Searching for the Chupacabra
I was recently asked what I considered to be the top ten of my investigations, cases, road-trips (the list goes on) of the UFO and paranormal kind. Well, that's very difficult to say! I have to say it changes from time to time. And, it's definitely hard to keep it just to ten. I'll give it a try though. Most people, I’m sure, have heard of the exploits of the Chupacabra of Puerto Rico. For years reports have surfaced of a strange creature: part-monkey, part-giant bat, and part-gargoyle roaming the island’s lowlands and rain-forest, and slaughtering animals on a massive scale. I have now been on many expeditions to Puerto Rico in search of the beasts; and each occasion has been a truly memorable one. Collectively, I have spoken with dozens of people who have been able to shed much-welcome light on the Chupacabra puzzle: farmers whose animals have been killed by the beast; civil-defense employees that have investigated such attacks, police officers, journalists, and members of the public.
Without doubt the most fascinating story was that of an elderly lady named Norka, who told me and Jon Downes, on our 2004 trip to the island, that she had seen a bat-winged, glowing-eyed Chupacabra up close and personal way back in 1975 as she drove to her home high in the hills of the El Yunque rain-forest. Then there was Noel, a chicken-breeder who woke up one morning to find all his animals killed, their bodies drained of blood, and the only calling-card being two ominous puncture marks on the necks of each and every one of the bodies. In addition, there have been numerous sightings of UFO on Puerto Rico (along with a couple of crashed UFO tales – one from the 1950s and one from the 1980s), which has led many to conclude that the blood-sucking monster is itself an extraterrestrial. Others suggest the creature has supernatural origins, while some see it as the result of bizarre, genetic experimentation. But, whatever the Chupacabra ultimately may be, I am in doubt that it exists. And, as long as questions need answering, my investigations will continue.
The Roswell Ghosts
Any mention of Roswell, New Mexico inevitably conjures up imagery of high-level conspiracies and X-Files type secrets of a distinctly out-of-this-world nature. Not surprising, given its status as the UFO capital of the world. Numerous books have been written on the still-mysterious events of July 1947, but the answers still elude us. In late 2005, I was offered the opportunity to seek out the answers to Roswell via distinctly alternative means. According to the story, alien bodies found deep in the heart of the New Mexico back in 1947 were secretly transferred to the hospital of what was then the Roswell Army Air Field. By the 1950s, the RAAF had become Walker Field, and the old wooden hospital was replaced by a new brick building. In 1967, however, Walker Field was closed down, and the hospital remained empty until it became the New Mexico Rehabilitation Center.
Interestingly, employees of the NMRC have reported seeing apparition-type figures walking through the corridors and walls of the hospital; figures that some believe are the spirits of the bodies that were allegedly brought to the original hospital all those years ago. So, in October 2005, along with a team of paranormal investigators - and a TV crew - I headed out to Roswell for a week to seek out the truth. And, indeed, staff at the NMRC confirmed the stories and related their own remarkable experiences of the alien-ghost kind. Our investigation culminated in a midnight séance in the old hangar at the former Roswell Army Air Field, as we tried to contact the dead of Roswell. The wind howled, the ceiling creaked, and the psychics were sure that alien messages came through from the other side that night. It was definitely one of the strangest of the many investigations I've been on!
Gateway to the Goat-Man
In January 2008, I headed off into the unknown with paranormal researcher Lance Oliver. The purpose of our quest: to find the Goat-Man of the town of Denton, Texas – a cloven-hoofed, demonic-like beast said to haunt an 1884-vintage steel and wood structure in town known as the Old Alton Bridge. As we arrived at the site and got out of our respective cars, Lance proceeded to tell me the story behind the legend. Decades ago, occultists in the area had apparently been recklessly dabbling in matters of a distinctly negative nature and had inadvertently opened up a doorway or portal that provided the hell-spawned horned and hoofed nightmarish beast access to our world – which was not a good thing at all, Lance rightly commented. That occult and paranormal activity was afoot at the bridge was not a matter of any doubt at all: Lance had a personal awareness that people had been out there, late at night, with Ouija boards; there were stories of satanic cult activity; and sightings of unusual phenomena – such as eerie, localized mists, and floating balls of light, better known in the ghost-hunting community as ‘orbs’ – were strikingly commonplace. Lance also told me, intriguingly, how on one occasion while he was walking the bridge he announced loudly that he did not believe in the existence of the Goat-Man. Then as if from nowhere, but certainly right on time, came the eerie ringing of an invisible bell. Lance, realizing there was not another earthly soul around, wisely elected to reassess his stance on the matter of the Goat-Man’s reality or otherwise. As for me, I kept a careful watch, just in case something hoofed came looming out of the dark trees.
An English Roswell?
