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This site regularly covers the interplay between belief and skepticism (in all meanings of the words), with a particular focus on paranormal and other outré subjects of science. So I’m sure readers will enjoy the award-winning short film Woodhouse (embedded below), written and directed by London-based film-maker Fred Rowson. The story revolves around rumours of a cryptozoological beast said to roam a nature reserve in south-east London, and tells a very human tale about those who believe in and search for the monster, and the way their belief is treated by others, from family members to the media:

The Woodhouse Nature Reserve, South East London. It’s a sprawling hectare of knotted ivy and mossy tree stumps. And while its edges are speckled with rusting tins and damp takeaway boxes, its interior is verdant, untouched. There, beyond the padlocked gates some thing, some creature is living.

I found it rather ironic that I came across the film at sci-fi site io9, which in recent times has had quite a penchant for rubbishing fringe claims. And I was interested to see that io9 editor Annalee Newitz described the film as offering “a skeptic’s view of cryptozoology” and that it suggests “that these cryptozoologists are in the tradition of other supernaturalists who are represented as obvious fakes.” My reading went the other way, that Woodland shows how marginalised the people studying these topics are by others, from family to media outlets – or at the very least, how modern society tends to suppress non-conforming ideas, imagination and adventure.

Which I guess is the mark of an excellent film, that it allows you to see it through multiple lenses. I encourage you to take a look!