, and I lost our pet shar-pei dog, Charity, when she tragically succumbed to a fast-acting fever that took her life in only a matter of days.
In the wake of Charity's death, however, we experienced a series of very odd incidents that left us in no doubt that - for a while, at least - her soul, or life-force (however you wish to term it) was still among us (a story told in Joshua P. Warren's Pet Ghosts, and in my own book: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter).
So, for that reason, books on animal spirits hold a particular interest for me.

Published under the new title of Ghostly Pets, Phantom Felines and Haunted Hounds, O'Donnell's book (which includes welcome, additional material from Diane Tessman and Sean Casteel, and a new foreword from Tim Beckley) is a fine addition to the body of work on animal ghosts, and life-after-death in the animal kingdom.

So, with that said, what can you expect to find within the pages of the book? Well, the answer to that question is: a great deal!
Diane Tessman's introduction is a deeply personal account from someone with a clear love for her animals; and Sean Casteel's contribution - titled Supernatural Animals - delves into such controversies as animal-souls; the issue of whether surviving pets can still see their deceased animal pals; and much more.

And then it's on to O'Donnell's book. Although originally written nearly 100 years ago, the title is still a highly valuable and thoughtful study of a phenomenon that is likely to fascinate anyone and everyone that (a) loves animals; and (b) has ever owned a pet - which is surely most of us!

The book itself is split into a number of clearly-delineated sections, on such matters as ghostly cats; spectral dogs; phantom horses; bulls, cows and pigs; apes, lions and tigers; and birds.

Having now digested the pages of the book (and having undergone my own experiences of the ghostly-dog kind), I'm left in little doubt at all that death is not the literal end for our furry, hairy and feathered friends.

O'Donnell relates numerous accounts within the pages of his book; most of which, I guarantee, you will never before have read. In other words, the book is packed with valuable and insightful resource data; witness testimony; theories pertaining to the nature of life and death in the animal world; and uplifting tales of how and why our beloved pets come back.

Very much driven by personal, first-hand accounts, this new edition of O'Donnell's book is one that should be carefully digested by anyone in search of answers to the question of what happens to our pets after they have breathed their last.

Thought-provoking, informative, and at times pretty spooky! But, always essential and classic reading!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Werewolves!
















