Monday, November 14, 2011

Sahar Didmus Passed Away Today.

Sahar was a great friend of mine, and accompanied me on 5 of my 6 expeditions to Sumatra. In 2oo1, he was with me when we found the hairs and cast ,which were subsequently analysed as being from an `unkown primate`, and of course was there in 2009,when we obtained the hairs which generated a similar result.i last saw him just two months ago,when he and his brother John found what we think is a handprint of the Orang-Pendek, as well as new hair samples, which are currently undergoing testing.
Sahar has featured in several documentaries, firstly with me, in the National Geographic `Is It Real`,series, then also with MonsterQuest, and most recently as part of a documentary we filmed in September, with the B.B.C. He also featured in Beast Hunter and the Destination Truth episodes.
I first met Sahar in 2001, when he was part of Debbie Martyr's Tiger protection team.On that occasion ,I was enormously impressed by his tracking skills-he was I think, the best in the world for years(and I have plenty of experience with international trackers).He had a great affinity with nature, and was keen to protect the forests he so loved.Since then Sahar has always led the Sumatran contingent of my expeditions, and I found him to be a highly organised and jovial guy.
I was privileged to be with him in 2009 when he saw the Orang-Pendek, a moment which he described as `one of the greatest of his life`, and gave him a hug as he sobbed with the emotion of it.
I have watched his sons grow up, and am in shock todayat his sudden passing away.My thoughts are for his wife Lucy, and his lovely boys who I know will make him proud....

Sunday, October 30, 2011


The hair samples have now been sent to the following experts: Bryan Sykes (Oxford);Todd Disotell (New York) ; Lars Thomas and Tom Gilbert (Copenhagen). In addition Jeff Meldrum has a photo of the possible handprint, and Andy will be working on making copies of the casts soon.

I have just written a foreward for Richard Freeman's forthcoming book on Sumatra,and the Orang-Pendek. There are now just a couple of loose ends to tie up , like writing up my own notes, and then I can put Sumatra to rest.All I can do now is wait for the results to come in of the evidence we found, whatever they may be.
Time to think soon about something else to do ,I think....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An excellent expedition!

Well , I have just got back from Sumatra, and am totally knackered, but here are the headlines:
Everything has to be scientifically verified, but we have found a possible handprint, two footcasts, hair, and have literally thousands of images on the camera traps, which will take weeks to work through.
Most importantly, the excellent team I worked with are all safe and well.I am delighted with the results!
I am off for a bath now.Hold the rice!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I am off to Sumatra!

That's it ! All packed and ready to go.I just had time for a really fab night out in London before I left.
I will update the blog when I get back and let you all know what I and the rest of the team find.

Let's hope the time is now.....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sumatra Lecture.

On Saturday, I a gave a talk at the CFZ's annual gathering in Devon. I enjoyed the weekend, and got some really positive responses and appreciation of my work from those who attended.On a personal level, I always find this really encouraging. Not everyone can go on expeditions, of course, and its great to know that other people do get satisfaction form what I am doing, and it really does give me insporation for the future.

Now, its only a few weeks to go until Sumatra, so its time to check, and double check all my kit.......

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First, two bits of personal news.On Friday ,I was a guest on the Fate Radio network-Parasight Radio, hosted by Justin Cancilleire.(U.S.) I had a good time doing the show, and as my interview lasted for an hour, there was some great opportunities to get into the subject.So, thanks to Justin!

I have also recently written an article for John Carlson's Paranomalist blog on whether the Orang-Pendek is the same creature as Flores man.John told me that the article had made Coast to Coast , in the U.S, and got nearly 8,ooo hits in the first week it had been published.Again ,this is really good to hear!

On the expedition front, we will now begin ordering our supplies soon, to minimise the delay in getting into the Jungle when we arrive.Time to dust out my kit and get walking with the backpack.Only a couple of months to go now....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Follow Us Live!

We are now down to the final few details of the planning of the CFZ Sumatra expedition.
Transport is organised , and the guides and field teams have been finalised.
All that remains is the ordering of the rations, and getting on with the job!
A special thanks to Glen Vaudrey for his hard work on the camera trap appeal.We will of course do our best to get that elusive photo!
For those of you on Face book with me a have some great news.We are hoping to be able to bring you updates of our adventures as they happen-jungle permitting!If you go to my status page, and click on Extreme-Expeditions, you will find the details.Andy,who created the site, is still working on it,but it looks excellent, and there will be plenty more to come.
I mentioned in my last blog how much I was looking forward to being in London.I had a fabulous time, as I always do.
I hope to be there again very soon...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Getting there!

