Monday, September 28, 2009

Giants on the Earth

Giants on the Earth is a new title published by Global Communications - the ever-busy brainchild of long-time player on the UFO scene, Timothy Green Beckley. And, if you're into tales, stories and data on giants of the distant past, and the not-so-distant past, too; then this is most definitely the book for you!

Biblical giants, the Nephilim, accounts of Goliath-like entities returning to the Holy Land and much more dominate the opening pages of the book. And, they are quickly followed up by intriguing accounts of over-sized aliens - such as the 10-foot-tall creature allegedly seen in Sagrada Famila, Brazil in August 1963. Of course, no mention of giant-sized aliens would be complete without a nod in the direction of the infamous Flatwoods Monster of that long-gone year of 1952. And, indeed, Tim treats us to the intriguing tale of the monstrous whatever-it-was.

Then, it's on to hulking flying monsters - such as the reported Thunderbirds and Pteradons that have been sighted throughout Papua, New Guinea; Mexico; South America; and the Texas-Mexico border area. For cryptozoologists, this section will be of great interest - not least for the cool artwork that accompanies this specific chapter, and the particularly-detailed attention given to the aforementioned Thunderbird sightings.

We're then treated to an indispensable series of chapters and sections that tell of historic encounters with giants in the United States, Britain, the Middle East, Australia and elsewhere.

The Book of Enoch, the Epic of Giglamesh, and much more all come into play in a new book that is required reading for those with a particular fascination for gigantic people, huge aliens, Godzilla-sized beasts of the sky, and much more!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Brad Steiger's Real Vampires

As you'll recall from my earlier post on Brad's new book at this blog - Real Vampires: Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Dark Side - I contributed a section to the book: on the blood-sucking monster of Puerto Rico known to one and all as the Chupacabra. But, having now digested the entire mighty tome, it's time for a full-length review.

First, I have to say that, in my own opinion, this is one Brad's finest books - and for several reasons, upon which I'll now explain and elaborate.

There can be very little doubt that even the merest mention of the word "Vampire" conjures up imagery of either (a) the classic vampires of yesteryear as portrayed on-screen by the likes of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee (you know the ones I mean: they rather resemble pale-faced waiters in cloaks!); or (b) the latter-day vampires with whom Hollywood is so enamored and who resemble the offspring of some dark alliance between Marilyn Manson and TV's hottest Goth: the delicious Abby from NCIS.

As Brad is very careful to make abundantly clear to his readers, however, the cinematic vampire with which all of us are acquainted is - largely, at least - a creation of enterprising, enthusiastic and skilled screenplay writers, authors and horror-devotees. Separating the fictional vampire from the factual one, is a key aspect of the book - and a very welcome and informative aspect, too.

The genuine vampire, we learn early on in the pages of the book, is a far darker and ominous entity than anything Hollywood could ever throw at us - it is a predatory beast that stalks us by night; one that feeds upon the human life-force and drains us of emotional energy; that dwells in some darkened, elusive dimension of undetermined origins; that oozes negativity; and that has been using, abusing and exploiting us for thousands of years.

And, it is in getting this particular point across that Brad's book scores major points. Digging deep into ancient texts, manuscripts and tales, Brad acquaints us with the likes of the diabolical Lilith; with demonic entities of a truly black nature; with belief systems pertaining to the shedding of blood; and the way in which the vampire can (both metaphorically and literally) get its teeth and claws into us.

Brad also addresses what he calls "A Gallery of Classic Vampires," in which you will find much on disturbing characters like the notorious Elizabeth Bathory; as well as other vampire-style souls, including Vincent Verzini; Albert Fish; and John Haigh.

Of course, some of these were merely deranged souls - not literal vampires, in the sense we understand the term. However, Brad demonstrates that sometimes, those who we see as merely mentally-ill individuals drawn to drink blood may actually be the victims of something far more significant and sinister.

As Brad explains: "Many researchers believe that the spirit parasite can seize the controlling mechanism of the host body and direct the enslaved human to perform horrible, atrocious deeds. The spirit parasite might implant murderous thoughts into a host's mind, such as the desire to taste human blood, to slash a victim's throat, even to eat some of the person's flesh. After the crime has been committed, the vampiric spirit parasite withdraws back into another dimension of time and space, thus leaving the confused human being alone, charged with murder, while the true assassin has escaped."

Of particular interest to me, is the section of the book where Brad delves into the connections between vampires and werewolves - definitely a heady combination! Equally as parasitic as classic vampires, these hairy beasts of the full-moon are shown time and again as being entities that we would be very wise to avoid - both mentally and physically.

Real Vampires is also packed with insightful data on the history of blood-based cults; the way in which widespread hysteria can have an effect on tales and legends of vampirism; those unfortunate souls afflicted by mental-illness and who believe themselves to be definitive blood-suckers of the night; ominous beings that feed on us - emotionally and spiritually - in our sleep; and the truly macabre Shadow People.

