Monday, October 31, 2011

The Werewolf of Stone

Paradise is a small Texan town, situated not too far from the sprawling city of Fort Worth, and is dominated by isolated homes, thick and somewhat mysterious woods, huge fields, numerous cows, and not much more at all.

Aside, that is, from a killer-werewolf.

Dawn had just broken on a particular day in September 1996, and Walter, a rancher who then made Paradise his home, headed out to tend his cows, which had the run of a large field at the back of his property.

Walter was not expecting to find the horrifying scene upon which he stumbled: one of his most valuable cows had been killed under cover of darkness.

And, by the looks of the cow, the killer had been some sort of vicious, powerful creature that surely had no place prowling the fields of Paradise.

The cow was disemboweled, with its throat ripped out and both back legs completely gone.

Although Walter wasted no time in contacting the police, this turned out to be an utterly fruitless task, since the only thing the responding officers could suggest to the irate and worried rancher was that perhaps a big cat was responsible and was still on the loose.

And, while this was certainly a major cause for alarm and a matter they would most definitely look into, it what not, technically speaking, a crime that required the attention of the police.

So, a wholly dissatisfied Walter decided to take matters into his own hands and elected to embark upon night-time vigils, in the hope that the beast might return and he, Walter, would have the opportunity to blow the creature’s head clean off its shoulders, and put an end to the matter before it risked spiraling wildly out of control.

Thus it was that at roughly 2.00 a.m. four days later, and while dutifully scanning the field with a night-scope that was attached to his high-powered gun, Walter became frozen with fear when he caught sight of a large, hairy figure striding across the field.

Around seven feet in height, very muscular and dark, it had the body of a man, yet the face, the ears and the muzzle of what looked like a large German shepherd dog or a wild wolf.

Rooted to the spot, Walter didn’t even think to fire his gun. Rather, he simply watched, dumbstruck with fear, as the beast covered the width of the field very quickly and vanished into the trees that bordered his property.

Rather ominously, only a short time later, and in the same exact spot where he first noticed the diabolical wolf-man, Walter found in the grass the small, stone, carved head of a large fanged monster with slits for eyes and flared nostrils.

Walter quickly became convinced that occultists had been secretly at work his field, engaged in some unholy act, and had quite literally invoked the beast from another realm of existence.

When Walter related the extraordinary tale to me, high up on his list of priorities was to finally get rid of the unsettling carved head.

Well, as someone whose office shelves are home to the skull of a coyote (or of a Texas Chupacabra – take your pick), the remains of a large stingray, a piece of brickwork from the Mothman-haunted TNT plant at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and even an old rusted pistol that I found on the shore of a stretch of Texan beach in the summer of 2003, I said to Walter something like, "How about I take the head off your hands?"

A mightily relieved Walter was more than happy to give me the head, and I was pleased to place it next to the aforementioned stingray.

But, there was something very odd and disturbing about the head. When it was held up to the light, or when placed in a shadowy environment, its appearance seemed to change slightly – sometimes to a maniacal glare, and occasionally to what resembled a cruel sneer.

There’s absolutely no doubt that it was all just due to the light and the shadows – the head was not literally changing form. But, the fact that the shadows seemed to ensure the face took on such specifically gruesome appearances seemed beyond chance.

It was almost as if someone had ingeniously, skillfully, and deliberately, fashioned the head in such a way that its appearance had the ability to seem to change – radically so, even.

Today, I no longer own the skull. But that, as they say, is a story for another day...

Friday, October 28, 2011


When I'm doing radio interviews, I'm often asked how I got into the field of writing. Well, it was actually nothing to do with the paranormal at all.

I left school (actually I quit, walked out, stormed out - a long story...!) with hardly an academic qualification to my name, and those I did have weren't worth a damn thing.

And I had no idea what I was going to for work. That is, until I stumbled on an opening at a new magazine that was starting up in the area I was living at the time.

