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Monday, 18 March 2019

CELEBRATING FAILURE

We have often heard it lauded and praised in Cryptozoology circles, that a certain X holds the record for longest Loch Ness monster vigil or some other X, has spent 50 years searching for Sasquatch. But, we rarely hear any information about what has been achieved by these Individuals during their long sojourn, or where to access their library of scrolls, detailing their scientific findings, at their Cryptid locales! 

The story of their struggle for recognition and their triumph over adversity and ridicule is always well documented, of course, but as to what they have achieved, in what in some cases constitutes a lifetime of research, is rarely talked about.

I often wonder what we would have thought of Einstein, if he had dedicated 30 years of his life to trying to come up with the theory of relativity, but had sadly failed to do so? Would we say he held the longest record of any scientist trying to prove a theory? No! We would view him as a failure, and as someone whose long-winded efforts were an embarrassment to science. I wonder, would he have been able to solicit funds to continue his studies into his 10th year and beyond, or would he have lost his grants and endorsement long before???

My initiation into 'Career Cryptozoology' has introduced me to a strange psychological conundrum, in that I am often funnelled into an inescapable position of having to congratulate some cryptozoological oligarch for his/her award for their long term failure to produce results in their chosen Cryptid locale. As a person who feels compelled to name elephants, especially when they're in 'the room', more and more, I struggle with the constant urge to resist calling out our cult of celebrating failure.

Could it be that what Cryptozoological study needs to ascend into mainstream science is academic accountability and an agreed timescale in which to produce verifiable data? i.e. - 2 years without proof? OK, keep going! 5 years without proof? you're pushing your luck! 25 years and still no proof? C'mon now, you're having a giggle at our expense!  

Maybe at the very minimum, we could hold one's feet to the fire, to elicit a few academic papers, maybe even a topographical and environmental assessment of one's research area and it's ecology; or failing that, I'd settle for a log of daily activities. Something like:  '10:30am: sat in deckchair drinking tea, watching the lake. 10:40am: boat passes, wave to people on deck. 11am: tourists drop by and tell me I'm doing a sterling job and buy some overpriced merch. 12pm: off to the pub for lunch and a pint!'  That at least would probably constitute a more accurate portrayal of most long term vigils, if we're honest with ourselves! 

All joking aside, however, how can we as researchers, use our time wisely, what financial pathways can we utilise to underwrite our investigations and are there tried and tested research methods, as well as new breakthrough technologies, that we can employ in this multifaceted search for new and thought to be extinct species? The answer is, I don't know! There is definitely success out there for any venture if properly packaged and sold to the right people.

I was bemused by being possessed with an unbalanced thought recently, after imbibing 'James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge', to consider petitioning serious intervention in this quest at Loch Ness. Of course, I reprimanded myself immediately for even dreaming of idealising the haughty solicitation of such unattainable interest and investment, from some type of Hollywood hoi polloi. But then, after descending into the depths of my colourless comedown, I was left with a stark and stinging question...well, why not? Why shouldn't we go big? This is, after all, the home of the most famous Cryptid creature in the world!.....


Written by Andrew McGrath


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Sunday, 24 February 2019

MONSTER ON THE MEDWAY

The fence line where our witness observed a large figure walking at 8:30am on the 21st Jan 2019.
Photo taken just minutes after sighting.

I was intrigued lately to receive a fresh report about an unusual sighting of a tall, nondescript humanoid, that was observed at 8:30am on Jan 21st, walking along the fence line, of a horse-paddock; around the area of the Medway Estuary and Marshes, in Kent. The location which I visited just a few days later, is sparsely populated and rests on an area of 11,735-acres, that is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest and an Internationally Important Wetland for Wild Birds and although there are some relics of old industry scattered around the landscape, it is, quite simply put, pristine habitat!

On my recent visit to this area, the isolation, even during the daylight hours was stark. The seemingly infinite flat marshes bring strong howling winds, which obliterate even the most cumbersome sounds from ones hearing and intensify a strange feeling of vulnerability, which seems to hang in the air. This particular sighting was preceded by the nervous behaviour of the witness's horses and their refusal to approach their feedbags, which are situated on the fence, where the 'figure' was seen, are somewhat telling. The fence line also sits upon the top of a steep embankment, which drops down to a disused railway line, that cuts its way through the landscape and offers an unpleasant fall, for any person foolish enough to walk there.

