Are cat lovers really cat lovers? Or are they parasite-controlled puppets?

There are dog people and there are cat people. Just a preference, right? Wrong. There is evidence to suggest that cat lovers don’t really love their cats as much as they think they do, that in fact they’re being controlled by a horrific parasite that needs cats to survive…

Today I’m talking about monsters. In the past, I’ve talked about cryptozoological monsters, those creatures that are the stuff of legend, myth and rumour. The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Trunko, the Montauk Monster

The funny thing is, the scariest monsters are the ones that actually exist.

Enter Toxoplasma gondii, probably the most famous and most controversial neurological parasite. When you think about it, all parasites are pretty monstrous. The fact that their entire lifecycle depends on slowly sucking the life out of other creatures—their hosts—is both nightmarish and one of evolution’s curiosities. This microscopic protozoan basically looks like a blob, but don’t let that fool you. T. gondii has some rather frightening abilities.

It starts its life in cat faeces, where its eggs lie in wait to be picked up by carriers like rats. Once the eggs are safe and warm in the guts of their temporary rodent hosts, the next stage of T. gondii’s lifecycle begins. The eggs transform into tachyzoites, which then migrate to the rats’ muscles, eyes and brains.

But T. gondii needs to reproduce. And strangely there is only one animal in which the parasite is able to undergo sexual reproduction. Cats. In order to lay more eggs, the tachyzoites need to find their way into the bodies of our unassuming pets.

The problem is, rats aren’t totally stupid. They’ll tend to shy away from areas where cats live, because they know they’ll get chased and killed and eaten. When they do come across cats, they’re generally quite good at escaping them.

So what is T. gondii to do? It’ll have to resort to some mind control, of course.

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“Million Eyes” updates and a review of South House Retreat in Dorset

Evening all! I have come up for air following two weeks of total immersion in the final edit of my forthcoming conspiracy novel, Million Eyes. In this week’s blog, I’ll share where I’m at with everything and talk about my time at South House Retreat near Dorchester, Dorset.

Million Eyes — a deadline

By the end of the two weeks I spent at South House Retreat, I’d got through 43,000+ words of the final edit of Million Eyes, which is just over halfway. This involved editing, rewriting and one new chapter written from scratch. Parts of the earliest chapters had not had an edit for almost two years, and given how much my writing has improved in that time, they needed quite a heavy do-over.

The main issue was with one of my main characters, Gregory Ferro. For a while I’ve been struggling to picture him, struggling to feel like I know him. The breakthrough occurred a few weeks before my retreat, when I decided to change the character’s religion. Weirdly enough, a new personality — one that, despite not sharing the character’s beliefs, I could identify with more — seemed to flow quite organically from that decision.

I also added a new chapter from Gregory Ferro’s point of view to the early part of the book, just to fill in some plot gaps.

Once these early chapters were done and dusted, the pace of the edit started to increase, and the later chapters I was flying through by comparison. I’m expecting this to continue as I edit the rest of the book (apart from one chapter that, following feedback from Rushmoor Writers, requires more historical research).

So I have set myself a deadline of August 31st to finish the whole book, which means setting aside a few Million Eyes-focused days each month. In general, copywriting has to take priority, since that’s what pays the bills (until, you know, Million Eyes makes me famous and rich and all that). Having said that, that’s the good thing about being a freelance writer — my hours are my own! The next thing will be whether I actually make my self-imposed deadline. That’s the plan, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m pretty determined.

Watch this space. 🙂

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My short story “Rachel Can Still See” has been highly commended by Writers’ Forum

Good day fiction fiends, mystery-philes and conspiracy lovers everywhere.

I have returned from full immersion in my forthcoming conspiracy novel, Million EyesMore on that tomorrow; I’ll be posting an article with updates on my progress with Million Eyes, along with a review of South House Retreat and my time there.

In the meantime, just a quick blog to say that my story, Rachel Can Still See — the sequel to Rachel Can See, which was published in Metamorphose V2 last November — has been mentioned as “highly commended” in the latest issue of Writers’ Forum. Slightly annoyingly, the magazine printed my full name instead of my pen name, C.R. Berry, but never mind. The story itself isn’t published (you have to get into the top 3 for that), so I’m now in the process of seeking publication elsewhere.

