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Sunday, 10 August 2008

Get ready for a Weird Weekend: 15th - 18th August 2008, Woolfardisworthy, North Devon

The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Having run unbroken for seven years, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of strange phenomena investigators. Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights. Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever! The event is raising money for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the world’s only full time, professional cryptozoological organisation.

One of the highlights will be the CFZ's three-week expedition to the Caucasus Mountains in Russia to hunt the Almasty, a huge, hairy wildman said to inhabit parts of Russia and the former USSR.
Cryptozoologist and Zoological Directorof the CFZ, Richard Freeman and his team will be revealing their findings at the Weird Weekend.

Richard Freeman said “We found hair, dung and skull shards that may be from an almasty. These are going to be analysed by geneticists in order to establish if the DNA points to an unknown species”.

Freeman, who nearly died no less than four times on the mountain adventure, says he and his colleague, the explorer Adam Davis, may have come within 12ft of an almasty whilst staking out an abandoned farm at 2.30 in the morning.

“We were in a room in the farmhouse with a door facing out on to the veranda. The 7ft high door was open a couple of inches and starlight was flooding through. We heard a deep, guttural vocalisation. A few seconds later something passed by the door blocking out the starlight to a height of at least 7ft. We grabbed our cameras and rushed out into the night, but whatever it was had vanished.”

Among the other firsts at the conference will be a new book launched by world renowned zoologist Dr Karl Shuker. Dr Shuker’s Casebook examines a whole menagerie of bizarre and mysterious beasts from all over the planet.

The latest lineup is:

7.00 p.m Cocktail party at the CFZ, Myrtle Cottage, Woolsery, Bideford, North Devon EX39 5QR

Noon - 5.00 p.m Open Day at the CFZ, Myrtle Cottage, Woolsery, Bideford, North Devon EX39 5QR

Community Centre, Woolsery, Bideford, North Devon, Doors open at 6.00
7.00 - 7.15 Introduction
7.15 - 8.00 MATTHEW WILLIAMS: Crop Circles ***
8.00-8.30 BREAK
8.30 - 9.00 RONAN COGHLAN: The theology of extra-terrestrials
9.00 - 9.30 BREAK

-----the scary zone ----- 9.30 - 10.15 MIKE HALLOWELL AND DARREN RITSON: The Tyneside poltergeist 10.15 - 11.00 LEE WALKER: New Ferry after dark (Parents please note that these two talks may be moderately frightening, and should be attended by children under 11 only at their parent's discretion)


Community Centre, doors open at 10.00
11.00 - 11.15 JON DOWNES + RICHARD FREEMAN: An introduction to cryptozoology ***
(ALL AFTERNOON JOANNE CURTIS: monster making for kids)
11.15 - 12.15 NICK REDFERN: Planet of the ape men
(NICK REDFERN: UFOs for kids)
12.15 - 1.15 Dr MIKE DASH: In Search of Dr MacRae (Loch Ness)
1.15 - 1.45 BREAK
1.45 - 2.45 MATT SALUSBURY: Water elephants of the Congo
(PAUL VELLA: Bigfoot for kids)
2.45 - 3.15 BREAK (KIDS: Mad Hatter's Tea Party)
3.15 - 3.30 QUIZ
3.30 - 4.30 TIM MATTHEWS: Weird stuff happens - my part in UFOlogy's downfall
4.30 - 5.00 PAUL "Mr Biffo" ROSE: A year in cryptozoology ***
5.00 - 5.30 Break
5.30 - 6.00 BOOK LAUNCH: `Dr Shuker's Casebook` by Dr. Karl Shuker
6.00 - 7.30 RICHARD FREEMAN ET AL: Russia 2008 Expedition report
7.30 - 8.00 Break
8.00 - 8.10 GRAHAM INGLIS: CFZ Museum - annual report
8.10 - 8.20 PAUL VELLA - the last 12 months in BHM
8.20 - 8.30 OLL LEWIS: The last 12 months of lake and sea monster reports
8.30 - 8.45 CHRIS MOISER: Confessions of a fortean zookeeper
8.45 - 9.00 CFZ AWARDS
9.00 - 9.30 BREAK
9.30 - 11.00 RICHARD FREEMAN ET AL: Guyana 2007 Expedition report


COMMUNITY CENTRE doors open 10.00
11.15 - 12.00 MICHAEL WOODLEY: In the wake of Bernard Heuvelmans
12.00 - 1.00 Dr GAIL-NINA ANDERSON: Fairies in art ***
1.00 - 1.30 BREAK
1.30 - 2.30 MIKE HALLOWELL: invizikids ***
(KIDS: Monsters are real - Jon Downes/Richard Freeman 30 mins)
(ALL AFTERNOON JOANNE CURTIS: monster making for kids)
2.30 - 3.00 BREAK (KIDS: Treasure Hunt)
3.00 - 4.00 GEOFF WARD: Spirals - the Pattern of Existence
(OLL LEWIS: Lake Monsters for kids)
4.00 - 4.30 BREAK
4.30 - 5.15 RONAN COGHLAN: Irish UFO case ***
5.15 - 5.45 JONATHAN DOWNES: Keynote Speech and Closing Remarks.
Events specifically for kids are in red. Whilst all the lectures (except for the two talks in the `scary zone` on Friday night) are perfectly suitable for children, some may be of more interest to young minds than others. The talks marked with *** are those that we especially recommend for children under the age of 12, although - of course - they are welcome at any that they care to attend...



Wildlife Photography by Jon McGowan


Exhibition: Pictures of Monsters by the children of Woolsery
Exhibition: Nature art by Rebecca McGown-Griffin
Exhibition: Wildlife photography by Benjiman Leese
Exhibition: Metamorphosis - exotic insects
EVENING: Dinner at The Farmer's Arms, Woolsery

To ensure that you manage to reserve tickets, why not by them online today at

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