(You can watch the witness, with the help of her husband, reenact her encounter here and here. Unfortunately, the windy conditions make for difficult listening, but the footage does help to give us an idea of the area and conditions under which this sighting occurred).

There are many other large unidentified humanoid, sightings in Kent, (which can be sourced here) where footprints, shadowing and other types of activity have been observed. This particular group, however, all correlate to the same general area and I would imagine that we are looking at the same individual/s, in each case.


MONSTER ON THE MEDWAY

Monday 21st January 8:30 am:  "I was out in the field, as usual, clearing the horse muck, I was concentrating on what I was doing when out of the corner of my eye I was aware of somebody walking along the other side of the fence and bush line roughly 150 yards away. 

It struck me as odd as no one can get there easily or should be there as ten feet further on is a 30-foot drop to a freight rail line. As I turned to directly to look at the figure, it had obviously seen me first and I saw it move and duck down behind a large bush

At that exact moment my dog had also noticed the figure and tore across the field in that direction barking, which confirmed to me that something was there and as I stopped to process what I had seen, I realised that the figure was extremely large, as I had seen his head and shoulders above the bush which is over 6 feet tall. What also struck me was that, although I only saw it take a few steps, the stride pattern was very wide. 

As an aside, recently on occasion, I will turn the horses out into the field and they will stay on the opposite corner of the field looking in that direction, instead of eating from their hay bale, which is very unusual for horses."


 Our witness describing seeing the head and
shoulders of a figure above this bush, before it ducked out of sight!

ISLE OF GRAIN, SASQUATCH

A good friend of mine has lived in a remote Kent farmhouse, along The Medway on The Isle of Grain, for a number of years now and has experienced some strange goings-on and at one point she saw what she could only describe as a "large Sasquatch type creature" on her property. She described seeing a tall, hairy, creature; that looked like a cross between a man and an ape, walking upright on two legs. There is a caravan (mobile home) standing on the property and this has been rocked and banged upon a few occasions. I asked my friend to explain what this creature looked like and she said: "The creature itself has been seen leaning over a Ford Escort Van, and although it wasn't standing straight up, but was hunched over, the roof of the van still only came up to its stomach."

There are very few houses in the area. If you go there and have a look around you can see how it wouldn't be too difficult to get around unseen. Situated between Allhallows and the Isle of Grain, the area is a wildlife haven and is protected under law. As I say it's quite isolated. There are lots of water sources and a few woodlands. It gets more wooded as you follow the river, not too far away.

It has been seen by our friends up close and doesn't seem to be put off by their presence. I have been invited out to camp there so I'm going to spend time looking around the sightings spots. We live in the area ourselves on a local farm and have seen what looked like a very large print of something laying down as if a large animal had made a bed or a nest of some kind in the tall grass. We are local to a river, power lines, a disused train track and plenty of woods and forest.


Part of the river Medway, snakes its way through the marshes on the
Isle of Grain, a protected habitat, teeming with animal life.
THE HAIRY MAN OF COOLING, KENT

In 2011, My son and his friend were in the fields, in the early hours before morning light. They were both getting set up for the day, when they saw a very large, hairy man, running along some hay reels. They said, “The man like creature saw us, and then 'it' took off at great speed across the hay reels and headed for some woods."  I don't think they saw its face clearly as they mostly saw the 'creature' as it moved off. They said it was really tall and was all hair covered and had some sort of weird hair at the back, almost mane-like. It spun its head as if to hide its face, as soon as 'it' saw them looking at it and then took off running on two legs, moving very fast, across the top of the hay reels. It was moving with ease and ran off up toward the woods. This happened in Cooling Kent, it frightened the life out of them both. We are surrounded by Thames Marshes that are very vast and go on for miles. My son didn't think of Bigfoot to describe this 'thing' until I was surfing the net and I asked my son about it. He agreed that it looked like the 'thing' he saw and he won't go up that way anymore.

