Wednesday, 21 December 2011

'Darklore VI' out now!

My, my how time flies....Grey Taylor's fantastic 'Darklore' series of books now reaches its sixth volume - a creepy, cosmic compilation of tales from varying researchers on all manner of esoteric subjects. The latest edition features an entry by Neil Arnold called 'There's Something Strange In The Sewers', looking at a variety of sewer-based mysteries, from legends pertaining to sinister creatures and not forgetting a few ghost stories and the like. The book can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Monday, 24 October 2011


MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: LONDON By Neil Arnold, published by the CFZ, is now available. The long wait is finally over. This much anticipated book is the first of its kind to venture forth into the concrete jungle of England's capital city and unravel fantastic, yet true tales of monsters and mysterious beasts. From yarns spun pertaining to strange creatures in the River Thames, to odd things-a-flutter in the skies of the city. Supernatural animals, beasts escaping from menageries, sightings of exotic cats such as leopards and lynx and the Surrey puma, and not forgetting a whole host of weird and wonderful arcane animals cast from the Ark. MYSTERY ANIMALS OF...LONDON weighs in at more than 300 pages, is richly illustrated and indexed, and proves once and for all that the greenest corners, dankest sewers, and darkest streets can still harbour all manner of elusive and out of place creatures. So, if you're thrilled, or repulsed by tales of flesh-eating giant rats, prowling alligators, blood-sucking fish, rampant wolves, swooping eagles and vultures, ghostly lions, spectral bears, phantom chickens and real life vampires, then MYSTERY ANIMALS OF...LONDON is perfect for campfires constructed on a crisp autumnal night. The book is available from Amazon and all good bookshops.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Attack of the Cyclops

As a teenager some of the best films were those fantastic adventures such as Clash Of The Titans, Jason & The Argonauts, and those Sinbad epics. Whether in search of lost treasure, or hidden lands, warriors would fall at the feet of great, mythical beasts that had risen from oceans or deep caverns. One of the most popular mythical beasts was of course the dreaded Cyclops. This formidable horror exists in the crusty pages of centuries old tomes which also cage more unbidden beasts such as the Minotaur, the Centaur, the Satyr, the Unicorn, the Harpy – these were from the original menagerie of mystery.

However, time and time again, the monsters which appear relegated to folklore do, at certain times and to certain people, seem to escape from the pen of myth and step into what we deem reality, albeit a very strange and as yet understood one. The Cyclops is no exception.

This monster belonged to a race of primordial giants raised in Greek, then later Roman mythology. Of course, this hideous creature was all the more terrifying due to its single, beady eye perched in the centre of its wrinkled forehead. The name Cyclops is said to derive from ‘circle-eyed’. In the film The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad, made in 1958, and animated by Ray Harryhausen, Sinbad the sailor and his crew stumble up the lost land of Colossa. Whilst trudging across land they meet a magician called Sokurah who is fleeing from a Cyclops. Sinbad and his men escape but their boat is destroyed when the monster throws a giant boulder at it. However, author R.S. Lambert, in his 1966 book Exploring The Supernatural, records two bizarre encounters with a Cyclopean form. In 1888 a young man was visiting a friend in the area of Mule River, Inverness County, Nova Scotia, in Canada when, up on the road ahead he saw a terrifying creature. The monster, which was described as large and black, had its back turned to the witness but rather disturbingly it had a huge red eye in the centre of its back which leered at him. Suddenly, from its two frontal eyes a stream of light beamed ahead, lighting up the path on which the man was set to travel. The monster then moved slowly towards the house of his friend, mooched around the outside but then suddenly came back down to the road and ran quickly towards the petrified witness. The man was very alert and flung himself aside as the Cyclops rushed by. The beast didn’t turn on the man, instead it made its way off into the darkness, the glowing red eye on its back the only sign that it was moving away slowly into the night.

A quarter of a century later two elderly women were taking a stroll along the main highway of Port Hawkesbury, C.B. As Lambert states, ‘In those days the rail tracks of the Canadian National Railway, that now run alongside of the road, had not been built, nor did any ferry ply across the straits to Cape Porcupine.’

Whilst on their journey the two ladies were suddenly startled by a rushing noise behind them followed by a metallic clatter. Looking round they were horrified to see, coming toward them, a huge black monster with one terrible eye positioned in the centre of its face. Strangely, the monster ran straight by the women, rattling their ears with a tremendous roar which escaped its lips. The beast ran in the direction of the fish house. The women were so scared they ran off to another house and hid there until they believed the coast was clear. Even stranger still, according to Lambert, ‘Many years later, one of them heard for the first time in her life a railway train on the mainland of Nova Scotia, and recognised the sound as the one she had heard that night. She died, however, before the Inverness railway was built. When it was, the track, as surveyed, passed right through the fish house that the women had seen.’

An incredibly bizarre story indeed.

In 1981 at Parson Drove in Cambridge (England) a woman and her son, one night, claimed that they had seen a strange, calf-sized monster with one eye. The monster watched the witnesses and ran off. Around the same time in Kent, also in England, a man claimed to have seen a one-eyed tiger in local woodlands – died a few days later of a heart attack! In Scottish-Irish folklore a creature known as the Fachen is said to have one eye. The beast has a mane of black feathers, and has one tremendously strong arm which it uses to destroy orchards.

