Monday 28 October 2019

Hallowe'en Exclusive - The House of 100 Spirits by Rick Hale

Cover Art: Mark Hetherington

To mark Hallowe'en this week, enjoy this extract chapter from Rick Hale's Behold! Shocking True Tales of Terror...and Some Other Spooky Stuff.

A theory that has been steadily gaining acceptance in the paranormal field that there are locations around the world where the veil between the living and the dead is thin or wide open. It is believed that due to this, supernatural entities, no matter what their nature, can come and go at will.

For those who accept this theory, it is commonly believed that portals can be either naturally occurring or opened by magical practitioners. Two examples of naturally occurring portals are Sedona, Arizona and Glastonbury in the UK. People who have visited these sacred sites have reported everything from experiencing high levels of consciousness to visitations from otherworldly beings. Generally, reports from portal locations are positive, but not all portals have such good vibes. The second kind of portal is believed to have been opened by dabbling in the magical arts. The purpose was for bringing primal spiritual forces into our world for the dabblers’ personal gain. By mistake or design, these portals are left open giving free range to whatever entities may be lurking on the other side.

The following is a true account of an investigation I conducted while working with a local group. I personally believe that a portal was open in this house and the spirits that delighted in keeping the family in fear. In December 2009, the lead investigator of the group called and asked if I wanted to go on another investigation. I happily said yes, as I liked the way Tony and his people worked. After a few minutes of a little chit chat, Tony got to the reason for the call. Tony, recently received a phone call from a man named, George who reported that his home in Waukegan, Illinois was infested by an indeterminate number of spirits. George further explained that some of the entities focused much of their attention on his 87 year old mother. Also, George believed that he believed one of the spirits was his father who, in life, was a bad guy. Tony told me after listening to the client that he had to ask a hard question. Tony asked George if his mother was suffering from any kind dementia. Dementia is quite common among people of such advanced age and hallucinations are a common feature. George, assured Tony that his mother was of sound mind, showing no signs of the debilitating illness.

After talking with the client, Tony, felt that the client was a credible witness and took the case. As we talked about the case, I suggested the possibility that a portal was open in the house. Tony agreed and said it was a distinct possibility and couldn't wait to find out.

Shortly after arriving at George's home, we met the family and was immediately struck by the look of terror and exhaustion etched into their faces. Clearly, this nice family had experienced something that far exceeded their understanding of the natural world. After unloading our gear, and setting up base, we went to work.

That night, I was paired with Diana, a seasoned investigator and one of the original members of Tony’s group. The first room we focused on was a second floor room, the bedroom of the elderly matriarch of the family. Several entities had been witnessed and experienced in this room by family and friends.

As we entered the room, we could tell immediately we were not alone. The very environment of the room felt thick and charged with what could only be described as an unnatural energy. Something unseen and altogether unfriendly was with us, something that would soon make its presence known. After a few minutes of getting a feel for the room, Diana laid an EMF meter on the bed and I laid my voice recorder next to it.

Diana then called out, “My name is Diana and this is Rick.”

“Hello” I said with a nod.

Diana continued. “Is there anyone in this room with us?”

Just as Diana finished her question, the lights on the meter sprang to life flashing wildly, “Good, now we can have a conversation,” she said.When Diana gave me the go ahead, I started asking a few questions of my own.

“If you're a man, can you cause the lights to light up?”

The lights lit up again and I continued, “Are you a former resident of this house?”

This time the lights didn't flash. If this wasn't a former resident, why was he here? This seemed highly irregular, but not unknown to me As Diana and I were wrapping up in the bedroom, Tony’s voice came over the handheld radio on my pocket.

“Diana, Rick, you there?”

“Yep.” I responded

“Can you come to the basement? I have a special assignment for you.”

Diana and I looked at each other wondering what a special assignment meant. Tony had a strange sense of humor. But, when the boss calls, you run. When we got to the basement, we found Tony and two other investigators standing next to a small, dark room.

