by Tania Poole - (the only member of CFZ Australia who could make it to North Devon this year.)
I arrived late on Wed night and slept in the lounge, promising to make cheese omelettes in the morning, which I did. The Thursday night cocktail party was a great success, even though the wind and the rain tried to spoil the fun – all those who attended gathered under the marquee in Jon’s backyard, While Matt Osbourne and sometimes Max Blake mixed the margaritas nowhere near like Tom Cruise in ‘Cocktail.’
While the weekend appeared to hold the promise of rain, we began the talks at 7pm by watching a video done by Jon, where he told a story about a sheep, a chupacabra and an alien coming to Woolsery for the Weird Weekend, with a song that he sung himself. It was typical Jon style music and video.
Richard Freeman began a talk about ‘20 cryptids you’ve never heard of’ due to a cancelled talk, and half way through his list, was told he had 5 minutes to go. There certainly were cryptids I’ve never heard of, so the talk worked for me.
After a dinner break, we went back into the Hall to watch Paul Screeton ‘s ‘The Quest for the Hexham Heads,’ which I enjoyed because he went into detail about a few of the particular incidents that surrounded the heads. He even had two heads there – a clay one made in art class by Colin Robson, one of the boys who found original two the heads – he had made it in art class a couple of months before he moved to the house where he and his brother found the heads – the irony of this was added to the mystery. The second head was a carved one from concrete by the man who claimed to make the heads originally. Screeton had been given these heads back in the 70’s when he researched this strange incident. He even went into detail about the strange cryptid sightings that occurred to the neighbours (the half-man, half-sheep animal in the bedroom) and the Anne Ross Werewolf that was seen in her house more than once.
Screeton’s book ‘Hexham Heads’ has also been published by CFZ press and tonight was the book launch of it, so Screeton signed a few copies and showed off the two heads he had.
The final talk of the night was Richard Thorn’s ‘The Hunt for the Pink-headed Duck.’ Thorn has been to Burma 3 times looking for this duck, apparently became extinct in 1935. His third trip was only taken this year, and the successful part of the trip was when his two tour guides took him into the wilds of Burma where all the lakes were, and they met many locals who recognised the duck and had seen it only a few days ago. Thorn felt very close to the possibility of seeing it, but he had no success on this particular trip. He does know where to begin to look again, but due to the restrictions and laws of Burma at the moment, it might be hard to get into certain areas. You need a permit for a lot of things these days. Everyone enjoyed his talk immensely, and we all wished him the best with full support and encouragement.
The raffle later gave away about a 15 prizes – I won a lenticular puzzle and a zany colouring book. Great start to the Weird Weekend!