Friday, 29 August 2008

Vampire rabbits, ghostly swans, and mystery cats...

Mystery Animals Of Northumberland & Tyneside by Michael J. Hallowell (Published by CFZ Press 2008)

This is the first book in a unique and lengthy series compiled by The Centre For Fortean Zoology showcasing the strange animal and monster legends from all the counties across Britain. Blessed with a wonderful cover, and consisting of 244 pages, Mike Hallowell has assembled his own investigations of phantom dogs, giant worms, dragons and man-beasts, alongside many black & white photographs.

I believe books like this must be treasured and are a necessity within the cryptozoological field, especially as such volumes highlight so many obscure tales lost to the public. Such books are just as important as huge crypto-volumes, because although cryptozoology is a science, much of it is based on folkloric accounts of weird and wonderful creatures, and the menagerie contained herein certainly gives the reader a colourful insight into Northumberland's unknown beasts. However, although Mike's writing style is entertaining, I wish the more down-to-earth books were still bereft of obscenities. I'm not a holy guy by any means, but is there any point in such language ? Okay, this is a minor fault, because this book not only covers the flesh and blood side of mystery animals but also the 'zooform' creatures which is why it is covered on this website. Unfortunately, and this is another gripe of mine, categorising the local 'big cat', in this case the Cleadon Panther, is all too sensational as I shall continuously state, and in the said chapter I was also baffled by the mentions of a black cat and yet the answers to the mystery concerning escaped/released pumas. Of course, pumas are not black, and whilst the press are certainly to blame for such statements, I didn't read of one mention of a black leopard.

I thoroughly enjoyed the tales of The Dolly Pit Hell Hounds, The Felton Rabbit etc, and recommend this book to anyone looking to investigate the mysteries of their local area. The series of books will certainly prove to be valuable not only now as great guides, but also in the future when other researchers and the likes are looking to unravel the lesser known mysteries of their region.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Wendigo Murders!

Over at the Centre For Fortean Zoology forum, Richard Freeman has put on several posts regarding strange murders, possession and cannibalistic attacks by humans which have bizarre relations to the Wendigo (Windigo etc), a supernatural man-beast said to haunt the forests of Canada. Check out the grisly details HERE

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Friday, 22 August 2008


My good friend from Kentucky, Bart Nunnelly, author of the superb 'Mysterious Kentucky' sent me a DVD he recently made alongside John Johnsen, from Grendel Films. This is an essential piece of viewing for anyone interested in strange monsters, whether cryptozoological or ethereal, because what we have here is the first document of a series of sightings of one of the United States most bizarre, and terrifying legends, that of the Dogman. This creature could well have connections with what has become known as Wisconsin's Bray Road Beast a tall, hairy creature with a muzzle said to have been encountered for many decades in the local woods and areas such as Elkhorn. Judging by 'Hunt The Dogman', there could well be a connection between the two anomalies. Is the Dogman a werewolf, a creature allegedly restricted to folklore yet creeping from our urban legends into the backwoods ? Is it a Bigfoot-relative, or something entirely different ? Is the Dogman an etheric scavenger, a ferocious wolf-like humanoid said to attack humans, and be responsible for a handful of murders ?

Whatever the case, 'Hunt The Dogman' is required viewing. Forget the shambolic 'Monster Hunter' series on the History Channel, this is a straight forward investigation that takes you into the field where you'll meet several genuine witnesses to what has become known as The Spottsville Monster, and The Beast Of The Land Between The Lakes. Also featured are Linda Godfrey, author of 'The Beast Of Bray Road' and Bart's own mother who speaks of the legend and her family's encounter with the beast.

It's clear from this documentary that the Dogman, although appearing as a flesh and blood creature, is not a denizen of the forests, but part of a complex jigsaw which throws together so many other weird and ghastly predators which cryptozoology attempts to track but will never find.

DVD's like this don't come along very often, in fact, they are about as rare as the Dogman himself, so order yourself a copy now from Amazon or forever remain in the shadows of ignorance...