On its way to me right now is a review-copy of Dr. Bob Curran's new book: Werewolves - A Field Guide to Shapeshifters, Lycanthropes, and Man-Beasts.
I'll be reviewing the book right here as soon as I have read it. In the meantime, however - and specifically thanks to Lori at Warwick Associates, and the good people at Career Press and New Page Books - here's an excellent new article from the author himself on the subject of those diabolical creatures of the night...
Werewolves -Everything You Need to Know…
By Dr. Bob Curran
Since earliest times, legends of were-creatures – humans who could alternate between their own and animal shape – have formed a significant part of our folklore and mythology. One of the best known of such beings is, arguably, the werewolf. Indeed, it has appeared in medieval legends, in fairy tales and latterly in books and films.
It is arguably the wolf which has dominated the stories and perceptions of the werefolk.The wolf has been Mankind’s oldest adversary. It was with wolves that our early ancestors competed for food and it was against the rivalry of the wolf that they hunted.
Arguably, Man has always feared the creature and yet he has always admired its hunting prowess, strength and swiftness. They also may have envied its hunting prowess and the ease with which it caught its prey, much more skilfully perhaps than the shambling hominids who were our forebears.
In a world were good hunting was essential for survival of both the individual and the community, they wished they could be like it. And so the desire probably took on a form of reality. Our ancestors began to look for ways in which they could supernaturally be the animal (and not just wolves, but other animals they admire – the bull, the horse etc.) and so acquire these skills.
At first, it may have been no more than pretending to be these creatures – dressing in skins, adopting certain postures – but in a world which was filled with spirits and supernatural forces, an element of possession by the animal spirit soon became paramount.Shamans and perhaps hunters themselves were "taken over" by the wolf spirit and began to exhibit lupine behaviour and possibly perceived lupine attributes. The idea of the man-wolf had already taken root in the developing human mind.
That idea persisted down the ages but as civilisations began to consolidate and develop it became less to do with hunting and more to do with prowess – physical, sexual – and ferocity. It appeared as the attribute of a warrior in battle, a man who created terror amongst his enemies. The idea of the wolf-warrior appears in a number of ancient cultures, particularly Viking, were certain warriors donned both wolf and bear skins in order to emphasise their fierceness and skill in warfare. These were the berserkers who, through the medium of their animal pelt garments seemed to acquire certain strengths and skills which seemed to make them invulnerable in any conflict.
Ancient heroes amongst other races – for example the Celts – had similar attributes which might be attributed to their contact with animals such as wolves.Allied to this was a fascination with travellers’ tails. Although travel was perhaps more frequent than we suspect in these early times, it was only certain people who in fact, journeyed any distance. They returned with wonderful tales of countries which they had seen and explored and of the wonderful beings that they had seen there.
These stories, tall as they were, were readily accepted as fact in places like Christian Europe and it was readily believed that astonishing races lived in other lands – men who looked curious and who behaved in a curious fashion. Amongst these descriptions was that of a dog-headed race of men who lived somewhere in the East – some of whom were primitive and others who were relatively advanced.
Stories of the "dog-heads" readily fell into the perceptions of the man-wolf in popular imagination and it was thought that if these people mated amongst human kind they might produce offspring who could alternate shape at will.There was one other element in the cultural and imaginative mix concerning werewolves– cannibalism.
It has been suggested that cannibalism was probably much more widespread in earlier societies than we care to acknowledge, particularly in remote areas of the developing world. In remote areas during harsh seasons, poverty-stricken individuals may well have resorted to eating each other in order to survive.
From time to time tales of cannibals surfaced into mainstream folklore – the tale of Sawney Bean, "the Man-Eater of Midlothian" in Scotland for instance during the 14th or 15th centuries (it is not clear however, that Bean existed in the way that the legends say that he did). The idea of individuals using their fellow humans for food and even hunting them down, held overtones of the wild wolves of the forest and, as some of these individuals lived in remote areas, the connection seemed all the more obvious. It was not hard then to imagine that the human predators transformed themselves into their animal counterparts, perhaps by diabolical means.
As Christianity began to assert itself in the West, the idea of the man-wolf took on a slightly different aspect.
Now this creature was the agent of the Devil and it was the Enemy of All Mankind who gave him or her their powers. The victim of the werewolf then became the Godly or the innocent – the old woman living alone or the small child. These themes were central to many of the werewolf trials, particularly in France in the 16th century – Giles Garnier, the Hermit of Dole, the Werewolves of Poligny, Jacques Roulet. Some of these alleged occurrences were brought about by the Devil, others were accidental in which the moon (a pagan symbol) played a part.
And so it has continued down to the present – the idea of the man-wolf (a figure from many cultures) appearing in literature and film. Although it has perhaps never enjoyed as much fame as the vampire or Frankenstein, the prowling beast still lurks somewhere in the depths of the human psyche, a potent reminder perhaps that we are not as cultured or civilised as we often profess to be.
Dr. Bob Curran is the author of the new book Werewolves- A Field Guide to Shapeshifters, Lycanthropes, and Man-Beasts released in September, 2009 by New Page Books (ISBN 978-1-60163-089-6).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Vampires on the Loose!

Legendary author Brad Steiger has a new book out right now titled Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside.

My copy arrived in the mail today; and a full-length review will appear right here just as soon as I have digested its blood-soaked pages (okay, I have to confess they aren't really blood-soaked; I just want to try and build up the atmosphere!).

When Brad was in the planning stages of the book, he asked me if I would be interested in submitting some material for the book.
Well, as someone who has been a big fan of Brad's work since my early teens, my answer was, of course: "Yes!"And, so, that's precisely what I did.

In my 6-page article/contribution, titled Welcome to Blood Island, I focused my attention on my various expeditions to the island of Puerto Rico, in search of the island's most legendary blood-sucker: the diabolical and infamous Chupacabras.

The illustrated article details some of the highlights of my trips to Puerto Rico; a wealth of startling eye-witness testimony relative to the beast and its violent attacks; and much more.

As my paper also reveals, not all vampires look like Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, or the many and varied other bygone vampires of yesteryear. Nor do they all resemble the pale-skinned and black-garbed Marilyn Manson-style creatures of the night, with which today's world of Hollywood is seemingly so obsessed.

No: some of them are even more horrific - and top of the list (in my view, at least) is that glowing eyed, razor-clawed, blood-drinking predator, the Chupacabras.

For anyone and everyone interested in vampires of all manner, description and style, Brad's new book is not to be missed!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Ghost Hunting Files

Some time ago, it was my pleasure to review Natalie Osborne-Thomason's book, Psychic Quest. Well, now she has a new book out: The Ghost Hunting Files: Ordinary Peoples' Encounters with the Supernatural.

Published in Britain by Healings of Atlantis, the book is very much a personal study of ghostly and paranormal phenomena.
And that's something I have enjoyed about Natalie's previous output: rather than take the annoying approach that some authors take (namely, extracting 100 words here and there from other people's books and then calling it "research"), Natalie's book is filled with her own experiences, tales from her own case-files and witness-reports carefully investigated by the author herself.

So, with that said, what can you expect to find within the pages of The Ghost Hunting Files? Well, the answer is: quite a lot!

The book begins with the strange story of a slightly ominous encounter of the bedroom kind that Natalie and her daughter experienced while on holiday in 2006. Then, we learn of a truly ominous experience involving a diabolical entity - half-human and half-bat - that is described as being an "Angel of Death"-style creature.

