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In Search of the British Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 22nd, 2006

Nick Redfern sends in a guest Cryptomundo blog for the day.

As readers of Cryptomundo will be aware, a number of stories have surfaced in the British mainstream media in the last week or so, that focus on sightings of Bigfoot-like entities in the vicinity of an area of British forest called the Cannock Chase.

Big Foot – alive and living on the Chase

Is Bigfoot on Cannock Chase?

Bigfoot

For many years, I have taken a particular interest in these reports because the Cannock Chase is only a handful of miles away from where I used to live in central England. And so when Craig Woolheater asked me if I would be interested in submitting a guest-post for Cryptomundo about these reports, I said I would be pleased to do so.

Cannock Chase has a rich history of weirdness: there have been numerous reports of big-cats having been seen there, and I have personally taken part in several searches for these still-elusive animals. Occasional sightings are made of wild boar; I’m aware of one sighting of a kangaroo or a wallaby in the woods; an alleged encounter with a wolf; and several reports that fall into the classic "ghostly black dog" category.

But the first account of a man-beast in the area dates from way back in 1879, when a creature described as being half-man and half-monkey was seen on a lonely stretch of road at the town of Ranton, which is situated only a few miles from where the Cannock Chase stands.

More than a hundred years later, specifically in 1995 a brief sighting was made by a woman named Jackie Houghton, who saw a huge and lumbering hair-covered creature in the early hours of the morning near the small, picturesque village of Slittingmill, which is situated in the heart of the Chase. Similarly, in 1998, the following account surfaced from another witness:

"It was a star filled night, clear, but dark and we were all in the car driving home, happily chatting and joking. Suddenly we all fell dead serious, the people in the back sat forward and we all pointed to the same shape. It was a tall man-like figure, sort of crouching forward. As we passed, it turned and looked straight at us. In my own words I would describe it as around six feet eight inches tall, legs thicker than two of mine, very strong looking and with a darkish, blacky [sic]-brown coat. I just could not explain it and I still get goose bumps thinking of it."

In December 2003, newspapers in the area gave much prominence to the story of a young man named Craig, who said he had seen a large ape-like creature near the town of Penkridge, which is very close to the Cannock Chase.

Then, in April 2004 Alec Williams was driving across the Chase late at night when he, too, was witness to a huge beast, easily seven feet in height, near the edge of the main road that links the towns of Cannock and Rugeley.

So what is going on? Do wild, Bigfoot-like entities really roam the woods of central England by night? The short answer is that I do not know.

There are those in the UK who believe the beasts to be utterly physical in nature and suggest that they are cunning, stealthy animals that have successfully avoided detection for millennia.

Other researchers consider the events to be somewhat paranormal in nature. And they base this, largely, on the fact that Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales combined) is only approximately the size of the state of Texas, and has a bustling population of sixty million.

The argument of those that favor a paranormal theory is that if sixty million people were tomorrow relocated to Texas, then try and imagine how such a creature could exist in the Lone Star State undetected for millennia with such a huge population.

It must be said, however, that the descriptions of the Cannock Chase creatures are very similar to those that surface with regularity in the United States. Plus, the locations are the same for the most part: namely, dense forests and woodlands. In other words, the British phenomena does eerily parallel the situation elsewhere.

The biggest problem, however, is the fact that research into such activity in Britain is often derided, and this makes researchers somewhat reluctant to investigate such claims for fear of losing credibility. In addition, witnesses are very reluctant to report their encounters. Therefore, investigations progress at very slow rate.

I mentioned that I do not have a full and complete answer to the mystery of the British man-beasts seen at the Cannock Chase woods (and at many other locations in the UK). But I do know one thing for certain: unless we investigate these cases fully and without bias or fear of ridicule, this aspect of British cryptozoology will continue to languish in some half-ignored, half-derided corner. Whatever is going on, we should make it a priority to find the answers.

Nick Redfern is actively researching reports of Bigfoot-like creatures seen in the UK. He can be contacted at nickredfern@cox.net.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.


9 Responses to “In Search of the British Bigfoot”

  1. darkworx responds:

    Bigfoot in England? Blimey!!!

  2. dewhurst responds:

    Nick,

    Firstly its good to know that people like yourself are investigating the British Bigfoot sightings-great stuff.

    Although I want nothing more than you to be succesful in your search and a British Bigfoot to be sighted and photographed I do think a Bigfoot or a small community of Bigfoot would struggle to live unmolested in an area that really is not that big. Cannock Chase was an old mediaval hunting ground (have there been Bigfoot sightings from those times?) And the area although fairly large by English standards is criss crossed by walkways and paths, has 1.9million people living within 30km of it and also has Sand & Gravel extraction going on in it. This added to the regular amount of ramblers, tourists and people generally using it as a recreational ‘park’ would be too much for a Bigfoot Community to cope with.

    As the area is well known for its fauna and countless people visit the area to look for smaller creatures that are rare in the UK like adders, lizards, nightjars, badgers etc. Do we get many sightings from these folks who are only there because they have a genuine interest in nature and surely would be fascinated by the sightings of any unknown species whatever the type?

    Nick, good luck with your quest and as a resident of Great Britain I eagerly await news of quest.

