Tonight’s Show is really divided into two key sections.
The first is a tentative exploration into the world of crypto-zoology and in particular a brief look at the Chupacabra, an closer to home the Owlman and Margawr. In the process we’ll introduce one of the most colourful characters in magic and ‘the unusual’ it has ever been my pleasure to meet.
The second part of the show, and by far the more detailed, is based upon an interview with my guest Danu Fox.
The following is from ..
Danu sang and played the piano from an early age, growing up on the coast in Portishead, UK. It was the sea and the Celtic that pulled her to study at Aberystwyth for a degree in Music and German. After qualifying as a teacher Danu travelled to Australia and then worked for Oxford University Press as Music Education editor. There Danu began to sing in earnest and secured a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London on their Postgraduate Diploma in Jazz. Professional performance work followed, with a national tour with her band Hara, launching her first album First Time Ever, and music work in many different community and educational settings. While in London another passion was discovered, in the form of Indian music, namely North Indian Raag and four years of lessons were taken with the late Pandit Chandan Misra of the Misra and Sahai families. That was a deeply influential time shaping much of what was to come.
15th March: Herne Bay Pier near Kent has been cut off from the mainland since 1979, and has since been subject to quite a few ghost stories. It’s unsafe to be visited by the public and has a warning light to ward off marine traffic, therefore, seeing somebody wandering about out there is very unlikely, but today a video of the pier captured a mystery individual looking out across the sea. The figure stands quite still for the most part, but some way through the video they appear to walk to and fro, before remaining still once more. Could it be an apparition? There is no sign of a boat moored to the pier, though it is possible a boat is moored on the other side of the pier where it cannot be seen. Even if a boat is moored out of sight, it still raises the question – why is somebody on a pier unsafe for the public in the first place? Some have suggested a maintenance worker, but if so, why only the one? Additionally, the figure doesn’t appear to be doing much maintaining.
If it is some nature of hoax, it’s well executed and you can see the footage …..
19th March: A UFO report in Pitlochry, Scotland from 1990 is reputedly one of the most convincing accounts of its kind that exists, but sometime between 1991 and 1994 all evidence of the event disappeared apart from a line-drawing of the UFO involved. Nick Pope interviewed for the position of Chief of the MOD’s UFO office in 1991 and noted the poster of a photograph on the wall.
This was one of six photographs taken by the pair of hikers who reportedly witnessed the diamond-shaped UFO in the sky over Pitlochry in August 1990, appearing to hover by a RAF Harrier jet also in the vicinity. It was said to have hovered for nearly ten minutes before zooming away at high speed.
Pope said that the pair with the photos contacted a newspaper and that the newspaper went on to ask the MOD for more information, resulting in the MOD’s obtaining of the original photographs and the negatives as well.
Pope describes how people from other departments would swing by to take a look at the poster and how his superior officer was convinced that the object in the UFO photo was some nature of secret, prototype aircraft from America. But the US authorities adamantly denied that any such craft was being tested over the UK at that time.
Pope says that “I would not put myself in the [UFO] believer camp, but if I was going to end up there, this case, in terms of evidence, would give me a big push in that direction.” The disappearance of the evidence is certainly, at the very least, intriguing!
11th March: Farmer Franz Knoglinger of Neuhofen im Innkreis in Austria was searching for his missing cat when he came across an almost perfectly spherical hole that went so deep he could not see the bottom. Upon dropping an object into the abyss he claimed to have heard a metallic clunk when it landed. To confirm his suspicions, he tied a magnet to a piece of rope to see if it might stick to whatever was at the bottom of the hole, and indeed it did.
25 feet of rope was needed to lower the magnet into the tunnel, and a local plumber also attempted to capture footage of the inside of it by the same means. The film attempt was unsuccessful however, as there was ‘…disturbance on the line – maybe some sort of electrical field’.
