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Neil Arnold

(2 Hours, 20 Minutes)

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BoA:Audio examines the nebulous area between cryptids and the paranormal as we welcome Neil Arnold, author of the book Monster! - The A-Z of Zooform Phenomena. Over the course of the conversation, we'll discuss the zooform theory, potential candidates for zooform phenomena, trends in zooform reporting, creatures like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Mothman, and the Highgate Vampire as well as UFOs, MIBs, and alien abductions. We'll also talk about the Big Cat phenomenon in England as well as the overal 'tulpafication' of many paranormal entities.

Altogether, it is a mindbending edition of the program that will have you looking at numerous paranormal mysteries from an entirely different angle as we delve into the realm of the zooforms with Neil Arnold.

Full Preview: We kick things off with the bio / background on Neil Arnold and find out how he gravitated toward stuyding the strange and unusual. We then find out about Zooform creatures and how they differ from classic cryptids. Neil details how Zooforms appear to be more of a creation of the mind rather than an undiscovered animals or flesh and blood paranormal entities. We then get Neil's opinion on the Chupacabra and whether or not he thinks it is a cryptid or a zooform phenomena.

Neil then talks about how the Dragon is the "most perfect zooform creature on Earth" and an ideal example of the phenomenon. We also talk about how mass media reports can create 'waves' or 'flaps' of these zooform creature sightings. We then get Neil's opinion on why these tulpified creatures all appear to be sinister and ponder what he thinks that says about the human mind. our conversation then turns towards Neil's research into the Big Cat phenomenon and he explains why he believes they are not paranormal at all.

Staying within the realm of Big Cat research, Neil talks about some of the inherent problems with the field in contemporary times as well as the days of traveling menageries in the UK. Neil also talks about how prevalent and secretive ownership of large cats actually is. We then find out about Neil's book The Mystery Animals of London and he explains how there is a rich history of strange creatures reported in and around the city. Next we talk about the paradox of Bigfoot in Britain and how it just doesn't appear possible for the island nation to support such an animal. Looking at Bigfoot, in general, Neil talks about why it doesn't appear to be a Zooform, based on evidence the creature it leaves behind as well as the lengthy period of time when sightings have been reported.

Getting back to zooform phenomena, we find out how Neil does his research, considering that, by definition, zooforms would not leave actual evidence behind other than sighting reports. Neil details how Zooform reports are often similar to poltergeist activity as far as witness demographics are concerned. We then have Neil make a distinction between what creatures he thinks are cryptids and which are likely Zooforms. He also reflects on how the ocean is so vast that it is likely the place where 'surprise' cryptids may lurk.

We then turn to the London Underground and talk about what may be lurking down there as well as the possibility that it is the lair of desperate homeless people who need a place to live. Neil then discusses the possibilities for creatures, either out of place animals or cryptids, living in the River Thames. The conversation then turns towards how America has a unique cultural history, since it was populated for thousands of years by Native Americans, but the arrival of Europeans and birth of the United States resulted in the country having a proverbially 'reset' history. Neil then contrasts that with the UK, where their collective cultural history goes back much, much farther.

Following that, we talk about Neil's book Shadows in the Sky: The Haunted Airways of Britain and he shares some stories of Dragon and Griffin sightings that were reported by people in airplanes. This segues into some discussion on the popularity of Mothman and Neil reflects on how aliens seem to get 'blamed' for a myriad paranormal phenomena. From there we talk about the ephemeral nature of UFOs and Neil details why he thinks UFOs as well as Men in Black may very well be tulpas of some kind. He also talks about why he is skeptical about alien abductions, thinks they are a product of the human mind, and how that may be scarier than the actual alien intervention scenario.

Taking the conversation down a different path, we then talk about Neil's investigation into the infamous Highgate Vampire. He starts by sharing the origins of the Highgate Vampire story and how it unfolded in the 1960's. He then talks about how investigating the case and it became an almost 'personal' quest to find the truth behind the story. Following that, Neil shares the story of the 'Phantom Roar,' where a family in London was plagued by a lion-like roar in the hallways of their home. Neil reflects on how this may connect with the phantom air noises and hums that have been heard in the UK and around the world.

In light of Neil's perspective that many mystery cryptids may, in fact, be tulpas of some kind, we find out if he's run into any friction from the cryptozoology community regarding that stance. We also ponder how the information age should give rise to faster moving 'flaps' of zooform reports and Neil reflects on how social media can be a double-edged sword in that regard. Neil talks about the 'monkey man' craze in India that happened a few years ago, how it sounds very similar to the famous 'Spring-heeled Jack' story from London, and how they connect to the power and longevity of urban legends. Neil also muses about how different countries have their own provincial monster which resemble similar monsters around the world.

Looking at things from a religious / spiritual perspective, we find out how Neil feels about theories that the paranormal or supernatural are somehow related to 'evil' or demons of some kind. He also tells he was 'almost driven mad,' by his research into the paranormal, in the form of 'psychic backlash.' We then get Neil's take on ghosts and whether he believes they are spiritual or mental manifestations. This leads to some talk about phantom animals, whether they are actual ghosts of animals or manifestations of the human mind. This leads to some talk about how the zooform concept allows for one to fill in some otherwise indecipherable blanks in various paranormal theories.

Considering the concept of Zooform creatures being the result of a proverbial panic, we consider the possibility that a faux panic could result in purposefully 'created' zooform entities. Neil talks about Roswell may have been a 'manufactured panic' of some kind and how the government may use aliens, like the paranormal does, as a scapecoat to cover up other activities. We then discuss the possibility that unicorns may have been flesh and blood creatures at some point in the distant past. This leads to some talk about how to differentiate a story between a potential cryptid and a possible Zooform creature.

We then talk about tulpas, in general, and Neil talks about unintentional and intentional conjuring activities. Neil talks about 'social constructs' and gives the example of the Phantom Clown phenomenon in the US as well as the 'Chelsea smilers' in the UK. Neil also shares the tale of the 'Bunny Man' that terrorized England in the past. Bringing modern culture into the mix, Neil talks about how figures like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman are quasi-zooforms and explains how Santa Claus is like a 'human version of the dragon.'

Heading towards the close, we enquire about Neil's status as a 'full time monster hunter' and find out what that sort of job entails. We return to the Big Cat phenomenon and ponder why there is still some mysticism attached to what looks to be a pretty clear case of out of place large cats. We also address the idea that if the vast majority of paranormal phenomena were created by the mind, it would be rather disappointing from a researcher's perspective. Getting deeper into the potential societal causes of Zooform phenomena, we discuss how the ever-shrinking world makes the human race want to create unknowns for itself. Closing out the conversation, we find out what's next for Neil Arnold as 2012 unfolds.

Neil Arnold Bio

Neil Arnold is a full time folklorist, monster hunter, author, and speaker. He has written several books, many articles, and conducts talks on his investigations.

A member of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, he has been consulted widely for television and radio and his 2007 book Monster! - The A-Z of Zooform Phenomena was voted Fortean Zoology Book of the Year.

Additionally, he is the author of Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent , Mystery Animals of the British Isles: London, Paranormal London, and Shadows in the Sky: The Haunted Airways of Britain.

His website is zooform.blogspot.com

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Kendall Carver

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BoA:Audio ventures into uncharted waters as we learn about the troubling trend of disappearances and felonious crimes committed on cruise ships as well as how they are subsequently covered up by the cruise ship industry with our guest Kendall Carver, founder of International Cruise Ship Victims.

BoA : Audio, Season 7 archive