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Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review: A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts by Ken Gerhard

While at the Mothman Festival earlier this month, I picked up a copy of Ken Gerhard's new book A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts: Encounters with Cryptid Creatures. 

This is Ken's 4th book, and in it he discusses a variety of strange creatures, many of which he has personally searched for.

Throughout A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts, Ken discusses accounts of sea serpents and lake monsters, thunderbirds, living pterosaurs, werewolves, the Beast of Gevaudan, the Minnesota Iceman, Bigfoot and other man-like cryptids, Black Eyed Children, mermaids, giant toads and frogs, and much, much more.
One chapter focuses on cryptid carnivores,
like the Beast of Gevaudan
Flying monsters, like live pterosaurs...
…And thunderbids
Mermaid sightings (some recent)
 are also discussed

This is an excellent book. The author covers quite a few cases that I'd never heard before and many cryptids I hadn't heard of either.

If you are someone (like me) who liked Ken's previous books, you'll definitely enjoy this one.

With Ken Gerhard at the Mothman Festival

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mark A. Hall Has Died

Sad news for the cryptozoology community… Mark. A. Hall has passed away. Hall, 70, was a researcher for many years and had books out on Bigfoot, thunderbirds, true giants, and living fossils.
Some of Hall's books...

More can be found out by clicking the links below…


Rest in Peace Mark Hall.

And, one thing Colin Schneider said in his post is definitely true - "It seems too often these days the cryptozoological community is effected by the passing of one of our own." Very true, Colin, very true. So many great researchers have left us within the past year…

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Exploring the Unknown - An Interview with Colin Schneider

Colin Schneider is another kid my age who is interested in cryptozoology and all things unexplained. He runs the Paranormal101 blog and posts about a variety of topics. I met him at the Mothman Festival in Pt. Pleasant, WV earlier this month.
Colin & I at the Mothman Festival

For this post, I decided to do an interview with Colin about his interest and research of unexplained creatures, events, and other odd things.

First, how did he become interested in things like cryptozoology and other unexplained things?

He said:
"I have always been interested in mysteries and unusual things, especially monsters. I remember watching Scooby Doo on television and actually rooting for the bad guys because I loved monsters so much. The first book I read that discussed these 'monsters' as actual possibilities was Mysterious Monsters by Robert and Frances Guenette. The book gave a rundown of a variety of well known Bigfoot cases such as Ape Canyon and the Patterson Film, as well as some Yeti information like the Shipton expedition or the scalp that was believed to have been from a Yeti, and a bit of the Loch Ness Monster's extensive history, including the Surgeon's photo and the Dinsdale video. After that, I really got interested in cryptozoology, especially Bigfoot. Interest became a full time occupation three years ago after I visited the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine and met my childhood hero, Loren Coleman, for the first time. I remember walking out of the Museum with a new direction for my life formulating in my mind." 

Regarding advice to people around our age who are interested (or are becoming interested) in subjects like cryptozoology, Colin said:

"My main advice to anyone my age that is getting interested in being a researcher is simple: Read. A lot. Not just about one subject but about everything paranormal, ufological, cryptozoological, scientific, historical. Folklore, biology, mythology, anthropology, psychology, history, archeology, neurology, zoology, physics; they're all important. You should read as much as you can about anything and everything. The more general knowledge you have about various topics that are involved with science and history, the better you will fare, and the better researcher you will be for it. Use books, not the internet, also. Books, most of the time, are more reliable than the internet and they also will kelp with your critical thinking, which is essential. Also, go to conferences and events, talk to already established researchers in the field. They are almost always extremely nice and more than happy to help you out, answer questions, proof read your work, etc."

With regard to what he said about reading - I fully agree. Over the years my collection of books on topics like cryptozoology, UFOs, etc. has grown to about 170. It is great to have books on a variety of topics so you at least know something about them. And, I've learned a lot about known animal species, science, folklore, and mythology from these books as well.

Next, what are Colin's thoughts on possible connections between cryptids and other strange phenomena?