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Thursday, 14 August 2008

A Phantom Attacker In Philadelphia

Did a relative of the infamous Spring-Heeled Jack, who terrorised London, appear in Philly ? The answer lies HERE

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Raven Interview With Neil Arnold

On August 11th 2008 my good friend Raven interviewed me and it can be read at her fantastic website: Raven, of course, was interviewed by Neil recently, see previous post but one.
Thanks Raven!

Friday, 1 August 2008

An Interview With Monster-Hunter And Paranormal Researcher Mistress Raven (Kathleen Meindel)

At the end of July I interviewed Detroit-based Kathleen Meindel on her passion for monsters and mysterious phenomena. Here is the interview in its entirety. May I thank Kathleen for her time and effort.

1) Hi. You have an interesting blog at what can you tell me about your plans for the blog and its purpose ?

Thank you,Neil. My main objective for Raven's Mysterious Haven is to be an informative site that is serious in regards to research and in keeping up with the latest news in the crypto and paranormal communities, but one that can also appeal to our playful side andbring out the childlike curiosty each one of us possesses as well; that part of us that never quite grows up and,more importantly, shouldnt. After all,it is our curiosity which motivated most of us to begin this journey in the first place. I also have hopes that my Haven,as it's name implies, will be a "safe" place where everyone can express their opinions and views of paranormal subjects without fear of ridicule or banishment.

2) When did you first become interested in the paranormal and cryptozoology ?

I was just a small girl. My mother piqued my interest and I followed in her footsteps and grew to have a great passion for everything mysterious. She was very knowledgeable about paranormal subjects and I admired her for it. She had very strong psychic abilities as well,though she had to keep much of her knowledge and ability repressed due to the fact that it stirred controversy in our family and my father was always concerned that it would affect his business if too many people inthe community knew. Now that both of my parents have passed away and that stigma is no longer attached,I would love for the world to know who my mother was and how brilliant she and my father both were. Father also had abilities of his own,but would never openly admit it. So I guess you could say I come by a lot of my interest quite naturally from my upbringing.

3) Please tell about any strange encounters you've had ?

I have had many strange encounters that I cannot explain. I and my immediate family have all experienced bizarre encounters at one time or another. It seems to be a bit of a family legacy. One such encounter was when I was roughly 12 years old and was out playing in the forest with some friends. We encountered an animal that fit the description of Bigfoot. It seemed very curious about us,and watched us for some time from behind atree...til we realized what we were looking at was not another child or adult,but was something altogether different. It was standing upright but was covered in hair.I cannot say with any certainty what it was,because I saw it through eyes that were very young and inexperienced, and many years have passed since. Memories can fade orbecome clouded,but I do know that the one thing I remember for certain is that it was not human,unless it was a man in a suit,which is not likely given the remoteness of the area.It is my hope that I meet up with the creature again one day and can know for sure.

4) What do you think Bigfoot is ?

That is the million dollar question,Neil.I tend to ride the fence a bit on this one because it is my belief we may be dealing with several different situations simultaneously. I definitely believe there is a North American ape still roaming the forests which somehow,through instinct and intelligence, survived the millenia. I know deep in my heart we'll have evidential proof of its existence one day. But the thing that baffles me is why are so many reported to have paranormal-type qualities? In the days of holographic phone systems,wireless internet, and military experimentsbeing exposed,I suppose anything could be possible. Im not beyond considering extraterrestrial involvement either. A lot of bizarre things are coming out into the open in recent years,so, though I may research every situation skeptically,I dont rule out alternative possibilities.

5) Do you research in the field or collect information for articles ?

Yes I do,though my field research is a bit limited at this time due to lack of all the proper equipment. I'm very new to this field but very eager to learn. In the near future I hope to be fully equipped with everything I need for proper researching. Devices are expensive and my income is modest. For now,I take a lot of notes and I have my camera and trusty handheld recorder with me at all times. I conduct interviews and try my best to keep up on the latest news in the community as well. Libraries,universities,and locals are a researcher's best friends!

6) What kind of phenomena occurs in your neck of the woods ?

