Today, I thought I would do something a bit different. Namely, to share with you some of my own photos of the weird kind and the stories behind them. I'll begin with my very own encounter with nothing less than a couple of totally black-colored helicopters. It all went down one afternoon in 2018. At the time everything turned odd, I was in my office writing an article for the very company I'm writing for right now: Mysterious Universe. Due to the fact that I was so deep into the heart of the article, it took me a minute or so to realize that the helicopters weren't going anywhere, or anytime, soon. In fact, it sounded like they were right above my apartment and had no intention of going away. I was right. I went outside to find that was exactly what happened. And, so, I shot off a few pictures. I have to say it was pretty cool to see a pair of completely unmarked helicopters prowling around my tiny apartment and almost causing it to rumble, so low they were in the sky. It was my first and (so far...) last encounter with those legendary craft. All I need now is a black Cadillac outside of my front-door. And, with that all said, here's one of the photos I took on that memorable, strange afternoon.
Back in the 1990s, I spent a lot of time in Wiltshire, England. As most of you will know, that's the county where most of the Crop Circles are found each and every year. And, the one thing you can say for sure is that those Crop Circle formations are huge and intricate. Well, most of them are. But, not always. It's a lesser-known fact that now and again you'll see a collection of small circles - and to the extent that it's very easy to miss them. This one, below, is a perfect example. I came across it in 1999 while I was trekking through one particular Wiltshire field. In fact, there there were eight such small circles, all in the same field, but none jaw-dropping in the slightest. No elaborate formations and amazing creations. Something that made me wonder was this: why did the person behind it even bother to create it, at all? Had I not bothered to go through what I thought was a totally "clean" field, I would never have seen these particular mini-Crop Circles. I doubt many others saw it/them, them. Should you ever find yourself in Wiltshire, England during the summer months, take a look around for not just the large formations, but the small ones, too. They're just as interesting.
It may look like any stretch of road in the English countryside. But, I assure you it isn't. This particular road links the Staffordshire, England towns of Hednesford and Rugeley, and cuts right through the heart of the Cannock Chase - a locale I have written about on many occasions and which is an absolute hotbed of high-strangeness. But, there's something about this specific part of the road that is particularly intriguing. You'll see the bus-stop sign on the right of the picture. It's right around there - where there is a downhill turning that leads to the tiny old hamlet of Slitting Mill - that there has been a deep concentration of weirdness for years. In 1972, a man named Nigel Lea saw a definitive ghostly black dog right here. Three years later, a family encountered on the road what they described as a number of "hairy trolls." And, in 1995, a woman named Jackie Houghton witnessed a large, shambling Bigfoot-type beast make its way across the road at the very place where I took the accompanying photo. Although the Cannock Chase is undeniably weird - period - there are several "hot-spots" on the Chase, such as this one, that stand out and practically scream" "Window Area"and "Portal."
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 Redstar 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 dog being turned into a solid block of stone, forever thereafter resigned to a lonely vigil in the waters. Folklore? Of course. But, engaging folklore, nevertheless.
One of the interesting things about living here in Arlington, Texas is that you're never far from things of a Ufological, Cryptozoological, or conspiratorial nature. Drive east for 25-minutes and I can be at the infamous Grassy Knoll in downtown Dallas where JFK got whacked in November 1963. Go north for 45-minutes and I can be in the town of Denton, the site of the Goat-Man bridge. And, head west for about the same amount of time and you will reach the little town of Aurora - the alleged site of a UFO crash way back in 1897, after the craft is said to have collided with the windmill of a certain Judge Proctor. Yep, this is the old tale of the people of the town supposedly burying - in the local cemetery - the dead alien said to have been found at the scene. Whenever I have friends in town, they always want to see the cemetery, and of course I'm pleased to oblige! After all, whether or not there's anything to the tale, it has become an undeniable piece of Ufological history/folklore and legend.
People often ask me how I got involved in the weird world of Forteana. Well, there were a couple of particular reasons: (1) my dad worked on radar while he was in the British Royal Air Force and was involved in a couple of UFO incidents that, eventually, he chose to tell me about; and (2) when I was a little kid, my parents took me to Loch Ness for a day, and, as a result, I became fascinated, excited and enthralled by the mystery of the monster. But, there was another reason too. I grew up literally only about a ten-minute drive from the scene of one of the most notorious events in early 20th Century British history - the strange affair of one George Edalji. A resident of the town of Great Wyrley, Edalji was convicted of slashing and maiming horses in 1903 - events that provoked outrage and fear, and even attracted the attention of none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who firmly believed Edalji to be innocent of the attacks. But, there were a lot of Fortean aspects to the Edalji affair too. Rumors flew around the area at the time that the attacks were the work of a "hypnotized ape;" "a malicious aviator" or huge bird; a pack of trained wild-boar (yeah, I know that's an oxymoron of the highest order!); or diabolical occultists.
The photo below (taken by me) shows St. Mark's Church, Great Wyrley, at which George Edalji's father, the Reverend Shapurji Edalji, was the vicar. Who would have guessed that such a pleasant-looking place would be so tied to such dark secrets and diabolical events?
Whatever the truth of the matter, the story of George Edalji became legendary - and still is to the people of Great Wyrley. And, growing up just down the road from where all the old carnage, killing, and high-strangeness occurred is yet another - little-known - reason why I gravitated to the world of all-things weird.