Natalie then informs us, and entertains us, with her views on the approach taken by mainstream television as it relates to the paranormal - an approach that Natalie is clearly not happy with.

It must be said that as well as being highly informative - largely due to the fact that these are Natalie's own case-files that provide us with a unique look at her work - The Ghost Hunting Files does not (as I have noted above) shy away from encounters of a very disturbing kind. The afterlife, Natalie skillfully demonstrates, is not all bright and breezy.

The grim tale of the woman left in a tragically brain-damaged state after an encounter on the stairs with a distinctly negative entity is firm evidence of that.

And the book contains much more too: tales of those floating balls of light known as Orbs; encounters with far more "benign beings" (as Natalie describes them); the strange, synchronicity-filled story of the "Deadly Injection;" reports of poltergeist activity; the high-strangeness associated with the Blisworth Arms hotel; and an uncanny account relating to the infamous Hellfire Caves of Buckinghamshire.

And the list goes on and on. All in all, The Ghost Hunting Files is an excellent book; and one best devoured late at night and with only the cold, howling wind for company.

Not only will you get to read about some fascinating accounts of the paranormal, the supernatural and the distinctly spooky; but you'll also get to see how a real-life ghost-hunter works, and what goes on behind the scenes in an investigation of the spectral kind.

Definitely recommended!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Outbreak!

Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior, written by Hilary Evans (author of such books as Intrusions; Gods, Spirits, Cosmic Guardians; and Panic Attacks) and Robert Bartholomew (whose studies have appeared within the pages of the British Medical Journal and The Sociological Quarterly - among many others), is quite possibly the most important contribution to the world of Forteana (which, of course, encompasses UFOs; as if you needed to ask!) in a very long time.

And it’s certainly the biggest contribution to the subject in a long time, too: it runs to nearly 800 pages.

Indeed, we should all praise (and even, perhaps, feel a little bit sorry for) Patrick Huyghe, who had to carefully burn the midnight oil to edit this veritable mighty behemoth of a title into shape for Anomalist Books.

Fortunately, the authors and Patrick have done a great, collective job on this Cthulhu-sized tome.

Anyone who wants to understand what it is that makes the human mind tick (or, sometimes, not tick too well at all…) when faced with extraordinary phenomena and events at a group-level needs to read Outbreak!. And that includes you, Mr. and Mrs. UFO fan!

One of the things that often amazes me about UFOs, is that researchers are often very keen to investigate reports and sightings; but the most important factors of all - namely, the mindset and the (conscious or otherwise) beliefs and ideas of the witnesses - are far-more-than-occasionally left firmly on the shelf.

Fortunately, however - and in distinct contrast to my above-paragraph - with Evans and Bartholomew steering the good-ship Outbreak!, you are in good hands.

All too regularly, the word “scholarly” can be interpreted as meaning (and sometimes with much justification!) “yawn-inducing” and “bloody boring.” Not so here, however. The book is indeed scholarly; but it is also highly informative, insightful, illuminating and witty.

Have you ever wondered what it is (in terms of the human mind’s response to extraordinary situations) that makes “Girl A” faint while at school, after which “Girl B,” “Girl C,” “Girl D,” and…well, you get the picture…all summarily follow suit, until practically the entire class is passed-out on the floor?

Then, before you can utter the now-ominous word “virus,” agents of the the Department of Homeland Security are quickly on the scene to declare that the girls have all potentially been infected by some dastardly biological weapon (conjured up by dark-skinned men with beards, who emanate from some far-off, hot, desert land - or so the rumor that quickly begins to swirl around the school suggests).

Unfortunately, as the day progresses, those same grim-faced agents of the official world are unable to locate any evidence of such a pandemic, no bearded men are to be found anywhere, the girls quickly recover, and the mystified players all return to relative normaility - but all the while wondering what the hell happened, and why.

In a nutshell (and in simplistic - but certainly accurate - terms), this is what lies at the heart of Outbreak! Namely, how we as a species, and as groups, collectively react to unusual phenomena and stressful situations (and how we may be responsible for their creation and interpretation); how and why - at times - we respond in a totally over-the-top, hysterical fashion; how such behavior can totally affect and manipulate minds of a normally rational nature; and, as a result, how we inadvertently provoke extraordinary situations, tales, rumors, legends and much more - and very often of a definitively Fortean nature, too.

The very interesting thing about this book is that the reader can learn as much about the true nature of certain aspects of the UFO puzzle from reading the non-UFO entries as he or she can from studying the tales of a definitively alien nature.

In other words, learning what it is that makes a bunch of schoolgirls faint, and why so many people went totally over the top with respect to the “Bird Flu” issue, is as important as understanding how and why the “alien abduction” epidemic (an epidemic is surely what it is, even if it has a basis in reality) has developed over the last couple of decades.

