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Thursday, 29 August 2013

UFOs, Werewolves & The Pig-Man: Book Review

I guess the world of self-publishing is proof that anyone can write a book, but it also means that a lot of obscure stories, which are usually ignored by mainstream publishers, can be aired for the first time in one volume. Despite it's rather comical cover and over-elaborate title, 'UFOs, Werewolves & The Pig-Man: Exposing England's Strangest Location Cannock Chase', by Lee Brickley is a much needed addition to the burgeoning list of Fortean/folklore books. Cannock Chase, situated in Staffordshire is an ancient site boasting dense woods and enough creepy stories and alleged zooform phenomena to have you sleeping with the light on. However, the main issue with such tales is that if true, then they are touched upon all too fleetingly here - with the segments on the 'big cat' sightings for example, being all too brief considering the amount of reports there has been. Even so, there are some fascinating stories concerning alleged UFO incidents, and ghostly encounters, although the tale of the Pig-Man seems to reek of urban legend - reminding one of the numerous Goatman, Donkey Lady, Bunnyman stories around the world - and nothing more, and the alleged 'werewolf' incident most certainly needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, especially when such 'sightings' are so rare. I would have preferred a few more historical accounts too - after all, Cannock Chase is extremely old, but as a paranormal-by-numbers guide to this strange place, Lee Brickley's book is a decent insight. I'm still waiting for that definitive book on Cannock Chase, but this is a well-written book, touching on some interesting theories although I'm often perturbed by authors who state that exotic animals such as 'big cats' which would have been released into the UK 'would have struggled to survive', which is completely incorrect considering the amount of prey and shelter in Britain.

A majority of the cases mentioned in this book seem to have been gleaned from modern press reports and more recent investigation, but when it comes to the complex realm of zooform phenomena, it's vital that older cases, and theories be looked at, which is why I was more intrigued about the opening historical segment and the chapter on alleged top secret military exercises.

'UFOs, Werewolves & The Pig-Man' is a slim, easy to read book that I'd recommend to anyone with an interest not just in Cannock Chase, but the paranormal in general but whether this place is truly as weird as is often made out, remains to be seen. 'UFOs, Werewolves....' is available from Amazon.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Nick Redfern speaks about the Kentish 'Mothman'

Over at his MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE page author and good friend Nick Redfern speaks about the saga of the Kentish Mothman. A strange, possibly winged humanoid that terrified a group of teenagers back in 1963 - four years before the Mothman horror swept through Point Pleasant, in West Virginia.

Monday, 8 April 2013

SHADOWS ON THE SEA - A New book by Neil Arnold

Press release:


A new book by Neil Arnold (Published by The History Press) ISBN- 978-0-7524-8772-4

Ever wondered just what strange things lurk in the cold depths of Britain’s foaming seas? Ever taken the time to peek down into those grey waters as you’re fishing, or skinny-dipping off a rugged coastline?

Now, for the first-time ever Britain’s underwater domain can be viewed in a different light as monster-hunter Neil Arnold takes us hundreds, if not thousands of metres beneath the sea in the hope of finding out if those seafaring tales of monsters and mysterious manifestations are true. Do strange beasts resembling serpents inhabit those inky depths? What of those old folktales concerning mermaids - mere superstition or fact?

Fisherman have long spoken of “the one that got away” but what of those seemingly tall stories that speak of haunted boats and phantom vessels – ships believed to have been wrecked many years previous on harsh coastlines, only to reappear on the horizon with tatty sails unmoved by the wind. Can we truly believe the stories told by witnesses of spectral sailors and ghostly crewmen aboard ships that have not seen action for decades? And can we discount those even stranger tales where those aboard great ships and smaller boats too, have reported seeing unusual lights emerge from, and enter the frothing waters?

Forget Peter Benchley’s classic novel Jaws, SHADOWS ON THE SEA – THE MARITIME MYSTERIES OF BRITAIN is a real-life exploration in search of those horrors of the deep that you dismissed (or believed in!) for years.

Along with several tales pertaining to sea-related superstitions, you’ll also hear about cursed sea-chests, the Devil and the deep blue sea, haunted cliffs and beaches, smugglers tales, strange coastal swarms, killer sands, haunted lighthouses, phantom bells at sea, ghostly lands, haunted buoys, spooky submarines and close encounters of the coastal kind.

SHADOWS ON THE SEA (which includes a foreword by Jonathan Downes of the Centre for Fortean Zoology) covers all manner of British maritime mysteries, so, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – it isn’t!

Available from all good bookshops and online. Priced £12.99

Friday, 5 April 2013

Neil Arnold on COAST TO COAST AM

On Wednesday/Thursday 10th/11th April (depending on where you are in the world!) Neil will be discussing urban legends and monsters on America's biggest paranormal radio station, COAST TO COAST AM. Tune in...

Thursday, 21 March 2013


What happens if you dance naked around the Devil's Bush in Pluckley, Kent's most haunted village? Do 'big cats' roam the local woods? Does the Devil appear if you manage to count the 'countless stones' at Aylesford? Is Bloody Mary more than just a childhood rumour? Does a phantom hitchhiker haunt the dark lanes of Blue Bell Hill? KENT URBAN LEGENDS is a new book by full-time monster hunter and folklorist Neil Arnold, a strange, quirky and downright weird collection of tales reputedly true yet never proven, passed down through generations and best told around a flickering campfire.

Chinese whispers, playground murmurs, internet rumours, and friend of a friend tales are the most potent in that they can embed themselves into a local community despite the fact such yarns are not true. Stories can spread like wildfire despite lacking any detail, causing a snowball effect that can affect an entire village, town or city. KENT URBAN LEGENDS looks at a number of stories not just related to the county of Kent, but legends which have spread across the world, varying depending on the storyteller. Have you heard the one about the famous footballer who paid the mortgage of a couple who had booked their wedding on the same day as his? Have you heard about the girl whose hair was so dirty that all manner of creepy crawlies took up residence and eventually burrowed into her brain? And what about the woman who chomped down on her Chinese takeaway only to find the remains of some animal? These type of stories are known the world over, and you can guarantee that there's always someone you know who knows someone else this has happened to.

Urban legends come in all shapes and sizes, but for the most part they are tales of horror - confined to mist-enshrouded lanes and eerie woods, but with KENT URBAN LEGENDS you'll also find out what happens if you play a heavy metal record backwards, or if some horror movies are cursed. You'll also find out if the Chelsea Smilers really did slash the mouths of school children in the 1980s, and what really happened to the woman who had a Killer In The Backseat of her car. Whilst tales of the Bunnyman, The Hook, and The Babysitter & The Man Upstairs may seem to have their origins in the USA, Neil proves that there's more to these scare stories than meets the eye, and delves into similar tales from Kent often involving lone female motorists and cavorting couples brave enough to venture into the night. From video nasties, to phantom viruses, from chain letters, to tales of monstrous bogeymen and out of place animals, KENT URBAN LEGENDS is one book you won't want to read before camping, driving, babysitting, or eating a meal! Be warned...the bogeyman is real after all!

KENT URBAN LEGENDS is published by The History Press, with a foreword by Janet Bord (Alien Animals), is an essential book to be read by candlelight!
Available from Amazon and all good bookshops, priced £9.99

Monday, 28 January 2013

Kentish apeman...

In the March 2013 issue of Fortean Times, Neil Arnold has a small article on the 'apeman' scare said to have taken place in the Kentish town of Tunbridge Wells during the Second World War. Despite the story having no basis in fact the details soon spread like wildfire across the world. For more on Tunbridge wells and its creepier side, check out Neil Arnold's new book HAUNTED TUNBRIDGE WELLS.