Nick Redfern takes us on a dark journey with his new book ‘The World’s Weirdest Places’. Make sure you bring your camping gear and you might wanna consider an automatic rifle. And of course don’t forget your paranormal what nots for this expedition of the weird. The book is filled with great stories just in time for Halloween. A pleasure to get to sit down with Nick Redfern again on Examiner and get him as our personal guide for this walk about of the weird. I hope you enjoy it.
1. So Nick we meet again, telepathic high five! What was your motivation behind writing your new book The World’s Weirdest Places?
NR: Actually, it was the idea of the publisher, New Page Books. They had done two previous books of a similar nature: The World’s Creepiest Places and The Worlds Most Haunted Places. And they asked me if I’d be interested in doing the next one. I said “sure,” and it went from there. The book is basically a study of my favorite, 25 weird places in the world, including Mt. Shasta, California; Reykjavik, Iceland; Halifax, Canada; and the Berwyn Mountains, Wales. UFOs, strange beasts, ghosts, paranormal phenomena and much more appear in most of the places.
2. Okay lets get to the vampires and the weird place that they live. What location are some vampires hiding out at lore wise?
NR: As I note in the book, the ancient Romans and Greeks lived in deathly terror of the vampire-like Striges, and Norse mythology tells of the horrific Draugr. Madagascar is home to the rampaging Ramanga. And the Tagalog haunts the jungles of the Philippines. While certain characteristics and traits may change according to region and century, all of the above entities have one thing in common: they are supernatural creatures, sometimes – but not exclusively – the dead returned from the grave, and all driven by a voracious and violent need to feed on copious amounts of human blood. I also talk about the Morana of the Caucasus Mountains – which also happens to be the very same title applied to a blood-sucking monstrosity that haunts the Dalmatian area of Croatia. For the people of the little towns of the mountains, the Morana exclusively appears in the guise of a beautiful maiden. She is not an example of the dead returned, however. No: the she is actually an it; nothing less than a supernatural shape-shifter whose real form is definitively devilish.
3. Werewolves oh my! How about the werewolves what vacation spot are they inhabiting these days in our weird world?
NR: I have a particular interest in werewolf stories, and in 2007 there was a spate of sightings at a cemetery in the woods of England’s Cannock Chase, situated only about a 15-minute drive from where I grew up. It all began in April 2007, when a local, well respected group of paranormal investigators – the West Midlands Ghost Club – traveled out to the area to investigate newly-surfaced reports of what witnesses described as a large, hairy creature very much resembling a wolf. But, there was something extremely weird about this particular wolf: as well as walking like any normal wolf might, this one had the amazing and uncanny ability to rear up onto its hind limbs, which it invariably did when anyone had the distinct misfortune to cross its malevolent path. One of those whose encounter caught the attention of the club was a mailman who was riding past the cemetery on a motorbike when he became spellbound by the sight of what, at first, he assumed was a large, wild wolf on the loose. This would be extraordinary enough in itself, as the wild wolf is generally acknowledged as having become extinct in the British Isles centuries ago. That the creature was no mere normal wolf, however, became very obvious to the shocked man when it caught his eye, raised itself upwards on its back legs, and bounded away into the countless trees that envelop the cemetery.
4. Which weird place in our world gave you the creeps the most when you were writing this book?
NR: To be honest, I don’t get the creeps. I find all these spooky and weird places very fascinating, but they don’t scare me or intimidate me. I just find it all very interesting. But, aside from a few investigations in my life, I’ve never really felt creeped out at all. Full of adrenalin, yes! But not scared.
5. What can you share with us about Devil’s Gate Dam in California and Jack Parsons?
NR: Stroll along the top of the dam – which is situated in Pasadena, California – for a couple of hundred yards and you will come to a steep, circling and dusty pathway. It is a pathway that, if you dare to follow it, will take you down deep into the heart of mysterious woods, thick and mighty old trees, and winding streams, all of which are overlooked by large, brooding hills. Both dark shadows and deep malignancy dominate this near-hidden area, which is part-natural wildness and part-secluded oasis. Jack Parsons was both an occultist and brilliant rocket-scientist who was a devotee of Aleister Crowley who operated out of that area and, without who, it’s unlikely NASA would exist in the way it does today. But, there have also been a great deal of suicides in the area, murders, and sightings of weird beasts, including a gargoyle-like creature a few years ago.
6. I recently had a winged creature sighting that was strange while riding in the back of a truck in Florida with a witness. Large black wings and then it vanished right before our eyes. What are some winged beasties out there in particular locations you could tell us about? This had been my first paranormal experience in over a year as well and has given me the freaks ever since.
NR: One of the strangest of all is a case from the Vietnam War. It was a calm and muggy summer’s night, only four months before the dawning of the 1970s, and Earl Morrison, who was a private attached to the U.S. Marine Corps at the time in question, was stationed in Vietnam, sitting and chatting with two friends and colleagues atop a bunker situated near to Da Nang, a port city which can be found on the coast of the South China Sea, at the mouth of the Han River. For reasons that Morrison and his friends were never really able to make clear sense of, they all turned their attentions skywards, near-simultaneously, and, to their total astonishment and unmitigated horror, saw a strange and terrifying figure crossing the vast expanse of the evening sky. And, worse still, it was slowly coming right towards them: “We saw what looked like wings, like a bat’s; only it was gigantic compared to what a regular bat would be. After it got close enough so we could see what it was, it looked like a woman, a naked woman.” That has to be one of the strangest of all! But, all around the world there are tales and legends of winged monsters: The United States’ Mothman, the Owlman of England, gargoyles, harpies, etc.