Victoria, a medium who enjoyed the tech side of ghost hunting said with a grin, “You guys are really going to enjoy this. Especially Diana.”

After Victoria left we, turned to Tony and he said, “Victoria and Jessica were just in here. Victoria felt a strong male presence and Jessica claims the spirit grabbed her ass. I need the two of you to spend some time in here and see if it happens again.”

We both said OK, and closed the door. As we were setting our equipment on a small bench I asked, “I hear you like grabbing women's butts, any truth to that?”

When I finished talking the K2 began flashing. I was about to ask another question when Diana spoke up, “Look here pal, are you some kind of a pervert?”

I was becoming concerned at the tone of her voice and asked, “What are doing?”

“Trying to provoke a response.” She replied.

Provoking spirits is a method I do not condone. It's crude and can cause serious safety issues during investigations. After a few minutes of listening to Diana's line of questioning, I suddenly felt a large hand hit my head.

“Oh, what the fuck? Why did you hit me?” I yelled.

“I didn't hit you, I swear.” She replied.

“Well, someone just hit me in the head.” I said calmly. “Let's get out of this room for a minute.”

When we opened the door, we found Tony and Victoria standing outside the room.

“We heard you yell. What happened?”

Before I could answer, Victoria gasped and said, “Your head. Did someone hit you?”

“Yeah, and it burns” I replied.

Tony brought over a small mirror and as my eyes focused I looked in the mirror and sure enough, there was a large, red handprint across my forehead. I inspected the mark and anger began to fill up in me. Diana provokes, and I get punished.

“I need a cigarette.” I angrily said and walked up the stairs and walked outside.

Something I don't share often is that I am sensitive. I'm not a psychic or a medium, but I do get impressions and can feel the presence of spirits. After getting hit in the head by the spirit in the basement, I did get a rather disturbing impression and I needed to ask the client if my impression was correct When I walked outside and lit my cigarette, I joined some of my peers and the man I was looking for, George.

I greeted everyone and asked him, “George, how is the spirit in the basement related to you?” I could tell I had hit on something a little too close to home, George's hand trembled as he took a long drag from his cigarette. When he exhaled all that hung in the air was smoke and raw emotion.

“The spirit downstairs is my dad. And he was anything but a good man.”

As we stood silently, George gathered himself and explained, “ My old man died in the basement about ten years ago.” He paused, his large dark brown eyes welling up with tears, “My father had a real problem with anger and took it out on my mom.” George wiped the tears from his eyes and continued, “A few times, I tried coming to her rescue, but that only made the bearings worse for her and I.”

George broke down crying, all I could do was stand there and watch this gentle soul relive his pain. When George was done crying, he lot another cigarette and I decided I would share a little of my own life. I explained to him that growing up, my mother would hit and belittle me when she became angry. The physical part of the abuse subsided as I grew older, but the verbal part was always there. No matter what I did was never good enough and she considered my pursuit of the unknown as being of the devil. It may sound like a stupid platitude, but I told George, that for men like us what doesn't kill is only makes us stronger. George, thanked me so much for sharing. And on that note it was time to get back to work.

It was reported to us that when George moved his mother back into the house, she claimed to watch as spirits came and went through the large bay window in the family room. This window was more than likely a portal to the other side. There was only one way to find out.

As Diana and I approached the living room, Victoria met us in the hall and said, “Amazing. Just amazing.”

“What's amazing?” Diana asked.

“That window in the front room.” Victoria said looking over her shoulder to the family room. “That window is a giant portal to the spirit world.” Victoria looked back again and shuddered. “They just come and go as they please.” As Diana watched Victoria leave, I stepped into the family room and the lights on my meter went crazy.

“Whoa”, I exclaimed as I watched the lights on the K2 flash.

“Yeah” Diana replied. “I guess this really is where it all happens.”

As we sat on the couch the room suddenly became noticeably colder and had an electrical feel to it.

I pulled out my voice recorder and asked, “Do you use the window as an entry point for this house?” The moment I finished the question the lights flickered. I laughed and said, “I'll take that as a yes.”

