Monday, October 24, 2011


MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: LONDON By Neil Arnold, published by the CFZ, is now available. The long wait is finally over. This much anticipated book is the first of its kind to venture forth into the concrete jungle of England's capital city and unravel fantastic, yet true tales of monsters and mysterious beasts. From yarns spun pertaining to strange creatures in the River Thames, to odd things-a-flutter in the skies of the city. Supernatural animals, beasts escaping from menageries, sightings of exotic cats such as leopards and lynx and the Surrey puma, and not forgetting a whole host of weird and wonderful arcane animals cast from the Ark. MYSTERY ANIMALS OF...LONDON weighs in at more than 300 pages, is richly illustrated and indexed, and proves once and for all that the greenest corners, dankest sewers, and darkest streets can still harbour all manner of elusive and out of place creatures. So, if you're thrilled, or repulsed by tales of flesh-eating giant rats, prowling alligators, blood-sucking fish, rampant wolves, swooping eagles and vultures, ghostly lions, spectral bears, phantom chickens and real life vampires, then MYSTERY ANIMALS OF...LONDON is perfect for campfires constructed on a crisp autumnal night. The book is available from Amazon and all good bookshops.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rare stalked jellyfish found in Kent

Kent - where the wild things are! Or maybe not!

In July the Kentish Express ran an article (written by James Scott) concerning the variety of unusual animals which Kent Police have received reports of. The article tends to make a mockery out of those genuine witnesses who DO see strange animals in the Kentish wilds. Sadly, the article, which features a table of sightings filed by the police - lists alleged reports of an emu, a cheetah, and several vague 'wild cats' and 'big cats' and even a wolf. The list also mentions sightings of dholes (wild dogs) which isn't as bizarre as it sounds considering a few years ago one of the local zoo parks had a few escape. However, whilst witnesses do see and report regular sightings of 'big cats' such as lynx, puma and black leopard, many of these aren't taken seriously, and we can see why!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The spectral hound that ate the brains of soldiers!

A few years back, Peter Cook, in writing his The Way We Were column for the Medway Messenger, dredged up a sinister tale from the files of bygone ghost-hunter Frederick Sanders. Under the heading 'Midnight trip to 'island of ghosts' at river mouth', Cook wrote, 'Dead Man's Island lies at the point where the Swale meets the Medway. It is well named. About 200 years ago dozens of French soldiers taken prisoner by the British were buried there. These men of Napoleon's army had been cooped up in the fetid atmosphere of prison hulks anchored on the Medway. They had died of the bubonic plague. In June 1950, two intrepid journalists - Duncan Rand and Frederick Sanders, made a midnight trip to examine this "island of ghosts".

'At that time, many of the coffins were exposed with the lids gone. Mr Sanders was particularly intrigued by the fact that none of the skeletons revealed was in possession of its skull. Neither had any skull ever been found on the island. Mr Sanders recalled a legend of a huge spectral hound which ranged across the Medway marshes, digging up the coffins and flipping open the lids to consume the dead men's brains. The two explorers were ferried out to a part of the island known as Coffin Bay, where they were marooned for the night. "We found may broken coffins and hundreds of bones but no skulls," they later reported.

'The natural phosphorescence given off by the river's micro-organisms added to the atmosphere, and what appeared as warriors "black and gaunt in the moonlight" turned out to be piles driven into the mud to define the Smugglers Gut channel. As the tide returned, the men ran the risk of being cut off and joining the "spectral army". But three flashes from a torch brought a dinghy sploshing towards them.'