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Dom Joly relived the moments he spent as a “dark tourist” while he was gathering material for one of his legendary travel books, and told of his terror after an encounter in the Congo with an armed and aggressive local. He had been monster hunting in the central African country, in search of the mythical Mkele Mbembe creature, but ultimately had a much more frightening experience in real life.

“I nearly died five times and ended up attacked with a machete,” he exclaimed of his exploits in his new interview with Express.co.uk.

He had designs on visiting the lake that the monster was meant to inhabit, but ended up enduring a real-life monstrous encounter of his own.

The village elder tasked with taking him to the lake had first demanded a large sum of money that Dom couldn’t pay, and then taken a sudden dislike to him, leading to a close encounter with a machete.

Fortunately, he managed to escape after the villager was tied to a tree, fleeing in a canoe at dawn before matters escalated even further.

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This was just one of many shocking encounters he has endured over his career as a travel writer, during which time he visited more than 100 countries.

Dom, who is also renowned as a comic, has even visited the radioactive Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

However, his latest book will focus less on dark tourism and more on the crazy world of conspiracy theories.

In a world increasingly filled with antivaxxers and flat earthers, he set out to explore the truth behind some of the most popular – and, of course, wackiest – theories out there.

“I’ve met way too many anti-vaxxers for my liking,” he shuddered.

“[However], conspiracy theories have become part of the mainstream and I thought rather than bash them, I’d meet up with some of them.”

He spent a night at the Camelot Castle in Tintagel, Cornwall, which he says is run by a conspiracy theorist, and exclaimed: “It’s all the conspiracies you can think of under one roof! No-one there has been vaccinated!”

The star added: “I also went to Finland to see conspiracy theories that the plain of Finland doesn’t really exist and went to Fogo Island (Newfoundland) to meet a flat earther.”

His new book is due out in November 2023, and will be accompanied by a tour to promote it, called Wake Up, Sheeples.

Followers can imagine that, in the far-flung danger spots he has often found himself in, having the option to reach someone on the phone would be of crucial importance to him.

However, he went without his trusty device altogether for an entire weekend for a campaign in conjunction with Tesco Mobile.

“I’ve linked up with the Trussell Trust to raise awareness about the importance of digital connectivity,” he told us.

Referencing the cost of living crisis, he continued: “Some people don’t have the income to connect and go online.

“Tesco Mobile did some research showing that for some people, if they didn’t have their phone, they’d hardly communicate with anyone at all.

“It made me realise how much of our lives are centred around this small thing in our hands that we carry around… It’s more and more impossible in society to function without [one].”

Tesco Mobile is distributing data through the Trussell Trust’s network of food banks as part of its Little Helps Databank and aims to connect 50,000 people facing financial hardship by 2025.

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