7. Ok the New York City subway story interests me most assuredly what kinda critters are running around down there?
NR: A late-night trip on the New York City Subway, which opened its doors to the world in 1904 and is now home to 842 miles of track and 468 stations, might not be the safest of excursions at the very best of times. But, we’re not talking here about muggers and murderers. No, there are far more dangerous things said to be lurking in those old tunnels, sewer-systems, and platforms that wind and coil their collective way deep beneath the Big Apple. One of the most persistent stories concerning the New York City Subway System is that it is home to a largely hidden population of giant alligators that feast on the hobos, the homeless, the late-night travelers, and just about anyone else that has the misfortune to get in their monstrous and marauding way. Yes, just above everyone knows, and loves, the engaging stories, but most are content to write off such tales as simply friend of a friend yarns and modern day folklore. But, maybe they shouldn’t! There’s also a story of the ghost of a Confederate, Civil War-era soldier being seen on the subway in the 1930s. No idea why though!
8. Taushida, Guyana is said to be a real life Jurassic Park of sorts filled with all sorts of weird beings like lake monsters and hairy ape men. Sounds pre historic with the recent discussion about dinosaurs from scientists living on other planets who may not have ever gone extinct and evolved into possibly advanced beings all this dinosaur stuff interests me more and more lately because it makes sense to me. What can you share?
NR: Guyana is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America and borders a large percentage of the Caribbean Sea. And for adventurers and thrill seekers in search of a solid amount of undeniable mystery and mayhem, look no further than this captivating and enigma-filled land. The mountainous areas that surround the little village of Taushida, Guyana are defined by their beauty, dense jungles, waterfalls, deep caves, luscious foliage and widely varied wildlife. But, they are also defined by their profound strangeness and menace, too. And for such a small place, the sheer level of downright bizarreness attached to Taushida is extraordinary. An ancient tiger-like animal that is said to have the uncanny ability to live in, and even under, the water of the many rivers of the area is spoken of in whispered, worried tones. The locals claim that their very own equivalent of Bigfoot – the Didi, as it is known – inhabits the nearby hills. And giant snakes – anacondas, many say – of an incredible forty to fifty feet in length, and with bodies the widths of oil-drums, coil and slither their terrible way around the land in search of a tasty human or several to satisfy their voracious appetites.
9. My next phase of life is writing a book about my paranormal experiences and perspectives and I also love the horror genre of fiction. I write my butt off but I just need to get into the book frame of mind. So I am trying to balance out Examiner and all my radio show content site work with this new project. Any advice for upcoming writers and what is next on ye ole plate of doom and glee book wise if you can share anything? Thanks Nick always a dark pleasure!
NR: My advice for writers is to treat what you do as a job. Yes, you have to be passionate about it all, as I certainly am. But, if you want to be a successful writer you have to be diligent and focused. Like any self-employed job, you have to plan ahead, keep getting work, pitch ideas to publishers, magazines, newspapers, get the word out, get on the lecture-circuit, radio, TV etc. Get to know the players on the scene. It’s no good sitting around like some idiot waiting for the phone to ring. You have to constantly push and promote yourself, come up with new ideas and themes for articles and books, and keep investigating. Also like any self-employed job, the effort you put in will have an effect on the end result.
So, any upcoming writer – if their heart is really in it, and for the right reasons – should be prepared to put in a lot of effort, 24/7, but the results will be worth it. And self-belief and self-confidence are vital, too. Also, be true to yourself. Write what you want to write about, but don’t ever kiss-ass to try and get “in” with the right people. No-one will respect a writer for that. I certainly wouldn’t. I might give them a good kicking though, to knock some sense into them. As for what I’m up to: a couple more cryptozoology books on the horizon, and maybe a UFO book. As long as I have that enthusiasm and can keep putting out new material that I hope the fans will like, then I’ll keep on doing it. The day it feels like a rock band just playing its old hits just for the sake of it, is the day I’ll do something else. But, I don’t think that will happen if I’m careful about the projects I take on and make sure I keep adding something new, new insights, new data, new theories etc.
The book can be purchased New Page Books
About the Author
Nick Redfern is an author, lecturer, and journalist who writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. His previous books include The Pyramids and the Pentagon; Keep Out!; The Real Men in Black; The NASA Conspiracies; Contactees; and Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, all published by New Page Books. He writes for many publications, including UFO Magazine, Fate, and Fortean Times, and has appeared on numerous television shows, including the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens,Monster Quest, and UFO Hunters; National Geographic Channel’s The Truth about UFOs, and Paranatural; and SyFy Channel’s Proof Positive. He can be contacted at nickredfernsbooks.blogspot.com