Today's article focuses on some of my stranger times on the road. I took this photo, below, about twenty years ago inside the vaults of the U.K.'s National Archive (which, at the time, was still called the Public Record Office). Well, I used the photo in an article on the British government's UFO files. And what a controversy it caused! A paranoid lunatic sent a letter to the magazine claiming that "only government people are allowed in the vaults." His near-inevitable conclusion: I was (and in his mind, I probably still am!) working for the government. Or "THEM," as they are known to one and all in Paranoia Land. Had the idiot actually taken the time to check with me before firing off his letter, he would have learned that I had taken a train to London to do some filming in the archives with the BBC. It was a documentary on UFOs and the government. The BBC had sought, and received, permission for us to film in the vaults. Thus, a non-story was elevated to one in which I played a starring role as a "secret agent" of the government - and all because I happened to take a photo in the vaults of the National Archive. No wonder I sometimes despair of Ufology.
The National Archives, Kew, U.K. (Nick Redfern)
This particular photo was taken by me back in 2005, when I was racing around the island of Puerto Rico with Paul Kimball, and his Red Star Films crew, in search of the blood-sucking nightmare known as the Chupacabra. It shows the scene from my hotel-room window, and as you'll note, where the waves are hitting the rocks, you can see a large, jagged piece of rock standing up like Nessie's neck. Well, no it's not the neck of some ancient serpent of the water! But, it does have a notable legend attached to it that is widely known on the island. So the tale goes, centuries ago a fisherman headed out to sea at that very point and never returned. The man’s faithful hound, however, waited patiently at the shore for his master to come home, but it was never to be. Such was the dog’s devotion, his long and lonely years-long vigil resulted in the animal being turned into a solid block of stone, forever thereafter resigned to a lonely vigil in the waters. Of course, it's a piece of folklore, but an engaging piece of folklore.
Puerto Rico's "Stone Dog," 2005 (Nick Redfern)
Back in September 2009, me and author Greg Bishop traveled to Angel Fire, New Mexico (in definitive road-trip style), where we were both due to lecture at a weekend-long conference covering everything from crashed UFOs to underground bases, and Cryptozoology to the supernatural. Its name: The Paranormal Symposium. But, as someone who spends much of their time investigating sightings and reports of strange creatures, what I found fascinating was that Angel Fire (the picture above was taken in town that same weekend) was an absolute hotbed of monstrous activity! On the Saturday night, Greg and I headed into town and ate at a Mexican restaurant that served truly fine food and drinks. Our waitress, overhearing us talking about the conference, somewhat amusingly asked if we were "scientists" – we most certainly aren’t, I hasten to add! – and then told us of a number of Bigfoot sightings in the area. What was particularly curious, however, was that none of the creatures seen locally exceeded five feet in height. In other words, Littlefoot was on the loose. There was also the woman who came up to me on the second day of the gig to relate how she had seen a giant, spectral, pterodactyl-type beast flying above a road just outside of town a couple of years earlier, and which eerily echoed a 2006 event at Wisconsin that indirectly led to my appearance on the History Channel's Monster Quest’s Mothman episode in 2009.
Angel Fire, New Mexico, 2009 (Nick Redfern)
Stonehenge is a place I've been to many times. And, I can say for sure that it has attracted a wealth of weird phenomena. Back in 1998, a British UFO researcher named Tony Spurrier invited me to give a coach-based tour around some of Wiltshire's enigmatic and paranormal hot spots, which proved to be very successful, and which took in trips to Stonehenge, Avebury, and various other locations in the ancient county of Wiltshire. So, I did what I do what I often do: I hit the road. While at Stonehenge, one of the attendees on the tour - a former soldier with the British Army - told us of his late-night encounter at Stonehenge with a huge, black, "Flying Triangle"-style UFO that was hovering at a low-level over the old stones back in the early 1990s. Another told of seeing a very tall, black-cloaked figure moving amid the stones in the early 1980s who vanished before her eyes - and I do mean vanished...literally! It was just another day on the road...