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Monday, July 29, 2013

Strange things in the forest
Cannock Chase [Photo by Lee Brickley]

By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher
Professional Writer, a nature and wildlife enthusiast who has written for many magazines.

Cannock Chase. The Creepiest Place On Earth?
An Interview With Author, Lee Brickley
By TCC Team Member  Dorraine Fisher

            When we follow enough stories of the paranormal and all manner of strangeness in the world, we sometimes find certain places where unusual events and sightings of strange things seem to be more concentrated.  Cannock Chase in England is just such a place; a beautiful scenic landscape, immersed in folklore and history. And it’s a place where reports of nearly every manner of being known to the paranormal world have been collected.  But is it a paranormal hub or just good fuel for active imaginations?  Much of it is designated by authorities there as a “Site of Special Scientific Interest,” which leads us to wonder even more what’s beyond the shadows of its boundaries.   Paranormal author, Lee Brickley, lives near there in Birmingham and regularly investigates the strange events and entities reported, which include the curious “Pig Man of Cannock,” among many others. And he’s written a book about his findings there.   

Dorraine:  What first caused your interest in the paranormal? How did it all start?
Lee:  My interest in the paranormal began at a very young age when I experienced a series of disturbances in my family home over a time span of around 6 months. This included: shadows moving across the walls, scratching on the walls, items moving around on their own and this eventually came to a head one night when I awoke completely paralyzed with a tall, dark silhouette of a man, stood over me, watching me for around 3 hours.

Dorraine:  Where is Cannock Chase? And what kind of place is it?
Lee:   Cannock Chase is a forest located in the county of Staffordshire, in the centre of England. It has a 2000 year history that can be traced back to a Celtic tribe known as the "Cornovii" - which translates as "people of the horn."

Dorraine:  How did you come to investigate the happenings there?
Lee:  Living in towns around Cannock Chase all my life has meant that I've followed the events very closely.

Dorraine:  Describe some of the things that are reported there.

Lee:   Pretty much every type of paranormal phenomena is reported on Cannock Chase. From "big cats" and UFOs to werewolves and a monster known locally as The Pig-Man.

Dorraine:  What exactly is the Pig Man of Cannock? 

Lee:  The Pig-Man story has been around since WW2 (around 1940). It is alleged that during WW2, when two huge military training camps were located on Cannock Chase, a human/swine hybrid was created and somehow escaped in to the woods, where it has lived to this very day. Some people believe that the military concocted this story themselves as a way of keeping people away from Cannock Chase and the camps, as German prisoners of war were also being kept at the site. Some people believe the military were up to no good and really did create a monster on Cannock Chase. Whichever is correct, sightings do occur relatively regularly in the area.

Dorraine:  Do you have any theories about what has created the strangeness there? Any ideas about how it became such an unusual place?

Lee:   I believe it is possible that unusual occult rituals performed by the aforementioned Cornovii tribe could well have caused a portal to open in the area. That said, either the military are aware of this and are monitoring the situation, or they are somehow causing it all. Many people think it could be the case that: when people get too close to something top secret, the military employ "battlefield technology."
Dorraine:  About how often are strange things reported there?

Lee:  Strange things are reported on a weekly basis.

Dorraine:  Are you ever afraid when you're in Cannock? Have you seen things that actually scared you?

Lee:   I am not affraid when im in Cannock Chase, but that doesn't mean I'd go up there alone in the dark, and would also advise others not to. I've heard howling in the woods on many occasions, which is odd, because there haven't been any wolves in the wild in England for decades.

Dorraine:  How are you received by the people that live there?

Lee:   I’m received well by local residents, most of them are as interested as me in the strange happenings.
Dorraine:  When people ask you what you do, what do you tell them?

Lee:   I tell them I'm a paranormal writer.

Dorraine:  And how do they respond?

Lee:   They usually have many questions. 

Dorraine:   So would you say overall that the people there are fairly open to discussing the strange happenings in the area, or not? 

Lee:  That is a tricky one. Some people are very open, others not so. In fact, there is a werewolf story in my book for which I had to use a false name for the family involved. Generally with UFO sightings, people are happy to talk, however some people seem to worry about being called "mad" when they've seen cryptids or the like. I think I got such a good response from them because I'm from around here. That particular family said they would have never reported their werewolf encounter to the press.

Dorraine:  How do you conduct investigations? What's your research "style?" 

Lee:   I like to get out in the field, in the woods, or interviewing local people in their homes.

Dorraine:  What things have you seen out there yourself? 

Lee:   I have seen a number of UFOs (specifically huge black triangular shaped ones) as well as a number of "entities" (although I don't believe that what we call "ghosts" are necessarily dead people.)

Dorraine:  Can you elaborate on what you mean by that? 

Lee:  I mean I don’t think ghosts are necessarily dead people. It seems possible to me that people are merely catching a glimpse of another place or another time. A sort of mental time slip, if you will.

Dorraine:  What do you feel fairly sure exists there for real based on your own personal experiences of the area and the research you’ve conducted? 

Lee:  For me, the only complete certainty is UFO's. I've personally seen many, and although some of them are undoubtedly secret military craft, many sightings cannot be explained this way, so I feel something "otherworldly" is afoot. Be it extra-terrestrial or paranormal.
Dorraine:  Do people outside the situation call you crazy?

Lee:   No one has called me crazy as yet, but there's still time. (Wink)

Dorraine:  Do you have trouble separating normal life from your investigative life? What do you think about on a normal day?

Lee:   I don't think my investigative life needs to be separated from my private life, I investigate as and when reports come in. I consider myself "on call."

Dorraine:  What is it that drives you the most? What inspires you to keep doing this?

Lee:   I just find it all incredibly interesting. I realized a long time ago that the world is not as it is portrayed on TV. 

Dorraine:  You deal with the people that live there and you listen to all these strange stories. Anyone who really thinks about what you do on a daily basis might wonder how you keep your wits about you. How do you keep it all in perspective?

Lee: I have no trouble keeping my wits about me. Very little scares me in this world, I tend to find things that scare others incredibly fascinating.

Dorraine:  And what do you say to skeptics?

Lee:   To skeptics I say "come to Cannock Chase and see for yourselves."

Dorraine:  Fair enough. And tell us about your book?

Lee:   My book "UFO's Werewolves & The Pig-Man: Exposing England's Strangest Location - Cannock Chase" is out now, available from Amazon. It chronicles my investigation into the area, and contains a wealth of information, never before published by any journalists or press. 

            I’m a little embarrassed to say I’d never even heard of Cannock Chase or the Pig Man before The Crypto Crew first spoke to Lee recently. But whether they are military secrets or paranormal phenomena or some combination of both that feed the stories told in this “enchanted” forest in England doesn’t really matter. It’s fascinating, and we’ll certainly be watching it from now on.   And if you want to know more, you’ll have to read the book.  ******DF 
Order Lee Brickley's Book Today! 

[Note:  Special thanks to author Lee Brickley for sharing his story with us.]   

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