I feel like we are making some really good progress with the expedition to Sumatra. We have ordered and paid for a lot of the equipment we will need , and Andy has done a good job working the finances out.
Importantly, Sahar will now begin to start traversing the area, and looking for recent activity of the creature, in the area where we will be operating.I am hoping of course, for some recent Orang-Pendek sightings or prints..

The Discovery Channel film has gone down really well, and proved very popular, so I am very pleased.Although Olly did say that he thought "his bum looked big" :).I have posted the film on my Facebook site, for anyone who wants to see it.

I will be travelling a lot in the next few weeks.I am in London next week, which I am really looking forward to.
Of course, I will keep you updated if I get any exciting news.........

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Article on Cryptomundo

Today, I posted an article on Cryptomundo about the importancce of field research in continuning the quest for scientific evidence for the existence of cryptids.If you have the time to do so, I would encourage you to read it.
In it, I gave two particular examples of why I consider that time is running out for some of them, and given that, why the work is so important, not just for them, but for the eco systems they inhabit.It is important that field research is carried out properly, particularly in relation to the gathering of samples, and I am always happy to help, should anyone have any questions on this for me.
I would add that I have no interest in replying to the recent emails I have recieved from a gentleman in Burkina Faso suggested that we both can share milloins, if only I would send my bank account details to him!
Expedition planning is going well, and both the kitlist and finances seem almost agreed.
I was particularly pleased this week that the show I did for Discovery went down so well, and my kids loved being on it too.I hope to post a link to it on my facebook account soon, if you would like to watch it...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Filming with the Discovery Channel.

I have just been filming with the Discovery channel. For the first scene, they asked if it would be o.k. to film a tracking sequence with my kids, which I was cool with.When I told Oliver(12) about this he said"all the girls will be so impressed at school, Dad" and then quickly added," er not that I'm interested in ANY of them ! " "Yeah sure you're not,Son" I said ;)

Meanwhile, Gabriella (6) has declared that "she loves filming " and is "quite happy to work for chocolate!"!!
I am working on expedition finances for Sumatra now Sahar is better, together with Andy Sansderson. The kit list will follow shortly, but we are making good progress!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Yes folks, I finally joined face book.I have enjoyed playing with it over the last couple of weeks.After all, it can't get me into anymore trouble than sending texts after a night down the pub:)
Now that spring is upon us ,I am going to start upping my running, and finally give up smoking.Yeah its those patches for me!
I am starting to work out some of the objectives for how we operate the expedition in Sumatra,and after I share and discuss it with the team, I will post more on it here .What I can say now though, is that I intend to operate the teams,for the first time ever, from up to three locations,and the array of equipment we are now able to bring looks very exciting indeed!

I am looking forward to the Easter Break.At Easter in the U.K., we seem to have developed a tradition that we must, by law, gorge ourselves on chocolate at Easter.Quite what that has to do with Christ's death and resurrection,I have no idea...I read once that its some sort of Pagan crossover to do with fertility though?
Anyway, however you are spending it, and wethere you are fertile or not,I wish all readers of this blog a really great Easter.....

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Tenerife was a blast! There will be more no doubt, on the blog to come.For starters though, lets just say my friend Stuart discovered a previously unknown talent for pole dancing,and was really yes really, good at it. Also Anthony, was put `on trial` ,and is now famous in Tenerife!!!!

Anyway, on to the Crypto info.I was concerned this week as the team's chief guide Sahar was hospitalised with a back injury.However, the good news is that he has recovered from that, and will be with us for the expedition later in the year. The team from Oz, has also booked their flights, and will be arriving the day before us in Sumatra.
Yesterday,I also had some really good news.I recently submitted an article for the scientific publication `EdgeScience` magazine. I am delighted to say it has made the front cover! Its out on the 15th April, if you would like to look at it.My article is entitled, `New primate species in Sumatra`.
It was great weather in Tenerife, and just as I arrived back to Manchester it started to brighten up here to.
London on Friday was really really hot! Time to start my Summer fitness training....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sumatra Confirmed.