All in all, then, Brad Steiger's Real Vampires is a massively in-depth study of a phenomenon that is both ancient and very real; that is as dark and disturbing as it is misunderstood; and one that should not be dabbled in lightly.

They may not all resemble Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee - and, unfortunately, they may not all look like Abby either. But, as Brad demonstrates time and again, the vampire is a creature of genuine, deadly and shadowy proportions.

Definitive and required reading for anyone wanting to learn the truth about real-life parasitic entities from the outer edge...

Ghostly Pets

When I learned that Tim Beckley's Global Communications had just published a new edition of Elliott O'Donnell's 1913 book, Animal Ghosts, I knew it was one that I had to review.

In December 2003, my wife, Dana, and I lost our pet shar-pei dog, Charity, when she tragically succumbed to a fast-acting fever that took her life in only a matter of days.
In the wake of Charity's death, however, we experienced a series of very odd incidents that left us in no doubt that - for a while, at least - her soul, or life-force (however you wish to term it) was still among us (a story told in Joshua P. Warren's Pet Ghosts, and in my own book: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter).
So, for that reason, books on animal spirits hold a particular interest for me.

Published under the new title of Ghostly Pets, Phantom Felines and Haunted Hounds, O'Donnell's book (which includes welcome, additional material from Diane Tessman and Sean Casteel, and a new foreword from Tim Beckley) is a fine addition to the body of work on animal ghosts, and life-after-death in the animal kingdom.

So, with that said, what can you expect to find within the pages of the book? Well, the answer to that question is: a great deal!
Diane Tessman's introduction is a deeply personal account from someone with a clear love for her animals; and Sean Casteel's contribution - titled Supernatural Animals - delves into such controversies as animal-souls; the issue of whether surviving pets can still see their deceased animal pals; and much more.

And then it's on to O'Donnell's book. Although originally written nearly 100 years ago, the title is still a highly valuable and thoughtful study of a phenomenon that is likely to fascinate anyone and everyone that (a) loves animals; and (b) has ever owned a pet - which is surely most of us!

The book itself is split into a number of clearly-delineated sections, on such matters as ghostly cats; spectral dogs; phantom horses; bulls, cows and pigs; apes, lions and tigers; and birds.

Having now digested the pages of the book (and having undergone my own experiences of the ghostly-dog kind), I'm left in little doubt at all that death is not the literal end for our furry, hairy and feathered friends.

O'Donnell relates numerous accounts within the pages of his book; most of which, I guarantee, you will never before have read. In other words, the book is packed with valuable and insightful resource data; witness testimony; theories pertaining to the nature of life and death in the animal world; and uplifting tales of how and why our beloved pets come back.

Very much driven by personal, first-hand accounts, this new edition of O'Donnell's book is one that should be carefully digested by anyone in search of answers to the question of what happens to our pets after they have breathed their last.

Thought-provoking, informative, and at times pretty spooky! But, always essential and classic reading!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


