Nick's most recent book Monster Files was just released. If you, like me, have ever wondered what knowledge certain government sectors possess concerning Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabra's and giant sea serpents - this is the book for you!
Monster Files, his thoughts on, and work pertaining to, Cryptozoology, and the future of this important field of study. I'd like to take a moment to say a huge thank you to Nick Redfern for putting aside time from his busy schedule to answer my questions. I also want to extend my thanks to Simon over at Warwick Associates for this opportunity.
Aura: What is your definition of Cryptozoology?
Nick: My definition of Cryptozoology is probably very different to the definitions of many of those who share similar interests. Whereas Cryptozoology is basically the study of unknown animals, I’m not at all sure that the things I go looking for are just animals. Some of them definitely are, such as Orang-Pendek, which I’m absolutely convinced is a real, flesh and blood animal. And I’m pretty sure we’ll have proof of its existence in the near future. But, others, I’m convinced, have paranormal aspects to them, and I include Bigfoot in that latter group. It’s something that sets me apart from a lot of people in Cryptozoology. But, that’s okay: I tell it as I see it. The important thing to stress is that I am a believer. I’m just not sure if we’re dealing with unknown animals or something stranger.
Aura: How did you become involved in the study of these mysterious, elusive creatures?
Nick: When I was about 6, my parents took me to Loch Ness, Scotland. I still have a few memories of my dad telling me the story of the monster of the loch, as we looked out at its waters. Even at that age it got me excited! In the years afterwards, I started reading kids’ books on monsters, then got into books by Brad Steiger and John Keel, and it went from there.
Aura: Growing up, did you ever have any unusual experiences?
Nick: No, I never did. At least not paranormal, but definitely sometimes after leaving the pub late on a Friday night in England!
Aura: Whose work in Cryptozoology has influenced you the most?
Nick: I would definitely say John Keel. He took the approach, as I do, that Bigfoot, lake monsters, the Yeti, etc, all exist. But, Keel came to believe that there was a crossover between these crypto-creatures and other phenomena, such as paranormal activity, magical beings from folklore, etc. Keel’s work really resonated with me, and I found myself uncovering further things that – as far as I’m concerned – supported his angles and theories. His work is probably, more than anyone else’s, the work I can relate to the most.
Aura: What were some of the challenges you faced when writing this book?
Nick: Well, Monster Files is about what government agencies know about strange creatures. When you’re using the Freedom of Information Act, it can sometimes be a challenge to get files declassified and into the public domain. But, I didn’t have many challenges, it was pretty much smooth sailing, and the agencies that held the files were very good about sharing them and releasing them.
Aura: Of all the strange and mysterious creatures you researched for this book, which fascinated you the most?
Nick: Probably the Houston Batman, which was a Mothman-type creature seen in Houston, Texas back in the 1950s, and periodically in and around the city since then. It’s a creepy, flying, humanoid type thing that sounds like part-gargoyle, part-flying man, and part-demon. It’s a cool story like something straight out of H.P. Lovecraft.
Aura: Which elements of your investigations, while out in the field, are most challenging?
Nick: The weather! LOL. I don’t do good, at all, in hot temperatures, which is a bit ironic given that I live in Dallas, Texas! But it’s all okay, you just have to push on and deal with it. I hate whiners and moaners and negativity. Just get on with it. I also realize that one of the biggest challenges is being in the right place at the right time, which unfortunately doesn’t occur that often. So, the challenge is to have patience, which I find difficult. I have zero patience, particularly when things go off schedule and then it gets me mad. But investigations can be unpredictable, and so I always go on them knowing that the challenges will be not just looking for this or that creature, but the things that can occur of a very down to earth nature in an expedition too.
Aura: Which of your investigations over the years has impacted you the most?
Nick: Without doubt my various expeditions to Puerto Rico looking for the Chupacabras. As well as being a cool place to hang out, Puerto Rico is filled with tales of the Chupacabras. Collectively, I’ve spoken to dozens of people – police, farmers, veterinarians, civil-defense workers and more – who have left me in no doubt that the Chupacabras is a very real, and very strange, creature. I have no idea what it is, only that it’s definitely something!
