I just got this ‘Mail a Bigfoot’ postcard with my delivery of squatchy goods from the International Cryptozoology Museum. You can cut out the Bigfoot parts to make your own little hairy guy. I’m going to mail my squatch to one lucky winner. All you need to do is drop a comment on this post with a way for me to reach you. I’ll do a random drawing in a week and announce who gets to adopt Mr. Foot. 🙂
If you can’t get to the museum in Portland, Maine, you can visit it online, check out the curiosities, shop the gift shop or simply donate to keep the wonder alive. Visit their website for more!
Meanwhile, my new Bigfoot has made some fast friends here in the Shea compound. BFFs already!
It’s the heart of winter here in the north east, judging by the snow and preponderance of heavy jackets and wool hats. One of my favorite places in the world is the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. Let me tell you about Maine in winter. It’s cold. I mean spit freezing before it hits the floor kind of cold. Portland is right by the Atlantic Ocean. Brrrrr.
Needless to say, Portland is not a big tourist destination in January and February. Sure, plenty of interior parts of Maine get a ton of visitors because of all the skiing. In Portland, there are no slopes. Just cool joints to eat and frozen water.
The Cryptozoology Museum is owned and operated by Loren Coleman, the man I call the godfather of modern cryptozoology. I wrote an article about meeting him at the museum in the summer of 2013 that you can read by clicking here. If you’re a fan of Bigfoot, The Jersey Devil, Mothman, sea serpents, The Dover Demon and a host of other strange and unusual beasties, this place was designed just for you.
Winter months are lean months in Portland, which is why Loren needs your support. Please visit their website and either make a donation, in any amount, or purchase something from their gift shop. Every dollar goes to keep the museum running. There is no other place like it on earth. I went and bought a Bigfoot action figure and signed copy of Fate Magazine today. This way, Loren and I are both happy.
Squatch above soon to be on the Monster Men set!
People ask me all the time what got me into horror. The answer has always been simple. Growing up a kid in the 70s, I was hooked by the weekly documentary TV show, In Search Of.
It didn’t hurt that it was narrated by Mr. Spock, one of my idols at the time. His voiceover work on that show was always, and I mean always, pitch perfect. Somber, serious, Leonard Nimoy took us all on a trip to the weird and paranormal that has been noted as the inspiration for an entire generation of writers, directors and actors. I don’t think I’ve met a writer at Samhain Horror who hasn’t said this show deeply impacted their lives.
In Search Of was my classroom for the bizarre and unexplained. Every week, I sat in my living room sipping on a Nehi, huddled close to our TV that was as big as our couch (at least the cabinet was – the actual screen may have been 20 inches tops). It was where I was first exposed to Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, ghosts, life after death, real buried treasure, aliens, the Bermuda Triangle and ESP, just to name a few off the top of my head. Everything seemed and looked so real, I couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of monster and ghosts populating the same world where I rode my bike with baseball cards in the spokes and played Wiffle Ball marathons until we could no longer see the ball.
The film itself was grainy, the terror palpable as each tale unfolded. Any episode of In Search Of back then was scarier than most horror flicks. And now that I can watch them on YouTube today, it still holds true. I’ve said it many times that the baritone of Leonard Nimoy’s voice is the horror soundtrack of my life. Without him and that wonderful show, I may have never discovered my true passion.
Summer’s winding down and Halloween will be here before you know it. Now’s a perfect time to watch this show for the first time or catch up with a long lost friend. At the very least, it will explain how we horror writers of a certain age came to be.
What’s your favorite episode? I know mine was Bigfoot and my first exposure to the famed Patterson Gimlin film.
Man, was I thrilled to interview Lyle Blackburn on the Monster Men. He is fast becoming a legend in the field of cryptozoology, and he’s a damn fine writer to boot. We spent over an hour talking monsters, so we broke the interview up into 2 parts. Enjoy!
This episode of Monster Men is such a big event, we had to present it in two parts. This time out we interview renowned monster hunter Lyle Blackburn, author of THE BEAST OF BOGGY CREEK and LIZARD MAN. His books are must reads for fans of cryptozoology, urban legends and monsters.
Lyle Blackburn Part 1: The Lizard Man
Lyle Blackburn Part 2: The Beast of Boggy Creek
In part one of our interview we focus on the Lizard Man, the mysterious monster of Bishopville, NC. Lyle investigated this case firsthand and his stories and accounts from actual witnesses will astound you. He’s got every angle covered and his book is fascinating.