"I think that while not all cryptids are connected to the 'paranormal' or UFOs or anything of that ilk, there is certainly an obvious connection between many of them. I'm not sure, but that is how it looks currently, and it is important to follow the evidence and look at every aspect of the subject, not just that with which you happen to agree."

I can agree with what Colin says here as well. There are lots of people in the field of cryptozoology (and UFOlogy, etc.) who believe one thing is true and nothing, and I mean nothing, can pursued them otherwise. (As an example, Nick Redfern has a new Mysterious Universe article up today on this very subject). When I first became interested in the subject, I was like that and thought that this one theory that I felt could be true about a certain creature must be true. Over time, though, I've begun to not be like that so much. Yes, I have my own personal opinions about what some of these things might be, but if someone can use evidence to change my mind, then so be it. 

4th - What is Colin's favorite subject within cryptozoological research?

"My favorite subject within cryptozoology would have to be Bigfoot. He's a classic of the cryptozoological world and has such variety in reports that there is always something new to learn about. Bigfoot is also special to me because he was the first cryptid I was introduced to and will remain to be my favorite for a while. My second cryptid creature would have to be the glowing mudskippers from Mississippi and Louisiana, just because they made me laugh when I first heard about the reports."

And finally…

Colin is also working on a few books concerning cryptozoological subjects…

"I am currently working on two books. The first one is titled Beasts of the Faerie Realm and I'm writing it with my good friend Ronald Murphy. Beasts will be about possible connections between cryptid reports and faerie lore. It should be out sometime next year. My second book is titled Bloodsucking Beasties and Shadowy Slashers and is about cryptid attacks on livestock and other domesticated animals. I am examining chupacabra-like reports that have been associated with other cryptids including Bigfoot and Anomalous Big Cats. It will, hopefully, be out late next year."

Colin also wrote the forward for my second book, The Ohio Monster Guidebook: A Look at the Buckeye State's Most Mysterious Creatures, which will hopefully be out later this year.

If you are someone interested in cryptozoology and other unexplained things, definitely check out Colin's blog. And be on the lookout for future stuff from him!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Capture of a "Sea Serpent" in Lake Erie - A Monstrous Hoax!

Lake Erie is said to be home to monsters akin to those seen in Loch Ness, in Scotland. The creature(s) is nicknamed "Bessie" and has been seen in the lake for years.
Does a serpentine monster live in Lake Erie?

In 1931, it was reported that a monster had been captured in the lake!

The New York Times reported:

"Two Fishermen Crate Up 'Monster' in Sandusky, Which they Say is Twenty Feet Long
"SANDUSKY, Ohio, July 21 (AP) - Inside a tightly boarded box beside the lakeshore tonight was locked what several persons said was a large marine animal having specifications that might qualify it as a serpent, claimed to have been captured by two Cincinnati fishermen in Sandusky Bay. 
"The fisherman, Clifford Wilson and Francis Cogenstose of Cincinnati, said that the 'serpent,' measuring about twenty feet long and about twelve inches through at the thickest place, arose late today out of the Lake Erie waters beside their boat.
"Although frightened by the beast, they said, they hit it over the head twice with an oar and knocked it senseless, then fastened a line to its head and towed it to shore.
"Their catch began to show signs of returning consciousness when they got it on the beach, WIlson and Cogenstose said, so they obtained a packing box 6 feet long, 3 feet wide and about 2 feet deep and coiled Mr. Sea-Serpent into it and nailed it tightly shut.
"Neither the 'owners' nor any of the scores of curious who gathered about the box would take a chance on opening it to show the serpent to the scoffers, who were numerous.
"Police Captain Leo Schively, E. L. Ways, managing editor of a local afternoon paper, and C. J. Irwin and Mel Harmon of a Sandusky morning paper said that they saw the serpent as it was being boxed up and joined the fisherman in describing it as a huge, snakelike beast, colored black, dark green and white and having a hide resembling that of a alligator.
"The 'owners' were undecided tonight what they are going to do with it.
"The reported capture came after a number of persons had reported sighting a 'sea-serpent' hereabouts."

