Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Extreme" Monster Hunter - Adam Davies Interview

Adam Davies

"Extreme" Monster Hunter
An Interview With Adam Davies
 
 
By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher
Professional Writer, a nature and wildlife enthusiast who has written for many magazines.


All cryptozoologists do the hard work and play an important role in proving the existence of unknown animals around the world. But only a few subject themselves to the dangers and take it to the extremes that Adam Davies has. With expeditions in the Congo, Norway, Sumatra, Russia, Mongolia, China, and the US last September, Adam’s done it all. He’s risked life and limb searching for such elusive creatures as the Alghoi Korkhoi in Mongolia, and the Mokele M’bembe in the Congo. And after his camp was approached by an "unknown creature," while working with researcher Lori Simmons, he has a new interest in our very own Bigfoot.

Davies, a civil servant in Bramhall, Stockport, United Kingdom by day, spends most of his extra money and vacation time exploring jungles, mountain peaks, and everything in between all around the world. He’s made three TV appearances on Monsterquest: The Real Hobbit, The Abominable Snowman, and China’s Wildman. And has also appeared on the National Geographic special entitled Russian Bigfoot, and is also scheduled to appear on Finding Bigfoot, the Sumatra episode, which is scheduled to air on February 17. And he’s also a really nice guy; happy to talk to anyone who would like to know about his adventures.

Dorraine: Okay, Adam, what was it that first got you started with cryptozoology in the first place?

Adam: I first developed a love of tracking animals as a child, and started off tracking animals then. I became really interested in cryptozoology as teenager when I watched an episode of Arthur C. Clarke's mysterious World series which featured Mackerle's hunt for the Mokele-Membe. I decided I would go myself and I did!

Dorraine: When people ask you what you do out there, what do you tell them? What do you call yourself?

Adam: I tell people I research unknown creatures- i.e. creatures that have not been scientifically proved yet. As such, I am a researcher. Other people have described me as an "Explorer" an "Adventurer" or a "Cryptozoologist." I’m good with any of those tags.

Dorraine: How do you plan an expedition? What’s involved? Do you have someone else do it for you?

Adam: I research the area very thoroughly based on three criteria: Are there local stories that go back [in history]? E.g. the Yeren stories go back to 6 B.C. If they are just modern stories, I am suspicious! Does the ecosystem support the plausibility of such a creature existing, and do I want to go looking for it? I do a lot of the research and planning, but I have also worked with other team members and of course local guides. It’s normally my time and money so I have to want to go, but I am always happy for others to help, and they do!

Dorraine: Have you actually seen any of the creatures you're searching for, or do you just have a

burning curiosity like so many of us?

Adam: Yes, I have seen the Seljord Serpent in Norway. When it came out of the water, it was totally

strange. It had barbs on its back, and moved in an undulating motion, just like in a 17th century
woodcut. I had a total burst of adrenaline. If I could have jumped on its back, I would have. I had a complete Captain Ahab moment! The sounds that the team generated were subsequently analyzed by the Marine Research institute in Bergen. Their conclusion: unknown species.

Dorraine: Wow! I’ll have to get back to you later on that story! When you first started doing these kinds of expeditions, did people call you crazy?

Adam: When I first started doing them I did a lot of self-justification i.e. "I am going to look for the Mokele-Membe in the Congo. I know the legends say it’s a dinosaur, but I think it might be......"

Dorraine: And has that changed now?

Adam: Years later, I don't bother. I just say it as it is. I want people to enjoy what I do, but that's up to them. I am not a politician standing for election.

Dorraine: Does being followed around with cameras all the time add pressure to
the investigations?

Adam: I am not followed around with cameras all the time. On most of my expeditions, I haven't had a TV crew with me. So I have freedom to do whatever I choose, which is invariably all about maximizing the best chance of getting any evidence of the creature I am looking for. Its my time and my money after all. If you are with a TV crew, they are obviously all about making a good show as their primary objective, so the shape of the investigation inevitably changes, but then that's understandable. The integrity of any evidence remains the same though, and they can often get stuff tested quicker because they have more resources.

Dorraine: Do the locals in your investigation areas usually cooperate pretty well with you? And do they generally have a pretty good attitude about what you're doing there?

Adam: I research each area very carefully before I go, and try to find the very best local trackers and guides to aid me while I am there. Its all about maximizing the time on the ground. I have rarely come across hostile attitudes to the expeditions I am on. Most local people in the areas I have been to are normally just interested in why I am there, as often, the areas visited could have had few westerners ever there.

Dorraine: You're in some dangerous situations sometimes. Which do you fear more? The creatures you're searching for, or the conditions you're forced to deal with in order to find them?

