Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Shadows in the Sky - A Few Comments
Some time ago, good mate Neil Arnold asked me if I would write the Foreword for his new book, Shadows in the Sky: The Haunted Airways of Britain. Well, of course I bloody would! So, Neil fired the Word doc over to me, I eagerly devoured it, and duly sent Neil my hastily pounded out words of introduction to his mighty tome.
But, last week, I received in the mail the finished piece of work, which is why I'm bringing it up now. Now I'm not just saying this because we both like the Sex Pistols, Oasis and Motley Crue, but Shadows in the Sky is a book that, if you're a definitive Fortean, and/or are interested in Brit-based things of a paranormal, supernatural, cryptozoological, and/or ufological nature, then this is the book for you.
The production is excellent, as is the layout. But, coupled with the fantastic artwork of yet another good mate, Simon Wyatt, and also Alan Friswell and Adam Smith, Shadows in the Sky is the perfect piece of work for indulging in some late-night reading by the proverbial flickering candle.
One of the reasons I enjoy reading Neil's books is that not only does he have a great knowledge of British forteana, folklore, mythology and mystery, but he has a great passion and enthusiasm for such issues, too.
For Neil, like me, there's still something exciting and mysterious about ancient woodland, ruined castles, old haunted villages, snow-covered hills, late-night tales around the fireplace, and centuries-old legend. And that shines through in Neil's writing, which is informative, intelligent and entertaining.
Why's it called Shadows in the Sky? Because it deals with the mysteries of the skies, of course! And there's plenty of them. But, rather than waffle on and on, instead take a look at my Foreword for Neil's book, which I have copy-pasted below. And when you've read it, go and get a copy of Shadows in the Sky!
It is, as we say, where I originally come from, bostin'! (That means pretty damn good, in case "bostin" flummoxed you...)
And with that said, here's my Foreword:
When Neil Arnold asked me if I would write the Foreword to this very book – Shadows in the Sky – I quickly and enthusiastically said: “Yes!” Not just because Neil is a good mate who shares similar tastes in music and embraces the idea of living life to the full, but also because – as is the case with all of Neil’s books – his new one is a damned fine read!
There’s often a danger that when compiling and writing a book on countless cases and incidents of a distinctly paranormal nature, the finished product can come across as being overly sterile and encyclopedic. In other words: highly informative, but as downright dull as dishwater.
Thankfully, Neil is the sort of author who astutely realizes that capturing the attention and imagination of the reader is as important as presenting the evidence. And that’s what I like about Neil’s work: he’s a good, solid researcher, but one who also knows how to craft a fine and captivating account that is as factual as it is spellbinding.
And that’s precisely what you get with Shadows in the Sky: a mighty and mysterious tome best devoured by candlelight on a thunderous, chilled night. And if you happen to be in some spooky old house at the time, well, all the better!
So, with that said, what, precisely, is Shadows in the Sky all about? Put simply, it’s a first-class study of strange, bizarre and, at times, downright terrifying phenomena seen in the skies of the green and pleasant British Isles.
No-one should be surprised to learn that Neil devotes a whole section of his book to the controversy surrounding UFOs – and he does so in a fashion demonstrating that whatever the nature of the phenomenon, it’s a very ancient and mysterious one.
But, flying saucers and aliens are not the only things that pop up on Neil’s radar. He also provides us with a fascinating body of data on issues that some see as being connected with the modern era of Ufology, including weird and enigmatic ghostly balls of light, and 19th and early 20th Century sightings of “phantom airships,” unidentified balloons and much more. Neil even entertains us with stories of baffling falls of fish and frogs from the heavens above!
Then there are those ominous monsters of the sky – creepy winged creatures that sound like they surfaced straight out of the pages of an H.P. Lovecraft novel. Their names include the Brentford Griffin, the Owlman, and the Bird of Death. Truly, they are the stuff of nightmares.
Now that I have given you a taste of Neil’s book, it’s time to read on. Disappointed you won’t be. After reading Shadows in the Sky, however, you may find yourself glancing upwards far more than normal, pondering and brooding upon the many and varied monstrosities and mysteries that lurk above…