So, as the authors relate to us their ideas, theories and conclusions, we get to read much about “Assembly Line Hysteria;” “Dancing Mania;” “Fainting Football Cheerleaders;” the “Milan Poisoning Scare;” the “Phantom Hat Pin Stabber;” the “Springheel Jack Scare;” “Windigo Psychosis;” and much more.

And, if at this stage you are wondering what any of this may have to do with UFOs, Forteana and related issues, by the time you finish the book you most certainly will not be wondering any longer.

As Outbreak! shows, when it comes to UFOs, the Monkey-Man, lake-monsters, alien abductions, and much more of an unexplained nature, it is the witnesses, the players and the participants - and particularly their reactions and the way they categorize, interpret and respond to such phenomena, at an individual level; but very often at a larger, group level too - who are arguably far more fascinating, mind-bending and intricately complex than anything they may have encountered.

A fantastic read!

Go, Tim, Go!

Sometimes, and particularly at conferences for some reason, I'm asked: "Where can I get hold of old and hard-to-find books on UFOs?"

Well, that's a damned good question! Certainly, there are a number of companies that specialize in putting out new titles on all-things-alien and Fortean.

But when it comes to providing a service that offers the discerning UFO researcher access to either (A) long-out-of-print; or (B) difficult-to-locate titles, none does it better than long-time Ufological player, publisher, and observer of the scene, Timothy Green Beckley.

Tim has been flying the ufological flag for decades - having got into the subject as a kid, and pretty much met just about anyone and everyone in the subject who matters.

Not only that: Tim is at the forefront of publishing new editions of much-sought-after titles from the halcyon (in other words: long-gone) days of Ufology - such as George Adamski's Pioneers of Space (see the image above).

"POS" is an interesting title; in the sense that it's a sci-fi novel on the issue of alien contact that was written a few years before Adamski's own claimed encounters with long-haired ET's.

Is this evidence that Adamski's later claims of alien contact were merely fictionalized versions of the characters and situations portrayed in his earlier novel? God knows. But the fact that Tim has now published a new edition of the book means that you can try and answer that question yourself.

And that's what I like so much about Tim's publishing company: you'll find so many old titles (and new studies of old cases) that would otherwise remain firmly beyond our collective grasp.

For example, in recent months, Tim has published such titles as The Lost Journals of Nikola Tesla; Invisibility and Levitation; The Secret Life of Paul Villa; Teleportation; The Strange Universe of Harold T. Wilkins: UFOs Attack Earth; Inner Earth People, Outer Space People; Venusian Health Magic And Venusian Secret Science; Omnec Onec: Ambassador From Venus; Mysteries of Mount Shasta; and much more.

Are these titles controversial? Of course they are!

But Tim is to be applauded for bringing to the collective Fortean community a truly massive amount of titles - both reprints and new appraisals of old events and long-dead characters - that shed much light on the Golden years of Ufology.

If, like me, you're fascinated by (and perhaps even a little obsessed by) the long-gone days of 1950s and 1960s Ufology, offer your support to Tim.

You can contact him, buy his books, and obtain his catalog at: Global Communications, Box 753, New Brunswick, NJ 08903. You can get his free, weekly newsletter at http://www.conspiracyjournal.com/; and you can send Paypal orders to MrUFO8@hotmail.com

Disappointed, you most certainly will not be!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beyond Shadow World

I have just finished reading Brad Steiger’s latest release from Anomalist Books: Beyond Shadow World (originally published in 2001 as Our Shared World of the Supernatural).

This is the third book in a series from Anomalist Books, and is a thought-provoking and informative read that will be (or should be!) of deep interest to all open-minded Ufologists.

Given that the book focuses, to a large extent, on tales of the afterlife, spirits (of the dead, and of a nature variety), ghostly beings and a variety of similar phenomena, you may already be asking yourselves: what relevance does all this have to Ufology?

Well, I’m coming to that!

As someone who has read quite a few books by Brad that focus upon (or touch upon) accounts and experiences relative to claims of an afterlife, I’ve always found it refreshing that - unlike a lot of authors who write on such matters - Brad does not try and force any particular theory or belief-system down the throats of his readers.

Rather, he relates the data, the theories and the ideas, and allows the reader to use this material to form his or her own opinion - which is a rare thing in books devoted to such an emotive topic as the afterlife.

But, Beyond Shadow World is more than just a collection of ghostly tales to be digested at the witching hour. Yes, it’s a deep and thoughtful look at the whole controversy of the afterlife - but it also reveals much more; and it’s here that we get into the UFO issue.

One of the things that Brad talks about in an enlightening fashion in the pages of his book is the puzzle of the so-called Contactees: those (primarily) 1950s characters who claimed contact with long-haired aliens in out-of-the-way locations, such as deserts, hill-tops and forests.

