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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Beast Of Faudiere –Mystery Killer

A "Cold Case" Too Old? 

My intention, a few years back, was to test potential French collaborators on various projects by giving them an assignment that would be tough.

Having proven beyond any real doubt just what The Beast of Gevaudan and what the Girt Dog of Ennerdale had been, I tried long and hard to identify or even get additional information on a French case of 1800.  

If an investigator could come up with more than a non-French speaking/reading English idiot could then I'd assume he was acceptable. With a little extra, here is the account as given in Some More Things Strange & Sinister.
 Believe me, I have spent five years trying to find out more about this report [1].  I have scoured as many of the newspaper titles as I can from the United Kingdom at that time.  However, in the early days news was received in letter form from Englishmen or travellers abroad –everything from food shortages, crime and much more.    

It may well be that some other newspaper also published a piece on this but it is more than likely only one did!

This is where French researchers who know the newspaper/local record system can help. 

                    “A Letter from Nantes,dated July 19,says,
                    “Yesterday evening about eight o’clock,a wild
                    beast devoured two girls,one about twelve,and
                    the other seven years of age,the daughters of a
                    farmer in the Commune of Chevroliere.  The
                    animal immediately after took shelter in the fo-
                    rest of Faudiere.  It appeared to be larger than
                    a wolf,had a snout about a foot long,and a very
                    formidable set of teeth.”

Of course,folk,especially those living in the country,knew what a wolf looked like.  And certainly no wolf would devour [not wholly I assume] two children even if small and young –running off with a body would be more like it.
So,if not a wolf, just what was The Beast Of Faudiere?

 Certainly there were a lot of "Beast of---" back in those days -and there still are!  But the Beast of Benais has been covered well by John Knifton:

 But the beast of Faudiere....maybe one day!


1.      The Caledonian Mercury,2nd August,1800

Some Times....

 ...Coincidences ARE Stranger Than Fact

A lot of things in my files, reports, notes etc., I still treat as confidential.  Most of those associated with the AOP Bureau are now dead but as I found out recently, their families are very clear that names not be published.  Pity really. But the families of Lords and Ladies as well as ranking military men can afford the lawyers!

But this is the problem I am left with and I will not waver from having given my word (over 40 years ago) on confidentiality.

With reports there are other problems.  At the very outset I pointed out to "The Committee" that if we expected astronomers, meteorologists as well as military persons to cooperate with the work then there had to be something in place to guarantee them anonymity.  My idea was the Joint Scientific Intelligence Communications Document (JSICD).

As the AOP Bureau expected to exchange and forward reports as well as information the term "Intelligence" was used.  Ufologists jumped on this and I was told it was "very James Bondish" and even sounded "very fantasy".  This showed the narrow thinking of Ufologists. "Intelligence", "Intelligencer" was a word used in old newspaper titles and magazines.  It referred to gathered news and information not spying and I got sick of explaining that to dim-wits.  JSICD just meant that a document containing reports, analysis and technical information was guaranteed confidentiality. Then some astronomer said "Yes but what about-" and so the JSICD had to be ammended and each time was designated an amendment letter so by 1995 we had gone from JSICD (A) to JSICD (I).

It just guaranteed confidentiality of persons involved nothing more.  It was always taken for granted the Grey Book project itself would last ten years (1977-187) but eventually, I was the only one left alive so officially stopped Grey Book in 1995.

All these years later, I think it "safe" to reveal bits and pieces and what went on "behind the scenes" could get odder than the reports we received.

You know, Franklyn Angus Davin-Wilson really ought to be far better known than he is. That's him to the right with that smile!

I first met Franklyn at a Bristol meeting of the British Flying Saucer Bureau (BFSB f. 1953) back in 1976, I think. I was speaking to a few people and grabbed a break when this short, skinny chap wearing a Russian style fur hat came up to me. Someone said to me:"That's Franklyn Davin-Wilson" and then moved off. Franklyn stretched out his hand and beamed a huge smile -displaying a large set of canid teeth. I shook his hand and said "Fox teeth aren't they?" His smile grew as he popped out the false set of teeth he had a dentist make from fox teeth. "I like you!" he said.  Apparently people normally gasped or backed off when he gave them his vampiric smile!

