Wednesday 12 December 2012

That Merman Hall Place, Bexley


A Bromley sssssnake story...

Read it HERE

Rare seahorses at Greenwich

For more click HERE

Chickens beheaded in 'ritaul' fashion in Penge?

Merman reunited with mermaid


Friday 16 November 2012

Neil Arnold's 'lion' article in the December 2012 Fortean Times

Neil Arnold has an article on 'Lions On The Loose' in the December 2012 (295) issue of Fortean Times magazine. The article looks at, and dismisses reports of so-called 'lions panic' in the UK, including the recent Essex lion farce, as well as alleged reports of the king of the jungle around London, Sussex and even a story pertaining to a lion trapped in a sewer in Birmingham! Buy your copy now, available from all good newsagents.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Did ghost-hunters spot the Highgate 'vampire' ?

The Haringey UIndependent of June 2012 covered the intriguing story concerning a group of North London ghost-hunters who claimed to have witnessed an anomaly in the atmospheric confines of Highgate Cemetery. For more information click HERE

Thursday 11 October 2012

Thames invaders...

From the Metro of 11th October 2012: Meet the red signal crayfish and fellow foreigner the goldfish which are just two of the species to have made the River Thames "one of the most highly invaded freshwater systems in the world." The intruders are among 96 non-native species now living on the river and its tributaries, scientists from Queen Mary University of London found.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Has a black leopard been spotted in a Croydon allotment ?

During the week of 14 - 20th September a woman had an unnerving experience in a Croydon allotment, 4 pm one afternoon whilst in the company of her 17 month old son. A large black cat with a blotchy coat ambled just a few metres from her and headed off towards a park, disturbing a number of birds in the trees. The witness described the animal as muscular with heavy, padded feet. This is currently under investigation.

Monday 10 September 2012

'Black puma' painting photo

Here's the recent 'black puma' painting I purchased. If anyone has any information on what book this image may have come from please do get in touch. This is a rather extraordinary find, as a melanistic puma in the flesh would actually be!

Monday 3 September 2012

Puma's and cougars according to the Croydon Advertiser

It's such a shame when someone phones you up to interview you for a newspaper and despite seeming to be genuinely interested, make so many errors in relaying the info back for the article. The Croydon Advertiser interviewed Neil Arnold recently regarding recent Surrey 'big cat' sightings, and yet managed to feature the mistake of the century, claiming that Mr Arnold said that there 'cougars and pumas' on the prowl...oh well, if you're interested, you can read the article HERE, complete with idiotic comments at the bottom.

The London 'black puma' mystery

In the 2009 CFZ Yearbook, author, zoologist and friend Karl Shuker spoke of his delight at finding a rare print of a 'black puma', which he discovered during a trip to the 'world of books' at Hay On Wye. The print shows a fascinating cat, of dark pelage yet with a slate grey underside, and beneath it the heading, 'The Puma In The Gardens of the Zoological Society.'

The colour print - if based on a real animal, as it seems to be - suggests that at one time a melanistic puma was present at the London Zoo. The existence of melanstic puma's has long been debated, and for more information on this debate read Karl Shuker's fascinating blog post HERE  There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that black puma's roam the wilds of Britain, or the world for that matter and there appears to be a lot of confusion as many 'researchers' and the like have put forward the theory that the black cats often reported in the UK are melanistic puma. This is nigh on imposisble, and reading Mr Shuker's post explains why, and it seems that too many people are all too eager to create an extra mystery when one is not required. What is clear is that black leopards do roam parts of Britain, and that melanistic puma's do not exist, and yet here we have an intriguing print showing a black puma that was as said to have been housed at an English zoo. Of course, the animal may well have been exhibited as some sort of freak, and while such an individual may have existed in a zoo, it is nigh on impossible for a breeding colony to exist in the UK. What many people do not understand is that for a puma, let alone leopard to be completely jet black is also impossible, the leopard although appearing extremely dark will still be the darkest form of brown with the rosette pattern showing in certain light. Froma  distance the black leopard will appear jet black but it isn't. A black puma, even if such a beast did exist, would have a slate grey underside, and these type of animals have no reason to exist in the wilds of the UK, but the rare print is still intriguing, more so in the sense that I now own a copy, after picking one up in a local market shop for the sum of £3! The gorgeous colour print could well be one of the most mysterious paintings I've seen and would be interested to know of anyone else who has a copy or if anyone knows of a black puma being kept at the Zoological Gardens maybe two centuries ago.

I mention the 'black puma' and other mystery cats in my book MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: LONDON, but however rare the print may be it appears that an actual specimen of a living black puma is rarer still, especially in the wilds of the UK.

I'll post a photo of the print soon.