Diana laughed as well and asked, Can you tell us how many of you are here?”

This time no flickering lights and the K2 meter went dead. Either they didn't know how to or they didn't feel like cooperating After a few more minutes of conducting an EVP session, I stood up and put my hand on the window and was shocked to discover it was hot to the touch.

“Wow” I exclaimed. Diana looked over with a quizzical look and I continued, It's the middle of January and this window is hot.”

Diana walked over and placed her hand next to mine. “It could be hot because it's an active portal.” She said.

I was about to answer when Tony’s voice came over the radio, “You guys want to meet George's mother.” It was as good a time as any to report to Tony about the suspected portal.

When we arrived in the kitchen, we found Tony, George, Victoria and George's mother. As we stood there conversing, I looked down the hall towards the family room, and watched as a tall, blond haired woman in white clothes suddenly appeared. The mystery woman vanished from sight when she turned left into a bedroom.

Excitement filled me as I blurted out, “Did anyone else see that?”

“See what?” Tony asked.

“The blond woman.” I said grabbing Victoria and we rushed towards the bedroom.

When we walked into the bedroom, I was shocked to find there were only two people in the room: the client's daughter and her African American friend. No tall blond haired white woman.

“Did a blond haired woman just walk in here?” I asked. The two young girls looked at each other and the client's daughter replied,” No.”

“A blond woman?” Victoria asked. “Did you see her?”

The two young girls shook their heads in the negative. I could tell both were becoming afraid of the prospect that a ghost might be in the small room with them. I was about to ask another question when a dark shadow rushed past the door heading towards the family room. Victoria and I watched in utter astonishment as the black shadow jumped through the large bay window and vanished.

As we stood in the hall, Tony walked up behind us and said, “I think it's time we do a channeling session.

We gathered in the basement, Victoria sat in a chair and Tony set up a video camera to tape the session. The rest of us watched in silence as Victoria closed her eyes and breathed slowly and deliberately.

Victoria opened her eyes and said, “He is here.”

“Can you tell us your name?” Tony asked standing to the left of Victoria.

Victoria looked up at Tony and said in a deep, male voice that was not her own, “Why are you people in my house?”

“George's father, I presume.” Tony said.

“Oh, did that little wimp bring you here?” The spirit said with a sneer and a laugh.

“He did” Tony replied. “Why do still bother him and your wife?”

“Because I can” Victoria or the spirit looked around and further said, “And there's nothing you can do about it.”

“Don't bet on it” Tony replied as he ended the session.

When Victoria came out she drank a large glass of water and asked, “Are we doing a house cleansing?”

“Yeah, I think so. Tony thinks it’s best to rid this family of their spirits and try to close the portal.”

“Oh, you think.” Victoria blurted out in the voice of the spirit.

“Are you OK?” I asked completely surprised by the intrusion of the spirit.

“Yeah” Victoria said shaking her head. “That was terribly rude.”

“I have a feeling he doesn't care about manners.” We walked upstairs and joined the others.

Cleansing a house of an unwanted spirit has never been a part of ghost hunting repertoire. In fact, I have always regarded it as being somewhat rude evicting a spirit from a property they still perceive as their own. I would rather teach a homeowner to be assertive with a spirit with whom they share their home. However, sometimes laying down boundaries doesn't always work and more drastic measures must be taken. This was one of them.

When we assembled in the front room, Tony handed us each a bundle of sage and lit them. Since this was my first house cleansing, Tony had me follow him. Everyone in the group walked from room to room allowing the smoke from the sage to fill each room. Burning sage is believed to neutralize and drive out negative energy. Tony and other investigators swear by the practice, but I have yet to see any evidence that would indicate to me that it works.

Many days after this dramatic investigation, I analyzed the EVPs that I collected that night and something interesting was found. As Diana and I were in the front room, I asked if this window was a portal.

As I listened, a very eerie voice answered back, “They want us to come in through the window.”