Aura: What is your position on a connection between the UFO phenomenon and sightings of these creatures?
Nick: Well, this goes back to what I was saying about the Keel stuff. Although the vast majority of reports of Bigfoot and so on are of what appear to be unknown animals of just a flesh and blood nature, there’s probably not a monster-hunter out there that doesn’t have in their files a few “rogue” cases. I’m talking about where Bigfoot has been seen at the same time, and place, as UFOs or strange lights in the sky. Or where the creature vanishes in the flash of light. I always say that the most important people in the paranormal field are not the authors, the lecturers or the radio-show hosts. Rather, it’s the witnesses who are most important, because without them we have nothing to go on. So, when someone says they have seen Bigfoot in conjunction with UFO activity, we should not ignore these cases. The responsibility is on us to show the witnesses respect, listen to them, and try and figure out what the hell is going on, even if it drives us away from the flesh and blood scenario.
Aura: There are numerous theories regarding the origins of these mysterious beasts. What is your belief?
Nick: I take the view that there is more than just one thing going on. As I said, I absolutely believe that Orang-Pendek is a real animal and that one day soon we’ll be able to prove it. I’m sure that sea-serpents represent real creatures, and maybe ones unknown to zoology, or that have survived extinction from eras long gone. Others, however, like Bigfoot, Mothman, and Britain’s Owlman, I’m sure, exhibit evidence of strange phenomena, paranormal activity, and issues which lead me to believe they may not be animals as we understand the term. Maybe they’re not even from our reality – just passing through. I also think some monsters are Tulpas, that’s to say collective, subconscious monstrous imagery conjured up from deep in the mind that we can externalize. In other words, the creatures of our nightmares can manifest in the real world, as temporary, semi-physical ‘thought-forms” that have some degree of brief, independent existence. Controversial stuff, but I like controversy!
Aura: If you could make only one discovery, which would it be and why?
Nick: That’s easy: Megalania. This is a huge monitor lizard that roamed Australia tens of thousands of years ago. Imagine a 25-foot-long Komodo Dragon, and that’s a fair idea of what this monster lizard looked like. Even though Megalania is supposed to be long gone, there are still occasional reports suggesting they might still lurk in some of the very densely forested areas of Australia. If there was one expedition I could go on, it would be to find Megalania. That would be great.
Aura: Which current cryptid has the highest probability in gaining mainstream, scientific recognition?
Nick: Again, I would definitely say, without doubt, Orang-Pendek.
Aura: What do you feel the impact of modern technology will have on future discoveries?
Nick: Well, that depends on the nature of the creatures. I’m utterly sick and tired of seeing nothing but night-vision crap on paranormal TV over and over again. Okay, we know it’s a useful technology, but we don’t need it shoved down our throats on every damn TV show on weird stuff! Give it a break – like forever - and try looking for them in the daytime instead. TV producers don’t like daytime though, as it’s not atmospheric enough for them. Pathetic. Of course, if some of these creatures have paranormal – maybe even occult – origins, as I believe they do, then technology might not play any role in determining what they are.
Aura: Where do you think the next major discovery will come from?
Nick: Again, definitely with Orang-Pendek!
Aura: What's your next project?
Nick: Well, I’ve always got a few books on the go, and I’m working on a few UFO things, a couple of conspiracy titles, stuff like that. And I have a few ideas for further books on strange creatures, but they may be further down the line.
Aura: A good friend of mine, and huge fan of yours, would like to know if you've ever had an encounter with the infamous MIB?
Nick: Actually, no! I’ve written a couple of books about them, and easily have enough material for at least two more books. There’s no doubt in my mind that they are very real, very weird, and very ominous. The real MIB have nothing to do with the world of government. I’m convinced they have occult origins. But they have never knocked on my door. At least, not yet they haven’t…
To see what Nick is up to, head on over to Nick Redfern's World Of Whatever blog. Monster Files can be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Indie Bound. Available as an eBook through Nook and Kindle.