Wednesday, 25 February 2009
WICN Public Radio is New England's finest jazz and folk music station. Hear Mark Lynch interview Neil Arnold about his book MONSTER! THE A-Z OF ZOOFORM PHENOMENA. This intyriguing insight into the world of 'zooform phenomena' covers a whole menagerie of mysterious creatures, from the more known monsters such as Mothman, Jersey Devil and Chupacabra, to the lesser known Noodleman, Asian vampires, the Yorshire Maggot and many varieties of phantom hellhound. A surreal safari indeed....listen and download here: WCIN INTERVIEW WITH NEIL ARNOLD
Monday, 9 February 2009
I'm hoping to make this a pretty regular thing, interviews with authors and hunters of all things strange, particularly unusual beasts.
No better way than starting this feature by interviewing Nick Redfern, author of such fine books as Three Men Seeking Monsters, There's Something In The Woods and Man-Monkey.
Let us begin...
1) Nick, many thanks for doing the interview. Can you tell me your earliest memory of becoming so interested in monsters, and was there also a particular film or book which in a sense, changed your life ?
ANSWER: My earliest crypto-memory was when I was about five, and my parents took me to Loch Ness. We were in Scotland for a week's holiday, and spent a day at the loch. I can still just recall a few fragmentary memories - of my dad telling me the story of the monster, of staring out at the loch while we stood near the shore, and my dad chatting about the monster with an old couple who had driven up in a big old volkswagen van. And that's what really got my attention and imagination. From around 7 or 8, I began reading books on the subject, and it went from there. As for films: it's not strictly crypto (but it does contain a few Fortean and crypto elements), but the 1957 film "Night of the Demon" is probably my all time favourite film - very atmospheric, creepy, and a great story.
2) You've written several books on subjects ranging from UFO's to monsters. Can you remember your reaction when you're first book was published, and what it meant ?
ANSWER: Yes, I've written 13 books so far, with 4 more to follow in the near future. I think every author remembers their first book, the sense of achievment, the idea that you are now an author, and getting that first copy in the post, and seeing it and holding it. Not that I'd know, but maybe it's like having a baby! Almost! LOL.
3) Of all your books, which has been the most exciting and pleasurable to write?
ANSWER: I'd actually say Man-Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot, because it allowed me to dig up all my old notes, files, and memories, and remember one of my very early investigations (it began in the 80s), and finally get the story out there for people. There is very little written about Bigfoot in Britain, so I think I probably enjoyed doing that one most.
4) Your book THREE MEN SEEKING MONSTERS, weren't there rumours going round that it might be made into a film ?
ANSWER: Yes, the rights were optioned to Universal a couple of years ago. Actually, several of my books have been optioned over the years, but nothing ever developed with the other books beyond the actual option.
5) If a film was made about your life, who would play you and what would it be called ?
ANSWER: LOL, I have no idea. You have put me on the spot! I don't know! What would it be called? "It's a Bizarre Life" maybe! I actually have no real idea re who and/or what! It would be very surreal, though, to sit in a cinema seeing someone acting out your life, I think!
6) You've travelled the world pursuing the unknown. Have you had any strange experiences ?
ANSWER: Yes, a few. I have spent quite a bit of time on Bigfoot quests in a large area of Texas forest called the Big Thicket. It's a weird place with "ghost-lights" having been seen in the woods a lot, too. I have actually seen several of the lights late at night: small, football-sized, zipping in the trees. I've also come across a number of so-called "Bigfoot Teepees" in areas where Bigfoot has been seen. And each time I have been to Puerto Rico looking for the Chupacabras, that has always been strange - but adventurous too, trekking through the rain-forest etc.
7) Have you ever been truly frightened whilst on a monster-hunt ?
ANSWER: No, for me it's more about the excitement, intrigue and adventure that has an effect on me. So, I look at it all in a positive way - it pushes me to dig further, rather than back away.
8) You moved to Texas from Staffordshire, an area which consistently harbours high levels of strangeness, particularly in the Cannock Chase area. Why do you think the Chase produces such high weirdness ?
ANSWER: There's no doubt in my mind that the Chase is a classic window area: in other words, a place that is an absolute beacon for high-strangeness. Now, some of the things seen on the Chase are just out-of-place animals: I have several reports of wild-boar and wallabies, for example. But, when you get into the realm of Bigfoot and werewolves, then it all gets very strange and dark. But, of course, the big question is how we define what a window area is, and how and why it works.
9) As part of the CFZ series of MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES, you are covering Staffordshire. What kind of monsters and mysterious creatures will be in the book ?
ANSWER: Big-Cats, Werewolves, Bigfoot, Wallabies, Wild-Boar, large snakes, exotic dumped pets like snapping turtles, large mystery birds, ghostly black dogs, and a few others.
10) Monster mysteries such as Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, etc, have been covered in your book. Do you think the day will come when these so-called monsters are proven to be real, flesh and blood creatures, or will they forever lead us round in circles without an answer ?
ANSWER: Well, some of them, I am certain are not flesh-and-blood, in the way we generally understand the term. I would put the black dogs, the Goat-Men, and definitely werewolves and the British Bigfoot into this category. There are a lot of weird Bigfoot reports over here too, that make me think the creature is paranormal - however we might define that term. So, if some of these things aren't flesh-and-blood, as we understand it, it may very well be extremely difficult to try and prove their literal existence.
11) You've written about UFOs for many years. So, the $64,000 question is, what do you think they are ?
ANSWER: I don't think there is one answer to the UFO puzzle. I think some are classified military vehicles. Others could be poorly understood natural phenomena. I'm firmly convinced some are Tulpa-type entities. And some could be genuinely extraterrestrial - however, the further I go into the subject, the more I veer away from literal aliens. I like the Trevor Constable ideas about sky-beasts; as well as Mac Tonnies' 'Cryptoterrestrial" angle. I wish we could have an answer that unifies everything, but I think that it will almost certainly be a combination of things.
12) Which other monsters from across the world would you like to go in pursuit of ?
ANSWER: Well, it's not really a monster; but I would love to go on an expedition to South America to try and resolve these "Giant Sloth" reports that surface from time to time. In search of Australia's Megalania, too: that would be a good expedition.
13) What other books do you have in the pipeline ?
ANSWER: I have a book coming out this year titled "Sci-Fi Secrets," which is a study of how the worlds of sci-fi and real, government conspiracies and secrets have crossed paths and converged. I also have a book coming out which is a definitive, 300-plus-page study of Bigfoot in Britain, and which covers all the known stories - dating back more than 1,000 years ago the present day. And, the aforementioned "Mystery Animals of Staffordshire" too.
14) They say the key to being a successful man, is having a good woman behind you. What does Dana, you're wife, think of your forays in search of monsters ?
ANSWER: Well, she could not care less about either the UFO subject or cryptozoology! They both bore her rigid! LOL. But she's pleased that I do something I enjoy, rather than a job I would hate. She's into the paranormal - but more along the lines of psychic stuff.
15) How high in the league is Texas, when it comes to monsters and other mysteries ?
ANSWER: There are a lot of mystery animal stories from Texas: a surprisingly large number of werewolves. A lot of Bigfoot reports in the Big Thicket forest near Houston. Numerous big-bird and pterodactyl-type reports from the Texas-Mexico border. Giant Fish, too.