This response confirmed for us that the window was acting as some kind of portal between this world and the spirit realm. To this day, I still wonder who “they” are. I may never know. 

To read more of Rick's paranormal adventures, his book is available now on - click here.  

And also! Click here

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Delayed Release - The Curse of Peg O'Nell - or - The Demon of the Well

Owing to technical issues, The Curse of Peg O'Nell - or - The Demon of the Well by Daniel Nicholas Cobban will now be published on the 1st of December rather than Hallowe'en.

Monday 14 October 2019

The Curse of Peg O'Nell - or- The Demon of the Well

Rather delighted to reveal the cover of our first novel, a spectacular gothic horror in time for Hallowe'en by Daniel Nicholas Cobban! Based on the legend of Peg O'Nell, it tells the tale of the village of Ingerley where Peg unleashes her vengeance in the late 19th century. The amazing cover art is by the official Beul Aithris Art Dude, Mark Hetherington. It will be available in print and Kindle via Amazon, and other eBook platforms in time for Hallowe'en!

In a slight change to the Hallowe'en publishing schedule, Gregor Stewart's Witch Memorials of Scotland will now be coming out in the middle of November. 

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Cover Reveal - Witch Memorials of Scotland

This is a highly timely publication with the recent news that a memorial for all those sent to death as accused witches in Scotland between the 16th and 18th centuries is planned to be erected in Fife. And it's also fitting that the author is also one of Fife's finest authors, Gregor Stewart!

Witch Memorials of Scotland is a book that has been in the pipeline for quite some time for Gregor and it's an honour that Beul Aithris is the publisher.

The book recounts the horrific history of the witch persecutions, as well as noting how they are remembered and will be published at Halloween as part of the Scottish Paranormal book series. Gregor is a key member of the Scottish Paranormal team, alongside fellow Beul Aithris authors Alister Reid and Ryan O'Neil. It's perhaps safe to say that Gregor has a veritable historic brain! His previous book with Beul Aithris was 2017's Ghosts of Scotland

And without further ado:

Sunday 15 September 2019

The "Haunted Scotland" Cookbook Cover Reveal!

Today is the day of what could be a paranormal first - the reveal of the long awaited paranormal cook book first announced over a year ago!

Brains have been racked and it seems that nothing like this has ever been done before, so Beul Aithris is pretty excited to be the first.

The "Haunted Scotland" Cookbook by Alister Reid is the second in the Scottish Paranormal series, the first being The Unseen World: Afterlife Research by Mr Reid's team mate, Ryan O'Neil.

The Cookbook features recipes that are themed around hauntings and is sure to be one to get the taste buds going to the extent the spirits may wish they were corporeal in order to enjoy the resulting food.

As well as being a paranormal investigator, Alister Reid is also a highly experienced chef, who owns the West Port cafe in Cupar, Fife. So you are very much in good hands here.

Without further ado:

The "Haunted Scotland" Cookbook will be out in time for Hallowe'en

Monday 19 August 2019

Into The Dark Half

Things may appear to have been somewhat quiet over the last few months, but quite a lot has been afoot behind the scenes.

On a personal note, the heir apparent to this publishing enterprise started school. Future readers are now in the process of, er learning to read! And the best of luck to her.

In other news, some Beul Aithris titles are now available to order instore and online with Waterstones, and also with Foyles. So we are starting to expand distribution! We would also like to include independent bookshops in this, so please get in touch at if you own one of those fine establishments!

The last release, From Badgers To Nighthawks: Adventures Of A Wildlife Ranger by Malcolm J Ingham has been an amazing success. So many congratulations to him!

Elaine May Smith has busy on a signing tour with her books, including Wee Bunny Book. Read all about it here.

Rick Hale has started a regular Ask A Ghost Hunter live video on Facebook, more details of which, can be found at the Paranormal Past Times group here. He also continues to be a regular contributor at the Spooky Isles, and you can enjoy his articles here.

M J Steel Collins has expanded further into Glasgow lore, also on Spooky Isles, where she looks at the strange legend of the Gurning Man of Crosshill - read all about it here.