Had a "sea-serpent" really been captured in Lake Erie? The answer - no. Harold Madison, the curator of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, went to Sandusky and declared that the "monster" was really only and Indian python. Soon, Wilson and Cogenstose had left town.
Indian python head

It is extremely likely that the whole thing was a hoax perpetrated by Wilson and Cogenstose. After further investigation it was revealed that one of the men had family in Sandusky and that they both worked for a touring carnival, which is probably where their "sea-serpent" actually came from.

This post is excerpted from my upcoming book  The Ohio Monster Guidebook: A Look at the Buckeye State's Most Mysterious Creatures. Currently I'm proofing the book and I hope to have it out later this year. Check back later for more on the book.

Wessie Fest Coming in October

Wessie the snake has not been seen since late June, but the town of Westbrook, Maine has not forgotten about it.

"Wessie Fest" will be held in Westbrook on October 22nd.

You can find out more here.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Butler Bigfoot

In 1978, there were several Bigfoot sightings around the Ohio town of Butler. It all started on July 8, when Eugene Kline and his sister, Kathy, heard strange noises coming from the woods near their home, which was located on Elm Street in Butler. When they looked over, the two claim they saw, only five feet from them, a creature that they said was about seven or eight feet tall, with a head that was three feet in diameter, and red eyes.

The pair claimed that the creature looked at them while making growling noises. The children ran to their house and told their father, who called the police.

Police arrived and searched the area, but found nothing. After the police arrived, the children's father told them that the kids had seen the same thing two weeks earlier, but did not give any details on that sighting.

It was four days later, on July 12, that another one of the children in the Kline family, Teresa, saw to "large red eyes" looking at her from the woods after dark. Teresa ran into the house and into her bedroom. When her mother arrived, they both heard a "crying noise" that was coming from the area where the eyes had been spotted. A strange odor emanated from the same area.

This post is excerpted from my upcoming book The Ohio Monster Guidebook: A Look at the Buckeye State's Most Mysterious Creatures. Right now I'm in the proofing/editing process, and I hope to have it out by the end of the year. Check back later for more on the book.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book Review: Nessie: Exploring the Supernatural Origins of the Loch Ness Monster by Nick Redfern

While at the Mothman Festival earlier this month, I picked up a copy of Nick Redfern's new book Nessie: Exploring the Supernatural Origins of the Loch Ness Monster. 

As you can probably tell from the title, this isn't your "typical" Loch Ness Monster book.

In Nessie, Redfern delves into the theory that the Loch Ness Monsters are not just mysterious, flesh-and-blood creatures, but they are actually something paranormal. So, if you are someone (who believes the creatures exist!) who thinks that the Nessies are definitely flesh-and-blood creatures, you might not like this book. But, if you are someone who thinks that strange creature sightings and paranormal phenomena could be connected, you'll enjoy it quite a lot.

Throughout the book, Redfern shows that the monsters are not the only strange things seen around Loch Ness. Over the years, there have been many strange things, like sightings of ghosts, mysterious cats, and there have been quite a few people who have been involved with magic, who believed they could summon up the paranormal monsters of the lake. He also mentions a U.S. remote viewing project where agents saw the Loch Ness Monsters and claimed they could appear and disappear, and thought they were ghost plesiosaurs!

Redfern also discusses the possible connection of the monsters and legends of kelpies. Kelpies were/are thought to be mysterious water creatures that can shape-shift, and are almost always said to be malevolent. How does this connect to the Loch Ness Monsters? Well,
 1). Because there are quite a few legends of kelpies throughout Scotland, and
2). Because the monsters of Loch Ness have been described many different ways, including looking like plesiosaurs, a giant frog, crocodile/alligator-like creatures, and even something totally different, that had elephant-like legs and looked somewhat like a camel, seen on land near Loch Ness.