  3. Ranatemporaria responds:

    I must agree with dewhurst here both in wishing you luck, and also in pointing out the realities. Britain is not just comparatively small it was also home to the first real taxonomists. The gentry of Victorian England in particular took great pride in collecting, naming and identifying every species of plant, beetle or any other flora or fauna they could find. As a result the species of the British Isles have been catalogued to death! The chances something as large as a primate could remain undiscovered in the U.K, especially in an armature biologist Mecca like the chase are very very slim. Despite this I would still love it to be true!

  4. fuzzy responds:

    WOOPS! Time for a reality check. I can’t tell from the above data what size the “Chase” is, but it seems to be some sort of well-defined woods or forest area, crisscrossed by paths and surrounded by civilization, totally investigated and overrun by everyday visitors.

    So. Obviously there CAN’T be a group of gigantic, hair-covered bipeds running around scaring the locals, any more than there can be big cats, wild boar, kangaroos, wolves or ghostly black dogs roaming the Chase.

    NEVERTHELESS… there they are, in reports from seemingly level-headed folk from all across the years!

    Crypto-fans, we have to remember that no matter how “impossible” the reports seem to be, no matter how much we would love it all to be true, no matter our personal agenda, the very nature of “Crypto” includes both the rock-solid evidence of captured animals AND the borderline paranormal aspects!

    Crypto archives are replete with tales of mysterious appearances and behaviors of unbelieveable creatures ~ whether we like it or not, “Cryptos” come and go on their own schedule, much like ghosts or UFOs.

    We just need to concentrate on the three “A” technique: Assimilate the data, Analyze the data and, finally, Act on the data. Skip any of those three “As” and we are wasting our time!

    If the data indicates a Bigfoot in the Chase, there are only a few conclusions we can reach (hoax, hallucination, misidentification or Beast! If Beast, then we need to deal with the “whence” and “whither” ~ where did it come from, and where did it go ~ but NOT with the “it can’t be there because etc etc…”.

    We must act to determine which is the most likely answer to these questions, whether or not we like the outcome, and then Act accordingly.

    Else, just chuckle knowingly and go back to watching the Olympics.

  5. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Wise words from Herr Fuzzmeister

  6. Nick Redfern responds:

    Thanks to everyone who posted comments regarding the Cannock Chase Bigfoot story. I agree that it is a very strange story, and particularly so given the population density in the area of the Chase (and Britain in general), as several people noted, and as I stated in the article. I agree that researching something like this is definitely going out on a limb, but I figure that with reports from credible people, someone needs to look into these things, and the witnesses do deserve an answer. I will be over there for a while later this year and will be undertaking a far more intense follow-up study of the data. Hopefully we can take this mystery further. In answer to the question about whether there were any Medieval reports from the area, I don’t personally know of any. However, there are a lot of Medieval reports from elsewhere in the UK, and typically “wild man of the woods” type encounters.
    Nick R.

  7. dewhurst responds:

    Good Luck Nick and please keep us updated. I will be keeping an eye out in the British press. If by any chance I stumble across any Medievel Reports in that location I will let you know!

  8. greybear responds:

    What has been happening with the investigation of British sightings of bigfoot?

    I ask because I have been experiencing phenomena associated with bigfoot but in a decidedly urban area! All the phenomena is unsubstantial and at first I put the sounds and half seen shadows down to prowlers. However keeping an open mind I have been reading what I can about bigfoot sightings in Britain and it seems that some folk reckon that the phemonena is not a physical animal but some sort of other dimensional beast (ghost??)

    Can any one suggest what?

  9. RevealedTruthUk responds:

    Bolam Lake is an unusual place my friends and I have spent a lot of time there over the last 20 years or so, fishing, camping and walking the dog.

    The night of the 1st sighting was no different than any other night. We packed our fishing gear up and headed back to the car which was parked in the bottom car park.

    We headed from the green along the wooden walkway toward the West Wood car park to follow the track round the side of the lake to the bottom car park.

    As soon as I got onto the wooden track I felt really cold and had the feeling I was being watched. My friend Neil was up ahead of me marching off towards the car park, and Nathan was as usual wandering casually behind me carrying his gear.

    I had made it half way along the wooden track when I stopped and looked back to see where Nathan was, it was quite a light night with the moon light shining through the trees but I could not see Nathan. I could hear he footsteps on the wooden track then I saw it at the edge of the track standing in the undergrowth a tall figure at standing at least 8 feet tall and very wide at least double my size, with what looked like 2 glowing eyes. At first I thought it was Nathan messing about but then I spotted him coming all on the track to the right of the figure.

    I shouted to Nathan and ran for the car yelling a Neil too as I approached him. Nathan soon caught us up and we ran all the way back to the car.

    Neil and Nathan did not see this figure but Neil did have the feeling of being watched as he had passed the same patch of the woods.

    We never really talked about it again and I just put it down to my imagination.

    Several years later Neil had an encounter at a different location in the park.

    He was out with his girlfriend in the woods (as you do :P When she stopped him in mid session saying that someone was watching them in the woods. She also described the same sort of huge dark figure.

    Again on another, I think 2 occasions, Neil and Nathan were fishing and camping out when their campsite was bombarded with large rocks and their deadbaits stolen in the middle of the night.

    After doing a bit of research on the subject we went out looking for signs of Bigfoot activity in the area which also covered Harwood Forest and somewhere else up next to Coldstream called Thrunton Wood. We found various teepee formations and trees torn at their bases.

    Just thought I would share.



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