In part two of our interview, we discuss Lyle’s true passion, the legendary Fouke Monster of Boggy Creek. Ever since Lyle saw the movie “The Legend of Boggy Creek” as a kid, he has been fascinated by this Bigfoot-like creature…
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Anyone who has ever hung around my blog and chain knows I’m a cryptid fanatic. Just check out Swamp Monster Massacre if you don’t believe me. Or my upcoming book, The Montauk Monster. Or the one after that, Hell Hole. I recently had my fortune read by a traveling gypsy, and for the price of one silver coin, a lock of my hair and two drops of blood, she said I was once the leader of a clan of Bigfoots and that one day I would return to the wild. That explains everything.
I was an enormous fan of Lyle Blackburn’s debut book, The Beast of Boggy Creek. Here was a man I could tell loved Sasquatch as much as me. His book was one of the best researched and well written in the vast cryptid library (no offense to Loren Coleman, who is the king of the field).
When I heard Blackburn’s follow up book would be about the Lizard Man of Bishopville, South Carolina, I chomped at the bit to get my hands on it. I snatched up a copy when it came out in October, but with writing deadlines, I had to wait until now to read it – or to put it more accurately, plow through it.
I have a confession to make. With all my fascination with monsters and beasties, and having half my family live in South Carolina, I’d actually never heard of the Lizard Man. I intentionally avoided looking anything up before reading the book. I trusted Lyle to give me all I’d need, and I was right.
Back in 1988, when hair metal was in full swing and I was playing cards in the cafeteria more than going to classes in college, there was a series of encounters with a large creature that walked on two legs, attacked cars and people and generally scared the bejeesus out of an entire town. That town was Bishopville, SC, which, like the ol’ beast of Boggy Creek, was home to the Scape Ore Swamp, prime living quarters for the strange beast.
Descriptions of the cryptid varied, and in truth, after reading the book, it didn’t seem to be at all like an actual Lizard Man. I get the feeling that what folks were seeing was more in line with a Bigfoot, and I feel Blackburn leans in the same direction. No matter what it was, the town was gripped with Lizard Man fever for a long, hot summer.
Blackburn went down to Bishopville and interviewed the man who had been sheriff at the time, as well as some of the people who had come in contact with the unknown. The man does his homework. He even explored stories of reptiles and lizard men in other areas, pop culture and movies. In fact, he mentioned a few I haven’t seen and will seek out when I go to Horrorhound in Cincinnati next week.
I totally dug Lizard Man and it’s now sitting proudly on my special shelf of prized cryptid and ghost books. I don’t want to spill the beans on the whole book, so I highly suggest you pick up a copy. I did get the feeling that with the flap being so brief and reports not jiving with one another, Blackburn had to pad the book a little to give it some weight. No matter. The padding was just as good as the underpinnings of the story itself.
Let me finish with a personal request for Lyle. Come on up to New York and knock on my door. There’s a place in Orange County I can take you to that will give you enough fodder for three books. I’ll do the driving and buy the first round. Hell, I’ll even break out my cowboy hat.
Saturday morning, an hour or so before I start ticking things off my weekend chore list. Since my father passed away, I make it a point to work on my mother’s house every week cleaning things out, doing repairs, and now, raking never ending piles of leaves. Then it’s on to do the shopping, getting the oil changed in the old Jeep and working on my house. Somewhere in there I hope to get some work in on my new book, the sequel to Sinister Entity.
I’ve written about my wife and her health struggles over the past two years. Thankfully, we’ve just about conquered the hanta-like virus that she caught, but discovered she also has lupus. It flared up pretty bad this fall, so she’s back on radiation to beat it back. Looks like she’ll stay on it until the end of the year. Add to that my youngest daughter who’s had mono since September and I’m basically living in a hospital ward. Thank God my oldest daughter is like her dad and can run around with me getting everything done.
I’m very fortunate to have a passion like writing in my life to help keep me sane when things have gone haywire. And I’m very grateful for everyone who has come along with me on this crazy ass journey. 2014 will be a better year. I’ll have 3 novels out next year and plan to attend a number of cons to mix and mingle with my peeps.
One of the bright spots of 2013 has been the success of my twisted little Bigfoot novella, Swamp Monster Massacre. The ebook continues to gain new fans, and I recently learned that the audiobook is a bestseller on The Audio Bookshop. It’s a pretty big honor to be listed beside great writers like Ron Malfi and Tim Lebbon. I love the narration – a dry, good old southern boy, just like the main character, Rooster Murphy. 25% of all royalties from the book will go to the Lupus Foundation of America, so you’ll not only get a fun audiobook, but you’ll also support a great cause to fight a terrible disease.
Try it, you’ll like it. Trust me. I’m not just a horror writer, I’m also the president of the horror nerds society. 😉