In many ways we are very lucky. We get to travel around the world looking for mystery animals, and then write books about our adventures. Of course it isn’t quite as simple as that, because there is a whole slew of mundane administration and stuff, but on the whole doing what we do is a heck of a lot better than having a proper job. We live in Woolsery and we run The Centre for Fortean Zoology – the world’s largest mystery animal research group, and once a year we invite devotees of the weird and wonderful here for the internationally famous Weird Weekend.

We also write a monthly column for The Bideford Post and we decided that it was about time that we introduced Weird Torridgeside to the blogosphere..

Thursday, 10 December 2009

NEIL ARNOLD: What Happened To Me At The ‘Weird Weekend’!

I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a mod schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippie who merely wanted to start a club for people interested in unknown animals. Nothing much has changed over the years. We are just both a tad older...

Being a full-time monster hunter should be about traipsing through forests in search of strange creatures. Large, exotic cats in local woods. Elusive critters in remote lakes. Peculiar insects. Escaped wallabies. A bit of ‘Nessie’ here, and giant birds there. Yet what happened to me at this years ‘Weird Weekend’, was the most terrifying moment of my life.

Myself and my girlfriend Jemma were put up by Jon and co at the lovely Braund-Phillips household at Bucks Cross. The night I lectured on weird zooform creatures – from the female-molesting ‘green underpants’, to London vampires – we retired to our room and nodded off. At 3:00 am I woke up and was fully aware that an enormous snake was in the bedroom. It was pale in colour with beige blotches over its head. The head of this thing suggested a snake around twenty-five feet in length, as its head was the size of a flattened football. Its beady eyes peered at me in the gloom and then it struck. It was a constricting snake, for when its jaws clamped on my right arm, there was no venom excreted, merely a heavy weight. I leapt up in absolute horror, screaming. I yanked my arm from its vice-like grip but then it proceeded to coil around my right leg. At this point Jemma was yelling my name, unaware of the horror that had coiled around me. I made for the door, but it dragged me back, heavily grazing my knees as they made contact with the carpet. I wrenched my leg from its grasp only to see it coil around Jemma’s legs. I pulled at her, and also attempted to open the door. Suddenly the horror dissipated and it was over. Jemma never saw the spectral snake, but recalled how she’d felt constricted in the night and smothered.

Now, people will tell me it was a dream. However, Richard Freeman and Jon both know that in the past I’ve been attacked in my bed by several vampyric amorphous blobs. On these occasions I was awake. This time I may well have drifted into some astral place, but that thing was huge and next day I showed Richard, his girlfriend Lisa and Nick Redfern the cuts on my knees. Strangely, Richard’s girlfriend Lisa recalled how a couple of years previous whilst staying at the B&B, she’d felt constricted in the night and woke to find bruises down her arms. Now, I know there’s no giant snake on the loose in Bideford, and I believe that what I saw had something to do with my lecture. It’s happened before it will probably happen again. But where these things come from I do not know, but in every case of being attacked I’ve either been drained of energy or blood. True vampires ? Who knows, but if anyone debates as to whether psychic backlash is for real, I had the marks to prove it.

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