In 1991, the now-deceased collector of "Crashed UFO" tales, Leonard Stringfield, revealed that he had been told – by a former U.S. military source – of the crash in 1964 of a UFO on the fringes of one of England’s most notoriously weird areas of woodland: the Cannock Chase. A craft and alien bodies were said to have been recovered, and a high-level cover-up was put into place to hide the out-of-this-world truth. For a couple of years I delved into the tale, but didn’t make any significant headway. That is, until 1996. One year earlier, local UFO investigator, Irene Bott, had established the Staffordshire UFO Group, and promptly began digging into what some soon called a definitive "English Roswell." And it was after a year or so of digging that Irene hit pay dirt. She had been contacted by a man named Harold South who then lived only a few miles away and who claimed to have witnessed the recovery by elements of the military of a small, triangular-shaped craft from the woods in question – which was promptly loaded aboard a large vehicle and headed for destinations-unknown. Not only that: South said that after photographing the mysterious object, his camera-film was confiscated by the local police.
On a dark and cold December 1996 morning, Irene and I headed to South’s home for an in-person interview. When we arrived, a highly shaken South told us the military had phoned him earlier; and, as a result, he was not sure if he should speak to us at all. We were able to confirm that a call had indeed been made to him that very morning: we traced it back to the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Guards Service. Was this evidence that South was still under surveillance as late as 1996 because of his close encounter on the Cannock Chase all those years before? Or was it me and Irene who were being secretly watched? We never really got to the bottom of the puzzle, but it was certainly one of the strangest situations in which I have found myself.
A Creepy Man in Black
I have a keen interest in the mystery of the Men in Black – who have been an integral part of the UFO mystery for decades – and have been fortunate enough to speak with many people who have encountered these creepy characters. One such case, related to me in 1994, by a British woman named Sarah who lives in central England, went as follows: "The door banged really slowly, and when I opened it there was this horrible little man about five feet [tall]. He was dressed in a black suit and tie, and he had a funny little black hat on. His face was really strange: like someone with anorexia. His eyes were dark and his skin was almost white. All he said was: 'We would ask you cease your studies.' I said: 'What?' Then he repeated it. I had to ask what he meant. He said:'The sky lights; always the sky lights.' Then it dawned on me: I’d seen a UFO late at night about a week before when me and my husband had been driving home and we both had a really weird dream after – about some little men standing around our car on the edge of the wood. He gave me a really long stare, like he was going to attack me. But he just walked away. I started to feel dizzy and slammed the door. I just crawled to the bed and fell asleep for about three hours. But when I woke up there was this horrible smell, like burning rubber all through the house. It really shook me up."
Not longer after I moved to the United States to live, in 2001, I was on the receiving end of a strange story of a distinctly gargoyle-like nature from the west Texas city of Littlefield. According to the account – provided by a couple living in the town – matters kicked-off in the early months of 1946 at an old, large house that until the early 1960s had existed on the edge of town, and where two aged and eccentric sisters lived in absolute seclusion. Supposedly, on one occasion in the dead of night (when else?), a group of local kids playing in the area and scaring themselves stupid by walking around the old, dark building had seen two, eight-foot-tall, humanoid creatures climb stealthily out of the building’s cellar. Not only were the creatures eight-foot-tall, they were also grey of skin, had large, leathery wings, and glowing red eyes. In other words, they weren’t local folk. I think. The monstrous pair apparently turned sharply as they surfaced from their underground lair and stared intently at the kids, then broke into a hopping-style run, opened their immense wings and soared majestically into the starlit sky. One interesting observation was that the limbs of the creatures looked almost hollow against the background of the full moon that loomed overhead.
Perhaps even weirder was the fact that as the kids exited the area at what was an unsurprisingly high speed, two of them caught sight of the elderly sisters, grinning maniacally at them out of a downstairs window of the house. The couple also informed me that a similar creature, if not one of the original two, was seen several months later standing in the middle of the local highway by a terrified motorist in the early hours of the morning while issuing a woeful moan. That, in essence, was the account. I had no idea if it was genuine; and, as the couple told me, the key witnesses in the tale had all gone to their graves at surprisingly young ages – all supposedly killed in a variety of seemingly unlikely accidents. A tall-tale designed to see how gullible I was or something stranger? To this day, I’m still not sure what I think about it all.
Big Cats in the Tunnels
England’s London Underground railway system serves Greater London and parts of the counties of Essex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It’s also the world’s oldest underground network of its type: services began on January 10, 1863 on the Metropolitan Railway; and today, the London Underground has no less than 268 stations and approximately 250 miles of track, making it the longest sub-surface railway in the world. In addition, in 2007, over one billion passengers were recorded as having used the Underground since its creation. According to some, however, the London Underground is home to much more than just tracks, trains and commuters: deep within the maze of dark and old tunnels, distinctly strange and diabolical things are said to lurk.