Franklyn had become interested in UFOs reports after leaving the army in the 1960s and reading the accounts of astronomers and astronauts about their own encounters. A former Bristol Grammar School student (the BGS seemed to spawn, uh, "eccentrics"!) he was a founding member of the British Computer Society as well as a keen astronomer. Franklyn was a constant ally while I was at the BFSB as a committee member and later editor of its UFO News Bulletin and his support continued on into the days of UFO International.  Along with Dennis Cowdy, a founder in 1952 of Manchester Flying Saucer Research, Franklyn was at the core of the Anomalous Observational Phenomena Bureau and Project Grey Book.

Franklyn advocated that every published UFO account should not be accepted as suitable for inclusion unless there was a second or third source -even then, the more sources the better and if you could check the report yourself -much better.  This has stuck to me every day since.

In the mid-1970s Franklyn even advocated the use of computers in UFO reports analysis and also for the analysis of UFO photographs.  He did design a computer card system for BUFORA but they seemed to drop the idea.

His specialist field of research were Signals From Space, Astronomers and UFOs, Unidentified Orbital Objects and photographic analysis.

Franklyn could be somewhat fractious at times when dealing with fools and although interested in the possibility, after speaking to Leo Sprinkle at a BUFORA Convention (scribbled on a margin of the notes of his meeting is :"The Day Mountbatten was murdered") on retrievals of crashed "flying saucers", Franklyn was in two minds because "so many of the buggers are supposed to have crashed!"

As seemed to be his wont, Franklyn often set me off on searches and some lasted decades -"The Vampiric Sheep Killer of Badminton" started after Franklyn mentioned the case featured in The Books Of Charles Fort and thirty years later I wound the whole mess up and even discovered a lynx had been shot at the time. The full story can be found in The Red Paper: Canids.  The other little mystery that took up many years was "The Dead Aquatic Creatures Of Canvey Island" -again, detailed in Some Things Strange & Sinister.

There are others but I still keep busy on those.

On New Years Eve, 1983, Franklyn felt unwell and went to bed.  He died of a heart attack caused by a possible blood clot.  He was around 43 years old. He was the third member of the AOP B to die of a heart attack (Dennis Cowdy was the first) but his loss was deeply felt and his research notes are still with me.  Every new years eve at Midnight I remember the old sod.

Some of my strangest moments were with Franklyn.

In the 1970s after late night meetings we would drive back to where I lived in Downend and we would often talk for an hour or two in his car before I was "released"! We were discussing signal frequencies on one dry Summer night -Franklyn had been talking about this at a meeting.  So, out of the blue, Franklyn suggested we use his specially converted car radio to send a signal out to "any green little buggers -or tall, blond Venusian women!"  I joked that it was worth a try in an attempt to humour him.

Franklyn sent out a Morse Code signal. We sat in the silence listening -only the occasional owl call interrupting the silence.  We started to nod off.  Suddently, we sat bolt up-right: a strange, guttural voice was coming from the car speaker.  Franklyn's response was: "Ah. I didn't expect that!"

So Franklyn send another Morse message and the voice came through again. We just could not understand what was being said.  Franklyn tapped out the code again and the voice seemed snappier in tone.  We checked frequency, direction but could not explain what was going on.

"You don't suppose-?" asked Franklyn rather sheepishly and before he even finished I told him I did not think it was an alien.  At Franklyn's insistence I opened the passenger door window to look up "in case". The voice suddenly became clearer.  We were being warned that we were "fouling up" an emergency radio band.  With the speed of light, Franklyn disconnected his radio and turned to me with a rather sheepish grin: "Perhaps this ought to be our little secret?" he suggested.  And it was.  Until now.

On another occasion, Franklyn had decided that some of my talks needed props.  In the 1976-1983 period I wrote numerous articles and gave talks on, obviously, Alien Entity and CE IIIK cases.  I dreaded what he had planned but just before I was about to leave to give the talk in question the doorbell rang.  On my doorstep was a 6 feet (1.8m) tall figure in all encompassing lycra-like suit and  -only the face was uncovered. Suddenly,  a 3 feet (90cms) high little figure with large head and dressed in silver came into view: "Now say you don't believe in us!"   came the campy mocking voice.  The props had arrived.

The demonstrate various entity types (there were no "Greys" back then), Franklyn had scoured old shop bins until he found a mannequin and then the necessary clothing.  A childs doll (a rather large one!) was found and its head replaced with an adult mannequin head that he had worked on. Silver spray-paint and job done.