I am often dismayed by the simplistic approach that many researchers and readers take to the Contactee issue. For many of them, things are very much black-and-white: the Contactees were telling a literal truth, or they were blatant liars.

But, as people will know from my previous writings, things aren’t that clear-cut when it comes to the Contactees. And, I’m very pleased to see that Brad clearly realizes this.

As Brad states: “In 1963, when I first began seriously investigating the claims of the UFO contactees…I drew immediate parallels between those who channeled Outer Space beings and the spirit mediums who provided inspirational messages from their guides…”

He continues: “…And when many of the contactees told me that the UFOnaut had appeared to them in a ‘light and vaporous form’ because of the different frequencies between our dimensions, I was again reminded of the ‘light and vaporous forms’ that had long been associated with the seance room and the spirit circle.”

Brad adds: “…In my opinion, the phenomenon of the Space Brothers has absolutely nothing to do with the question of whether extraterrestrial intelligence has visited Earth,” and states his belief that there is an “external intelligence that has interacted with our species since our creation on this planet…I am also convinced that some kind of symbiotic relationship exists between us and this intelligence. In some way, they need us as much as we need them…”

This is excellent stuff, and well worth the price of the book alone!

Brad is right on the mark, and I would urge anyone with an interest in the Contactees to invest in a copy of Beyond Shadow World.

And that’s not all: you will also get to learn the details of a fascinating experience Brad had as a child with one of the classic “little people” of folklore and mythology (a brownie, an elf - the names may change; but they are pretty much the same breed) - and maybe of some strange, twilight realm, too.

It’s a magical, eerie and slightly creepy tale.

And, although Brad’s telling of the story suggests his sighting of the creature was accidental, I have to wonder - as with so many of the Contactees, and as with so many of the Abductees - was Brad’s exposure to the little man actually a deliberate act (albeit unknown to him), one designed to provoke the transformation needed to ensure that Brad followed the path in life (as a writer and investigator of all-things-strange) that some other intelligence may have already pre-planned for him?

Some might say no. I say: don’t be so hasty.

So, with that all said, if your interests are chiefly in the area of the afterlife, Beyond Shadow World is definitely a must-read.

If you have ever had a sneaky suspicion that our alien visitors (and particularly those long-haired ones) might not be quite what they seem - and that there could be a more profound, unifying theory for the many and varied phenomena that Brad describes in his book - then you should also take steps to acquire the book at the earliest opportunity.

Don’t forget: for full effect, read it by candle-light on a dark and stormy night! And if Orthon, Zoltan or some oddly-named Venusian Space-Brother knocks slowly on the door, by all means invite him or her in. But, as Beyond Shadow World demonstrates, they may not actually be who they claim to be…

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Darkness Walks...

As some of you may know, over the last few weeks I have made a couple of posts (at my UFO Mystic blog) on Jason Offutt’s new book: Darkness Walks - The Shadow People Among Us. But, now, having finally digested its contents, it’s time for a review. And, fortunately, Darkness Walks is a bloody good one!

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts at UFO Mystic that - for this reader and reviewer, at least - there are definite parallels between the ominous Shadow People of Jason’s book and some of the stranger, occult/paranormal-driven Men in Black-type reports highlighted by the likes of Keel, Bender and Barker.

And, although Jason’s book is obviously not a definitive guide to the MIB, it is most definitely required-reading for anyone and everyone interested in the subject - hence why I am reviewing it right here.

So, with that said, let’s get right to the book.

With a foreword from best-selling and long-time paranormal author, Brad Steiger, Darkness Walks is a heady, ominous and roller-coaster ride into the twilight world of some of the strangest and most unsettling creatures to ever grace our planet.

They lurk in the shadows. We see fleeting glimpses of them out of the corners of our eyes. And they are a decidedly ominous, humorless, and grim bunch, to say the very least.

Sometimes, when I’m reading books like this, I get disappointed by the fact that the author spends most of his or her time relating case after case, but not actually attempting to define what might be found at the heart of the puzzle - or even what might be the root-cause of it all. Fortunately, this is not the case with Darkness Walks.

Yes, Jason most assuredly does relate numerous reports of encounters with the Shadow People; however, he also addresses the many and varied theories that have been presented to try and determine who they are and what they may want with us.

Citing reports that date back to the 1800s, Jason relates a copious amount of witness testimony concerning Shadow People encounters - much of which is pretty unsettling. Ominous presences in the bedroom, terrifying sleep-paralysis-type experiences, hooded entities provoking fear, havoc and mayhem, and even descents into madness following encounters with the Shadow People proliferate within the pages of the book.

Fortunately, Jason is not afraid to address all of the theories that may explain the presence of the Shadow People - which range from chemical-imbalances in the brain to demons, and from ET to Islamic Jinns.