Thursday 30 August 2012

Hilariously dimissive article at The Daily Mail

So, there are no big cats roaming the UK! Well I never....since the Essex lion farce all manner of 'people' have wormed their way out of the woodwork to scoff at big cat reports, even though those who research them or believe in them knew full well that the Essex lion affair was just a case of hysteria. Even so, take a look at this ludicrous blog: from a clearly intelligent chap who states quite categorically that there's no evidence for exotic cats in the UK and that they just be lumped alongside folkloric creatures such as Spring Heeled Jack. The article dismisses the thousands of exotic cat reports without once looking at a shred of evidence and I'm pretty sure this was written to massage the ego of the journalist in question or to spark a bit of controversy. Whilst stories such as the Essex lion make a mockery of genuine research, and yes, we've heard these stories countless times before, we've also heard the journalistic view before too - dire salivating from sceptical folk who venture no further than their keyboard in their quest for truth.

Friday 6 July 2012

The beast of Hackney Marshes....well, not really.

In my book MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: LONDON I devoted a small section to what became known, in the early 1980s, as the 'beast of Hackney Marshes,' not quite as mysterious sounding as the 'beast of Exmoor', but there you go. Anyway, in the early '80s there were rumours that a bear was on the loose around the marsh area and one snowy morning a group of boys claimed to have encountered the creature which somehow eluded police despite - allegedly - leaving behind a few mysterious footprints. And now we skip to 2012, and a link at Cryptomundo  from May (sorry I took so long to post it) which presents a photo some claim to be the elusive Hackney Marshes beast. Okay so it's a dog, but it keeps the legend alive!

Monday 25 June 2012

Neil's article - TERROR IN THE THAMES - featured inside and on the cover of the July 2012 issue of Fortean Times

For those interested, the July 2012 issue of FORTEAN TIMES features an article by Neil Arnold called TERROR IN THE THAMES - which looks at cases of unusual fish and other creatures caught, sighted and rumoured to loiter in the Thames and various other London waterways - from ponds in Croydon and North London, to Thames tributaries. Sightings include the recent Olympic Park 'monster' mystery in which a Canada goose was seen to be dragged under the surface by an unknown predator, possibly a Wels catfish, large pike or snapping turtle. The article also looks at reports of sharks, alligators, crocodiles, and other alien species in London's waters. The magazine is available in all good newsagents.

Friday 30 March 2012

Neil Arnold's new book SHADOWS IN THE SKY - OUT NOW!


(Published by The History Press)

Press Release

For centuries mankind has reported unusual phenomena in the skies of Britain. From reports of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects), strange winged creatures, and aerial ghosts. Now, for the first time ever, monster-hunter and author Neil Arnold has collated a vast amount of bizarre tales pertaining to those not only dark and stormy skies, but clear blue heavens which for many years have spat out all manner of anomalies.

With so many books being written about UFOs, Neil has decided to concentrate on the more unusual reports of unexplained aerial lights, such as aircraft encounters with peculiar objects, phantom flares, ghost lights, will-o-the-wisp’s and fairy lights. The book also features a chapter on spectral aircraft – mainly war-planes which continue to be seen on foggy moors long after they’ve been shot down. There is also coverage of ghostly airmen, phantasmal helicopters and ghost rockets, and not forgetting haunted airports and airfield’s. However, if you thought these chapters were weird (or not weird enough!) then wait until you read about the winged monsters said to have plagued British skies for many centuries. Fantastic tales of dragons, said to have appeared all over the UK, from the cattle-plucking beasts of Welsh lore to London’s flying serpents. Winged, red-eyed humanoids also sneak into the pages, coverage given to classic aerial anomalies such as the Owlman of Cornwall, the Hythe monster, and the lesser known Hertfordshire ‘Mothman’ and the like. Griffins, giant birds, leather-winged batmen, flying jellyfish and sky-bound horses and dogs, occupy a surreal Ark also inhabited by spectral birds and feathery omens of death….and don’t forget a few tales of harmonious angels

When you’ve escaped the ethereal menagerie, you’ll be scratching your head at tales of all manner of bizarre items and objects that have fallen from the sky. Whilst pennies, fish and frogs may be known to many Fortean’s, obscure cases in relation to falls of snails, slime, metal, wheat, clothes, blood and even excrement may be more unknown! And let’s not forget a chapter on those pesky phantom airships, aerial roads and buildings, flying boats, and yep, you’ve guessed it, even a flying pig! This is a book for monster hunters, UFO spotters, ghost investigators, and the insane.

With a foreword by author Nick Redfern, SHADOWS IN THE SKY: THE HAUNTED AIRWAYS OF BRITAIN is one book that’ll have you reaching for your umbrella. Those who dare pull their eyes away from the skies, can purchase the book from Amazon, and all good bookshops.

Neil Arnold is the author of several books, such as MONSTER! THE A-Z OF ZOOFORM PHENOMENA, MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: LONDON, and MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: KENT. He is a full-time lecturer on mystery animals.

ISBN – 9780752465630 For enquiries contact The History Press on 01453 883300

Monday 12 March 2012

London's demon cat

Over at his Shuker Nature blog, zoologist friend Dr Karl Shuker looks at an intriguing case regarding a war-time monster cat. Read more HERE

Saturday 10 March 2012

More on that'Spring-Heeled Jack Story'...

