Monsters and Mysteries belong together. Throw in a swamp and its a triple dose of creepy captivation. In Sinister Swamps, Blackburn uses history, story, and setting as a backdrop for modern day encounters. With strong swamp characterization and active writing, Blackburn pulls us in, making it feel like we’re the ones paddling through America’s remote backwaters.
I’m always fascinated by a writer’s motivation, so I thought it might be fun to learn a little bit about Lyle Blackburn’s motivation for writing this book as well as his other amazing talents. When I asked for an interview, he agreed and did a great job answering my questions. I hope you enjoy.
First the Book
- Non-Fiction–Unexplained Mysteries, paranormal
- Published by Legend Scape, 2020
- 230 pages
- For an adult audience; however, the writing is clean and appropriate for any age
- Adult subject matter and frightening encounters, but cleanly written
- Available for purchase on his website and Amazon
When it comes to iconic landscapes, nothing can rival the ominous allure of a swamp. Within these haunting domains of moss-draped trees and brackish waters lurks some of nature’s finest work, along with some of the most compelling mysteries and spooky legends the world has ever known. From reports of unknown beasts, ghostly figures, and spook lights to tales of missing persons, lost planes, and witches, Sinister Swamps oozes with intrigue as it offers a glimpse into a primordial past that may well reflect our very origin.
For the last decade, noted author and adventurer Lyle Blackburn has delved into the world of swamps, collecting reports of strange phenomena and boating through their bubbling backwaters to seek the truth behind the fascinating tales. Do monsters, ghosts, and other bizarre entities truly exist in these unique and primitive regions? Find out by joining Blackburn’s eerie exploration as he parts the mossy curtains to expose the sinister secrets within some of North America’s most notorious swamplands.
I pulled his bio from Amazon. It’s a little more comprehensive than what is found on the back of the book.
Lyle Blackburn is a native Texan known for his work in writing, music, film, and cryptid research. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including “The Beast of Boggy Creek” and “Lizard Man,” whose subject matter reflects his life-long fascination with legends and sighting reports of unknown creatures. Lyle is also the founder of the rock band, Ghoultown, columnist for the horror magazine, Rue Morgue, and narrator/producer of documentary films including “The Mothman of Point Pleasant” and “Boggy Creek Monster,” in which he also appears on screen.
Lyle is a frequent guest on radio programs such as Coast To Coast AM, and has been featured on numerous television shows airing on Discovery, Animal Planet, Destination America, A&E, Science, and CBS. In his work with Monsters and Mysteries in America, he served as both consulting producer and special episode host.
As a musician, Lyle has achieved similar success. His band Ghoultown has released eight albums, which have not only earned a loyal worldwide following, but found their way into movies, video games, and numerous live venues across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Highlights include an invitation to write a theme song for iconic horror maven, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The song’s music video – featuring Elvira herself – was aired on her nationally syndicated show, Movie Macabre.
When Lyle isn’t writing books, hunting monsters, or performing with his band, he can be found speaking at various cryptozoology conferences and horror conventions around the United States. Just look for the trademark black cowboy hat.
For more information, visit his website at: www.lyleblackburn.com
Okay, so let’s start with the obvious question: Why Sinister Swamps? What inspired you to write this book?
There’s something about a swamp that’s always captivated my imagination. It goes back to my childhood when I first saw them in horror movies or cartoons. As an adult, I still find them to be strange and peaceful places full of mystery and intrigue. Over the years, I’ve researched or received quite a few paranormal accounts that took place in a swamp. I thought it would be great idea to explore some of the more notable swamps that have a long history of strange phenomena and spooky legends.
How long did it take you to research and write this book?
I actually started my initial research for the book in 2012. Since the scope was so huge and would involve me going to a number of the swamps myself, I just let it develop over time as I wrote other, more focused books. Finally, about a year ago, I felt I had enough content, so I began the actual writing at that time.
What is your favorite part of Sinister Swamps?
It’s hard to pick a favorite part since there’s so many cool places and strange accounts, but I think my favorite section is the one covering the Great Dismal Swamp. There’s just something about that place that literally oozes with intrigue and creepy vibes. It really allowed for my literary style and affinity for spooky scenes to come through in the writing.
You’ve documented and written about Bigfoot-type creatures, swamp creatures, and monsters. Which was your favorite to write about? Why?
I enjoy writing about Bigfoot encounters because there are so many variations and so many credible witnesses, but I’m partial to the rare encounters with creatures that are more reptilian, monstrous, or odd because these are often the most creepy and unexplainable. Swamps are certainly places where these type encounters are more likely to be found.
What/Who inspired you to write? What was your first book?