Knoglinger pointed out that ‘It also sounds as if there is a hollow space around about whatever the metal object is – it sounds as if there is a room underneath’.
Since the story was reported on the local news he has had a steady flow of curious visitors. The theories have put forward include (From Archaeologists) suggestions that the hole could have been left by a wooden timber from an underground burial chamber that had rotted away, remnant of a bomb, and of course some have suggested a buried spacecraft.
One individual even appeared with a sandwich board and the words ‘Beware – The Doorway to Hell’.
Geologists from the local council are to visit the site on Monday to investigate further. One commenter amusingly asked, ‘Does no one remember Quatermass! Be very careful!! ‘ And if you’re wondering about the cat, she was found sleeping in the airing cupboard and is quite safe and healthy!
12th March: Leo Deis’ Regina observed and photographed a broomstick stand completely unsupported in his kitchen, a phenomena that has apparently been observed rather a few times recently and many theorise that it has something to do with the recent solar flares. While solar flares are well known for interfering with satellites and causing trouble with a few other devices that work on a similar basis, George Lolos, a physics professor at the University of Regina, outlines the possibility of it being down to static electricity.
If somebody was sweeping a carpet and then touched the broom, static electricity would circulate between the bristles and make the broom stand straight up. For that degree of static buildup to be related to a solar flare, Lolos says that it would have fried every satellite currently in orbit! So what could be causing such a thing?
Theories are welcome!
The legend of the Chupacabra or ‘Goatsucker’ is perhaps especially interesting considering how young the myth is.
The earliest traceable story of the Chupacabra seems to come from Puerto Rican town of Canóvanas from an eyewitness called Madelyne Tolentino in only March 1995.
Her story is intricately detailed, which might at first lend credibility to it though there are many other contributing factors that go on to damage it that will be explored later on.
She describes having been helping her mother who was about to move, when she saw a car pull up outside whose occupant looked alarmed. She revealed more specifically in a later interview that, ‘His attitude led me to believe someone was going to hit him or mug him.’
It was after she came to get a better look at him that she states she became aware of the creature, walking on two legs.
The physical description she gave painted a picture of something with large protruding, dark grey eyes, that spread to its temples, with very long arms (arms which she said were drawn back in some nature of attack position) ending in three long fingers. She also described short, well-combed hair, long skinny legs ending in feet that resembled the webbed, three-toed splay of a goose, two small otherwise featureless holes for a nose, a slash of a mouth (She points out that she did not see teeth), and feather-like protrusions lying flat on its lower back that were joined by a reddish brown membrane, all of which amounted to this 4 feet tall (walking on its two legs) creature.
She also believes it had been burnt by something, describing round marks of pinkish-purple skin in an ‘ashen’ region.
She even describes how it stood there long enough for her to drop to the floor and see if it had genitals, which it did not, being ‘plain and sealed’. She outlines how she found this funny, laughing and wondering with her mother how it defecated.
The movements it made were described as robotic and slow, as if somebody were operating it by remote-control, but it wasn’t until she looked into its eyes that she felt any fear.
At this point she says that she screamed, prompting her mother to go running after the creature which incited it to run off, though Tolentino wonders whether it ran off because she screamed.
Its escape was apparently made in hopping motions rather than in a run.
Further description from Tolentino was not as an eye-witness but from what she was told.
She says that ‘there’s a boy that works for my husband who’s always willing to deal with animals and keeps a pair of gloves in his car. He put them on and went into the woods to catch the creature,’ and that his attempts were met with the unfurling of the spiny appendages on its back, which, for some reason prompted him to pry open its mouth to look at its teeth, which he said were very long and pointed.
After this he says that he lost the creature, but not before a child cycled past and threw bottles at it in alarm and Tolentino saw it again, this time seemingly floating rather than hopping.
Her husband, who had been out looking for parts, returned and listened to Tolentino’s story, exclaiming that he had seen the exact same creature that morning.