A disused railway line that lies beneath the horse paddock.
The large figure our witness observed would have been walking 
to the far right-hand side of this frame

Although these incidents seem solitary and anomalous, in relative proportion to the sparse population in this part of Kent, it would actually appear to be quite the opposite and in fact, the continued interactions around homes and with people that we see in these cases, would seem to indicate a boldness that is not often noted in most alleged Bigfoot 'habituations' in the UK.

Our investigation of this area is ongoing and we hope to collect some compelling evidence over the coming months.


Written by Andrew McGrath








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Sunday, 30 December 2018

BEASTS COME OUT AT NIGHT

Not a beastie, but still a shock to see this
face coming at ya, outta the darkness!!!

Camberwell Old Cemetery is located on Forest Hill Road, Honor Oak, London. It has been in use since 1856 and covers approximately 30 acres of land, much of whose plants and trees have merged with the older tombstones, to create an eerie ‘forest of the dead’ like feeling. The site was in frequent use from its inception and by 1984, 300,000 bodies had been buried there.

Cemeteries are creepy enough places to be, during the day, but at night, that inexplicable fear of the unknown that we all possess becomes a living force. I was originally drawn to investigate this location due to two extraordinary witness accounts. The first related by a man who had decided to cut through the old cemetery one night on route to visit a friend, in 1996 and the second, which occurred many years later in 2004/5, related by a woman who was travelling past the graveyard with a friend, when she experienced something she still cannot explain to this day.

The images I captured whilst there do not quite convey the unhealthy atmosphere, which was palpable, all around me. Although, admittedly, visiting the site of such extraordinary sightings does imbue one with a sense of expectation, which in itself can become a causative of feeling ‘ghostly vibes’!


The Werewolf of Camberwell
On October 9th, 1996, a man on route to see a friend, had decided to take a shortcut through Camberwell Old Cemetery to save time, when something prodigiously strong grabbed him by the arm and smashed him into the ground. He saw a large creature, with dark fur and a head like a German shepherd, looking at directly at him intently, slobbering and growling and sniffing his body up and down, just as a dog would. Just as quickly as the attack started, it was over and the beast sprinted off on its hind legs. The witness believed that he was spared because he suffers from a disease that dogs can smell and that probably because of this, the creature left him alone.

The Camberwell Tree Shaker
“It was in 2004 or 2005 on a summer's night around 11.30pm and a friend and I were walking up Underhill road on the cemetery side of the road. I lived on Barry Road on the corner of Underhill road for many years and I was in my mid-20s at this point.

On the corner of the cemetery side of the road, we heard a really loud weird noise and both turned to look. A large tree in the corner of the cemetery was shaking incredibly hard as if something really powerful was shaking it with all its might. I don't think I have ever seen such a strange sight. It was definitely not made by a person or an animal or pet. The tree looked as if the roots were ready to be ripped out. There was another noise too like a low growl.

Needless to say, my friend and I took to our heels and fled as fast as we possibly could although in different directions. I sprinted up Harcourt road as hard as I could. When my friend caught up with me, we were both terrified and could not rationalise what had happened or account for the sheer terror we both felt. Instinctively, we knew we had to get as far away from the flimsy fence of the cemetery as fast as we possibly could.

There is something very sinister there. I don't think I ever walked past the road in the dark ever again or ever ventured inside the cemetery. I have moved away from the area now, but still not far enough away from that place!!!”



Camberwell Old Cemetary
Photo by Andrew McGrath, 2018
Werewolves? Dogmen? Bipedal Canines roaming throughout London and attacking people in graveyards? Frankly, It sounds like something for the High Moon fans and I wholly reconcile my own feeling of disbelief at such encounters, with those other practically minded souls who find it hard to accept that such a being exists at all! 

However, our folklore and history are replete with tales of such creatures stalking the darkness, not only in these resplendent isles, which we inhabit but also amongst the legends of our soon to be estranged, continental cousins. 

I also feel the need to further compound this problem with my staunch belief, that such creatures are not immaterial and belong firmly in the flesh and blood world. Perhaps, patiently awaiting the taxonomic net of the brave, intrepid (and perhaps foolhardy) explorer to fall upon and fit them neatly, into the section marked 'New', in one of our delightfully leather-bound books, of the known animalia that inhabit this wild and wondrous creation!


Written by Andrew McGrath



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