Loch Ness researchers like Ted Holiday, and even Tim Dinsdale, have thought that there might be more to the monsters than a flesh-and-blood plesiosaur living in the lake. Maybe they were right.

I enjoyed this book, and recommend it to those interested in the Loch Ness Monsters and cryptozoology, if you dare to read something a little different than the typical Nessie book.

With Nick Redfern, author of Nessie
Next book review will be Ken Gerhard's A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts: Encounters with Cryptid Creatures.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Upcoming Book Reviews...

I've gotten a number of new cryptozoology books over the past few weeks, which I will be reviewing on here in the future.

I already have a review up of Robert Robinson's Legend Tripping, which you can see here.

Other upcoming reviews are:

Nessie: Exploring the Supernatural Origins of the Loch Ness Monster by Nick Redfern
A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts by Ken Gerhard
Werewolves: Encounters with the Black Dog by Joedy Cook
The Tantanoola Tiger and Loch Ness: Back into the Depths by Patrick Gallagher
The Monsters of Loch Ness by Malcolm Robinson

Also, a book from last year, Stan Gordon's Astonishing Encounters. And I'm going to be getting Karl Shuker's new book Here's Nessie!, so it will be reviewed on here in the future too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review: Legend Tripping by Robert C. Robinson

A few weeks ago I got Robert Robinson's book Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Adventure, which was published earlier this year by Adventures Unlimited Press.

Robinson defines legend tripping as "to go on, or participate in, a quest or adventure for something that is defined as a mystery or legend and is not verified or explained by science." So, basically, if you go out looking for Bigfoot, ghosts, or something else of that nature, you are legend tripping.

This is not just a book for someone interested in cryptozoology. Those interested in UFOs, ghosts and paranormal things, and other mysteries will love this book as well, because Robert covers all of those things in his book.

Some chapters cover the legends themselves, which include Bigfoot, lake and river monsters, UFOs, ghosts, hidden treasure, etc. Following these chapters are some about a legend trip in search of whatever mystery was discussed in the chapter before it. There are also chapters on what to take with you if you decide to go in search of one of these mysteries, and on some of the author's personal legend trips.

The book also features a forward by cryptozoologist Loren Coleman.

If you are someone interested in cryptozoology, UFOs, the paranormal, or unexplained things in general, you'll love Legend Tripping.

You can get the book here.

Robert Robinson & I at the 2016
Mothman Festival

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another Loch Ness Photo - The Seal Monster?

Lots of photos of the Loch Ness Monster (supposedly, at least) have been appearing online this year, and it doesn't seem like they will stop coming in anytime soon.

This is evidenced by the photo below, which is supposed to show a multi-humped monster in Loch Ness.
Monster! Wait… nope, seals.

Fox News reports:

"A picture snapped by an amateur photographer in Scotland has created a huge splash because it appears to show the fabled Loch ness Monster.
"The photographer is 58-year-old Ian Bremner, a worker in a whiskey warehouse who was in the area looking for red deer, Britain's South West News Service (SWNS) reported. On Saturday, he snapped the photo of what some say is Nessie when it - or whatever is in the picture - was close to the coast between two villages on the southeast side of the long lake.
"While there's no definitive word on what's in the image, it certainly shows something: perhaps a single creature of some kind, or maybe three seals, as some have suggested. The Scotsman newspaper has even headlined an article about the picture: 'Most convincing picture of the Loch Ness monster ever taken?'
"'This is the first time I've ever seen Nessie in the loch,' Bremner said, according to SWNW. 'I would be amazing if I was the first one to find her.'
"His sighting is just one of over a total 1,000 reported sightings of the mythical creature - the idea of which has captivated people for years and years.
"Purported sightings of the Loch Ness Monster continue to be hotly debated, with some described as hoaxes or just caused by natural phenomena, like logs."

While I think the Loch Ness Monster and some other lake monsters could be pinnipeds related to seals, I'm guessing what is in this photo is just that - a couple of seals.

