This post by Nick Redfern gave me food for thought:
Lair of the Beasts: Monsters in Town
Creature Tales By Nick Redfern July 17, 2010
Occasionally, I’m asked: where do you get your information from when it comes to investigating sightings of weird creatures? Well, sometimes, it comes via people who just email me, or phone me, out of the blue. On other occasions it’s via old newspaper archives, colleagues, and ancient books and pamphlets.But, sometimes, when you’re in a particular area that has a rich history of monstrous strangeness in its midst, the best thing to do is engage the locals in conversation. Indeed, this is an approach that I have found to be very profitable on many occasions. And, I’ll give you a perfect example
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Nick is quite right of course you pick up information from lots of sources but the stories you hear by just chatting is amazing. Apparently I have the sort of face that makes people want to talk to me. The number of life stories I have heard on trains lol. I must look harmless or something or have MUG tattooed on my forehead. It has it’s advantages though as people confide in me and I get to hear stuff that you wouldn’t find documented elsewhere. When I was interviewing people for some research I was doing on oral history ,I also got lots of stories about strange things and local legends. If I had a £1 for everyone who said to me “I’ll tell you but I haven’t told anyone else” I would be rich! The point of this little diatribe is, don’t dismiss stories you are told as hearsay, investigate them first, you never know what little gems you might find or where it may lead.