And finally, keeping in with the shared team of Spooky Isles and Beul Aithris authors, Ann Massey recently had a  music video made incorporating her book Dark Emerald Tales by the German band Complete! Enjoy.

Ann's work can also be read on Spooky Isles here.

To find out more about the books by the aforementioned authors, please check out the Beul Aithris book directory here.

There will be more titles in the forthcoming months, including what is believed to be the first Paranormal Cook Book by Ally Reid, a book of Scottish Witch Memorials by his Scottish Paranormal team mate Gregor Stewart, The Curse of Peg O'Nell or The Demon of The Well by Daniel Nicholas Cobban, a further title on Irish hauntings by Ann Massey and a folklore title by Eric L Fitch!

Tuesday 18 June 2019

It Doesn't Happen Overnight! Guest Blog by Elaine May Smith

When I wrote my “Hurricane Hilda” series in 2005 and read it to my daughter’s nursery class, I knew nothing of the world of children's publishing.  However, the idea of leaving a legacy of laughter and learning for the next generation became my raison d’ĂȘtre. 

I spent a decade looking for an illustrator before Stella Perrett, nationally renowned cartoonist at The Morning Star, stepped up to the plate and brought my nine short stories to life.  I self-published the paperback, Kindle and audio book, and we hosted a book launch at the Central Library in Dundee on Hallowe’en 2015.

By this time, I had a new “Wee Bunny Book” series underway, illustrated by award-winning Scottish artist, Alison Stell. This adventure with kilted super bunnies from the Highlands of Scotland teaches the ABCs of looking after pet rabbits. The book was published by Beul Aithris Publishing in July 2017 and is now listed at major booksellers including Waterstones and Barnes & Noble.  Excellent reviews have been published in BunnyZine and iScot magazine. 

My third story "The Magical Scottish Unicorn" illustrated by Scottish cartoonist, Patt, joined my children's titles on Amazon on St Andrew's Day 2018.  Albany the unicorn takes readers on a magical journey through time and space to meet the Scottish inventors who changed the world. Colouring pages are included to bring out the imagination of young readers.

Last month I rounded up a team of bunny voice artists to record the audio "Wee Bunny Book" which is due for release to coincide with my summer book tour 2019:

WHSmith, Murraygate, Dundee

WHSmith, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

WHSmith, Gyle Shopping Centre, Edinburgh

I’ve even commissioned soft toy super bunnies based on the “Wee Bunny Book” characters, given that the blockbuster movie is but a whisker away!

Links to all of the above can be found on my website:

Life as an author is a new adventure every day! The best advice which I would pass on to other authors is: Think BIG and never give up!

Get the Wee Bunny Book now - click here

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Guest Blog: Primary Sources by Kevin Patrick McCann

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

As a child I was fascinated by my parents and grandparents tales of what I called the Olden Days. I was given eyewitness accounts of amongst other things, the 1914 Christmas Truce, the General Strike and the Blitz. And what had made these stories lodge in my mind was their human perspective. 

At the age of eleven, for example, I only had the vaguest understanding of the causes of World War One but I did know that on Christmas Day, 1914, my Grandad and his mates climbed out of their trenches and walked into No-Man’s-Land.

His stories (and those of my Nan, my Mum and Dad) began as entertainments to while away wet afternoons in the days before daytime T.V. Their importance as my first encounters with Story didn't become obvious until years later when I took part in a writing project based in Lancashire Archives. I'd assumed (before the project began) that the archive itself would consist mainly of Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates and other official documents. I couldn't have been more wrong.

There were Last Wills dating back as far as the sixteenth century, postcards sent from France during World War One, records of the local assizes, music hall programmes, a thirteenth century almanac, Guest Books from Theatrical Boarding Houses (Very many thanks, sincerely Harry Houdini) and the one that grabbed my attention – the Patients Ledger, Lancaster Asylum, 1890.

