SUPERNATURAL BERLIN # 03 – NICK REDFERN MONSTER HUNTER
INTERVIEW – MARK FERNYHOUGH
When Nick Redfern, one of the planet’s most prominent paranormal investigators, was dubbed into Deutsch for a Chupacabra documentary aired on Germany’s National Geographic Channel, a Splendid Berlin interview was clearly in order…
With his investigative writing appearing in countless books and magazines, on subjects ranging from monsters and conspiracies to UFO’s and men in black, Nick Redfern is certainly prolific. He is also a familiar face to Fortean television viewers having appeared on shows including History Channel’s ‘Monster Quest’ and ‘UFO Hunters’, in addition to National Geographic Channel’s ‘Paranormal’.
How did you become so fascinated with cryptozoology, UFOs and the paranormal?
Well, when I was a kid – about 5 or 6 – my parents took me on a week’s holiday to Scotland. While there, we spent a day at Loch Ness. I still have a couple of vague memories of my dad telling me the story of the Loch Ness Monster. At that age, it was kind of exciting to hear about the idea of monsters in the loch. Then, as I got older, early teens, I began reading more on mysteries and it just went from there.
Which of your own personal encounters have most convinced you that strange things really do lurk beneath the surface of the everyday?
I’ve never really had that defining encounter of seeing a UFO, or photographing a lake-monster etc. So, what convinces me is the large body of testimony from credible eyewitnesses. The witnesses are the most important people in all these fields, as without them we have nothing to go on. So, even though I haven’t seen these things, it’s the witnesses and their stories that keep me enthusiastic for it all.
You’ve appeared on many TV shows, how has your experience with this been?
I enjoy doing TV, whether in the UK or the US. Most of what I do is either head-and-shoulder stuff in studios or out in the field. What I hate, however, is this trend of the last couple of years where reality TV-style shows on paranormal topics are just fabrications, nothing more, nothing less. I know of several shows where colleagues of mine – who I now class as ass-kissing scum – have taken part in shows and series where they agreed to take part in fabricating on-screen events that were not real. I don’t mind – at all – doing TV stuff where the cameras follow me in the woods etc. But, keep it real. If any show ever asked me to fabricate something on-screen I would tell them what to go and do. In fact, I have, which is probably why I don’t get many inquiries from shows that just want their casts performing like trained seals, saying just what the scummy director wants to hear.
Working in the paranormal field, you must encounter some scary characters…
No, not really. Despite the image that the mainstream media creates of people in the field as all being weirdo eccentrics, that’s not the case. Most witnesses are normal people, who just want to know what it was they saw or encountered. That said, I have come across a few weirdos in my time, but no-one that I would actually call scary.
What do you say to those who roll their eyes at the unknown and argue that everything can be explained away by science?
I couldn’t care less. I don’t waste my time and effort on trying to convince skeptics or debunkers. Instead, I focus on doing investigations and getting information out to the public. If someone doesn’t like what I do or say, I simply don’t care about them or their views. I’ve got better things to do with my time than waste time debating with closed minded pricks.
Why do you view your home county of Staffordshire as such a Fortean hotspot?
Simply because there is so much weirdness going on there, particularly around the Cannock Chase, a heavily wooded area of Staffordshire. There are, for example, sightings of UFOs, werewolves, Bigfoot-type creatures, glowing-eyed black dogs, large black cats, and ghostly-style phenomena all across the Chase – even a 1964 case of an alleged UFO crash. Staffordshire is filled with cool weirdness!
Being a connoisseur of the countryside, its folklore and mysteries, how do you feel about the possibility of fracking, privatization and further urban expansion into its depths?
Well, I think it would be a big tragedy to see forests and woods chopped down when it comes to expansion. There should be much more attention paid to ensuring that the landscape doesn’t become a concrete jungle. Privatization is a big worry, as that opens doors to soulless companies being able to do whatever they want. So, I’m definitely all for preserving the past. Now, we shouldn’t live in the past, as I hate people who wallow in nostalgia instead of looking ahead, but that doesn’t mean we should destroy the past and the history and landscapes of times past. Politicians are mostly to blame, and I have nothing positive to say about politicians – except that I hate them all.
Has there been any updates on your Man Monkey investigation since your book ‘Man-Monkey – In Search of the British Bigfoot’?
Yeah, a few new reports from the 2000s, and also some older reports, including one from the 1960s. I include an update to the story in my 2012 book, “Wildman,” which is a study of Bigfoot-type reports all across the UK.
Were you disappointed by the last X-Files film too?
I didn’t actually see it! I think the last movie I went to see at the cinema was the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. I gave up watching The X-Files around 1997, as I thought it was just going on too long. I never saw a single episode with the two people who came after Mulder and Scully.
Are you concerned you’ll one day uncover too much of the truth?
No. That’s what I do, look for answers. So, for me, there’s never a case of too much. There’s always new things to look for and uncover. As long as I still have the enthusiasm I’ll keep doing it. If I get tired of it, I’ll stop and do something else.
What are you currently working on?
A couple of UFO-themed books and I have a couple of ideas for future cryptozoology books that I would like to write one day.
Are you still in contact with any of your school friends? Your life must have a taken a very different route to theirs…
Yeah, I am. Every time I’m back in the UK me and my old mates do exactly what we used to do years ago: go down the boozer, watch the English football, eat a load of fish and chips, all the usual stuff. Plus, I keep in touch with a lot of school-friends on Facebook. No, my life isn’t really that different to my friends at all. I can’t be bothered with all these pretentious, self-important “I’m a starving artist and no-one understands me” types. I hate all that shit. Plus, my first book didn’t come out until I was 33, and so until then I had just regular jobs, like a van-driver, forklift driver, warehouse work, things like that. My life is different in the sense that I have an unusual job – investigating and writing about weird mysteries, but aside from my job, I live a normal, down to earth life. Give me a can of beer, a plate of chips, and an English football game on the TV and I’m fine. Much better than eating snacks with posh names at some pretentious party for wankers who think they’re better than everyone else just because they have a book out or wrote a poem. I hate people who lose touch with their roots and get all self-important. They’re a total joke.