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How did you become interested in cryptids and the paranormal?
When I was in elementary school, my father told me the story of his 1950’s era UFO encounter near San Bernardino, California. That story and a chance reading of a Ripley’s Believe it or Not comic book about hauntings, got me interested in the subject and I became well-known to my school librarian as the kid who was always asking for books about the strange.
What is your favorite subject to research and write about?
I don’t really have a favourite topic. I am really a generalist Fortean but, if I were forced to choose one favourite and a favourite author to go with it, I would say that I am very interested in the Manwolf sightings and love author Linda Godfrey’s work on that subject.
Is there an experience you’ve covered in your books that you’d love to have? And conversely...one you definitely wouldn’t.
I’m very curious about the Sasquatch and would love to see one at a respectful distance.
As far as things I would avoid, though I am fascinated by the Manwolf, I would not want to encounter one of these cranky creatures up close. Also, the strange, skinny white humanoids are on my “nope” list.
Have you had any paranormal experiences of your own?
I had a significant other years ago who used to say that living with me is a paranormal experience. I make no secret of the fact that I am an animist and believe firmly that I live in a world that has both a vast physical and a spiritual ecosystem. While I make no claims to having any special powers, I am certainly aware of spirits in my area, at times, and they make themselves known to me through various synchronicities that can get downright weird, if “someone” really wants to get my attention.
What are some of your favorite mysteries/cryptids/paranormal tales from Canada?
As I worked on my upcoming book on the monsters and mysteries of Canada, I came across the work of Barbara Rieti. Her book, based on the research for his doctorate, was entitled Strange Terrain: The Fairy World in Newfoundland. It is definitely not dry academic reading. The book is chockfull of stories of the Faery from that region and those stories bear such a strong resemblance to the tales of the Faery from places like Ireland and Scotland that the lore geek in me just loved them.
Have you come across anything surprising in your research?
While doing research for my upcoming book on Canadian mysteries, I came across the work of author John Warms. Warms gathered witness accounts from the First Nations people of Manitoba and there were things in that book I had never heard of … and I have been reading about the paranormal and Fortean for decades. For example, Warms has a whole section on giant beaver sightings that just made my jaw drop.
Any upcoming projects?
I am finishing up work on my latest book, which is tentatively titled Canadian Monsters and Mysteries and thinking about what subject I want to tackle next. My spouse and I are going to launch a fiction book series for middle grade readers in June. We have book one ready for print and are working on books two and three.