Alien ? Ghost ? Prankster ? No-one really knows what Spring-Heeled Jack is, or was, and he certainly didn't spook a family on a stretch of Surrey road....but something did. Read more about it here:

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Is Spring-Heeled Jack prowling Surrey ? (Probably not but here's the story anyway!)

According to the Epsom Guardian of Thursday 23rd February, 'Terrified Banstead family confronted by 'dark figure' on bypass', with Lauren May reporting: 'A taxi ride home on Valentine's night turned into a nightmare when a family were confronted by a terrifying apparition that looked and moved like the legendary Spring Heeled Jack.

'Scott Martin and his family were travelling home by taxi from Stoneleigh on Tuesday, February 14, at about 10.30pm when they saw a mysterious ‘dark figure with no features’ dart across the road in front of them before leaping 15ft over a roadside bank as they approached Nescot College on the Ewell bypass. Spooked by their seemingly supernatural experience the couple’s four-year-old son, Sonny, was too scared to sleep on his own that night, while the petrified taxi driver admitted he didn’t want to drive back alone.

Mr Martin, 40, the manager of a building company who lives in Blue Cedars in Banstead, said: "We were driving down the Ewell bypass and saw a man on the other side of the road. We didn't pay much attention until he started crossing over to our side of the road, the next thing he jumped over the centre fencing in the road and ran across our two lanes. On the side of our road is a bank easily 15ft in height and this figure crossed our road, climbed this bank and was gone from sight all in about two seconds. All four of us were baffled and voiced our sighting straight away with the same detail. A dark figure with no real features, but fast in movement with an ease of hurdling obstacles I've never seen. My last image was of him going through the bushes at the top of the bank. I'm not usually one to be freaked by these sightings but the cab driver was petrified. He didn't want to drive back alone. I am honestly baffled by this sighting and we are intrigued by it because it was so real but so strange."

'His wife Sacha, 37, who is an accountant added: "It was more that someone was trying to cross the road of a dual carriageway that was weird. My little boy was really freaked out."

The family has since likened the figure to the legendary Spring Heeled Jack - a mysterious dark figure reported to be responsible for a string of attacks in the 1800s and known for his ability to leap great heights first sighted in Wandsworth in 1837.
Mary Stevens was walking home along Lavender Hill when a tall figure leapt out grabbing her and firmly kissing her before releasing her with a loud laugh, leaping high into the air and disappearing.
Sightings continued across Victorian London, others describing Jack’s red flaming eyes and claws, so much so that in 1938 the Lord Mayor of London declared him a public nuisance leading one vigilante group to attempt to capture him, albeit unsuccessfully.
However there had been no reported sightings in Epsom and Ewell, the last sighting recorded in Birmingham in 1986.
Mr Martin added: "It was something we all saw and it wasn’t imagination. I’m quite a sensible man but I have never seen anything move that quickly across the road and not been startled by the fact that we were driving toward him. It's the first time we have ever seen anything like this. If it was a burglar it is the fastest I had ever seen anyone run. That's the only other explanation. But it was just too quick."
Both Surrey Police and Nescot College confirmed they had received no reports of unusual incidents or sightings in the area that night.
Have you had a similar experience?
Contact the newsdesk on 020 8722 6346 or email

It be worth noting that elsewhere on this site there is mention of a more recent SHJ incident which took place in London, and it also reminds me of another incident which took place in Kent a few years ago involving a female motorist who crashed her car when a tall, black spindly figure walked across the road in front of her. The figure, which had a domed head and no other distinguishing features had a peculiar swing to its long arms and its knees, as it walked, came up under its chin! Another series of Spring Heel'ed Jack appearances were reported during the early 1800s in Croydon, Surrey. The Morning Post of December 7th 1809 reported on 'A Monster', stating that the area had been 'alarmed for this fortnight past by an inhuman wretch who sallies in a black mask, a dark coloured cloak and military boots with long spurs. He is a tall stout made man.'

Sunday 12 February 2012

Thursday 12 January 2012


The Centre for Fortean Zoology’s Mystery Animals of the British Isles series continues to put out detailed guides to the weirder side of Britain’s zoology, and Neil Arnold’s latest book, Mystery Animals of the British Isles: London is no exception.

Every aspect of the capital’s strange fauna is analysed, with sections on Alien Big Cats, the Highgate Vampire, sky and water beasts, as well as a look at the weird goings on in Harrods and the Tower of London, making this book an extremely detailed reference guide to the strange goings on throughout the years in London.

Though still a sprawling metropolis, London is still a hub for odd happenings. Take for instance, the vultures in the parks, the London Goatman, the beast of Ruislip, giant catfish in the canals, scorpions in the supermarkets, huge rats in the sewers, the Brentford Griffin, fish-falls, Spring-Heeled Jack and spectral horses, and you end up with a city far stranger than one would expect!

Elegantly written in an engaging style, Arnold manages to weave together the complicated zoological mysteries surrounding London into a comprehensive volume vast in scope, but still prefect for bedtime reading. You will never walk the streets of London in quite the same mindset ever again…