I opened it at random. There was a full page report: a name, an age, a description of the patient’s condition on admission – Imbecile – a record of his stay and in the top left corner, his photograph. And because he was looking straight at the camera, he now seemed to be looking at me. I turned the page to find a brief account of his sudden deterioration and death the following year.

I turned over to the next page. Above the name and condition – Melancholia - were two photographs. One of a smiling girl wearing a straw bonnet decorated with flowers. The other of an almost fleshless face framed by lank hair. It was mentioned in passing that she'd been force-fed daily.

Before this I’d seen archive material as nothing more than a research tool. The thought that it could act as a primary stimulus had never occurred to me. I started writing. Six poems about the patients in Lancaster Asylum came in as many days. I hadn’t written so much in the last six months. And these were followed by another thirty on a wide variety of subjects. They weren’t all prompted by the stories I’d heard as a child. Just the overwhelming majority.

The archive material had not just given me a starting point, it had reminded me of why I started writing in the first place. It wasn’t for money or fame – though I wouldn’t turn my nose up at either – it was because I felt passionately and wanted to express that passion through words. It had reawakened in me a point of view that apparent cynicism had all but totally obscured. And of course, the apparent cynicism was just my cover story.

The simple truth was that I hadn't written anything for over six months. The result was that I became very depressed and convinced that the rest really was going to be silence. Now, suddenly, the words were flowing and the poems more or less writing themselves.

I compared notes with other writers on the course and they all told the same story. Not only were they suddenly writing more, the quality of their work was, in many cases, better than it had ever been. Which got me thinking.
Usually, when I need information I google in a few key words and see what comes up. If I want to know about conditions in nineteenth century asylums, I can access, almost instantly, dozens of eyewitness accounts as well as extracts from official reports, annual death rates etc. Or I can do what I actually did. 

I can go to the main archives and look at the Record Book for the year 1890. I can feel the weight of it. If I press my face close enough to the pages I can catch a whiff, even if it’s only imaginary, of carbolic. The same smell that would have filled the wards. I can look into the eyes of the inmates and imagine their lives all the more vividly.

I think I'd fallen into the error of thinking because I was now a published writer, I needed to concentrate my attentions not on those things I wanted to write, but on the things I felt I ought to write. I'd been deliberately suppressing anything that wasn't worth my attention -which of course was everything in the end.

So, by all means, seek out gaps in the market, sit down and plan out a strategy – I do both – but write your passion, craft it, publish it, market it and hope it sells. No matter what else, write what you love to read.

And if, like me, you find yourself blocked, apart from the writing exercises to loosen you up, go to primary source material (old letters, diaries, news clippings etc.) and just start reading until something grabs your imagination. You'll know when it's happened because nothing else you try to read after that will go in
Try this now: In your search engine type ARCHON – this will then give you the location of every archive in the UK, plus related archives in other parts of the world including the two hundred and seventy five to be found in the United States. Find your nearest archive and visit it.

Quick Tip: Don't just go in and ask if you can have a browse. The material in archives is stored and can only be initially accessed by archivists so when you go, have a specific area you want to look into. Phone or e-mail in advance and find out what their system is. One very good way to start is to see if they have back copies of local newspapers. If so, pick a month and a year and start reading through. You'll find something. I guarantee it. 

Kevin's poetry collection is available now - click here for more information.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

From Badgers to Bunnies and Waterstones!

Back in service after being a wee bit ill! A lot has happened over the last month and a bit here at Beul Aithris, that it's hard to know where to begin, but it's all brilliant.

First of all, From Badgers To Nighthawks: Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger by Malcolm J Ingham, has been a runaway success and getting very good responses. Readers have said it is very well written and that they feel transported to the locations Mal describes. The book has definitely not failed to capture people's emotions. All reviews on Amazon thus far are five stars! Congratulations Mal! Keep up with Mal and his wildlife cameras on Twitter by following @ingham_mal

For fans of all things bunnies and superheroes in Dundee, Wee Bunny Book author Elaine May Smith will be WH Smiths in Murraygate, Dundee from 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday 29 June doing a book signing. Well worth a visit if you have wee readers needing entertained at the start of the Scottish summer holiday. Keep up with Elaine at her website click here.

