Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stig, Standing Stones & Wildmen

Neil Arnold - author of many books, including The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent, has a fascinating new post that focuses on the classic novel, Stig of the Dump by Clive King.

Here's Neil's post:

When I were a lad (as they say in Yorkshire, apparently!) I watched and collected some of the weirdest examples of children’s television. From eerie documentaries, to low-budget dramas, from supernatural series to psychedelic cartoons. One of the most intriguing and certainly most influential thing I watched was Stig Of The Dump, adapted from the Clive King classic novel which was originally published in the ‘60s. Despite being a huge fan of both series and book, I never realised that such a work may well have been based on an area close to my heart, and my house – Blue Bell Hill in Kent. In the book there is mention of Sevenoaks, but only recently I re-read the book and to my amazement found some odd cases of synchronicity which often pepper local folklore.

For those of you who are not familiar with this delightful tale, it concerns a young boy named Barney who, whilst staying with his nan, somewhere in Kent, discovers an old chalk quarry which just happens to be inhabited by a Neanderthal-type humanoid who Barney calls Stig. When we are first introduced to Stig, one could almost visualise a completely hair covered humanoid, something akin to a small Sasquatch. Over the course of the fascinating book Barney and Stig become great friends, but like so many great kids programmes and books of that era, from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, we are often left to wonder as to whether Stig was a real creature or all part of Barney’s strange imagination. Either way, upon re-reading the book I was amazed at how the author had mentioned several ‘fictional’ items which I would eventually cover as fact many decades later.

On a less cryptozoological note, we are introduced to the ‘Standing Stones’ in Chapter Nine, which could be a reference to Kit’s Coty House, a set of Neolithic stones said to be older than Stonehenge, which jut from a field at Blue Bell Hill. These stones have a lot of folklore attached to them. Some suggest that the stones are used as a calendar, or could be a mark of where a great and bloody battle once took place. Others believe the stones to have once been used for sacrificial means and there are those who opt for the more fanciful rumour that they were constructed by witches on a dark and stormy night.

When we are first introduced to Stig, Barney, with a bump on the head along the way, falls into a steep chalk quarry (there are such quarries at the base of Blue Bell Hill) and accidentally stumbles upon the den of the creature called Stig. Oddly, for almost a century there have been reports from the quarries around Blue Bell Hill of a ‘wildman’ of sorts.

A woman many years ago, growing up in the neighbouring village of Wouldham, often spoke about how in the 1960s her grandmother would tell her bedtime stories of the local ‘hairy man’ seen near the standing stones. The woman mentioned that her grandmother had grown up with these stories and seen the man-beast herself. In the 1970s a woman named Maureen saw a hair-covered, hulking great creature with glowing eyes one night whilst tending to a campfire with her boyfriend.

In 1992 a similar beast was seen at Burham, a neighbouring village of Blue Bell Hill, by several men on their way to the pub. The men were all members of the territorial army and not prone to flights of fancy but they were all spooked by the massive humanoid which appeared near the chalk quarry. In 2008 a man-beast was seen by a female motorist in Kent. She was so terrified by the creature she almost crashed her vehicle.

Stig Of The Dump also makes a couple of references to leopards, and in particular one specimen which Stig captures and skins in the local quarry. Barney finds the skin of the exotic cat in Stig’s den and one begins to wonder whether Barney has stepped into some ancient period or Stig has killed an animal that has escaped from a private collection.

Interestingly there are several reports of large cats on the loose around Blue Bell Hill dating back to the 1500s. I saw a black leopard three times (twice in 2000 and once in 2008) near Blue Bell Hill, but interestingly the area where Stig would have killed his prey is the same area which once housed a local zoo. During the early part of the 1900s several children playing on the Downs reported seeing a black leopard. Some people believe it escaped from the zoo, then owned by Sir Tyrwhitt-Drake, although this was never proven. The children reported that the authorities came out, flushed the animal from the undergrowth and shot it dead.

During the 1700s a large animal was said to have killed a rambler on the Pilgrim’s Way, an ancient track-way which runs through Blue Bell Hill. The ‘beast’ was also recorded by a local Reverend as being the size of a calf. Some believe the animal was a hellhound but I’m of the belief it was a large cat, misunderstood at the time and confined to superstition.

(Nick Redfern, left; Neil Arnold, right at the Weird Weekend gig, August 2009)

A number of children’s programmes and books a few decades ago always hinted at some bizarre, psychedelic landscape of imagination, dream and eerie drama. I just wonder if Clive King knew of such local folklore and built the story around it, or by accident manifested some of the forms which have become embedded into local lore. Either way, Stig… is a magical story and a great place to start for any would-be adventurer and explorer, like I was all those years ago.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Staffordshire Man-Beasts

England's Stafford Post newspaper notes its Top 10 paranormal stories from the county of Staffordshire, which includes (A) the Man-Monkey of Ranton; (B) a mysterious Gorilla-like entity; (C) a werewolf; and (D) a strange, old tale from Chartley Castle where (as my Man-Monkey book reveals) a hairy man-beast was seen in 1986...