Then there are the red-eyed entities (red-eyed beings are, of course, a staple part of Ufology, Cryptozoology, and Forteana in general); the disturbing “Hat Man,” who is surely a close cousin of the MIB of the 1950s; hooded monstrosities; choking-characters; and even blazing-eyed Shadow-Cats.

So what’s going on with the Shadow People? Who are they? And what the hell do they want with us?

Jason answers such questions by looking into the worlds of physics, psychiatry, metaphysics, western religion, and native American shamanism - and he does so in a very capable, thought-provoking and informative fashion.

Jason also comments on the work and theories of my good friend and Fortean hotty Marie Jones (author of PSIence, among countless other titles), the ways and means to rid yourself of the Shadow People, as well as ways to invite or invoke them - if you dare.

All in all, this is a great, informative, detailed and highly thought-provoking study of a phenomenon that straddles the realms of the paranormal, the occult and ufology with uncanny ease - if they’re not all a part of some wider phenomenon; which I most strongly suspect they actually are.

Jason has done us all a great favor by writing this book, and Dennis Stacy and Patrick Huyghe of Anomalist Books are to be applauded for publishing it.

Now, all you have to do is go out and buy Darkness Walks - TODAY, OK?!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

UK UFO Files: The Book

Dave Clarke has a new book looming on the horizon that deals with the specific issue of the British MoD’s UFO files.

And here’s Dave himself with all the details:

Copies of my new book based upon the Ministry of Defense’s UFO files can now be pre-ordered via Amazon.

The UFO Files: the Inside Story of Real-life Sightings will be published in paperback during July 2009 by The National Archives.

The recommended cover price is £12.99 but those who order early can obtain a discount.

The book has been specially produced to accompany the ongoing releases of MoD files via the TNA website UFO page.

The UFO Files showcases accounts of UFO experiences extracted from the entire TNA collection from the 19th century to the present day.

The first two chapters include official accounts of sightings and investigations of phantom airships, foo-fighters and flying saucers from the first half of the 20th century.Later chapters cover classic UFO incidents featured in the Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence files, ending with the most recent material released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The book concentrates upon primary documents and interviews conducted with key witnesses, much of which will be new even to seasoned UFOlogists.Working with The National Archives has meant that some key historical documents have been made available for publication for the first time.

The book will include over 70 original images from the files, including accounts collected by an Air Ministry investigation of strange phenomena sighted over London in 1921!

A summary of the contents, taken from the TNA new books page, follows:Original records reveal how British Intelligence and the CIA investigated many Cold War sightings, from the Roswell incident of 1947 to ghost aircraft, Radar Angels to the RAF’s confidential files.

The book sheds new light on many famous cases, such as RAF Topcliffe, 1952; the Flying Cross in Devon, 1967; RAF West Freugh, Scotland, 1957; the Berwyn Mountains UFO crash and the Phantom Helicopter Mystery, as well as the notorious ‘Welsh triangle’ and the Rendlesham Forest incident.

Dramatic witness statements and personal interviews - many undertaken by the author himself - combine with rarely seen photographs, drawings and newly available documents to bring these extraordinary experiences vividly to life.

From aerial phenonema of the First World War to crop circles and a secret UFO study of more recent times, The UFO Files offers a unique guide to our most intriguing mysteries.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Monsters of Kent

Excellent news!

Yesterday, I received in the mail a review-copy of Neil Arnold's brand new book: Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent; which, as its title strongly suggests is Neil's own, deep, personal study of the weird creatures that dwell deep within his very own home-county of Kent, England.

At almost 400 pages in length, this veritable whopper of a book looks to be an excellent, definitive study that encompasses big-cats, black-dogs, water-beasts, Bigfoot, and much more.
I've only read one chapter thus far, and checked out the photo section and the other chapter titles; but I can say for certain that this is one of the most detailed regional studies of weird beasts ever written.

You can expect a review right here, just as soon as I have read it.

A great job, Neil!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Natural Freaks

I haven't yet read this book - Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development And Evolution by Mark S. Blumberg - but it looks to be a very good one.

As the publisher tells us:

"In most respects, Abigail and Brittany Hensel are normal American twins. Born and raised in a small town, they enjoy a close relationship, though each has her own tastes and personality. But the Hensels also share a body. Their two heads sit side-by-side on a single torso, with two arms and two legs. They have not only survived, but have developed into athletic, graceful young women. And that, writes Mark S. Blumberg, opens an extraordinary window onto human development and evolution.

"In Freaks of Nature, Blumberg turns a scientist's eye on the oddities of nature, showing how a subject once relegated to the sideshow can help explain some of the deepest complexities of biology. Why, for example, does a two-headed human so resemble a two-headed minnow? What we need to understand, Blumberg argues, is that anomalies are the natural products of development, and it is through developmental mechanisms that evolution works. Freaks of Nature induces a kind of intellectual vertigo as it upends our intuitive understanding of biology. What really is an anomaly? Why is a limbless human a "freak," but a limbless reptile-a snake-a successful variation?

