NICK REDFERN

Nick's interest in UFOs dates back to the late 1970s and stems from an incident that his father was involved in whilst serving on radar with the Royal Air Force in the 1950s. He has written for numerous books including several bestsellers and many magazines and journals and has acted as a consultant to the London Daily Mail and People newspapers. He also works as a freelance feature writer for the Daily Express newspaper. Nick's books include: 'A Covert Agenda: The British Governmentís', 'UFO Top Secrets Exposed'; 'The FBI Files: The FBIís UFO Top Secrets Exposed'; 'Cosmic Crashes: The Incredible Story of the UFOs That Fell to Earth'; 'Strange Secrets: Real Government Files on the Unknown'; 'Three Men Seeking Monsters: Six Weeks in Pursuit of Werewolves, Lake Monsters, Giant Cats, Ghostly Devil Dogs, and Ape-Men'. Originally from the West Midlands, he now lives in Texas with his wife Dana, and runs the US branch of the CFZ.

RONAN COGHLAN

The undoubted star of the 2005 event, we couldn't imagine hosting a Weird Weekend without him; in a weekend packed with great performers, Ronan will probably be the most funniest speaker. He was born in Dublin, 1948.

After a school career in which he often made minimal effort, he went on to Trinity College, Dublin, from which he holds an MA degree and the Higher Diploma in Education. He has worked at a large number of schools in both Ireland and Britain, notably at Hawkhurst Court (Sussex) and Rockport (Northern Ireland). He harbours a low opinion of current education and the philosophy lying behind it.

His first venture into writing occurred with Irish Christian Names (1979). His Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends (1991) proved highly popular, selling 120,000 copies worldwide and being translated into Japanese. His small Dictionary of Irish Myth and Legend has also sold widely. His major work on cryptozoology A Dictionary of Cryptozoology (2004) was aimed chiefly at those who could not afford the monumental works of Eberhart and Newman, yet who needed a good reference book on the subject, which is approached more from a folkloric than a zoological angle. His Handbook of Fairies (1998) is a n alphabetical guide to that subject. He has also written Cryptosup, a booklet supplementing his dictionary. He is currently working on a number of projects.

Ronan Coghlan is married with three children. He currently lives in Bangor, Northern Ireland.

MATTHEW WILLIAMS

The one many who is legally entitled to call himself a `crop circle maker` after his conviction a few years back for doing just that, Matthew is making his third visit to the Weird Weekend. He is a film maker, lighting engineer and all round good egg, who as well as giving us a lecture on the links between mystery animals and crop circles, is also providing the AV services for the whole weekend.

RICHARD FREEMAN

Richard Freeman is one of Britain's few professional cryptozoologists. His interest in unknown animals reaches back to his childhood and he has had a long and varied career working with exotic creatures. He was head curator of reptiles at Twycross zoo in the Midlands. In 1996 he took a degree in zoology at Leeds university and after graduation moved to Exeter to work full time as the Zoological Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the UK`s only cryptozoological organisation.

CHRIS MOISER

Chris Moiser was born, at an early age, in Berkshire. This was a great disappointment to his father who wanted him to be born in Yorkshire with a view to playing cricket for the County. This didnít unnecessarily upset Chris as he wasnít interested in cricket. As a result of making a lot of noise on the first day of his life he wasnít allowed to spend the night on the ward, but was made to spend the night in the ladyís toilet together with a little girl of similar volume. Despite common interests he failed to get her name when they were suddenly parted the following morning.

Childhood was spent in various towns in the West Midlands, going to a series of the local schools. None of the schools were of great note, and two have since become Sikh temples. He ended up at Bridgnorth Grammar School, where his tendency to get locked in toilets with ladies, overnight, again appeared. The fact he was genuinely looking for an escaped ferret did not improve his credibility. Fortunately when discovered his father had just accepted a job in Plymouth, and so the family moved there. Devonport High School for Boys was attended for two years, during which he started the pirate radio club, and, celebrated sports day by dropping a twenty foot steel, Royal Navy Surplus, radio aerial down a school chimney. A brief spell at the local College of Further Education got him much needed A levels and he then went back to the Midlands to read for a degree in Biology and Biochemistry.

His undergraduate days are still clouded in much mystery, but he was involved in the campaign to keep Dudley Zoo open, and for a period of time, presented a Sunday morning programme on a local radio station.

Shortly after graduating he went to work in the courts in Liverpool for 4 years. As he put it where else can you learn about criminal law so quickly. A part time course in Manchester led to his first legal qualification.

After qualifying he left Liverpool and returned to the parental home in Plymouth where a large number of animals subsequently arrived. After a short spell at the local Polytechnic he set up a small publishing company and started teaching at the local College of Further Education. He always considered this to be jolly sporting of the college as they still remembered him from seven years previously. During his twenty years teaching he strenuously avoided getting any teaching qualifications, but did get a law degree and a qualification in Egyptology.

Interest in cryptozoology started to grow from about 1990 onwards and in view of the fact that he lived in Plymouth, these interests focused on big cats of the South West and marine animals. A series of articles followed some initial investigations, as did some television work. His college work was spiced up with a number of trips, with students, to West Africa. The trips were moderately successful, although Chris was heard to say, on more than one occasion that it was the staff behaviour that worried him, not the students. Two short papers on sacred crocodile pools followed, as did a report of a secret late night dig on a tourist beach for monster remains.

Eventually, after a series of minor disagreements with the College, Chris decided to leave and finally, try to qualify as a Solicitor. He attended Exeter University and, to his surprise, passed the legal practice course. He is currently attempting to find a firm of Solicitors to take him on to do a training contract. As he says it is difficult trying to persuade them that they need a fifty year old cryptozoologist with an interest in crime, employment law, big cats and sea monsters. Besides he canít start yet as still owes a lot of people articles!

PAUL VELLA

Paul is an independent Forensic Computer Expert Witness by trade, specialising in criminal defence cases, but he also runs the CFZ BHM (Bigfoot etc) Study Group as well as administrating one of the world's most popular Bigfoot related websites bigfootforums.com. Paul is also a founding member of the Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers, and has far too many books on the subject fighting for room on his office bookcases.

A long term aficionado of such things he has made several trips to the relevant areas of the United States over the years gathering evidence much to his long-suffering wife's dispair, and is widely regarded as one of the most credible authorities on the subject to be found this side of the Atlantic.

A natural skeptic, Paul errs on the side of caution when it comes to bigfoot evidence and reports, but as someone who works with forensic evidence on a daily basis, says that some of the evidence for the existence of bigfoot is compelling, but reserves judgement until he has seen one for himself.

Paul's long-term aim is to get researchers around the world to collect and present evidence in a meaningful and professional way.

IAN SIMMONS

Ian is one of this country's best known forteans, especially for his work on the Editorial Team of Fortean Times.

OLL LEWIS

Oll is the Ecological Director of the CFZ, and at 26 is both the youngest, and newest, member of the team. We know what to do with these young turks! We put them on a stage and get them to talk about lake monsters.