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..

Sunday, 9 October 2011


My appeal for volunteers during the keynote speech at this year's Weird Weekend was answered by an enthusiastic young couple Tim and Graidi Taylor-Rose. Every other sunday they wind their way to Woolsery and do CFZstuff that has been long overdue to be done. This includes going through nearly a century's worth of the Transactions of the Devonshire Association which are on loan to the CFZ from our old pal Lionel Beer...

Transactions of the Devonshire Association 1953

Folklore 50th report.
Theo Brown

Miss M. E. Abbott of Westward Ho! has sent these instances of ‘left-handed ’ magic:

Braunton. Perhaps three years ago. Told by an old inhabitant. A man had a grudge against another. He went to his enemy’s cottage. While he was talking to him, a young cockerel appeared in front of him, walking down the path. He only looked at it. The cock fluttered and fell dead.

A woman made a wax image of someone she did not like, stuck it full of pins, put it in the old fashioned chimney piece. The person it represented was seized with violent pains, and I think (am not sure) died as the image melted away.

To these may be added this remarkable case recorded by the Rev. H. Fulford Williams, M.A., B.D:

In 1896, a man at Sourton was committed to trial by the local magistrate for sheep stealing. His wife cursed the court, and told the magistrate " You black-nosed old devil. You’ll be dead in a week; and further, no one connected with the case shall die in their beds or live ten years."

Within a week one magistrate dropped dead talking to his bailiff in his own field, and was left to lie until the doctor came from Okehampton, who persuaded - with the local
constable’s help - three labourers to carry the body up to the manor.

The other magistrate committed suicide. The farmer who had prosecuted knocked over a lamp after market day and was burnt to death, and the clerk to the magistrates
dropped from his cycle outside Okehampton.

Note: Since reading this Report at Plymouth, I have received much information from relatives of the victims of this case and will quote this in a future Report.

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