"What we see as deformities, Blumberg writes, are merely alternative paths for development, which challenge both the creature itself and our ability to fit it into our familiar categories. Rather than mere dead-ends, many anomalies prove surprisingly survivable--as in the case of the goat without forelimbs that learned to walk upright. Blumberg explains how such variations occur, and points to the success of the Hensel sisters and the goat as examples of the extraordinary flexibility inherent in individual development. In taking seriously a subject that has often been shunned as discomfiting and embarrassing, Mark Blumberg sheds new light on how individuals--and entire species--develop, survive, and evolve."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Alien Deception...




















Newly published and looks very interesting, as the publisher’s blurb below reveals…

The Alien Deception: An Exploration of the Alien Abduction Phenomenon

By
Nigel Watson

Since the 1960s thousands of people throughout the world have reported being abducted by aliens. They report being taken in broad daylight or at night. Some say they were simply looked at by seemingly alien beings, while others say they were horribly examined.

At times, after such encounters, the abductee has little conscious recollection of
these events, and usually through nightmares, flashbacks and hypnosis they eventually learn more.

Some abductees even believe they have been used as part of a breeding project to create hybrid alien/humans. Almost all are truly bewildered by their experiences.

Ultimately, alien abductions make us consider fundamental questions about our place in the universe and our future evolution as a species.

Are abductions real events that have momentous consequences for the whole of humanity or are they the product of rumour, psychosis, hoaxes, media hype and sensationalism?

Is there a grand Alien Deception manipulating our minds and our governments or are we deceiving ourselves?

Nigel Watson’s groundbreaking exploration of alien abductions takes a comprehensive look at the reports by the earliest abductees (such as Betty and Barney Hill), right up to the latest encounters.

Watson considers the possible historical, paranormal, extraterrestrial, psychological and media influences that might help explain the origin of these reports.

For British readers, click here.

For US-based readers, click here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reviewing the Skin-Walker

Just recently, fellow creature-seeker and friend JC Johnson sent me a DVD copy of an excellent new documentary he has directed titled Navajo Skin-Walkers and Legends: Crypto Four Corners.

This is definitely one of those "Do Not Miss!" productions - and I urge one and all to click on the link above to learn more about the film, to contact JC, and to get all the information on the film, those who worked hard to bring it to life, and much more.

And with that said, let me tell you a bit more about JC's DVD.

Basically, it is a personal, on-the-road style study of the whole Skin-Walker phenomenon (and if you're not fully sure what that is, click right here) that dominates the so-called "Four Corners" area: Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.

Filled with fantastic imagery of some truly magical-looking scenery, and suitably atmospheric music to accompany it, Navajo Skin-Walkers is the type of film I enjoy watching a great deal.
Made by a dedicated team of investigators who have a deep passion for their subject matter, and who are willing to go the extra mile to find the answers, this is the sort of thing of which we need much, much more.

There's no doubt that when it comes to cryptozoology, the most important thing of all is the witness testimony. Without witnesses, we have nothing - absolutely zero. And, firmly recognizing this, JC and his team seek out a good and varied group of people to interview, and who are all willing to talk about their extraordinary experiences with Skin-Walkers.

Night-time encounters with paranormal entities prowling around their homes, banging on doors and windows, and generally scaring the you-know-what out of those with whom the Skin-Walkers have crossed paths, dominate the film.

And, you also get a very good indication of how the events in question have left a deep impression on those whose lives have been touched by the Skin-Walkers.

As JC's DVD makes abundantly clear, the Skin-Walkers are not mere out-of-place, misidentified animals. No.

We hear tales of animals walking on two-legs and then four; of bullets having no effect on the beasts; of witness Ivan's weird encounter with a clawed, Kangaroo-like beast; of giant 8-foot-tall entities; of glowing red eyes; and a great deal more, too.

For anyone already fascinated by the Skin-Walker phenomenon - and for those new to the subject, but who want to learn more - I strongly urge you to check out Navajo Skin Walkers and Legends: Crypto Four Corners.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Coming Soon - 11:11

Coming soon will be an in-depth review from me of Marie Jones' excellent new book (co-authored with Larry Flaxman): 11:11 - The Time Prompt Phenomenon, The Mysteries Behind Mysterious Signs, Sequences, And Synchronicities.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Paranormal Monsters