One of my first books was the Little Golden Book titled “Dinosaurs,” and I loved that thing. I think it probably influenced me to write about real-life creatures, even if the ones I write about aren’t necessarily proven. As far as cryptozoological or paranormal writing, I definitely owe a lot to John Green and Loren Coleman.
I heard you mention in your Lizardman virtual conference presentation that the Creature from the Black Lagoon was your favorite monster movie as a kid. How were you introduced to the B movie horror genre?
My first introduction to those kinds of movies came from my dad. At the time you couldn’t just run out and rent something on VHS or DVD, and I was too young to stay up late to watch horror movies, so my dad would tell me about the ones he’d seen at an old theater by his house. As he told me the plots and described the creatures, I imagined what they might look like. When I was able to see the actual movies, it was like finally getting to see the real thing. I remember it was always exciting. Even though the 1954 Creature was in black and white, it didn’t matter. I just liked the concept of a scaly monster and the spooky, swamp-type setting.
You’ve gone on to narrate several cryptid documentaries with Small Town Monsters. How did you meet them? Which documentary has been your favorite? What was it like to work with Seth and the Small Town Monsters Crew?
I first met Seth at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference prior to his first film (Minerva Monster). At the time we discussed our mutual fascination for cryptid cases that affected families or entire small towns. He expressed interest in writing a book, but later decided to pursue the subject in film. It was the right choice since he’s got such a great vision for it. When it came time to do his third film, he wanted to tackle the Boggy Creek subject, which is one of the quintessential small town monster cases. Since I had written the book (The Beast of Boggy Creek), and had become associated with the case so closely by then, it only made sense to get me involved.
As part of my role, he felt it would be effective for me to narrate it. The response to my narration was so good, we decided it would be cool for me to narrate more of the films going forward. To date, I’ve narrated five Small Town Monsters films and just completed a sixth one which is yet to be released. The Mothman of Point Pleasant is my favorite so far, although I really love the ending of Boggy Creek Monster where I’m walking around the old house and wrapping up the script. Seth’s words and my personal connection to the subject, really hits home every time I watch it.
Working with the STM crew is incredibly fun. We’re serious about making great films, but still having as much fun as we can while we’re doing it. It’s like being with a group of guys who stole some cameras from a network and ran off to make their own film without interference or supervision; kids in a monstrous candy store!
You’re also a musician. Can you tell us a little about your music?
I’ve been playing in bands since I was about thirteen, and playing in signed, touring bands in my mid-twenties. My current band, Ghoultown – which I founded in 1999 – is a unique mix of rock, psychobilly, horror punk, and spaghetti western. I know that sounds whacky, so I generally describe it more simply as a cross between Johnny Cash and Rob Zombie. The band has performed and toured all over the U.S., parts of Europe, and Canada, and has been featured in movies, video games, and other soundtracks. We don’t tour as much anymore due to my other pursuits, but we still record albums and have an excellent, worldwide fanbase. We are in the process of recording our ninth full-length album right now, which will be released in October. For more info, check out www.ghoultown.com
Which is your stronger passion: music, film, or writing? Why?
I love performing live music, but I would say writing is my strongest passion. That doesn’t rule out the music, however, since I write the songs and the lyrics are a big part of Ghoultown’s appeal. Even in prior bands, I was the lyricist. So words have always been my thing, whether putting them into book form or setting them to music.
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Focus harder on your talents and passions, and don’t listen to everyone who keeps saying you can’t make a living at it. That advice – or warning – turned out to be BS.
Is there anything else you would like to tell your readers about the book Sinister Swamps?
If you like spooky legends and strange-but-true stories – from Bigfoot to ghosts to monsters and missing persons – you’ll enjoy the book. What lurks in the swamp? Join me and find out…
Lyle, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer these questions. It’s always fascinating to capture a glimpse of another person’s journey, both in writing and life. You’re very talented. Mel and I wish you the best of luck and continued success.
If you haven’t checked out his You Tube Channel, here’s a good place to start. This will offer scope on his array of interest.
Thank you for reading about Sinister Swamps and Lyle Blackburn. This was our first interview, so I can’t point you to any others on our website, but if you like non-fiction books about mysterious events, then check out Linda Godfrey’s I Know What I Saw. You might also like our documentary recommendation of Momo: The Missouri Monster.
About Cryptid World
T. S. Mart and Mel Ayers, are the co-owners of Cryptid World and co-authors of The Legend of Bigfoot: Leaving His Mark on the World. Published by Red Lightning Books, The Legend of Bigfoot features 40+ profiles of various Bigfoot from around the world, including Momo and the Beast of Boggy Creek. Available for preorder now, you can find it on Amazon or any bookstore (including your local bookstores). We invite you to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on our latest projects, discounts, and even some freebies.