Here's the complete article.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

True Giants!

Over at my "Reviews" blog, you can find a new review from me on the brand new book from Mark A. Hall and Loren Coleman, True Giants: Is Gigantopithecus Still Alive?

Here's the link. If you're into accounts of the British Bigfoot, you'll definitely want to get a hold of this book (a Christmas present to yourself, perhaps!), as it covers such issues as Scotland's Big Gray Man of Ben MacDhui, and the Gray Man of Braeriach.

Monday, December 20, 2010

An Essex Beast

Good friend Neil Arnold says: "I was sent the following account by a good friend named Sally, from Essex."

In Sally's own words: "On the 14th October I was driving home from work. It was approximately 9:30 pm and I turned the corner into the Ferry Lane Industrial Estate in Rainham. I was coming from the A13 end approaching The Cherry Tree. I was about one-hundred and fifty yards away from a ‘shape’ that was manifesting before my eyes and if I’m truthful, if I’d blinked I would have missed it. From the two seconds that it was in front of me, I will try to explain what I saw.

"From the railings, a shape approximately the size of a large-shouldered man started to take a human form. It seemed to be made of a dark nicotine-brown smoke, the edge of the shape seemed lighter in colour. Its legs looked strong in their form and the shoulders were broad. The strangest thing was the head, as it was very small in comparison to the body, arms and legs. The ‘creature’ minded me of the yeti – the abominable snowman of the Himalayas. Then just as quick as it had manifested it seemed to be sucked back into the railings as if nothing had happened. I pondered what it might have been. A trick of the light. My headlights causing an optical illusion. The weather was clear and mild, there was no fog or other cars, or people. I have driven round that area several times since but have never seen it again…very, very strange."

Yep, very strange indeed. But high-strangeness and the British Bigfoot go hand-in-glove...

And to learn more about the work, research and writing of Neil Arnold, click right here...

Saturday, October 9, 2010


My latest Lair of the Beasts column at focuses on one area of Britain that is undoubtedly an absolute magnet for paranormal Bigfoot-type encounters: the Castle Ring...

Monday, September 13, 2010

British Wild Men in Paranormal

On Saturday, I picked up the latest - September - issue of Britain's Paranormal magazine. For those fascinated by tales of the British Bigfoot and Wild-Men, the magazine contains two articles that are absolutely essential reading.

The first is an excellent 4-page feature from Sean McNeaney that focuses on the legend of a ferocious Wild-Man said to have lived in woods near Stainfield, Lincolnshire. Was it all just a mere myth? Did the creature really exist? Or was something else afoot? The answers can be found in what is a truly fascinating article!

The second article that you'll find of interest is that of Dr. Karl Shuker, who addresses the idea that some of the Wild-Man legends may be due to sightings of relic, surviving populations of Neanderthals. This too is a first-class article that will appeal to anyone and everyone intrigued by tales of the British Man-Beast!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bigfoot in Print

You can find a new review from me - at my regular, weekly Lair of the Beasts column at - on the subject of a new book from David Hatcher Childress: Yetis, Sasquatch and Hairy Giants.

For those of you who are specifically interested in the British Bigfoot phenomenon, the book includes a small section on ancient reports of such creatures. This is a book that I definitely recommend, and one which is packed with accounts and photos of a Bigfoot nature!

Old Ned's Devil

Kark Shuker tells the strange story of Old Ned's Devil - a curious saga in which I play a tangential role, and which in many ways eerily parallels the equally curious saga of the infamous Man-Monkey of the Shropshire Union Canal.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Paranormal Sasquatch

As many readers of this blog will know, I am firmly convinced that the British Bigfoot is far more paranormal than flesh-and-blood. And, I'm pleased to note that there's a new online thread on this curious, paranormal aspect of Bigfoot that may be of interest.

On this matter, Fortean researcher and writer states:

"Hi Nick. Hope all is well with you and your family. I contribute to a blog called The C-Influence Blog. Bruce Duensing, Lesley, Lon Strickler, etc. are on it as well as many others. The blog is 'esoteric discussion' among us bloggers. Lon wrote a great piece about 'paranormal' Bigfoot, and many of us, including myself, responded with articles of our own."

Lon's original article can be found here, and here's the follow-up postings from Regan, from Bruce Duensing, and from Eric Ouellet.