For the last forty years or so, tales have abounded (and are now at almost epidemic levels) of sightings of so-called big-cats on the loose in the British countryside. Precisely what they are, where they come from, and why no-one is seemingly able to capture a specimen, is a matter of heated and on-going debate – and a debate, it would appear, with no end in sight. Long before the present day controversy reared its head, however, the London Underground may very well have been home to one of these elusive beasts. Several years ago, Maureen Abbott told me of her sighting of what she described as a "big black panther" that was "bounding along the track" as she stood awaiting a train on one of the lines, late one Winter evening in either 1954 or 1955. Describing the animal as ‘running very fast’, she said that as it passed her it quickly looked in her direction, and with a "frown on his face," before vanishing into the darkness of the tunnels. Although Abbott did not see the creature again, she never forgot her terrifying encounter with the unknown, deep below the city of London – and I have certainly never forgotten the interview!
Close Encounters of the 1950s Kind
During the early 1950s, my father, Frank Redfern, served with the Royal Air Force as a radar mechanic. He had been involved in several UFO incidents that occurred during September 1952 at the height of a NATO exercise called Mainbrace, when a number of fast-moving and unidentified targets were tracked over-flying the North Sea by radar operators at RAF Neatishead, Norfolk. When he related this to me in 1978, it was a key turning point in my life and ultimately led me on a still-continuing quest to determine the truth that lies behind the UFO puzzle. I made mention of my father’s experience in my first book: A Covert Agenda. Following the publication of the book, a number of important sources came forward to corroborate the remarkable events of September1952 – including Ken Dayman, a radar operator who was stationed at RAF Langton, Lincolnshire at the time. "We would do shifts," Ken told me, "and I would read out the plots and the girls would then plot them on a big map. Well, over the course of two days in 1952, something strange happened. On the first day, somebody said: 'Look, there’s something happening on the screen!' There were about three or four of us watching as something was speeding across the screen; and this was fast, very fast. "It looked like there were actually two objects and they were approaching from the North Sea and flew across Lincolnshire, Peterborough and then up the country at about 2,000 miles per hour. Well, an officer was called and he made some comment. But then our commanding officer arrived and reminded us not to talk about this as we’d signed the Official Secrets Act. But this happened over a couple of days and the UFOs were tracked by several shifts – not just ours." When I interviewed Ken, in 1999, he was still as mystified by the incident as he was back in 1952.
The Taos Monster
Salvador was a man I interviewed in 2002. Having inherited a considerable sum of money in his youth, he was retired by his forties, and lived in the city of Taos, New Mexico. But it was a strange experience that occurred in 1997 he wanted to discuss when we met. A keen astronomer, he had taken his truck out to a spot north of Taos that was free of light, and where he could set up his telescope and scan the sky. Around 1:00 a.m., Salvador recalled, he heard a sound that "was like a high-pitched whistle," but that had a human feel to it. Tthe source of the growling, he suspected, was within thirty feet of him; and he got the impression that a hostile entity was circling him. He sat tight in his truck as the growling continued, when suddenly he could hear the sound of a helicopter. The noise got louder; and finally a large spotlight bathed the area, and the dark form of a black helicopter could be seen. Concerned by the unknown life-form circling his truck, Salvador stood up, and waved frantically in the direction of the helicopter. Suddenly, the helicopter rose into the air and its spotlight was focused upon an area no more than fifty feet from Salvador’s truck. He could now see what had been causing all the commotion: a seven-foot-tall-creature that "looked just like what people say Bigfoot is." The beast, Salvador said, vanished "at a real speed,"with the helicopter in pursuit. Both disappeared as the helicopter’s light grew fainter and darkness returned. A shocked Salvador jumped into his truck and quickly headed home. The encounter was over.
In 1999, I had the opportunity to interview a man who had a curious and somewhat disconcerting UFO encounter in the Staffordshire town of Penkridge, England in the summer of 1985. In this particular case, the witness had previously served in Egypt as a military policeman with the British Army. At approximately 5:00 a.m. on a weekend morning and along with a friend, the man in question had driven to Penkridge to take part in a "duck-shoot" at a river that was situated on nearby farmland. All was normal until around 5:.30 a.m. Suddenly, the man caught sight of a light in the sky that appeared to be moving in his direction and across the fields on the opposite side of the river at a height of what he estimated to be approximately three hundred feet. He watched carefully and with mounting concern as the light came to a complete halt above one particular field and proceeded to fire a beam of light down to the ground. As it did so, the man was able to see illuminated in the beam of the object a herd of cows that were blissfully munching away on their breakfast of grass. Astonished by what he was seeing, the man leapt to his feet; as he did so, however, three smaller lights came out of the larger one – two "swept off" and one, to his horror, headed straight for him. "Don’t point your gun, whatever you do!" the man told me he said to himself. And so what course of action did he take? He made a run for it. Clearing a fence of not inconsiderable height, he ran to his friend and blurted out what he had seen. Both decided to head back to the scene, but the lights had vanished. As for the cows, they were still eating breakfast, seemingly oblivious to the drama that had taken place.