Adam: It depends on the country. In the Congo, it was the people, as I was shot at. I also witnessed a battle once, and had artillery flares going overhead. In most of the jungles, it’s the little things rather than the big things that will get you normally, i.e. diseases rather than Tigers. I was stuck in isolation in a hospital once! In the Mountains, it’s making sure you don't fall off!

Dorraine: What's been your scariest moment? Or can you even pick one?

Adam: Not one individually-I think see above for detail. Also, I have nearly slipped off the mountain twice now, once in Nepal and once in Russia. I have "nearly died" on a number of occasions. I am still here, so I am very lucky I suppose! Lots of occasions, lots of memories!

Dorraine: Why is it worth the risk to you?

Adam: I think this is the most difficult question to answer. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by whether unknown species roamed the earth, and have been in the past prepared to take enormous risks. I remember thinking before I traversed the Likoula swamps, I am not sure whether I will survive this or not, and wrote letters to friends and family in the event of my death. I guess I am just fascinated by the adventure of it all, solving mysteries, and hopefully in the case of the Orang-Pendek, doing some good by helping to preserve its ecosystem.

Dorraine: In your opinion, what is the most interesting project you've ever been involved in? Is there any one project that stands out above the rest?

Adam: The most interesting that I have been involved in is the Orang-Pendek. This is a bipedal primate that inhabits the jungles of Sumatra. Even most of the skeptics entertain the possibility that it exists. I have been on seven expeditions to look for it, and gathered persuasive scientific evidence of its existence. I have had prints cast analyzed by primatologists, and its hair structure analyzed by a scientist who was used in the Dingo baby case. They confirmed it was is an unknown species of primate.(For example, see `Edge Science Magazine-New Primate species in Sumatra). And I was totally amazed by what happened to me in the U.S. this last year though, when an unknown creature approached Lori Simmons and I when we were asleep by the campfire. That has really kindled a great interest in Bigfoot for me now.

Orang-pendek cast

Unknown in the Camp

Dorraine: When you're being your everyday self, are you always thinking about the next adventure? Or are you able to separate your two lives and function like a regular person until the next one rolls around? I guess I'm asking where your mind is on a daily basis.

Adam: Brilliant question! I do find it really hard to adjust back to the day job. I would rather do this full time. For example, after the Congo, when I had crossed the Likoula swamps. Been in a battle-dance with pygmies etc. The next day I was sitting at my desk in an office after a month away. I do work hard at my job and do it to the best of my ability. But I do long for adventure. It’s a part of me. I can't change.

Dorraine: Do you think there's a certain amount of innate wanderlust and obsession that creates the desire to do this kind of "work?"

Adam: I think to do the stuff I have, yes. But I don't want to encourage everyone to go as hard at it as I have!! Anyone who is interested in this subject I advise to start off slowly, do some good research, and if you are into doing field research, then by all means pursue your dreams. I have had some fabulous experiences. You should too.

Dorraine: Given the things you've seen all over the world, what do you say to skeptics that say Bigfoot/Yeti/Yeren/Yowie-type creatures don't exist, or probably don't exist?

Adam: Well, there is clear evidence for the existence of unknown bipedal primates in different and remote parts of the world, and I have given examples of evidence I have personally gathered here. Any tangible piece of evidence I do find is analyzed by credible independent scientists. I am not a credulous person. If I find nothing, I say so. I was quite prepared to go on BBC Radio Scotland and say the Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist for example! I think its important that skeptics approach any evidence with an open mind. These are potentially hugely important potential discoveries, and to dismiss them all without proper consideration would be a terrible mistake.

Dorraine: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Adam: If people want to contact me, they can email me at: adamkdavies@yahoo.co.uk or Facebook

me on my personal site. I am not going to be continuing on with the Extreme Expeditions team from

now on.

Dorraine: And I understand you have a book out. Can you tell us about that?

Adam: My book is called: `Extreme Expeditions-Travel Adventures Stalking the World's Mystery Animals, and detail my adventures up until 2008. I have done plenty since then and I need to write a new book I think!!

Dorraine: We’ll be waiting for that! Thanks, Adam.

It was hard to stop with this interview. I kept thinking, while I was sitting on my couch watching TV, Adam might be on the other side of the world trying NOT to fall off a mountain in order to prove the existence of some of the strangest creatures on earth. And I realized there was so much to know, and there simply aren’t enough EXTRA hours left in my life to have asked him everything. But stay tuned. No doubt, I’ll be talking to Adam Davies again. ******DF
 
Video Of The Unknown Creature in Camp

 

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