A pleasure to have Nick Redfern back with us discussing his new book "Monster Diary On the Road in Search of Strange and Sinister Creatures." Nick Redfern will also be appearing at The Church of Mabus radio show in May to discuss the paranormal with us. This interview gets into some rather peculiar scenarios that are most assuredly unique. I hope you enjoy this interview. Presenting.
1. Nick, in your book "Monster Diary On the Road in Search of Strange and Sinister Creatures," in your introduction you get into the Cryptozoologist's stubborn view of all creatures being flesh and blood and renouncing the paranormal. Sasquatch comes to mind. I agree whole heartily! Could you get into this with us?
NR: Yeah, sure. Basically, there are many creatures within Cryptozoology that appear to be something less - or more - than mere flesh and blood, at least as we understand it. Granted, it's an aspect of the subject that many researchers ignore or dismiss. And even though these cases - rogue cases might be a good term to use - are certainly not in the majority, when you have reports, even if it's only in the several dozens or thereabouts, of Bigfoot seen at the same time and place as strange lights in the sky, or when the creature vanishes in a flash of light, or monster hunters begin to have weird synchronicities when they look for these things, I think we have to start looking into other realms. Most of these things are so elusive it almost defies belief for them to be regular animals. But, there's no doubt these things exist. It's just the nature of that existence I question, not whether they are real or not. Only a nut, an oaf - I like that word - or a weak and unsure mind in total denial would deny the tremendous body of data in support of their existence. I know most people in Cryptozoology disagree with me in terms of what that existence might be. And I'm fine with that, as I have absolute unshakable confidence I'm on the right path. If I'm pretty much alone and out on a limb, I'm OK with that. i don't care at all. I'm not looking to say the right thing to the right people and at the right places, nor will I ever stoop to such a level. People who suck up and say the right thing to elevate their position to get on in Forteana make me want to break their jaws. I hate all that phony crap. People can like what I say or not, and they can agree or not. I couldn't give a flying you know what if people think I'm wrong. I'll keep pursuing what I think is the right path - a path that is far weirder than just the domain of regular animals that science has yet to classify or acknowledge.
2. So when it comes to phantom monsters or spectral what creature or story comes to mind the most from the book that you would like to share?
NR: Well, there are so many. I've investigated - and write about in the book - cases of vanishing or spectral and one-dimensional Bigfoot, what appears to have been some form of almost ghost-like sabre tooth, as well as large and ethereal big black cats, and giant winged things that seem to wink in and out of our existence. It's fair to say that all these kinds of cases that I talk about in the book fall into this domain. If people pick up Monster Diary expecting me to say Bigfoot is a Gigantopithecus or the Loch Ness Monster is a plesiosaur, they are going to be very disappointed. But if they're open to the idea that the reality of what lurks in the woods maybe very different to what many assume, then they hopefully won't be disappointed.
3. In the chapter The Monsters of Angel Fire you and Greg Bishop visit Gabe Valdez who has a story of the US government creating possible holographic bigfoots regarding New Mexico. Would you please tell us about that?
NR: Gabe Valdez was a very well respected New Mexico police officer who spent a major amount of time investigating cattle mutilations in the New Mexico area in the 1970s, and who was consulted by the FBI on the subject in the mid to late 70s. He came to believe a major conspiracy was at work, but probably of a governmental nature, rather than ETs. Greg met and chatted with Gabe (who has since sadly passed away) extensively. I met him just once, when me and Greg had lunch with him in late 2009. When I told Gabe I was interested in the Bigfoot puzzle, he told me how he had learned of classified military hologram-based technology to create Bigfoot-type imagery as a kind of psychological weapon tested to see how it could potentially frighten people. Definitely one of the wildest stories of Bigfoot I've ever come across, but still fascinating given Gabe's credentials.
4. Would you tell us about the Cardiff Giant and some of the hijinks surrounding it?
NR: Yes, the saga of the Cardiff Giant is a very weird one. Basically, the giant was supposedly a ten foot tall "petrified man,” said to have been uncovered on October 16, 1869 by workers digging a well behind the barn of William Newell in Cardiff, New York. In reality, however, the giant was nothing of the sort. It was actually the creation of a New York tobacconist named George Hull; an atheist, who decided to create the thing after a big argument with a fundamentalist minister – a Mr. Turk - about the passage in Genesis 6:4 to the effect that giants once roamed the Earth. But the weird thing is that I spoke with a woman who claimed her father had seen the Cardiff Giant striding through the woods of Cooperstown, NY where the model is housed in the local museum. I know: very strange! She came to believe that what her father saw was a Tulpa version of the giant. The concept of the Tulpa is basically that intense belief in an image can bring it to some form of semi-independent quasi-life. In other words, belief can bring phenomena into existence, and it can be sustained in some form when the mind of the creator continues to accept its reality. But as belief in the Tulpa fades, so it does too, until it fades into the nothingness it once was. It wasn't, therefore, the hoaxed model the guy saw, but its mind-inspired equivalent, if the story can be believed of course. I love this shit.