This was October 1982, I was 17, sported a Johnny Ramone-style bowl haircut, and was in love with Clare (Gregory's Girl) Grogan. And I needed money.

So, I applied for the gig and, to my amazement - given my abysmal record at school - got it!

Welcome to Zero: it was a regional magazine, focusing on such issues as music, fashion, local entertainment, equally local gossip, and so on.

Actually, Zero began as a definitive fanzine put together by 7 of us using a few old typewriters (yes, real typewriters, with ribbons - crikey!), loads of Letraset, and a battered old photocopier.

In fact, that was my happiest time spent with Zero - which, while it wasn't exactly the equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary, I like to think it came pretty close!

Zero eventually got picked up - and funded - by a local investor and became glossy and - shock! - was eventually filled with color photos, rather than poorly photocopies B&W images.

But, it didn't last. Two years later, it was all over.

For the next 5 or 6 years, I held down various jobs - van-driver, shelf-stacker in a paint and wallpaper warehouse, forklift-driver, the list goes on and on - but I knew all along that writing was what I wanted to do. And I have Zero to thank for that.

The picture above shows the front-cover of the first edition of the original fanzine version of Zero which, I still remember to this day, we put together on a cold, rainy Friday afternoon before heading off to the pub...

The image of Zero 1 accompanying this post may not be paranormal in nature, but it was certainly responsible for getting me writing on the paranormal!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Desert City

While out in California late last year with Adam Gorightly, Andy Colvin, Greg Bishop and Robert Larsen, I was amazed to see this huge, sprawling and decidedly strange creation just sitting in a remote part of the desert.

Basically, it's a gigantic shrine to God, complete with various winding pathways, little cave-like rooms, and an abundance of rock-paintings and carved features.

I was trying to think what it reminded me of, but I think Robert Larsen got it spot-on when he said it looked like a multi-colored version of the ape-city in the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie with Charlton Heston!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Tower of Synchronicity

Back in November 2005, I traveled to Puerto Rico for a week, along with good friend Paul Kimball, and his Red Star Films crew: his brother, Jim, Findlay Muir and John Rosborough.

The purpose was to secure a decent amount of footage, interviews and more on - of course! - the Chupacabra.

On one particular morning, we were bound for the El Yunque rain-forest. It was a trip that subsequently resulted in a meeting of highly strange and unbelievable proportions. And it sparked off a classic case of synchronicity.

As we turned off the highway and onto a steep and winding road that led deep into the heart of the hills and the immense forest, I realized that we were on one of the roads that I had taken with Jon Downes the previous year when we were filmed for Proof Positive, a short-lived series for the SyFy Channel.

We headed for a large, stone tower, similar to what you would expect to see affixed to an old English castle, that was situated high in the forest, and that required a walk up a flight of what seemed like 1,000 steps to reach its summit.

John and Findlay set up the cameras, following which I was interviewed by our guide for the week - a local, and very knowledgeable researcher named Orlando Pla - about the Chupacabra attacks that had occurred within the rain-forest.

Findlay was securing some stunning panoramic shots of a type that could only be obtained from the top of the immense tower when something odd happened.

There were several people milling around quietly at the top of the tower as we filmed. And when the shoot was over, one of them - a young woman - asked me: "Are you from Wolverhampton?"

This was a reference to a bustling town about six miles from where I used to live in England.

Amazed to hear a local accent, I said that, no, I wasn’t from the town, but the picturesque English village I had lived in as a kid, Pelsall, was only a stone’s throw away.

"Oh, yes, I know Pelsall," she replied, matter-of-fact, adding: "My cousin and her husband live there."

It would later transpire that my dad, who also lives in Pelsall, actually knew the husband of the woman’s cousin, who lived only a few streets away from my dad’s house.

Paul and Findlay looked on with incredulity as this coincidence of epic proportions played out.