Some researchers believe that this seemingly impossible creature may have originated from some type of ancient bird which once inhabited the Emerald isle. Monster folklore speaks of many hairy humanoids, spectral dogs, dragons and demons said to sport one single glaring eye. Strangely, in Cyclopean lore, there is no mention of a female Cyclops.

Masinaigan’s UFO Roundup of 19th January and 2nd February 1997, reported that during the December of 1996 a Daoud Ahmad, who resided on Israel’s West Bank at the Nur-a-Shamat camp, had awoke during a restless night when two bizarre humanoids attacked him. Ahmad described the beings as having a single eye, large heads, a Mohawk-style haircut, and the intruders stood around two-feet in height. Ahmad added, “They wore black leather clothes…After they beat me I lost consciousness.’

The terrified witness was taken to hospital and treated for facial bruising. Although neighbours heard a commotion coming from the home of Ahmad, they saw no-one enter or leave the premises.

Remember the 'Red Ghost' ?

A bizarre zooform creature story from Neil Arnold at the CENTRE FOR FORTEAN ZOOLOGY. Read it HERE

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Warrington Man-Beast!

The town of Warrington, which sits on the banks of the River Mersey, is also a borough and unitary authority area of Cheshire. According to an obscure story from the 18th century, later repeated in Wally Barnes’ 1990 book Ghosts, Mysteries & Legends of Old Warrington, a terrifying man-beast once stalked a farm in Warrington. One such farm, once known as Peggy Gronachs Chicken Farm harboured a bizarre story which Wally Barnes was told of in the 1940s. According to Barnes, Peggy Gronach was ‘…the most evil, ugly and haggard old wretch ever seen in the vicinity.’

According to legend Peggy Gronach was a witch who escaped the original 17th century witch hunts which took place in Norwich. When Peggy moved to Warrington, she was the dread of the local community, her run down shack would spook many a passer by and no-one was ever brave enough to venture through the undergrowth. However, one day a group of young children were playing near the old farm and decided that, for a dare, they would approach the cottage. When they were within a few metres a terrifying roar emanated from the building and staring through the grime-laced window pane was a hideous face. Then, Peggy emerged from the farmhouse and began screaming at the children who, of course, fled the area.

When the terrified children returned home to their parents, they spoke of the great roar, to which their parents responded that the crone must have owned a ferocious dog. However, the children were adamant that what they saw peering from the house was a hair covered man with burning eyes, pointed ears and horns on his head.

However bizarre the report may have seemed, the following month, according to Barnes, ‘…a farmhand was driving a horse and trap about a mile from the cottage when without warning the horse reared up. The farmhand then saw a hideous ghoul-like creature under a tree ready to pounce.’

Local villagers began to spread rumour that Peggy Gronach had supernatural powers and that to explain the man-beast, they believed she could transform herself into the terrifying man-beast which had been reported around the area. Shortly after the farmhand’s encounter, a local farmer reported that one of his cows had been attacked. He found it dead and its head was hanging on my thread – only a very powerful creature could have committed such a crime. So, the local vicar, accompanied by ‘a gang of religious zealots’ visited Peggy’s remote cottage in the hope of driving her away from the village. However, upon arrival they found no trace of the old hag nor the hairy monster, the only sign that some ‘thing’ had been around was the carcass of a half-eaten goat.

There were no further sightings of the terrible monster, or Peggy Gronach, and the building was knocked down. Barnes however, ends the tale with a chilling climax, stating that, ‘Many years later workmen dug up the remains of a giant bullock – or was it a bullock ? Bullocks do not have human skulls. Think about it.’

This intriguing tale may sound far-fetched, but maybe, just maybe, out there in the sticks of old Warrington, there still lurks a frightful, hairy monster, a creature which, during the day either retires deep into the woods, or transforms itself into the shrivelled form of Peggy Gronach.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Book review: The Real Men In Black

Some of you may wonder why on earth I'm reviewing a book about MIBs - those mysterious, UFO-related Men In Black, on this website. Well, for one, the author, Nick Redfern, is a good friend of mine, and secondly, a new book by Mr Redfern, is ALWAYS something to look forward to. However, there is also a third reason for mentioning this book - because although Nick is a dab hand at shedding new light on the classic encounters with the mysterious men, he even manages to find reports of bizarre monsters and their sinister relations to those black-suited gents. Now, Men In Black are a strange brew - and they've always been connected to UFOs, and those intrepid investigators who apparently get too close to the truth - but of course much of this is simply folklore - and Nick goes a helluva long way to prove that the MIBs are far stranger than we originally thought. I've often believed that every time a new mystery hits this globe, we always...and I mea nalways, blame the aliens! It's true - whether it's crop circles - blame the aliens, or cattle mutilations - blame the aliens, Bigfoot - surely dropped from a spaceship, phantom airships - blame the aliens, people abducted from their beds - blame the aliens and so on and so on. Those poor extraterrestrial visitors have been given a hard time by us earthlings over the years, and the Men In Black have often been said to have infiltrated this void of 'ours' to warn us not to report our UFO sightings.