5. Alright this has to be the weirdest story ever about Camel sightings in America be they of flesh and blood or spectral. But someone that actually keeps up with this phenomenon? Please tell. =)
NR: This is another example of the weird animal stuff I have in Monster Diary. Back in the 1800s, the U.S. military embarked on a project to use camels, instead of horses, in locations in the US where the temperature would soar - the California desert, Arizona, New Mexico etc. They were known as the Camel Corps. Occasionally stories surface of what might very well be some of the ghostly forms of the long dead camels that were released into the wild at the height of the Civil War. I met a fascinating guy who had been collating such reports for years across the southwest of ghostly camel sightings, and it was without doubt one of my stranger experiences. And there have been quite a few of them over the years!
6. Ok I the Owlmen stories are new to me and would love to hear what you think about them. I recently possible had a Skunk Ape or Owl eat my cat. An odd smell accompanied the incident. I have it out for them both as suspects. What is up with the Owlman?
NR: The Owlman is probably the closest thing that Britain has to Mothman. Owlman is a large, winged, red eyed creature of vaguely man-like proportions, far bigger than any normal bird that haunts the old woods of Mawnan, Cornwall, England. Jon Downes, director of the Center for Fortean Zoology, and one of my closest mates, wrote a book all about it, The Owlman and Others, which is a great read. It's clearly not a regular animal but something weirder. I actually think, given that the story has a lot of odd and controversial elements to it, that like the Cardiff Giant story, the Owlman may have walked - or flew- straight out of someones imagination and right into the real world, in Tulpa form. Not only do these things not exist in the same way we do, but they may not even be self aware, and only have a slight grasp on what their own reality is. Or isn't. Owlman is a fascinating creature that deserves as much attention as Mothman, as the story is so undeniably odd. And in Monster Diary I have a story of a sudden wave of Owlman-connected activity that all occurred in late 2010.
7. Ok on the cover of Monster Diary is the Wooly Mammoth. What story does that relate to?
NR: Well, this one deals with an interviewee who claimed - in utter seriousness - that she had seen what looked like a small, baby mammoth in the woods, but one that appeared somewhat transparent, and that vanished before her eyes. I have no real way to explain away the complexities present in all these very similar cases, except to say there's a definite pattern at work where people see the weirdest creatures, some of which became extinct thousands of years ago.
8. Speaking of cats again in Slaughter in Dallas. What is up with the cat sacrifices? meow. I miss my cat Clover.
NR: This deals with the existence of a deeply buried cult-type of transatlantic organization known as the Taigheirm that has engaged in the ritualistic sacrifice of cats for centuries, as a means to achieve financial gain, power etc. But, so the story goes, the complex ritual of sacrifice involves the manifestation of large, black supernatural cats, not unlike the so-called Alien Big Cats (ABCs) that roam the UK. Does that mean some (but most certainly not all) of Britain's out of place big cats might have supernatural origins? Maybe!
9. Alright. Chapter 13 Monsters and the Government. Would you share with us about Project Rand and how that is connected? The picture in the back of the Project Rand document was very fascinating.
NR: Over the years, Rand has been involved in studying the way in which whole ranges of Fortean phenomena - such as Marian apparitions, ghosts, curses and even weird creatures - can be exploited during warfare. That's to say, spread tales of bizarre things among superstitious enemy troops and watch how they scatter when they think these supernatural nightmares are roaming around.
10. Alright Nick always a pleasure. What can we expect from you in the future books and project wise? And any departing words or links you'd like to share? Thanks.
NR: A couple more cryptozoology titles, at least a couple more UFO books, and a few other things. I wouldn't mind maybe doing something non paranormal too, like a study of a historical mystery, or an old unsolved murder, or something like that. But, as long as I enjoy what I do and I feel there is something worth pursuing, and I feel I can add something new to the study of whatever it might be, I'll keep on doing what I'm doing.
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Jeffery Pritchett is the host of The Church Of Mabus Show bringing you high strange stories from professionals in the carousel of fields surrounding the paranormal.