What were the chances, I wondered, of me bumping into someone – atop a remote tower deep in the heart of Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rain-forest on a November morning - whose cousin lived in the very same village I had grown up in?

I know some readers will conclude that this was all due to some weird coincidence of the type that do happen from time to time.

But, they seem to happen so often to me that, writing them off as coincidences, rather than labelling them as synchronicities, is something I find it harder and harder to do.

Of course, none of this explains why such synchronicities occur. If I knew the answer to that puzzle, there would be no need for this post!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Roswell Vs. Pterodactyl!

No, that's not the title of a new Japanese monster-movie!

But, it probably is the strangest title I have ever applied to one of my blog-posts!

Back in 2005, I did some filming for a TV show on the world's most famous UFO event. Yeah, you know the one: the desert, little bodies, 1947. That one.

Anyway, for some odd reason that I don't think was ever really explained to me, the company chose to do the filming high in the mountains of Mexico.

I actually wondered afterwards if they had mistaken Mexico for New Mexico!

But regardless of the reasons behind the shoot-location, Mexico it was. And, for effect no doubt, the filming was done outside a small astronomical observatory that sat high in the mountains.

The photo above shows the crew setting up, while I wandered around, probably looking for exotic lizards or a bar. Or both.

Well, not long before we started filming, an American man - in his 50s or early 60s - strolled past, saw the cameras being set up, and engaged us in conversation.

When he heard that we there to film a show for a new mystery-based series, he asked - in totally casual terms - something like: "Oh, is it about the pterodactyl?"

The what???!!!

Yep, a pterodactyl. That got me much more interested than bloody Roswell ever could.

It may surprise many to know that for absolutely years numerous reports of creatures sounding suspiciously like pterosaurs have surfaced from the mountains of Mexico.

Controversial? Of course!

But, there's no denying such reports exist - and in sizable numbers too. Good mate Ken Gerhard - my co-author on Monsters of Texas - has collected dozens of such stories.

So, anyway, I asked the man for more information.

He explained he worked in the tourism industry and had heard - some two months earlier - a story of a visitor to the area who claimed to have seen a huge, leathery-looking flying monster only mere feet from where we were filming!

I asked the man how he knew the exact location, and he replied along the lines of: "The guy said it was right above the observatory in the hills."

Which is exactly where we were filming!

He proceeded to point to the direction of the mountains in which the monstrous creature disappeared - which is shown in the photo to the left.

The man knew no more, went on his way, and I tried to think of something new and worthwhile to say for the cameras about Roswell.

But to be filming a documentary on Roswell outside an astronomical observatory above which a pterodactyl was supposedly seen only mere months earlier was just plain surreal!

I suppose I should not have been surprised though. I have come to learn over the years that there's very little in this game that isn't surreal!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Agent Redfern and the "Secret" Vault

I took this photo about 14 or 15 years ago inside the vaults of Britain's National Archive (which, at the time, was still called the Public Record Office).

Well, I used the photo in an article - on the British Government's UFO files - for a British-based UFO magazine around 98/99.

And what a controversy it caused!

Some paranoid lunatic sent a letter to the magazine claiming that "only government people are allowed in the vaults."

His near-inevitable conclusion: I was (and in Mr. Fool's mind, I probably still am!) working for the government.

Or "THEM," as they are known to one and all in Paranoia Land.

Had the idiot actually taken the time to check with me before firing off his letter, he would have learned that I was at the archives with the BBC - to film a documentary on UFOs and the British Government, and that the BBC had sought, and received, permission for us to film in the vaults.

Thus, a non-story was elevated to one in which I played a starring role as a "secret agent" of the Government - and all because I happened to take a photo in the vaults of the National Archive.

No wonder I sometimes despair of Ufology...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Well, it's not Fortean, but in terms of a photo, it's probably worth posting!

Late last night we had violent storms roll in that battered our windows, shook the walls, and generally pounded the whole area with wind and rain.

Typical storms, in other words!

