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