More on the Mothman Fest

The Mothman Festival was a few days ago, and now some more is up about it. Check it out…

Nick Redfern has a post up on his blog, which you can see here. I got his new Nessie book at the festival, and it will be reviewed on here in the future.

Colin Schneider also has a post up about the festival on his blog… check it out here.

LtoR: Me, Nick, & Colin

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Nessie is Here

Yet another new Nessie book… This one is Karl Shuker's Here's Nessie! A Monstrous Compendium From Loch Ness.

Here's some info about the book:

"Nessie the Loch Ness monster (LNM) is not only the premier mystery beast of the United Kingdom, it also vies with the bigfoot or sasquatch as the most famous one anywhere in the world. Little wonder, therefore, that during his many years as a world-renowned cryptozoological researcher and writer, Dr Karl Shuker should have documented it and all manner of aspects relating to it in a wide range of publications.
"Now, however, for the very first time and in direct response to popular demand, all of Dr Shuker's most significant but previously disparate Nessie-themed writings have finally been brought together, and in expanded, updated form whenever possible too, to yield the present LNM compendium, covering a fascinating, extremely broad spectrum of pertinent topics.
"These include: a comprehensive review of the history and controversies associated with this exceedingly contentious aquatic cryptid; a diverse selection of the most - and least - plausible taxonomic identities that have been proposed for it; the closely-linked traditional Scottish folklore of kelpies and other water-horses; various Nessie-related hoaxes; an extensive survey of other Scottish freshwater loch monsters; reviews of Nessie-related material; a hitherto-unpublished LNM sighting from leading Nessie researcher and eyewitness Tim Dinsdale; Nessie in philately; the historical LNM conference staged by the International Society of Cryptozoology at Edinburgh's Royal Museum of Scotland in 1987; the enigmatic Pictish beast; a tribute in verse to Nessie; an annotated, YouTube-linked listing of Nessie-themed songs and music videos; and much more too!
"Supplementing these varied subjects is an equally eclectic selection of illustrations - a dedicated Nessie gallery containing a dazzling array of spectacular full-colour LNM artwork, including a number of specially-commisioned, previously-unpublished examples, as well as a wide range of text images - plus a very comprehensive bibliography of non-fiction Nessie books, a listing of current LNM-themed websites, and a detailed index.
"So, without further ado, welcome to the sometimes decidedly weird yet always totally wonderful world of Nessie - the mystifying but ever-memorable monster of Loch Ness."

You can get Here's Nessie… here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

15th Annual Mothman Festival

Took a trip down to the 15th annual Mothman Festival in Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia today. It was the first time I've gotten to go to this event, and I had a blast.
Silver Bridge Memorial

The AIMS team from Mountain Monsters was there, but since the line for them literally went down the whole street, we didn't go see them. I did, however, get a photo when they went by at the beginning of the festival.
Willie, Trapper, and Jeff.
The others were behind them

There were lots of vendors and speakers at the event, and I got to see plenty of people I'd met before at other events. I also met Colin Schneider, who runs the Paranormal101 blog (definitely check it out), Ken Gerhard, Robert Robinson, and Stan Gordon.
With Colin Schneider
With Nick Redfern & Colin
With Nick Redfern
With Robert Robinson
With Ken Gerhard
With Loren Coleman

Of course, I got a picture by the Mothman statue…

And, had an encounter with the Men in Black! (Not the real ones, though!)

And in front of the "Mothman Diner" (Harris Steakhouse).

We also went on a tour of the TNT Area, and drove down the road where Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette were chased by the Mothman 50 years ago…
In front of one of the TNT igloos...

There were plenty of speakers, but the only one I watched was Joedy Cook, who gave a cool presentation on Dogman sightings. I was planning on watching more speakers, but it was hot as heck in the old theater where they were, so I decided to walk around the town more. It was hot outside too, but felt better than in the theater!

The Ghostbusters were there…

And, on the way home, we happened to see this at a rest stop.

This was one of the coolest cryptid events I've been to. If you are interested in this kind of stuff, definitely try to go to it sometime!