Friday, 16 November 2007

FIRST CONTACT - abducted by a didi

Less than a couple of hours after Nick Redfern wondered on his blog whether we would ever see our brave boys (and girl) again, we finally heard from Richard. OK the reception was terrible, there was five to ten second lag in broadcasting, and our conversation lasted for considerably less than two minutes, but we can no confirm that all five of the expedition members are safe and well, and that they are presently in the township of Letham Station on the edge of the savannah.

Despite the almost insurmountable technical difficulties, it still amazes me that I was able to have a telephone conversation with my good friend and colleague miles from nowhere, half the world away. For unlike the younger members of the CFZ team, I am a child of the late 50s, and I still remember how complicated it was to make my first ever international ‘phone call. It was 1966, and my grandmother’s 70th birthday. My father, who was then a senior civil servant in Hong Kong managed – somehow – to arrange an international ‘phone call through somebody at the American Consulate so we could wish my grandmother a happy birthday. It took days to arrange, and I found out years later that my father had had to pull a lot of strings in high places to arrange it, and even now I remember the booming voice of my grandmother sounding like she had her head in a bucket along a crackly telephone line. Before we made the ‘phone call my mother got out my father’s globe, which still stands on top of my recording studio monitors in the CFZ office. She showed me the little dot that was Hong Kong, and the even smaller dot which was Chester in the north of England. I marvelled at this amazing technology, which could allow us to speak to my grandmother for a few minutes.

Some of this childish wonder came back to me this evening as I heard Richard’s crackly voice broadcasting across the ether from thousands of miles away.

After ascertaining that everybody was well, Richard told us quickly of their first day’s adventures. After an eighteen hour flight, they landed in Georgetown – the capital of Guyana – yesterday morning, and after a short break travelled for thirteen hours into the interior of the country. It’s only when I checked Google Earth that I realised quite how far into the interior Letham Station actually is. The poor dears must be exhausted.

This morning they visited the home village of their guide and mentor Damon Corrie. The ‘phone cut out for a few seconds as he was explaining this, so for the moment I cannot tell you the name of this village, but while they were there they received the first solid first person account of the didi.

Apparently, about two years ago, two children – a boy, and a girl aged twelve – were walking on the savannah near the village. Out of the undergrowth strode a big, hairy, man-like figure, who grabbed the little girl, disappeared with her, and neither the hairy didi nor the girl were ever seen again.

The annals of cryptozoology are full of such accounts, but it is a very disturbing feeling to hear such a story in the 21st Century. Cryptozoologists from Heuvelmans onwards have described the world’s unknown hominids as shy and gentle creatures, and have done their best to downplay the stories of rapes, killings, and abductions. To hear such a story for oneself is a chilling experience.

They have also obtained the first video footage of an hitherto unknown species of scorpion, known to the locals as the green scorpion (presumably because of its colour). Richard was in the middle of telling me about this when the satellite link broke off. We were unable to contact him again.

All in all, however, this is a fantastic first day for the expedition. We will not be able to receive any video footage or images until they return, but due to the magic of cyberspace, we have obtained a couple of images of the countryside around the township of Letham Station.




Tomorrow the expedition sets out on foot into the largely unexplored savannah grassland.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.


Ben said...

Stunning photography. I would like to wish each and every individual associated with this expedition the very best, in health and hunting... :-)


Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

I'll be thinking of them, tramping through the jungle in search of the mysterious "Didi". If (when) they do find it I hope it doesn't snatch them. Mind you, if Richard and the others were going to be snatched by some strange beast it would have happened years ago!

Good luck guys, and I expect a page-turning book about this one!

Gretchen said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip already!