Nick Redfern has scoured the archives, scanned the once hidden documents, and interviewed countless witnesses and investigators, to attempt to uncover the bizarre truth - if there is one - behind these sinister agents. The likes of Bender, Beckley, Keel, and Barker get the coverage they deserve, after all, these type of guys introduced us to these men, but alongside Jim Keith's 'Casebook On The Men In Black', Redfern's new look at the mystery is destined to become a classic. This isn't any old book talking about conspiracy and UFOs, instead Nick looks at cases where researchers have even investigated 'monster' sightings and other mysteries, only to be warned off by the 'three men'. And after every case is picked to pieces and then evaluated, Nick isn't afraid to cast new theories on such an enigma, and shares my view that such figures of dread could in fact, like so many monsters, vampires, spirits and the like, be tulpas - or thoughtforms - weird manifestations that exist as the product of the human psyche, and which exist the more fear them. This complex theory may sound ridiculous to some, but they clearly fit alongside other social panics, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, these men and in fact many of the mysteries around us, cannot be blamed simply on those bug-eyed aliens we've feared since Kenneth Arnold's 1947 'UFO' encounter over Washington. The Men In black, albeit for a short while, were local bogeyman, the product of conspiracy, rumour and moreso fear - they were projections, and media creations, harbingers of doom, agents of misfortune - or were they ? Maybe, as Nick argues, such figures were harmless but born from the shadows of a slightly, already unhinged and paranoid mind.

Whatever your opinions on the MIB phenomenon, 'The Real Men In Black', for me anyway, caps off a limited run of books, which, over the years have gradually given us a brief insight into such mysterious phantoms. I believe that the Men In Black are from the same void as the Black-Eyed Kids, mad gassers, phantom clowns, bogus social workers and spectral assailants - but they do not appear if there is no-one there to see them. The Men In Black are a social construct, that have embedded themselves into world folklore. They are real, but only in the sense vampires and werewolves are, and yet such figures have become household names the world over, given them strength and occasionally, on dark and stprmy nights they step from the realm of fantasy into our houses and our nightmares, and then are gone, in the blink of an eye. My only hope is that Mr Redfern doesn't get a visit from the terrible trio, although if he comes to the door in his Ramones t-shirt and black jeans, they may in fact mistake him for one of them and ask him to join their peculiar posse! A fantastic book that breaks the mould. Rock on Nick!
'The Real Men In Black' is available from

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Coming Soon: MYSTERY ANIMALS OF...LONDON, the book!

Monsters, mystery animals and zooforms galore! MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: LONDON will be published by CFZ PRESS, containing a weird phantasmal menagerie of zooform monsters, as well as escaped animals, insect swarms, big cat sightings, alien invaders to the skies and rivers...if you're thing is phantom birds, ghostly glowing lions, vampires, real-life satyr's and hellhounds, then buy MYSTERY ANIMALS...LONDON, which will be available from Amazon and the like. More details soon...

Friday, 22 April 2011

Mothman Of Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire Mothman

More than a century ago a curious incident took place in the neighbourhood of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, UK. Mr Boreham was a well respected man who lived in the area with his wife and three daughters. One evening as the family sat around a crackling fire talking to a neighbour, their tranquillity was shattered by a knocking sound followed by several screams and shouts. The friend of the family, a Mrs Hummerstone, who was closest to the door, ran out towards the kitchen and saw the servant girl, an Elizabeth Harris, trying to defend herself from a knife-wielding maniac named Tom Simmonds. The eighteen-year old Simmonds, who had once been employed by Mr Boreham, had been dismissed after being more than unsuitable for the job. Simmonds had also been dating Harris, but overcome with rage was now attempting to kill her after Mr Boreham advised the servant girl to see him no longer.

Simmonds rushed out of the house and then smashed a window with a chair and climbed through, stabbing Mrs Hummerstone in the throat on the way. Simmonds then brutally attacked Mr Boreham’s oldest daughter, stabbing her to death before slashing at Mrs Boreham and Elizabeth Harris. However, whilst in the throes of his murderous mission, Tom Simmonds suddenly ceased with his actions, dropped his knife, screamed and fled from the building.

A few hours later Simmonds was tracked down by police to an old barn where he was found shivering and staring wild eyed into blackness. Simmonds was to be executed but before his death he told a very strange story to the chaplain. He commented, that as he was about to slash Miss Harris with the knife something cold tapped him on the shoulder. When Simmonds turned he was confronted by a huge, dark coloured creature which had large wings. Although it’s face was human-like, it frowned heavily at him. Many would have perceived Simmonds rambling as the words of a madman, were it not for the other witnesses who came forward to speak of their own personal encounters with the winged monster. One local man, after hearing about the story came forward to say that after a bout of heavy depression he decided to commit suicide. Suddenly a winged humanoid appeared and its appearance alone forced the man to consider his actions.

Was this bizarre birdman a peculiar omen of the ethereal ? A darkly guised angel ? Or an obscure legend which many, many years later would become as Mothman but elsewhere in the world.

Sunday, 20 February 2011