Rev Lionel Fanthorpe talks to Spooky Isles’ about Fortean TV and his other paranormal adventures
Rev Lionel Fanthorpe embarked on a lifetime of paranormal exploration after reading H.G. Wells mysteries and experiencing a bizarre childhood encounter with his dog.
And it was that journey that saw Lionel host classic 1990s paranormal Channel 4 series, Fortean TV, which is being released on DVD for this first time this week.
Lionel, now 87 years old, has done many interesting things during his life, including working in various roles, including priest, dental technician, teacher and journalist.
He’s also been an avid paranormal investigator, something he became passionate about as a youngster.
The paranormal awakening of Rev Lionel Fanthorpe
“I was a little bit of a lad that didn’t like school,” Lionel said. “I was always trying to avoid lessons I found either boring or difficult or too complicated for me to understand.”
Young Lionel would sneak into the school library to avoid classes.
“While I was down there, I would pull a book out of the shelf and start having a read. And I found H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and other writers about the paranormal. Wells had done a lovely book of short stories called Tales of the Unexpected, which I think is a glorious title even now.
“And that’s where my interest started, because I only began wondering whether there were real mysteries in the outside world, not just fictional mysteries. And that got me investigating.”
It didn’t take long for Lionel to come face to face with the paranormal to find something to ponder.
“We had a little dog, very small, about the size of a Pekingese … and his name was Prince. And he had his food bowl and his drinking bowl just outside the back door so he could go out into the garden.
“Whenever I came past, he’d be up on his hind legs and wanting to be patted, which I was always very happy to do because he’s a lovely little boy.
“And then on more than one occasion, not just me, but other members of the family, saw him greeting somebody we couldn’t see.
“It was as if he had seen some sort of psychic entity, and he was up on his hind legs, as if there was a person there.
“Whatever that psychic entity was, it must have been a kind and friendly person. Imagine, a highly sensitive dog would be very happy to be greeted by a friendly ghost.
“I’d look at that and say to my mum and my grandmother, who lived with us – and I said, Mum, what do you think Prince is saying? And she said we don’t know, but he seems to be seeing and communicating with somebody that we can’t. And that’s one of the the very earliest experiences.”
Lionel talks about his other adventures in the paranormal including making Fortean TV in our video on Spooky Isles.
Fortean TV: The Complete Series
Fortean TV: The Complete Series – now available for the first time on DVD – is now available from https://new.networkonair.com/fortean-tv/
This cult series, which was hosted by the intrepid Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe between 1997-1998, explored the most bizarre unexplained occurrences from all around the world. Fortean TV searched far and wide in search of the mysterious, eccentric, and downright odd. Hauntings, the Yeti, aliens, and a pork scratching that resembles the Virgin Mary were all topics covered.
All 18 episodes, the more intense unedited spin-off, and the unforgettable Christmas special are included in this edition of the entire series.
Tell us your memories of Fortean TV in the comments below!