Giggles abounded at the talk but the props made the point.  Talk over, the 'aliens' were loaded into Franklyn's car.  We had to go back to his home to drop things off but as we were heading back to Downend we both realised we had a couple of aliens seated behind us. It was eventually around Midnight that we arrived in Downend (where all activity seemed to stop after 5 P.M. on Winter evenings) but such was my insomniac reputation that two old friends were waiting.  One was an RAF man the other in the Army and both were in uniform.  Franklyn suggested getting the props so while I made coffee he and my two friends went to the car to get them.

A female journalist who had been covering UFO stories was on her way back from covering a UFO sighting and with her was a press photographer.  She decided to call in and so her car had arrived only a few minutes before the photographer said "Look!"  The duo watched as they saw me over-seeing two military men as they walked to the back of my house...carrying a dead alien in a clear body bag. The photographer realised -too late- that his loaded camera was in his lap.

Things looked bad for me but it got worse.

I got to know a few police officers and some had a very wry sense of humour.  A patrol car pulled in behind the journalists wondering what they were doing.  The officers approached the car and spoke to the duo who explained what they had seen. One officer then told them: "Mr. Hooper is engaged in secret work of a nature we cannot divulge but we must ask you to move on and say nothing of what you have seen. Understood?"  The journalist nodded and they drove off.
Outside a radar unit RAF Manston c 1979

So, next day, after talking to her editor, the journalist contacted me.  She explained that she and a colleague had seen me lead two military men carrying a small, large headed body wearing silver in a plastic bag into my house.  Also, they had been cautioned by on duty police officers who told her they were "on security detail."    As I tried to explain the situation (the two policemen had told me about a joke with a couple in a car) it all seemed very odd...two military men...a dead alien...police on security duty.  I then learnt that the photographer had completely forgotten to take photographs due to shock at what he was seeing.  Pity.

A very embarassing moment came one Winter's night when Franklyn answered the phone for me.  A woman reported that she had gotten home after a weekend away and was observing an orange ball of light over her house.  The police had given her my number and when I talked with her I learnt that the ball of light was about 2 feet (60cms) in diameter and seemed to be moving around a chimney stack. "To the Bat-mobile!" shouted Franklyn as he ran to get the car ready.

Another mad drive and we arrived in the Clifton area of Bristol. And there, as the woman pointed out, was the orange ball of light, slightly flickering.  Two police officers who had been called to the scene were asked whether they had gone up to check it out? "Sorry, mate" said one with a smirk "burglars we investigate but UFOs -you're the professional!"  I turned to Franklyn and told him one of us needed to go up onto the roof.  He wished me good luck and added "It'll help cure your vertigo!"

So, I got up onto a wooden shed, then the house extension and up a fire ladder (never used but in good shape thankfully) and on to the flat roof of the house. I took out a pen knife with the aim of tossing it into the ball of light -I never saw the old lead pipe on the ground.  I literally went flying.  Apparently, the police below saw me reaching for the light then scream out (more a yell really) and I was down.  The police entered the house with Franklyn and the owner in pursuit.

Rubbing my knees, I went over to the light that just was not convincing turned out to be an old roofers lamp that was still wired in and seemed to be shorting out.  So much for a "mini UFO".  But why was there a woman screaming inside the house?

The skylight opened up behind me and up popped Franklyn's head -a big grin on his face. "We're having much more fun down here!" he told me.  I disconnected the lamp and walked over to the skylight and looked down. On the staircase stood the woman, very embarassed and uttering "sorries" all round. The smiling policemen were leaving.  "What the hell is going on?" I asked myself.

A young woman in a bathrobe came from a bedroom followed by a hurriedly dressing young man.  Apparently, the woman's daughter, who was supposed to be away, invited her boyfriend for the weekend and at one point adjusted the roof top TV antenna and had pushed the wire from the roofers lamp back into a hole on the chimney -causing the shorting.  The couple were then "amorously involved" when the daughter noticed a large bearded man skulking past the skylight (I'd not even seen it).  My yelling out followed by her screaming and all sorts of things were being assumed -especially as I had 'vanished'- and all rushed to the rescue.

Oh, how Franklyn thought it was so funny. He even told me: "You know, as I saw you climbing onto that shed I suddenly thought that it would have been easier to ask the house owner to let us in so you could get up onto the roof"  and when I said "Well, why didn't you say anything?" the reply was "I didn't want to spoil your 'moment' of course!"

At least on other occasions Franklyn and I chased UFOs together -particularly at Cradle Hill, Wiltshire. Fun days.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Do YOU Really Support Creators?