The expedition to Sumatra will definately go ahead in September this year. I have just had to pay out for my flights, so I am seriously skint, and I am off to Tenerife for a friends birthday celebration Friday to Monday!
Had to be done though, to secure our places on the aircraft. I now have Dally working on the costings over in Sumatra. Meanwhile, over in the U.K. , Dave Archer and I, have been discussing what equipment we are going to be taking with us,particularly sourcing night vision kit to use at just before dawn.Meanwhile, Glen Vaudrey has also launched a campaign looking for sponsorship for trailcams.
John Carlson's paranomalist website now has that great new article I mentioned on the Orang-Pendek up, and as I mentioned previously, it is well worth a look.
I will post again when I get back from my short trip
There will be no `Monster Hunting` going on in Tenerife...........

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dancing to the Kinshasa beat...

Last night , I went out for a drink with my old mate Andy Sanderson, who's not long out of the Royal Navy. We primarily met up to talk about the forthcoming Sumatra expedition,and particularly, to talk about what kit we would need. So ,Glen Vaudrey's trailcam appeal launched on the CFZ website, comes at just the right time.
Whilst reminiscing ,Andy reminded me about some of our old escapades together, including some lighter moments. For example, after literally having to fight our way out of Kinshasa during the civil war , we headed straight off to Rhodes ,where we won a `dance off ` to Run D.M.C , in a Greek nightclub! I can't imagine doing that now, but I am going to Tenerife on April 1st for three nights for Anthony's birthday, so you never know.
Later on in the evening, Keith and Anthony both turned up, and as I recall, Keith bought some shots with gold bits or something in them.What is that stuff? They both headed off to a club, and I have been unable to get hold of either of them today to ask!
I have been working on a new post for John Carlson's paranomalist blog.It should appear there shortly.Last year, Dutch cryptozoologist Tim De Frel contacted me and asked for some help in organising an expedition to search for the Orang-Pendek.His report will be no doubt posted on John's site, along with a few very striking observations of my own based on previous evidence I have gathered.I advise you to read it if you get the chance.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sumatra 2011 and Bownessie continued!

Well, its been a crappy week at work ,with briefings about potential redundancies .To take my mind off it, I took a walk by the riverbanks where I live ,ironically in a place nicknamed `happy valley`. It did live up to its name this morning,and I spotted a lovely little Kingfisher diving into the water, in search of a tasty little silvery snack.
On Friday, I met up with my old friend Stuart,and together with Anthony, we discussed among other things(Stuart -I still can't believe what you said about the Teletubbies), the prospect of going up to Lake Windermere, for a short recce, to check out the contiuing stories about the alleged `monster` that seems to have a sudden taste for celebrity status in Lake Windermere.If nothing else ,it wil be a good opportunity to test my hydrophone and other equipment for when we get down to more serious matters.More of that anon..
Planning for Sumatra continues apace, with Sahar ,my chief guide agreeing that my idea of spliting the team into two will maximise the chances of seeing the Orang-Pendek.Jon McGowan, and Dave Archer will also be joining the team members already coming.
Although I am very familiar with Sumatra and its jungles,I am only to aware how quickly the situation on the ground can change, and its important not to go into it blindfolded, so I will begin the detailed process of operational planning shortly

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sumatra 2011

Its been a busy week. As well as the dayjob, I have been busy writing an article for EdgeScience magazine,to be published I believe in April. I also took some time out to tie up with a great new friend of mine. Now however, I am turning my mind to expeditions. I am happy to announce that I will be returning to Sumatra in September 2011.I will be joined by my chief guide Sahar, and Andy Sanderson will be coming with me for the first time since 2004, I think.
Other team members confirmed are :Chris Clark, Richard Freeman, and Rebecca and Mike from CFZ Australia.
Its still early in the planning stage,but I am already looking forward to it!
In the meantime, I would really like to squeeze another expedition in if at all possible, so if anyone has any ideas /help, please feel free to contact me.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Well, last week I was pondering where to take my new hydrophone, and right on cue, a supposed sighting of a Lake Monster appeared at Lake Windermere, which is a few hours drive from me!
I am a great fan of hydrophones.With this device, you are able to record sounds,and have them scientifically analysed.Indeed , I was part of a team that sucessfully did this while looking for Selma, Norway's Nessie.The sound recordings we brought back ,led the Marine Research institute to conclude that they were from an unkown species.The problem with Sonar, is that alhtough it may be able to tell that a large object is moving through the water, it cannot tell you what it is with any reliability.Eyewitness and film footage can also be prone to mis-identification, (eels, otters etc).However sincere the person who has seen the `monster` may be.Of course, there are always hoaxers ...
I remain very doubtful indeed at present, but what's to lose?I was very sceptical of the Seljord Serpent's existence, but I ended up seeing that with my own eyes, much to my surprise!
In the meantime ,standby for some important expedition news...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hydrophone and the Killer Tortoise.

