Some years ago, when Loren Coleman was still blogging for Craig Woolheater’s Cryptomundo and I followed the site religiously, I started to notice the comments of a guy using the alias mystery_man, which were always smart, full of knowledge with regards to Biology, and open-minded yet grounded in skepticism –the REAL skepticism, not the fundamentalist nay-saying passing as such nowadays on the web.
Mystery Man’s natural talent didn’t go unnoticed by Loren, and he eventually invited him to write a few occasional guest articles for Cryptomundo, which quickly attained something of a cult following; that’s how I started to decipher a few things about this Cryptozoology fan, who was something of a cryptic character himself: I learned he was an American living in a Japan, and because of this he was able to investigate more about the cryptids of that country, which don’t get nearly as much publicity as the ‘celebrities’ in the field –Nessie, Bigfoot and the Yeti– but are fascinating nonetheless, as Mystery Man’s writing clearly showed. He was always careful to cite his references and provide dates and names whenever possible, never dismissing witness accounts but weighing in the plausibility of their report, when compared with the blunt realities of Zoology and Evolution.
Like Loren, I could already see in those early days how Mystery man was destined to go places in this field.
Fast-track to 2015, and that prediction is well on its way to be fulfilled: Mystery Man, a.k.a. Brent Swancer, is now one of Mysterious Universe’s most popular and proliphic bloggers –he has the honor of having once completely obliterated MU’s server, when his post about the mysterious Skeleton Lake of the Himalayas was promoted to the front page of Reddit– and like all good Forteans, he has branched out from the topic of Japanese cryptids into other mysteries from all around the world.
Which is why our friend Tim Binnall was so interested in getting him on his show. It took some arm-twisting –and possibly a few glasses of sake– but eventually Brent conceded, and now you can listen to their long (almost 3 hours!) conversation as part of BoA/Season 9.
Since our early interactions on the Cryptomundo forums, I’ve had the pleasure to name Brent as one of my friends in this field. We’ve e-mailed and given each other advice about blogging over the years, and the fact he’s getting more of the exposure he so rightly deserves –just like the Nipon cryptids he loves– fills me with a lot of pride. His natural nervousness over this being his first radio/podcast interview in no way prevented this from being a very enjoyable listen –and frankly, he did a far better job than myself when I was first put in front of a microphone!
Furthermore, I totally concur with Tim that Brent’s geographical circumstance, which allows him to research stories and cases that almost never reach the Western world due to the language barrier, is only PART of the reason behind his success –the fact that he’s a damn good writer is the bigger part.
I have no doubt whatsoever this is only the first in a looong series of radio appearances for the (former) Mystery Man, and once he manages to put together his book about Japanese cryptids, it will become an instant classic and an obligatory addition to any self-respecting Fortean’s book collection.
NOTE: The above image is a statue of the Hibagon, a gorilla-like creature spotted in the vicinity of mount Hiba, in the Hiroshima prefecture. You can read Brent’s article about this cryptid by clicking here.