But, as I was watching TV around midnight, there was a sudden almighty bang outside.

I raced to the back-door, quickly opened it, and was confronted by a scene of destruction.

Our big yard tree had taken a direct lightning strike, which had blown off two huge branches - each about a foot thick and around ten or eleven feet long.

Worse, they had come down on the fence, knocking posts clean out of the ground and damaging others.

Needless to say, with extensive wind and numerous smaller branches having been blown off too, the yard looks like a definitive war-zone!

Thankfully, no-one was hurt, which is the main thing. But, what a night!

The photo above shows a small part of the current chaos in the Redfern yard!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Chicken Killer

One of the things I have mentioned in various posts (at equally various blogs) over the years is the story of how, on one of my expeditions to Puerto Rico, I became immersed in a strange story of near-vampire-like qualities.

It was during the course of my 2004 expedition with Jon Downes - of the Center for Fortean Zoology - that I visited the farm of a man named Noel, who bred chickens.

On one particular night some time earlier, Noel's chickens had been slaughtered in a very weird fashion, and under highly peculiar circumstances.

So the story went, the cages in which Noel's chickens were held had been carefully opened by "something" that proceeded to slaughter the animals one by one.

The fact that that the cages had been opened (rather than torn apart) by something or someone familiar with fairly complex locks, suggested a culprit with a not-insignificant degree of intelligence.

And, of course, the most obvious culprit would have to be a human. But, what made this story even weirder was the way in which each and every one of the chickens were killed after the they were taken out of their cages.

First, there was the total silence that reportedly accompanied the deaths. Noel's chickens were held right below the windows to his home. And yet, there was no late night or early morning commotion from the chickens. Just quick and silent death.

And there was the mode of the killings too: a pair of puncture wounds to the neck that, Jon and I were told, led to the loss of significant amounts of blood reportedly confirmed by a local veterinarian.

As for the culprit, well, your guess is as good as mine. A Chupacabra? A deranged human with a compulsion to kill poultry in the dead of night?

All I can say about this particular story is that it made no sense at all. But that doesn't take away the fact that something peculiar occurred...

The picture above shows (from left to right) Noel the farmer (demonstrating how the cages were opened), Carola (our guide and translator on the expedition), Jon Downes, and our cameraman, Kevin.

PS: Although the photo above shows a date of 1992, it was indeed taken in 2004. I had an issue with the camera (long discarded!) that screwed up the date formatting, and which I gave up on trying to fix. Plus, I forgot to trim the photo when I scanned it for posting here, and I can't be bothered to edit it again. So, it remains as it was!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Meeting An Alien Hunter

Back in 2009, I wrote a book titled Science Fiction Secrets that was a study of how, and under what particular circumstances, the realm of science-fiction (whether in books, on TV, or in big-screen films) had crossed paths with that of high-level government secrecy and conspiracy.

Doing the research for the book was something of a revelation for me: it demonstrated that there does appear to be some form of crossover between science-fiction and governmental shenanigans, suggesting the startling possibility that the world of Hollywood and the secrets of the Pentagon may be closer than we think. They may have even come together on occasion to help instill ideas about UFOs and alien life in the collective mind of the populace.

I elected to keep my own views and opinions out of Science Fiction Secrets, and instead I chose to provide the reader with just the facts. But, it’s fair and accurate to say that my personal interest in science-fiction reflects the kinds of things I wrote about in the pages of my book. I’ll tell you what I mean by that. Frankly, watching endless TV shows or films set in the depths of outer-space, in which laser-gun-wielding good-guys and bad-guys do battle with each other, while huge spacecraft soar across the starry skies, and human-looking aliens run around in silver-suits, bores me rigid. In fact, it bores me beyond rigid!