This is an excellent addition to a facet of the Bigfoot phenomenon that a lot of the investigators prefer not to deal with. In my opinion, however, it is, an aspect that deserves far more attention than it currently gets, and I'm very pleased to see it getting good, thought-provoking coverage at The C-Influence.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Scottish Man-Beasts

Over at Ghost, there's a new post on the Scottish equivalent of Bigfoot (or some form of paranormal entity, depending on your own opinion of the evidence, of course!), which can be found right here.

And, in one of those weird little synchronicities that occur from time to time, Loren Coleman tells us about a new movie about to be made on the very same critter!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Graphically Monstrous!

Simon Wyatt is a friend and highly skilled artist living in Wales who has a series of graphic-novels coming out in the very near-future that are sure to be of great interest to anyone and everyone who reads this blog, and who has a fine appreciation of spooky woods, glowing-eyed monsters, and dark tales of a truly infernal variety.

Not only that: he also drew the excellent picture of the red-eyed Bigfoot that appears on the right-hand side of this blog, and at the foot of the blog, too.

I have written a blurb for the first volume of Simon's latest series of graphic-novels (titled Unbelievable: The Man Who Ate Daffodils), and which will be published later this year by Insomnia Publications.

You can find out more about Simon's work right here.

And in the meantime, check out this video from Simon that gives you an insight of what's in-store...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Andy Roberts on Ben Macdhui

Check out my Reviews of the Fortean Kind blog, where you'll see a new review from me of Andy Roberts latest Fortean title, Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal. Here's the link.

The book includes an extensive, in-depth paper on the Big Gray Man of Ben Macdhui, which is required reading for anyone and everyone interested in the so-called "British Bigfoot."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mutes & Anomalies

Over at my There's Something in the Woods blog, I have a new post that deals with a breaking story of sheep-mutilations in the UK that are being blamed on ET; but that may have far more to do with occult matters - and even the true nature of the British Bigfoot.

Feel free to link to the article, or feel free to copy-paste it in-whole or in-part:

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Staffordshire Beast of the 50s

Although this blog is chiefly devoted to all-things of a Bigfoot nature in Britain, as I have mentioned before, other types of hairy man-beasts get reported in the British Isles from time to time - and here's the latest story to reach me: a previously unknown werewolf sighting from the 1950s...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sussex Man-Beasts

Here's a new post from Neil Arnold on hairy man-things in the English county of Sussex:

"The county of Sussex is saturated with strange beastly folklore; from reports of dragons, to ‘big cats’, and from phantom bears, to even Bigfoot.

"One such tale that did the rounds a few years ago took place at Friston Park, in East Sussex. The sighting occurred near Newhaven on November 18th, 2002, at 2:30 am, as a Phil Hayman had parked his lorry up to stretch his legs when he spotted a large figure in the woods. The form was illuminated by a red light situated on a forestry machine in the woods. Mr Hayman was unsettled by the presence and hurried back to his cab but still had time to shine his torch at the being as it rushed off into the darkness. Phil claimed that the creature wasn’t human because he saw no skin colour reflected in the flashlight beam, and suggested it may have been covered in hair for it was dull in colour.

"The above report probably doesn’t prove that an unknown bipedal creature haunts Sussex woodlands, but the following encounter is one that will make you think again!

"In the summer of 1948 E.J.A. Reynolds, a young boy, had a bizarre encounter whilst setting rabbit traps in a wooded area of Horsham. Whilst he was hiding in the undergrowth and keeping watch on the traps, a small man no more than two feet in height appeared a few yards away from the thicket. The being was covered in hair except for its face. Its nose was pointed and it had incredibly long arms. It did not notice the terrified youngster. The figure then turned and headed back into the woods. Even weirder, the youngster claimed to have seen the creature again a few days later. He was travelling on a bus in the area and noticed the hairy being walking across the lawn of a large garden."

And be sure to check out Neil's new blogs on big-cat encounters in Britain. Here's the links:

them out!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Irish Spectral Ape

Neil Arnold has an interesting new post over at the main Centre for Fortean Zoology blog, in which Neil states in part:

"There is nothing like a chilling ghost story at this time of year. And one of my favourite ghoulish tales comes via Rev. Archdeacon St. John D. Seymour, and concerns a bizarre entity once said to have haunted an Irish castle. Certainly, a handful of reports of phantom ape-men, and spectral monkeys litter world folklore, and in the UK a scant few exist. Such a tale is mentioned in True Ghost Stories by Marchioness Townshend and Maude Ffoulkes, who comment that 'the truth of this story was vouched for to Mr. Reginald Span by the Vicar of the Anglican Church, Arizona, as it happened to some friends of his when they once rented a picturesque castle in the South of Ireland.'"

And here's the link to the complete article. Check it out!