Well, my new hydrophone has come in the post,and like all the new kit that I seem to buy, at first,I haven't a clue how to use it! Not yet ,anyway-but I will have a fun practising I guess.Dr.Chris Clarke joked that he had `stress tested` his in the bath,but I can't imagine what noises he has induced in their to get readings,and frankly I don't want to :)
No, will take mine out with a friend of mine who is a dive master, and see how reliable it is in more extreme surroundings.
Its been a few months now since I go back from India,and I am restless ,and wished I could be in the field once again.I was pleased that the interview I did with Tim Binnall got such a positive response from those who listened,and a big thank you to all those people who have mailed me subsequently, to ask me questions ,or to say that they enjoy reading or listening to what I do. I do read all the correspondence I get, and will always reply to any of your mails.
In the meantime, I do need to begin planning where I go next,but as ever, it has to be subject to what I can afford...
In the meantime though, , I will have to settle into more mundane tasks. For the second time in a week, my son's bloody tortoise has taken a chunk out of my foot!
A `master of disguise`, it lurks beneath the coffee table, and the moment I sit down seems to lunge(as speedily as a tortoise can), towards my big toe,which it infinitely prefers as a tasty snack to the chopped cucumber and red pepper I dutifully chopped up for it.
I have decided it is ungrateful.No animal should bite the toe that feeds it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tim Binnall.

From Monday, the interview I did with Tim Binnall just beofre Christmas will be available for download from his website. Tim's a really good guy, and I very much enjoy being on his show. I hope you get an opportunity to download it and listen. If anyone has any questions about the Mande-Burung expedition , or anything else I have done, or intend to do,please feel free to mail me at, you can post a comment on the website.
I wonder if any of the `predictions` I made on Tim's show about the outcome of the expedition results, will come true? Time will tell.............
I had a really great week this week.Here's hoping next week will be awesome.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Good news from Garo.

I have just received a mail from Dipu .I am pleased to say that all the team are well, and that the situation in Garo is slowly returning to normal.Great news ,and a big relief.
I had a dose of that bloody flu this week, and it has been crappy.I mean, flu is bad enough, but why do your eyelids have to ache on top of everything else?That is seriously wrong;its not as if you can stop blinking is it?
January is a dour month anyway.I wish I was out there, exploring, rather than sitting here skint ,in Manchester!Enough moaning.
Anyway, I have bought a hydrophone this week, which will be extremely useful obviously for listening to aquatic creatures.I have begun to plan when I will be using it.I also had two really good pieces of news.Unfortunately, I can't give any detail about either of them as yet, but I am looking forward to being able to talk about at least one of them fairly soon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thinking of my friends in the Garo Hills.

Last night, I recieved some worrying news from Dipu Marak.Apparently, there has been what he described as `communal fighting ` ,between the Garo people, and the Rabha, from Assam. As a result, the Garo border is closed, people have been killed and shops and vehicles burnt out. As things stand today ,the team who accompanied us on the expedition are all o.k. My thoughts are with them..........

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

A happy New Year to you all!

I had a great time at a club called `Fresh` in Macclesfield,where my mate Keith (who came to Sumatra ,Norway, and Loch Ness with me), is a D.J. Keith was telling me that the week before ,one of the barmaids,a very pretty girl of about 20 ,came over to him with an unexpected proposition."Keith ,"she said, "As I know your not working in the club on New Year's Eve, have you made any plans ?" "No" said Keith, excitedly, "great ", said the girl,"only my mum isn't doing anything either, and I thought you might like to go on a blind date with her!!"
You've still got it mate.After all, Mum's know best !

I'm gonna go onto the rugged moorland around Kinderscout ,which is in the Peak District tomorrow.Looking forward to it. Maybe I should take Keith?