If I am going to watch (or read) science-fiction, then it has to contain a high-degree of conspiracy and cover-up, such as (a) the excellent 1998 movie Dark City and its attendant, menacing Men in Black-style aliens; (b) The X-Files (of course!); (c) the sadly-short-lived Dark Skies; and (d) David Bischoff’s superb UFO book trilogy of 1990-1991: Abduction, Deception, and Revelation (which, if you haven’t read them, then you really, really should!).

But, for me, my all-time number-one science-fiction/conspiracy product is, without doubt, the classic, paranoia-driven 1960s series, The Invaders, that starred actor Roy Thinnes as the alien-hunting hero of the show, David Vincent.

A great combination of the best parts of The Fugitive, The Twilight Zone, Invaders from Mars, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and The Outer Limits, The Invaders was a show years (actually, decades) ahead of its time, and one that easily eclipsed the simplistic, mindless and cheap to make, "shoot 'em up"-style science-fiction output that seemed (and still seems) so popular on certain TV channels.

Oozing a high degree of menace, a sinister atmosphere, thought-provoking plot lines, and – at the heart of it all – human-looking, hostile aliens bent upon the infiltration of our society and the ultimate destruction of the Human Race, The Invaders came across rather like a UFO-themed All the President’s Men mixed with The Parallax View, and then given a liberal shot of 24’s Jack Bauer.

I recall first watching the show as a young kid in the 1970s, utterly enthralled by David Vincent’s near-solitary quest to expose to the world the dark truth of the alien threat amongst us – while all the time pursued by definitive Men in Black-style extraterrestrial assassins. I thought: this is great!

The show was then repeated some time in my teens, and prior to recently purchasing the DVD set, I was probably in my late-twenties when I last watched the show. And, I’m pleased to say that, having now devoured the entire DVD collection, The Invaders still stands the test of time, more than 40-years after it first aired (the show actually ran for two-seasons: from January 1967 to March 1968).

It’s a great shame indeed that the show was cancelled before the story reached its conclusion. No: The Invaders did not come to an end because of some high-level conspiracy. Ratings were the culprit. But, that the series still commands a loyal following, that it’s now available for one and all to own, and that its legacy is an immensely notable one makes, in my view, The Invaders the definitive science-fiction work.

And there’s an afterword to all this: 4 or 5-years ago, I met actor Roy Thinnes while filming a TV show in New York. I’m very pleased to say he was happy to sit and talk with me backstage, while we waited to be called to the cameras. I had a fun 45-minute (or thereabouts) chat with Thinnes about The Invaders, as well as about his starring role in The Norliss Tapes – the 1973 pilot for a planned paranormal-themed series that was sadly never made, but which would have made a fine follow-on from The Invaders.

I’m also pleased to be able to say that Thinnes was refreshingly free of the tiresome egotism that affects so many Hollywood types, was friendly and talkative, and discussed his good memories of working on the show, and his thoughts on the UFO puzzle. As for me, well I knew I was hanging out with actor Roy Thinnes, but a part of me just could not help thinking: Holy Crap, I’m sitting next to alien-hunter David Vincent!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paranormal HQ

Instead of working in the confines of a slightly chaotic office, I've always kind of liked the idea of having a "Paranormal HQ."

Sadly, I don't have one!

But, one person who does, is good mate, author and radio-host, Joshua P. Warren, of Asheville, North Carolina - shown in this photo taken by me in Josh's very own HQ in late 2007.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Welcome To Ghost Road

If you're ever in Texas and you're into weird shit, I most definitely recommend a visit to the sprawling mass of forestland called the Big Thicket - and particularly so its famously nicknamed Ghost Road that runs through the area for around 8-miles.

To say that the place is downright strange is an absolute understatement! From deep within the Big Thicket come stories of ethereal, floating balls of light - not unlike the more famous Marfa Lights.

But, also allegedly in residence within the Big Thicket are Sasquatch-type creatures, wild-men-of-the-woods, and even - supposedly! - isolated pockets of Native American Indians whose tribe vanished into the woods in the 19th Century, never to leave, and who still call the place home.