In any case, a minor win! 😀 This story previously won the Hyde Cup 2016, an internal competition for the members of Rushmoor Writers.

The Nampa figurine — more evidence that time travel is real?

nampa-figurine-1In 1889, well-drillers discovered the Nampa figurine, a mysterious artefact that really puts a spanner in the works of modern evolutionary theory. But I have another idea. What if the figurine is proof that time is not as linear as we all thought, but a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff?

On August 1st 1889, workers led by M.A. Kurtz were drilling a water well in Nampa, Idaho. Suddenly their steam pump spat out a small piece of a brownish clay and sparked a baffling archaeological mystery.

The object, also known as the Nampa image, was one and a half inches in length, made from clay and quartz, and clearly human-shaped, with one leg partially broken off. Geologist G. Frederick Wright said it was a “female figure” with “lifelike lineaments” and “remarkable for the perfection with which it represents the human form”.

Professor Albert A. Wright of Oberlin College (yes, another ‘Wright’, but I think the two are unrelated…) said that there were “faint geometric markings on the figure, which represent either clothing patterns or jewellery”. These markings, mostly on the arms, wrists and around the neck, led Wright to conclude that “the doll is the image of a person of a high civilisation, artistically attired”.

Wright also commented on who might have crafted the figure. He decided that it was not the work of a “small child or amateur”, but of a “true artist”.

Herein lies the problem. The problem that has confounded scientists for decades.

An out-of-place artefact

The Nampa doll was recovered from depths of 320 feet. The stratum at that depth was about 2 million years old. However, humans like us have only been walking the Earth for 200,000 years. This makes the Nampa figurine an out-of-place artefact, an ‘oopart’, because, well, who the hell could have crafted it if humans didn’t exist?

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“If anything happens to me, investigate.” British UFO expert Max Spiers sent this creepy warning, days before his death

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An ever-deepening mystery surrounds the death of ufologist and conspiracy theorist Max Spiers, who was found dead while preparing to expose politicians and celebrities linked to a global conspiracy…

In July 2016, a 39-year-old UFO researcher, conspiracy theorist and father of two, Max Spiers, was found dead on a friend’s sofa in Warsaw, Poland. Originally from Canterbury, England, Spiers was due to speak at a conference in Warsaw that month, where it’s believed he was set to lift the lid on a global black magic conspiracy and a paedophile ring inside the US Army.

Just days before his death, Spiers sent a text to his mother, Vanessa Bates, saying, “Your boy’s in trouble. If anything happens to me, investigate.”

His mother, an English teacher, told newspapers, “I think Max had been digging in some dark places and I fear somebody wanted him dead.”

Polish authorities concluded that Spiers had died from natural causes, despite no post-mortem examination being carried out. After Spiers’ body was returned to the UK, British doctors at Margate QUQM Hospital in Kent did a post-mortem but were still unable to determine how he died. To this day, Spiers’ cause of death remains a mystery.

However, an inquest into Spiers’ death, which opened at Canterbury Coroners’ Court in December 2016, has added some disturbing clues to the mix. The inquest is ongoing, but it’s already been revealed that Spiers was puking up a mysterious black liquid shortly before his death. (Makes me think of the black oil—that nasty alien virus in The X Files!)

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Did the BBC cover up 5 decades of Jimmy Savile-shaped terror?

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Was DJ, TV presenter and predatory paedophile Jimmy Savile a lone wolf? Or was he aided and abetted by a cover-up at the heart of the BBC?

Jim’ll Fix It, the wish-granting BBC TV show that ran for nearly two decades, is nothing but a distant, awkward, besmirched memory. Before 2011, that is what Jimmy Savile, its host, was known for. That, and presenting Top of the Pops, getting an OBE and two knighthoods for charity work, and wearing those hilariously ugly tracksuits.

Today Jimmy Savile is known for having committed hundreds of acts of sexual abuse over the course of his career. 214 criminal offences have been recorded, including 34 rapes. The vast majority of his victims were under 18, and 28 victims were under 10, with 10 boys as young as eight. A total of 450 people have made complaints of sexual assault against him.