Apparently, 102 people checked out the closing notice last November.  Not surprising.  What is surprising is that 1766 people (without me doing the usual social media shares) clicked on to view a Black square.

A black square.  Nothing else.  It was just put there to signify closing of the site.

So why am I posting again?  Well, I doubt this will be permanent though that would be fun. You see, there is a very under rated British comics creator named Ben R. Dilworth. He keeps checking my blog stats (I don't) and told me of the number of recent views.

"Post something. See what happens" he said. Well, I had a headache and my joints were in pain so I was not doing much else so why not?

And a good few people visited the blog -and the UK Golden Age blog.  But this is the problem.  You see, I take time to scan and post here. The whole point of doing this was for fun but also to sell some of my books because, and people do not realise this, I need to eat and pay bills.

With my Comic Bits Online blog, Google+ and all the sites that pick up items as they are posted "I" have had around 8 million views. That is since 2010.

Now that takes a LOT of work and I normally do not care but no one ever comments. Items I post are stolen and used by others as 'their' work.  People pop on to whichever blog, read then go.

This I don't care about. But someone said "unknown,un-named faceless people read and take and probably do not give a crap about you and go".  All the viewshave resulted in sales for other publishers -they tell me how sales rise after a review or whatever on CBO. Me? I think I've sold ten books since 2010 due to a posting.

So, though this is fun, if only 4 people (who ordered those 10 books) out of 8 million buy...well, I think it makes my point to Mr. Dilworth. You cannot argue with the facts.

And you cannot force people to buy your books on a subject -say UK Golden Age comics- if all they want is to grab something free off the internet. I have books on the UK Golden Age with HUNDREDS of pages and Penguin Flight Osaka has mixed some in with its Come On! Comic. Also Black Tower super Heroes mixes Golden, Silver and modern strips. 

And the Maakika art is in a book.

But to see that material people need to buy.  People will not buy.  They want free.

That doesn't work for me as I struggle to save my company (though it may be past saving) and earn money. This is how well I am doing: due to ill health I depend solely on a government benefit. Yet I have thousands of comic book pages covering different genres readily available for people to buy.

Without the support of people who view these posts -you- via book sales then that's it. Look at it from my point of view: work like a maniac while rotting away on a low benefit or simply stop. No one is interested. What would you do because, after 40 years, I'm all burnt out.

ps. Yes, I know, "So what?"

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

So, Hunters Finally Killed Something Off....Again.

Technically, there is only one species of vermin on this planet.  Humankind.

If you live in the wilderness and have to hunt to survive (though in this day and age that is questionable) that's it.  What we are seeing is just part of the problem with the United States.  "It's my right to kill everything" is not actually set out in law and, in fact, points to a mental disorder because "killing for fun" and posing smiling with what you've killed and the urge to do it even more without the slightest thought about what you've done...that's socio-pathological behaviour and I would certainly never live within 20 miles of someone with that mindset (I'd check to see if any people have gone missing nearby, too).

Shooting up schools, shopping malls, cinemas and slaughtering wildlife indicates a very deep psychological scar that America needs to treat.  Killing predators off in their hundreds so that you have more deer, elk and other prey animals to kill...almost psychopathic in nature.

Krista Langlois has written about this:

And here is the Guardian story:

Long-studied Alaskan wolf pack may be dead after years of aggressive hunting

East Fork wolf pack, found near Denali, was first researched in the 1930s and had shrunk significantly this year – and it’s now believed all may have perished.

The world’s longest-studied wolf pack may have been wiped out, wildlife officials fear amid an escalating battle between federal and state authorities in Alaskaover the aggressive hunting of predators such as wolves and bears.
The East Fork wolf pack, found near Denali, North America’s tallest mountain, was first researched in the 1930s and provided the first detailed accounts of wolf behavior and ecology. But years of hunting, trapping and habitat disturbance reduced numbers to just one known female, a male and two pups earlier this year. It’s now believed all may have perished.