The new issue of Britain's Paranormal magazine is - I'm very pleased to say - absolutely packed with cryptozoological features! First, there is an article from well-known author Janet Bord titled Monstrous Man-Birds, and which covers such beasties as Mothman and Batsquatch. Then, there's Jon Downes dissecting the Owlman of England. Paranormal editor Richard Holland looks at the issue of ghostly-birds and birds of ill-omen. Karl Shuker poses the intriguing question: "Are UFOs living creatures - weird, luminous things drifting in the upper atmosphere?" And then there's a feature from me titled Man Into Monster - which is a study of legends of supernatural shape-shifting from man into an assortment of animals, including big-cats and hyenas. And, finally, there's a one-page rant from me explaining why I loathe those skeptical types who never actually get out into the field - but who prefer instead to pontificate from the comfort of their office or home on why they are so sure that Bigfoot, etc, do not exist. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mothman Vol 3

The third volume in Andy Colvin's massively-paged Mothman's Photographer series of books is now among us! This is one for which I wrote the foreword, and a real mind-bending and wild experience the book is, too. For Mothman devotees everywhere!

Here's the Amazon link; and here's what the publisher says about the book:

Spurred in 2001 by the realization that the 9/11 attacks were accurately predicted - in 1967 - by a friend who was seeing Mothman, Seattle artist Andrew Colvin began filming a reality series, "The Mothman's Photographer," documenting his experiences growing up in Mound, WV.

"The Mothman's Photographer III" is a book of oral history based on the 2nd half of that series, where Colvin travels afield in search of Mothman-related avatars like Thunderbird, Bigfoot, and Garuda.

As the synchronicities pile up, Colvin shocks listeners to one of America's top conspiracy shows, The Grassy Knoll, by explaining that Mothman is not a demon but an avenging angel - an archetypal protector deity sending dreams, visions, and prophecies to psychically enhanced experiencers.

In his interviews and encounters with these experiencers, Colvin uniquely blends historical research, parapolitical theory, and spiritual wisdom to reveal valuable techniques for increasing one’s happiness, creativity, and self-knowledge.

Chronicles of the Cryptid Kind

I had an email yesterday from David Acord, a veteran Washington D.C. reporter and editor, who has just launched an exciting and excellent new venture: a weekly newsletter on cryptozoology titled The Cryptid Chronicles.

As you'll see from the press release below, you can log on to David's website and download the first issue for free, thereby giving you a great taster of what is to come.

David sent me the first issue, and I can say for certain that you won't be disappointed. It contains a wide and varied range of articles, including ones on (a) whistling snakes; (b) an intriguing mystery animal from Dakota that dates back to 1971; (c) anomalous reptiles of North America; and (d) an Idaho lake-monster. And there are also reviews of a couple of new crypto books in there, too.

All in all, a great start to what I hope will be a long lasting venture! And here's David to tell you more:

THE CRYPTID CHRONICLES Launches; Only Weekly Newsletter Focusing on Cryptozoology

ARLINGTON, VA, Jan. 5 -- Bigfoot. Sea serpents. Lake monsters. Black panthers and mysterious big cats. Chupacabra. Strange reptiles.

Chances are you won't find in-depth articles on these and other crypto-creatures in your local newspaper or in academic journals. Blogs do a great job of keeping enthusiasts up-to-date on the latest sightings, but what's been missing from the crypto field is a regular weekly publication that brings readers more analytical, in-depth articles on cryptid-related phenomena -- a newsletter that goes beyond hyperlinks and daily headlines to bring readers information they simply can't find anywhere else.

Enter The Cryptid Chronicles, the new weekly newsletter written by David Acord, a veteran Washington D.C. reporter and editor who brings more than a dozen years of experience to his true passion -- cryptozoology.

Each week subscribers receive 12 pages' worth of investigative reporting and analysis on the hottest crypto topics from ancient times to the present delivered straight to their e-mail inboxes in PDF format.

“The best thing about The Cryptid Chronicles is that it also brings you stories on cryptozoo-logical phenomena that you've never heard of, broadening your knowledge of the field,” Acord said.

“We delve deep into the archives to discover long-lost stories of strange critters roaming America and the world. Anyone who’s interested can log on to our Web site and download a free sample issue. You’ll find stories about the whistling snakes of the eastern United States, the‘whatsit’ from North Dakota and anomalous lizard sightings going all the way back to 1900.“The free issue is a great example of what The Cryptid Chronicles is all about,” Acord added.

“There’s so much more to learn about cryptozoology. Our newsletter is the missing link for any-one interested in strange creatures.”

The Cryptid Chronicles is a weekly electronic newsletter. Each issue is sent to your e-mail address in PDF format, so you can print it out (if you want) or read it straight from your computer screen. And the best part is the price -- you get an entire year (52 weekly 12-page issues) for the low price of just $29.95. That works out to just 57 cents an issue -- less than the price of a candy bar or pack of gum. We guarantee it's the best cryptozoological value you'll find in today's economy!

To download a free sample issue or subscribe, log on to http://www.fiweekly.com/cryptid.

Contact Editor David Acord with any questions at davidacord@msn.com.