This campaign of abuse happened between 1955 and 2009, right under the nose of the BBC. For most of that time, Savile was in the employ of the broadcaster. And yet, Savile remained a national treasure right up until his death in 2011. Less than a year after his death, his exploits were finally exposed, quickly transforming him into a national disgrace.

It seems inconceivable that a figure as public as he was could get away with those levels of abuse in plain sight of the BBC… unless, of course, they knew exactly what he was doing and facilitated his campaign of abuse by covering it up.

Evidence that the BBC knew

In 1978, Sex Pistols front man John Lydon told BBC Radio 1:

“I’d like to kill Jimmy Savile. I think he’s a hypocrite. I bet he’s into all kinds of seediness that we all know about but are not allowed to talk about. I know some rumours… I bet none of this will be allowed out.”

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“Mum, I’m still buried there.” Astonishing 9/11 reincarnation stories about children who claim they were killed at the WTC

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Several young children have recently claimed that they were there at the World Trade Centre on September 11th 2001, when terrorists rammed two passenger planes into the two tallest buildings in New York City. How can that be?

When Rachel Nolan’s son, Thomas, was 3 years old, he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied, “I don’t just want to be a firefighter. I have always been and already am a firefighter.”

This surprised and confused his family, but Thomas then went on to say, “I used to get up in the morning, go to work, and in the evenings I would come home and take off my fire proximity suit.”

Strange. Thomas also mentioned having to use an axe to check if there was fire behind the walls, and having to flee if the site was too dangerous. Though perplexed by the level of detail in his answers, Rachel figured Thomas’s ramblings were just the product of a child’s imagination. Just fantasy. However, when Thomas saw a picture of the World Trade Centre in a magazine, he said:

“The bad men burnt these buildings, and people had to jump, and I couldn’t help. There were people waiting for firefighters, waiting for me, but I could not get there to help them.”

Thomas also gave details of the model of the trucks used by the firefighters in New York that day, a Ford Johnson R8. Rachel concluded that her son was recalling a past life, that he was the reincarnation of a firefighter who died on 9/11.

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How I plan a story + story updates

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Greetings readers! Today I come bearing a handful of Million Eyes updates, and a bit of insight into how I plan and develop stories.

Million Eyes 

Work on the first novel in The Million Eyes Trilogy continues, and the end is nigh. I’m currently rewriting the very last chapter of the novel, and I’m in the process of reading the chapters immediately preceding it to my writers’ group, Rushmoor Writers, for their input.

Then there is an extra chapter I need to add much earlier on in the novel. After that, it’s a case of going right back to the beginning for the final edit. As mentioned in a previous blog, I’m waiting to hear whether I’ve been accepted for this writing residency in Switzerland (staying and writing in a treehouse in the Swiss Mountains!). In the likely event that I haven’t, I’m planning a writers’ retreat in Dorset.

Publication news for the Million Eyes Short Stories

Last year was a good year for the Million Eyes Short Stories. Three stories were published—The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, Rachel Can See and Paul—in Tigershark Magazine, Metamorphose Volume 2 and Storgy Magazine respectively.

The Babushka Lady has been accepted for publication by Indie Authors Press for their time-travel-themed anthology, The Chronos Chronicles. You can read my blog from Sunday for more details.

I’ve also submitted Who is Rudolph Fentz? to Storgy Magazine. Storgy ask for unpublished stories, and Who is Rudolph Fentz? was published in Issue 68 of Scribble Magazine in 2015. However, I’ve said to Storgy that Issue 68 is now out of print, so the story isn’t actually available to read. I’m hoping that because of that, they’ll make an exception. We shall see…

Meanwhile, two other stories have recently received accolades. The Quiet Invasion has been shortlisted for publication by New Myths, an online speculative fiction publisher. I will hear by the end of April on whether they actually want to publish the story. And Rachel Can Still See, winner of the Rushmoor Writers Hyde Cup 2016, was shortlisted in the Writers’ Forum monthly short story competition. I’m just waiting for the final results. If I make it into the top three, I get published in the Writers’ Forum magazine and win some money! Whoop whoop! 😀

Finally, I recently developed a plan for a new Million Eyes Short Story about a timey wimey incident aboard a train.

Talking of planning stories…

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