Bridget Borg, a biologist at the National Park Service, said that the body of the radio collared male wolf was seen at a hunting camp and there appears to be no sign of the female nor pups.
“We investigated a den site after,” Borg told Alaska Public Media. “There was clear evidence it was not being used as evidenced by vegetation that was growing around the entrance to the den site.”
Three of the four pack members fitted with tracking collars have now been killed by hunters in the past year. The possible demise of the entire pack, which was once a common sight for visitors entering Denali, also America’s largest national park, is likely to heighten criticism of Alaska’s intensive hunting of its largest predators.
On Friday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that hunters will not be allowed to conduct “predator control” in Alaska’s vast national refuges unless there are exceptional circumstances. National wildlife refuges span more than 73m acres of Alaska, including the 20m acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – the largest land-based protected area in the US.
The move prohibits controversial practices such as the killing of bear cubs or their mothers, bear baiting and the targeting of wolves and coyotes during the spring and summer denning season. The shooting of bears from a plane or helicopter will also be restricted. However, subsistence hunting by indigenous communities will still be allowed.
Alaska reinforced the trapping and shooting of predator animals after the Republican senator Frank Murkowski was elected as governor in 2002.
His successors, including Sarah Palin, have all supported a policy of “intensive management” that removes wolves and bears with the goal of boosting moose and caribou numbers for hunters. This stance has led to significant numbers of bears and wolves being killed if they wander away from national park land.
But the state has repeatedly clashed with the FWS, which has now decided to clamp down on hunting on federal land. Dan Ashe, director of the FWS, said “special interest groups” have worked to undermine the protection of species and landscapes.
Public lands are “not game farms managed for a slice of their diversity for the benefit of a few people who would call themselves hunters”, Ashe said. “Nor are they places where we can or should allow the practices authorized under Alaska’s ‘intensive predator management’ initiative.
“In the name of hunters and hunting, [Alaska has] approved shooting of brown and grizzly bears over bait; shooting mother bears with cubs, and even the cubs themselves; targeting bears and wolves from planes; and killing wolves and wolf pups in their dens. This is not sportsmanship.”
Conservationists and some scientists welcomed the decision, pointing out there is little evidence that culling bears and wolves actually leads to a big increase in prey species.
“Alaska’s economy depends on the lure of grizzly bears, wolves and other megafauna, and this rule will go a long way toward keeping the living capital in place, ”said Michael Haukedalen, Alaska state director for the Humane Society
But Alaska’s department of fish and game claimed the the new FWS regulations “override the state’s sovereign authority” to manage wildlife.
“This is continued erosion of the state’s authority to manage fish and wildlife for the benefit of Alaskans,” said Bruce Dale, director of Alaska’s division of wildlife conservation. “Moose, caribou, deer are important sources of natural food and food security for many Alaskans and cornerstones of the subsistence way of life.”
Alaska Republican congressman Don Young said he will “work every angle in congress” to repeal the new FWS rule, arguing that it is against the law.
“If this rule is allowed to stand, we could see an opening for future jurisdictional takings by the federal government, transforming a cooperative relationship between Alaska and the Fish and Wildlife Service to one of servitude,” Young said.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Quest for Bigfoot - An Unknown Species ( trailer)

I keep my mind open so I'll be trying to watch this when it starts.  Hopefully, it will not be a Finding Bigfoot type programme (though it seems likely).

Hearing knocks and finding a tree branch bent over...hmm. End part sounds interesting!

Friday, 29 July 2016

About The "Mystery" Books

So, I was asked: "Why don't you actually tell people your books are currently all available at reduced prices?"
I think I must have stared blankly.  I thought I had.

That's age!

Let me explain because I should have done so way back.

The Red Paper: Canids is over 40 years of work and research compressed into one fully illustrated and referenced volume.  For that reason the normal price is a piddling £20.00.  However, back in May I reduced the cover price for a limited time to £10.00 and my intention is not to keep it that low much longer since it is a 50% discount! 

And the Truth About Spring Heeled Jack was discounted to more than 50%. It will cost you £7.00 rather than the normal £15.00.

Some Things Strange & Sinister is over 300+ pages and fully referenced, illustrated and opening up files I'm accumulated over 40 years.  Normally the book would cost £25.00 but is currently on sale for £15.00!

Some More Things Strange & Sinister, again, is 40 years worth of work and another big volume that should be £25.00 but is currently £15.00.

Pursuing the Strange & Weird: A Naturalist's Viewpoint, again, incorporates decades of work and opinion into a volume that, normally, should cost you £20.00 but is currently only £15.00. So, another bargain!

These reductions were all made specifically for readers of this blog and there is a cut off point of mid-August.  Everything goes back to the normal price because giving the books away isn't the plan!

Having just checked -I did announce these were special offers in May.  So, I'm not as senile as I first thought!