 On the retail side, the new online bookshop has been a success and is ideal for those who prefer to buy directly from a small press. To visit the shop click here. Another exciting development is that for some titles, Beul Aithris' reach has expanded. From Badgers to Nighthawks, Wee Bunny Book and also Dark Emerald Tales by Ann Massey O'Regan and This Isle is Full of Monsters: Shakespeare's Audiences and the Supernatural are now available at Waterstones in the UK, Barnes and Noble in the US and some other major book retailers. The next stage will be looking to bring titles to independent bookshops and other smaller, specialist retailers. If you are an independent bookshop or stock books amongst other items in your shop, and are interested in stocking some of our titles, feel free to get in touch at

And as always, great plans are ahead for autumn and  Beul Aithris' third Hallowe'en, with a folk horror novel, a guide to witch memorials and what is thought to be the first Paranormal Cook Book.

Readers can also order signed copies of books by emailing

Sunday 14 April 2019

New online shop!

News came through this week that Try Celery, the platform that serves the Beul Aithris Publishing Bookshop, will be closing down in the next few months. As such, there is now a new platform, which is much more user friendly.

All titles are now available to order from the new shop click here

It's all go, as they say in Scotland!

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Signed Copies!

Owing to interest in signed copies of Beul Aithris books, here's how to get them! Instead of ordering directly from the shop, readers can request signed copies by emailing, where orders can be arranged. That way, copies can be sent to the authors for autographing, any personalisations added and then the copies will be sent on to you.

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Looking After the Wild by Malcolm J Ingham

Guest blog by author Malcolm J Ingham on what motivated him to a career in conservation and looking after wild animals. 

Kippy in the garden pond - © Malcolm J Ingham
 I have been asked many times over the years why I wanted to pursue a career in conservation and become a wildlife ranger. The answer is, simply, that as far back as I can remember I have always had a fascination with nature and wildlife with one memory in particular being up there with the best of them. I couldn’t have been more than five or six years old. 

It was a summers evening and I was with my parents by a stream close to our home in Clitheroe and being spellbound by the beauty of a cluster of wild primroses on a grassy bank. One of the reasons for the vividness of the memory is not purely down to the primroses alone, but also to the strange fact that I seemed to instinctively know what they were despite the fact that I have no recollection of ever having seen primroses before. 

Other childhood memories were of being totally captivated at the sight of my first wild otter, of caring for an injured lapwing and of covertly reading about badgers in my well-thumbed copy of The Observers Book of Wild Animals of the British Isles during school lessons. Badgers fascinated me but I would have to wait many years before I actually saw one in the flesh. The conservation seed was sown at a very early age with me knowing the path I wanted to follow but not having a clue how to find it. 

The years passed but I never gave up hope of achieving what I felt to be my true destiny - to become a wildlife ranger. Not only did I eventually achieve my ambition of becoming a ranger, followed by Head Ranger & Wildlife Officer but I would, along with my wife Ann, form the Wirral Wildlife Rehabilitation Unit, caring for and rehabilitating many species of wildlife including badgers. The latter became a major part of my life for many years, which saw me caring for injured badgers, hand rearing & rehabilitating orphaned cubs to confronting badger diggers and baiters and of becoming expert witness for the prosecution for the police and RSPCA in badger related crime.

I have known badgers as individuals both in captivity and the wild, I have lectured on them, written about them and fought their corner in court. Other species have also played a major part in my life such as Nigel the nighthawk, Hamish the Scottish Wildcat, Muffles and Velvet, my two foxes to name but a few.

I often reflect on my days as a kid roaming the fields and woods around Clitheroe and the trials and tribulations of my quest to become a ranger. I could never have visualised in a million years just where my ambition would eventually lead me - not only did I find my path, I discovered a motorway!!!  

For more information on Mal's book click here