Anyone wanting to learn more about all the above should most definitely read Rob Riggs' book, In the Big Thicket, which tells the entire, weird tale. I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend out there in the summer of 2005 with Rob, fellow author Paul Devereux, and S. Miles Lewis of the Austin, Texas-based Anomalies Archive, and a memorably weird weekend it was!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Greg at Work

I've done Greg Bishop's radio-show - Radio Misterioso - on a number of occasions.

But, until last weekend, I had never actually been to the studio. But it was good to finally see it on Sunday night!

And here's the proof: Greg preparing for the show, in which the two of us took part, along with Walter Bosley and Paul Kimball.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Roswell Plaque

When it comes to Roswell, Ufology's premier case - or a saucer-themed equivalent of Jack the Ripper, in the sense that it's all so long ago it will likely never be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone - there is, rather surprisingly, one thing upon which we can all agree.

What's that?

That something came down on the Foster Ranch all those years ago!, Mogul-balloon, UFO, a military experiment, aliens, Russians, Japanese, crash-test dummies? Well...who knows? And who can prove anything definitive even if they do know?

But, whatever the event involved, it has its very own celebratory plaque out at the Foster Ranch, which is actually a long and winding road from the town of Roswell, particularly so when one gets to the ranch itself and the "road" becomes very primitive, to say the least!

I took the above photo of the plaque on a snowy, freezing morning at the crash-site in January of this year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Space Brother Central

While out in California last weekend, me and Greg Bishop took a trip out to the Los Angeles office of the Aetherius Society, which - given my deep interest in the Contactee movement - was a real treat!

We were given an excellent tour of the place, provided with 20 or 30 minutes of very insightful chat about the society's founder (George King), and given permission to roam wherever we wanted and take photos of whatever caught our eyes - which is exactly what I did!

If you can't read it too well, the sign on the gate I'm leaning against reads thus:


You have been duly warned!

And, finally, an interior shot...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

At The Gate Of The Devil

At his birth in 1914, Jack Parsons - a major player in the story told in my Final Events book - was given the memorable and unusual name of Marvel Whiteside Parsons and had a truly extraordinary life.

An undoubted genius, he indirectly led NASA to send the Apollo astronauts to the Moon in 1969.

Moreover, the Aerojet Corporation – which Parsons personally founded - produced solid-fuel rocket boosters for the Space Shuttle that are based on Parsons’ very own, decades-old innovations.

For his accomplishments, a large crater on the far side of the Moon was named in Parsons' honor, and each and every year, on Halloween no less, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory holds an open-house memorial, replete with mannequins of Jack Parsons and his early JPL cohorts known as "Nativity Day."

And, within the aerospace community, there is a longstanding joke that JPL actually stands for "Jack Parsons Laboratory" or "Jack Parsons Lives."

In fact, Parsons, who was so revered and honored by very senior figures within the U.S. space-program, was an admitted occultist, a follower of Aleister Crowley, and someone who topped even Crowley himself by allegedly engaging in bestiality with the family dog and sexual relations with his own mother, perhaps at the same time, no less.

And, before each rocket test, Parsons would undertake a ritual to try and invoke the Greek god, Pan.

Much of Parsons’ – and the JPL’s – initial rocket research in this period was undertaken at the appropriately-named Devil’s Gate Dam in Los Angeles.

Interestingly, the JPL was itself established at this very locale in 1930 by the California Institute of Technology.

The dam had been constructed a decade earlier by engineers from the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and took its title from Devil’s Gate Gorge, a rocky out-cropping that eerily resembles a demonic face.

Well, this past weekend I spent a day hanging out with good mate Greg Bishop, and we took a drive out to the infamous locale, and where I took the pictures you can see right here.

The three pictures above are self-explanatory. But if you're wondering what that large, sprawling installation is on the final photo, it's the JPL itself, taken from the top of Devil's Gate Dam.