Benjamin Radford, science-based paranormal investigator, deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer as well as several other media based titles, investigated this case further and concluded that her account cannot be trusted for one particularly notable reason: she had seen the film ‘Species’ prior to her experience.
While having just seen the film recently is certainly not enough to warrant accusing her of letting her imagination run away with her, further details revealed by Radford undoubtedly damage her report.
She apparently believed that the events taking place in the film were actually happening in Puerto Rica at that time, and her description of the thing she saw closely resembles the creature ‘Sil’, a character from the film. Even she remarked that ‘It was a creature that looked like the chupacabra, with spines on its back and all… The resemblance to the chupacabra was really impressive,’ to Radford.
Radford believes that this, thusly, undermines her story, making the earliest account of the fabled chupacabra an untrustworthy source.
Tolentino describes having seen the creature again several times, new details being added to her account including a powerful odour, a detail that has been carried to other eye-witness accounts of different sightings, as well as brightly lit eyes.
She said it smelled like Malathion poison and that ‘I was trying to swallow and I couldn’t feel my throat. I was driving along with my two year old and he started gagging in the van, wouldn’t stop coughing… It’s like taking a Chloraseptic tablet.’
The name ‘goatsucker’ came from accounts of the creature in question being linked to cattle mutilations, which were initially put down to satanic cult ritual.
The mutilations Tolentino knew of usually involved removal of the genitals of an animal, and ‘surgical’ incisions in the same area or around the throat.
Tolentino described a mysterious lack of blood as well, though this was not written about in subsequent autopsies.
She also added details of slime being left behind after an attack, though there seems to be no other sources that mention this.
Subsequent reports spread to Mexico, Central America, South America, Chile, and the Southern United States.
Puerto Rican authorities put the attacks down to wild animals, noting that there doesn’t seem to be anything unusual about the animals’ corpses in the cases that’ve been observed, of which there have been hundreds.
They still investigate cases when they appear.
Interestingly, reports from the US differ greatly to the reports elsewhere.
US reports describe creatures similar to dogs with little or no hair and the attacks on livestock often result in death but not necessarily consumption which added to the idea that creatures were chupacabras, as normal dogs would eat the remains.
These reports are often debunked, as more often than not they are coyotes or dogs with sarcoptic or demodactic mange, making them appear hairless.
This condition would also make them weak and desperate for food, perhaps explaining the attacks on livestock. Plus young animals or ones weakened in this way can mean they didn’t manage to kill their prey in the first place and that they instead died later from shock or blood loss, again possibly explaining why the corpses were not consumed.
Other theories about the Chupacabra include the following:
An alien theory; being that the chupacabra is a pet or a part of an alien species that was left behind on earth. Indeed, the description sounds quite similar to the infamous zeta reticuli sightings.
The idea that the Chupacabras are humans from the future that are travelling through time to prevent some significant event that resulted in their evolution or mutation into their chupacabra form.
A conspiracy theory involving genetic experimentation by the government. The chupacabra is thusly believed by some to be a mutated animal created by these experiments.
Cryptids such as this have existed in our collective consciousness for decades, local myth and legend examples alone include the owlman, Morgawr, and several ABC (Alien big cat) sightings.
Morgawr in particular has been whispered about since the 1870s, disappearing into obscurity for almost half a century before a couple of sightings in 1920s and several in the 1970s.
The creature’s reputed appearance is similar to that described in Scotland’s legend of Nessie and is said to lurk in the bay around Falmouth.
The stretch of coast between Rosemullion Head and Toll Point is now known as ‘Morgawr’s mile.’
In 1875 or 6 and also in 1925 or 6 fishermen were reputed to have captured the remnants of a long-necked something in that area, their account detailing a ‘20 feet long with an eight foot tail, scaly legs and a beak-like head’.
The reported sightings from the mid seventies are perhaps the most convincing given that one included two separate sightings of the same incident, and that one of the witnesses was visiting from London and knew nothing of the local legend.
