Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weird Weekend in 2006 and the 2013 Tasmania Thylacine Expedition

Tomorrow, I go to Tasmania for the first time ever and its not to sightsee, be a tourist or visit friends. I am going there for a reason. A CFZ expedition is going to hunt for the Thylacine.

We may never see one, never find evidence of one, but what the CFZ do best, is make the effort to go at their own expense. My friend Richard Freeman goes on expeditions every year (sometimes twice a year) to some remote part of the world looking for things - be it the Orang Pendek, Almasty (a Russian bigfoot), the Mongolian Death Worm, or Giant Anacondas in South America.

Most of what Richard comes home with is eye-witness stories, footprints, scat, hairs, but no sightings or photographs. One sighting of the Orang Pendek occurred in the 2009 expedition, but it was not seen by Richard's team.

Our trip may turn up nothing, but at least we make the effort. And have fun doing it! I've been wanting to go on an expedition for years - since I met the CFZ crowd in 2006.

So I will be away from the internet and this blog for two weeks starting tomorrow. We are camping. I hope I have enough stuff and I hope it is not too wet. Cold I can put up with but not too much wet. I am pretty tolerant of weather though.

Below is my account of the 2006 Weird Weekend Conference, North Devon, mid August

I missed my morning train to Exeter St David, but luckily, one hour later, I was put on the 12:05. I connected at Exeter to Barnstaple. I had called Jon Downes and the CFZ crowd at Myrtle Cottage, letting them know, that I'll be an hour late, as they were picking me up from Barnstaple. I waited about half an hour, and I learnt that Lisa and Mark North were on their way. I did not mind waiting. I was too excited to care. Why be stressed when a fun weekend is imminent??

On arriving at Myrtle Cottage, I got to meet Jon Downes, Richard Freeman, Nick Redfern, Darren Naish, Ronan Coghlan, OllLewis, Lars Thomas, Larry Warren, and many others - Even Paul Cropper, a cryptozoologist from Sydney came round.

After I help set up some dinosaurs and a chupacabra in the marquee, Lisa and Richard drove me to my camp site, near their B & B. I set up the tent, then walked to the B & B and on the way met the campsite owner, a friend of Jon's who was also supposed to be coming to the cocktail party that night - he could not make it. I went to the B & B and Lisa and Richard had finished getting ready - we got to the party at 8pm and spent the night laughing, drinking margueritas, and telling morbid stories about cryptid sightings. I missed seeing the dragon pinata being bashed by the kids. Helen turned up - she is Steve's friend from Barnstaple and offered me her sofa couch (which I eagerly took up on the Friday night). I did not feel all that drunk after a while. There were Salty Dog drinks going around aswell.

I had a sleepless night in the tent - I got cold and wet, therefore did not sleep much.  At 9am I walked down the country lane, heading to Clovelly. I walked to a lovely church and its grounds. Devon seems so untouched. On my way back up the road, Richard and Lisa drove past - their B & B sits on a huge hill fort. Resident dog Winston took us on a tour of the hill fort - he actually walked around a set path - it was funny. A lots of the dykes were overgrown with bracken and brambles.

Crop Circles
We went to my campsite and I picked up my bag and we drove to Jon's at 11am. The rest of the day was taken up by chatting lazily, drinking tea in the backyard and eating BBQ cooked by Nick Redfern. A very smokey affair. I think a few of us were tired and hungover, in fact I know we were. But the burgers were great.

That night there were talks on Beast Gods of Ancient Egypt and India, Scandinavian Lake monsters
and Matthew Williams did his talk on Mystery animals and Crop circles. I learnt something interesting about that. I am sorry to say that he and his team made most of the great crop circles we have seen, but the weird thing is, that often they are not alone when they are making these crop circles at night...! At the end of the night I went to stay at Helens instead of wet tent.

Paul Cropper
On Saturday, I decided to miss Richard Ingram's talk on the Fall of civilisations at 10:30am. The next talk that I saw was the Search for Camelot. The speaker kept asking Ronan Coghlan in the front row questions. Ronan knows more on Arthurian Legends.

Paul Crowther came next with the Beast of Bodmin moor - it was not an interesting talk, he was trying to be funny, but he was also rude, and Jon got angry with him after the talk. He was asked to leave the conference. Andreas Trottman did his talk on Lake Monsters and dragon legends of Central Europe.

Paul Cropper did a talk on an Australian Poltergeist story. This was a last minute lecture slot. Someone had pulled out. Firstly, Paul showed us some news breaks from Melbourne television, and other peoples footage of Big Cats and possible Thylacines in the wild. The poltergeist attack was from a house in Humpty Doo in NT. Paul and his friend went to witness a few events and write an article about it. They saw and experienced some weird things.

Jon Ronson (author of 'Men who stare at Goats') did an talk on Bohemian Grove - has anyone else heard of this? The pagan-like ritual that most of the rich leaders of the US attend in North California? (including Bush Snr and Jnr) Very strange. We watched some illegal footage of the ritual. It's on youtube.

Paul Cropper was up again for his talk on The Yowie - Australia's Bigfoot - This was a great talk that
I was looking forward too. Paul came from Sydney - the furthest travelled speaker - he may as well do two talks - they were both fantastic. His book is fantastic.

Nick Redfern did his talk on British security services spying on UFO researchers. It was a talk about conspiracies and how the government keep their eye on Ufologists.

CFZ awards were handed out to people who had provided excellent help over the weekend, and during the year. The final talk for the night was about this years expedition to Gambia to search for dragons and sea creatures. There was news about 'Ninki-Nanka' and large snake that is not recorded in the animal kingdon, yet, causes many people to believe they will die within 5 years of seeing it. Many of them did die. There were some great photos of the trip. Oll, Richard, Suzi, Lisa and Graham went on the trip.

On Sunday, I made it in time to see Paul Vella's Bigfoot talk at 11.30am. What creeped everyone in the hall out the most were the 2 recordings of supposed bigfoot calls. One recording was very bizarre - it was obvious two were speaking to each other - the sounds were strange, but it sounded like words.

Impression of the Ninki Nanka
I missed the next talk Jeremy Harte's 'Drunken Dragons: Capturing the sozzled monster in fact and folklore' - it was actually about wildmen in historical documents

I next saw Chris Moiser's talk on the sighting of the Wrangaton Lion (a big cat sighting in the west counties in the 90's).

Larry Warren did his talk next on the Rendlesham Forest UFO sighting. As I had been to Rendlesham two months earlier, it was good to understand the location. And it was great to actually meet one of the witnesses at this WW. Larry is American, but lives in Liverpool. He showed us a US documentary about the Rendlesham Forest UFO encounter.

The last talk for the day was Ronan Coghlan's 'The Goatmen cometh...' with was enjoyable all round, as he is quite a comedian.

The final part of the night was Jon thanking everyone for their efforts, and as it was Jon's birthday in two days - a cake was brought in.

I had bought Jon's book 'The Owlman and others' and I had him sign it for me. Ronan had given me
signed copies of his two books that afternoon - a free gift! Larry even offered to give me a signed copy of his Rendlesham book too - he'd have to send it to me.
All in all, I had a great weekend and it was everything I hoped it would be - everyone was so nice and I felt like one of them - one of the CFZ team.

Nick Redfern and the monster of the mere

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