On its way to me right now is a review-copy of Dr. Bob Curran's new book: Werewolves - A Field Guide to Shapeshifters, Lycanthropes, and Man-Beasts.
I'll be reviewing the book right here as soon as I have read it. In the meantime, however - and specifically thanks to Lori at Warwick Associates, and the good people at Career Press and New Page Books - here's an excellent new article from the author himself on the subject of those diabolical creatures of the night...
Werewolves -Everything You Need to Know…
By Dr. Bob Curran
Since earliest times, legends of were-creatures – humans who could alternate between their own and animal shape – have formed a significant part of our folklore and mythology. One of the best known of such beings is, arguably, the werewolf. Indeed, it has appeared in medieval legends, in fairy tales and latterly in books and films.
It is arguably the wolf which has dominated the stories and perceptions of the werefolk.The wolf has been Mankind’s oldest adversary. It was with wolves that our early ancestors competed for food and it was against the rivalry of the wolf that they hunted.
Arguably, Man has always feared the creature and yet he has always admired its hunting prowess, strength and swiftness. They also may have envied its hunting prowess and the ease with which it caught its prey, much more skilfully perhaps than the shambling hominids who were our forebears.
In a world were good hunting was essential for survival of both the individual and the community, they wished they could be like it. And so the desire probably took on a form of reality. Our ancestors began to look for ways in which they could supernaturally be the animal (and not just wolves, but other animals they admire – the bull, the horse etc.) and so acquire these skills.
At first, it may have been no more than pretending to be these creatures – dressing in skins, adopting certain postures – but in a world which was filled with spirits and supernatural forces, an element of possession by the animal spirit soon became paramount.Shamans and perhaps hunters themselves were "taken over" by the wolf spirit and began to exhibit lupine behaviour and possibly perceived lupine attributes. The idea of the man-wolf had already taken root in the developing human mind.
That idea persisted down the ages but as civilisations began to consolidate and develop it became less to do with hunting and more to do with prowess – physical, sexual – and ferocity. It appeared as the attribute of a warrior in battle, a man who created terror amongst his enemies. The idea of the wolf-warrior appears in a number of ancient cultures, particularly Viking, were certain warriors donned both wolf and bear skins in order to emphasise their fierceness and skill in warfare. These were the berserkers who, through the medium of their animal pelt garments seemed to acquire certain strengths and skills which seemed to make them invulnerable in any conflict.
Ancient heroes amongst other races – for example the Celts – had similar attributes which might be attributed to their contact with animals such as wolves.Allied to this was a fascination with travellers’ tails. Although travel was perhaps more frequent than we suspect in these early times, it was only certain people who in fact, journeyed any distance. They returned with wonderful tales of countries which they had seen and explored and of the wonderful beings that they had seen there.
These stories, tall as they were, were readily accepted as fact in places like Christian Europe and it was readily believed that astonishing races lived in other lands – men who looked curious and who behaved in a curious fashion. Amongst these descriptions was that of a dog-headed race of men who lived somewhere in the East – some of whom were primitive and others who were relatively advanced.
Stories of the "dog-heads" readily fell into the perceptions of the man-wolf in popular imagination and it was thought that if these people mated amongst human kind they might produce offspring who could alternate shape at will.There was one other element in the cultural and imaginative mix concerning werewolves– cannibalism.
It has been suggested that cannibalism was probably much more widespread in earlier societies than we care to acknowledge, particularly in remote areas of the developing world. In remote areas during harsh seasons, poverty-stricken individuals may well have resorted to eating each other in order to survive.
From time to time tales of cannibals surfaced into mainstream folklore – the tale of Sawney Bean, "the Man-Eater of Midlothian" in Scotland for instance during the 14th or 15th centuries (it is not clear however, that Bean existed in the way that the legends say that he did). The idea of individuals using their fellow humans for food and even hunting them down, held overtones of the wild wolves of the forest and, as some of these individuals lived in remote areas, the connection seemed all the more obvious. It was not hard then to imagine that the human predators transformed themselves into their animal counterparts, perhaps by diabolical means.
As Christianity began to assert itself in the West, the idea of the man-wolf took on a slightly different aspect.
Now this creature was the agent of the Devil and it was the Enemy of All Mankind who gave him or her their powers. The victim of the werewolf then became the Godly or the innocent – the old woman living alone or the small child. These themes were central to many of the werewolf trials, particularly in France in the 16th century – Giles Garnier, the Hermit of Dole, the Werewolves of Poligny, Jacques Roulet. Some of these alleged occurrences were brought about by the Devil, others were accidental in which the moon (a pagan symbol) played a part.
And so it has continued down to the present – the idea of the man-wolf (a figure from many cultures) appearing in literature and film. Although it has perhaps never enjoyed as much fame as the vampire or Frankenstein, the prowling beast still lurks somewhere in the depths of the human psyche, a potent reminder perhaps that we are not as cultured or civilised as we often profess to be.
Dr. Bob Curran is the author of the new book Werewolves- A Field Guide to Shapeshifters, Lycanthropes, and Man-Beasts released in September, 2009 by New Page Books (ISBN 978-1-60163-089-6).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Vampires on the Loose!

Legendary author Brad Steiger has a new book out right now titled Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside.

My copy arrived in the mail today; and a full-length review will appear right here just as soon as I have digested its blood-soaked pages (okay, I have to confess they aren't really blood-soaked; I just want to try and build up the atmosphere!).

When Brad was in the planning stages of the book, he asked me if I would be interested in submitting some material for the book.
Well, as someone who has been a big fan of Brad's work since my early teens, my answer was, of course: "Yes!"And, so, that's precisely what I did.

In my 6-page article/contribution, titled Welcome to Blood Island, I focused my attention on my various expeditions to the island of Puerto Rico, in search of the island's most legendary blood-sucker: the diabolical and infamous Chupacabras.

The illustrated article details some of the highlights of my trips to Puerto Rico; a wealth of startling eye-witness testimony relative to the beast and its violent attacks; and much more.

As my paper also reveals, not all vampires look like Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, or the many and varied other bygone vampires of yesteryear. Nor do they all resemble the pale-skinned and black-garbed Marilyn Manson-style creatures of the night, with which today's world of Hollywood is seemingly so obsessed.

No: some of them are even more horrific - and top of the list (in my view, at least) is that glowing eyed, razor-clawed, blood-drinking predator, the Chupacabras.

For anyone and everyone interested in vampires of all manner, description and style, Brad's new book is not to be missed!