1975 also saw the publication of a picture of the beast in the Falmouth packet, whose contributor (Mary F) described as being black or brown and having a head akin to a sea-lion.
Sightings rose in ’76, ranging from descriptions of a hump-backed serpent to a worm or eel-like creature passing boats and another photograph (From Parson’s beach) surfaced in this year as well.
The sightings dwindled from here on until the early nineties, when sightings began to appear again with regularity until 2002.
Theories range from the existence of a Plesiosaur to mistaken identity. It is possible that it’s a species not native to the UK as unlikely visitors occasionally crop up, including one instance of a barracuda in 2002.
The Owlman legend has also firmly rooted itself into Cornish lore and was first reported in 1976, in this instance and instances since in the area around Mawnan.
Two girls, June and Vicky Melling reported seeing a large, feathered “bird man” hovering over the Mawnan Church on Morgawr’s Mile, upsetting them so much that the family cut short its holiday.
However, it should be noted that this incident was recounted by Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels; Magician, surrealist, mountebank, and most importantly – hoaxer.
Researcher Jonathan Downes acknowledges that Shiels could have hoaxed the Owlman, but also claims to have interviewed a young man who says he encountered the Owlman in 1989, not in relation to Shiels.
Both he and his girlfriend described a creature ‘about five feet tall… The legs had high ankles and the feet were large and black with two huge ‘toes’ on the visible side. The creature was gray with brown and the eyes definitely glowed.’
The story from the 70s is intriguing also because it happened (If it happened) around the same time as peculiar heat waves and cold snaps in Cornwall, along with reports of packs of dogs, cats and birds terrorising people as well as a rise in UFO reports in the Mawnan area.
It’s also the same year of aforementioned Morgawr sightings.
The Owlman is often linked to the US legend of the Mothman.
One, more straight forward theory, is that it is simply an owl, a very large owl, granted, but a species such as a Eurasian Eagle owl (Bubo bubo) which are enormous and will attack if they feel threatened.
The interview with Danu Fox covers a wide range of issues – it’s decidedly ‘rational mystic’ in nature.
There are so many points of clear agreement between Danu and myself – especially on the subjective, personal and spiritual aspects of our conversation.
Where we, if we really ever, part ideological company is on the ‘certainty’ of some of the ‘meta-physical’ constructs suggested. Our conversation covers Ley Lines, thoughts about ‘Earth Energies’ and the way we, as a society have become disconnected with ‘the land’ and the importance of having a ‘sense of place’.
Danu speaks passionately and clearly about ‘earth energy lines’ and uses the analogy of ‘acupuncture’ in order to explain ‘earth energies’, ‘energy lines’ and hence the ability of dowsers to define change in a clear, visual way.
Of course whilst Rational mind and desire to play devils advocate questions the objectivity and scientific measure-ability of as yet to be defined ‘energy’, my Mystical self is more than happy to acknowledge the personal (subjective), emotional, psychological and transpersonal effects our connection with each other and the land can and does have.
Hopefully you will enjoy our conversation and allow your own scepticism about the metaphysical/psuedo-scientific ideas, should you have any, to be put aside so you can engage in the meaning behind the action rather than the semantics.
For the same part I hope those of less objective/scientific persuasion will find themselves considering the questions raised from rational perspective without reacting in a ‘closed minded’ ( and potentially ignorant) way which simply declares that ‘science doesn’t know it all!’
Danu’s message here, for me, transcends the boundaries we often create between science and mysticism. It speaks directly of a practical and emotional way to each other, the land that supports us and the earth which we share.
Music from tonights show:
With thanks to Aardvark Records, Penwith Cornwall
The Truths – Everyones Crying Inside - Aardvark Records UK
The Truths – Miracle Drug – Aardvark Records
AND from Danu Fox
Yemaya – Danu Fox – Songbear Music
And from Alan
Sea Meditation – Alan Jones