According to Linda Godfrey's book "Weird Michigan" which I highly recommend,we have alot more lurking about than I thought we did. Aside from many strange ghost stories and apparitions,we have of course Bigfoot,Dogman,and a varying degree of big black cat sightings throughout Michigan.I have had the rare privilege to reside in the two counties with the highest sightings of Bigfoot. I was born and raised in Marquette county,and I now reside inWashtenaw county.Ive recently learned we've even had a Goatman sighting here,which is exceptionally exciting considering two years ago my husband and I were trekking through the woods on the trails at the Botanical Gardens nearby ,and he heard Pan flutes playing backin the woods and directed my attention to them. It's kind of fun to think who or what could've been playing them.

7) Which cryptozoological creatures interest you the most ?

Right now,my current obsession is the Michigan Dogman,a creature whos prescence has apparently been here for many centuries,and especially well known among the state's Native American communities. Whether he turns out to be a spirit creature,flesh andblood,or none of the above,he still holds validity through the many sincere witnesses that have encountered him,and he isnt any less real just because he has yet to be scientifically catalogued. Something is definitely out there. Hopefully one day we'll know exactly what.I believe we'll get there with time,effort,and lots of patience.

8) What are your thoughts on UFO and ghosts ?

As with any of the other subjects,I believe there is validity and substance to a good number of the sightings and encounters,but encounters and sightings of WHAT these actually are could be another matter entirely. We are currently in an age where we have high tech equipment and better working knowledge of it. We are now better able to document and keep records. I believe we are standing on the brink ofa new era when science will truly meet the paranormal in the middle and join forces.We have to consider all options,yet use a process of elimination to find the answers. My own personal thought is that many of these creatures,beings,entities, or whateverwe've chosen to label them this week,could quite possibly turn out to be interdimensional travellers,whether by accident or on purpose is anyone's guess.An interesting note : CERN is right now working on a number of experiments (withtheir LHC collider) regarding dimensions. I wonder what the results will be.

9) Any plans for a book on strange phenomena ?

I need a bit more experience before I take on that project,but yes I do definitely plan to write a book in the relatively near future. I dont have the miles on me yet that my favorite researchers such as yourself,Nick Redfern,Linda Godfrey,and Ken Gerhard have,but I hope to one day follow well in your footsteps and be successful at writing. Id like to first work on a Casebook of first hand witness accounts in my area(which Ive already begun work on gathering accounts),then move on to something more in the way of a research book. I just hope I have half the ambition and talent you do,Neil.

10) Do you believe an answer will ever be found regarding a majority ofmysteries across the world ? i.e. UFOs, ghosts etc.

Yes,I do...and No,I dont.What I mean by that is...Some things I think are meant to be discovered,and some are not,at least at this time in human history.

11) What are your favourite strange phenomena-related books?

I have so many of them! I love to read!A few of my absolute favorites that I love to delve into over and over and use as reference material are as follows:Your book "Monster! The A-Z of Zooform phenomena" : This one has become a text I will carry with me and use over and over as reference material. It's well writtenand very well researched. You did a fabulous job. It is both informative andfun.Youve listed a lot creatures I have never heard of before.Nick Redfern has several great books("Three Men Seeking Monsters" is my favorite ofhis),as does Ken Gerhard("Big Bird!"),Loren Coleman(The Field Guide to Bigfoot"),Linda Godfrey("Hunting the American Werewolf"),Lisa Sheil("Backyard Bigfoot")and Chad Arment("Cryptozoology").I was also very intrigued by "Hunt for the Skinwalker" by Kelleher and Knapp which I read recently and has also become one ofmy new favorites.I really do enjoy reading,so this list is just a small glimpse of what I love to read.

12) What are your opinions on the weirder end of cryptozoology with somany sightings of Dog-Men, wolfmen, scaly humanoids and winged beings ?

Simply put,the child in me wants to believe but the researcher in me wants proof. There are definitely things out there that we have yet to identify and catalogue,butthere is a part of me that also believes some of it may need to be left well enoughalone.Maybe the timing isnt right,maybe it never will be. One thing I know for sure is that half the fun is in getting there. It's fun just being out there in the field wondering what's looking back at me.

13) Anthing else you'd like to add ?

I'd just like to offer my sincere thanks to You,Ken Gerhard,and Nick Redfern forbeing the wonderful role models and mentors that you are. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much from each of you,and I hope I grow in this field to have half the talent that you all do.

Strange Philadelphia creatures...

At Phillyist