RED EYED OWLMAN OF MAWNAN
(a) Hypnotic glowing red eyes
(b) Dark wings used as a cloak
(c) Long and dirty yellow talons
On 17 April 1976 a holiday maker, Don Melling, claimed his two daughters, June (12) and Vicky (9), were strolling through the woods next to the top of the South West Coast Path near St. Mawnan’s graveyard when they witnessed a large winged monster hovering above the church tower. Both girls described a large owl-like creature and drew similar pictures. Two months later on 3 July 1976 another young girl, Sally Chapman (14) and a friend, Barbara Perry were camping in the same spot and saw a hissing owl-like figure big as a man, with pointed ears and red eyes. As it flew over the top of them they saw claws with distinctive pincer-shaped talons.
Sightings of the alleged Owlman of Mawnan have continued to occur – somewhat at random – for the past 35 years. It is said to impart a strong sense of fear. Many researchers believe it was probably just a large Eagle Owl (Bubo Bubo). The several witnesses still disagree.
THE APE MAN OF TONBRIDGE WELLS
(a) Demonic red eyes (Bloodshot)
(b) Fangs visible from a distance
(c) Tall with a fur covered body
The Apeman was first seen 70 years ago during World War II and appeared near to the mysterious outcrop known as Wellington Rocks on Tunbridge Wells Common. It was first witnessed in 1942 by an old married couple who fled in fear as it approached them.
It reappeared in 2012 at the same spot and threatened a passerby who reported the event. It has since been seen by several different people in various locations in the surrounding woods and countryside. It is described as being at least 2.5 metres (8ft) tall with demonic red eyes, long simian arms and thick brown fur. The beast is said to have tusks like a boar and an odour to match. one particular sighting of merit occurred in 1991 when it encountered soldiers of the territorial army who threw rocks at it after it roared at them. The encounter lasted for several minutes during which time the soldiers are said to have had a clear view of the beast and believed it to be a living creature not a person dressed up as an ape. Most believe the apeman to be the work of pranksters.
MORGAWR – SEA SERPENT OF FALMOUTH
(a) Short horns with rounded knobs
(b) Large mouth with many fangs
(c) Coiled body with small flippers
The story of Morgawr (sea giant) dates back to 1876 when a sea serpent was allegedly discovered by fishermen in Gerran’s bay approximately 500 yards east of Portscatho.It was seen again on 3rd August 1906 by two officers (Spicer & Cummings) of transatlantic liner St. Andrew as it passed Lands End.
Over the years it has been regularly sighted by people ranging from holiday makers to dedicated Cryptozoologists – some of whom have taken photos. It is generally described as between 10 to 24ft (4.5m) in length with grey-green skin, small flippers and a huge mouth. There is some debate regarding the description as other witnesses including Gertrude Stevens (s.1995) described the sea-monster as looking more like a prehistoric plesiosaur. In fact, most of the sightings of the creature describe a sea serpent but photographs published in 1976, and now believed to be an elaborate hoax, depicted a hump-backed creature and the visualisation stuck. Morgawr is one of the most commonly seen British cryptids and is spotted roughly once every five years. A video tape of the creature was allegedly taken by taken by Mr. J. Holmes of the Natural History Museum in 1999.
DIREWOLVES OF CO. FERMENAGH
(a) Twice the size of normal wolf
(b) Red and bloodshot eyes
(c) Shaggy grey and black fur
To be honest, it was touch and go whether this cryptids entry should have been included because in some respects the explanation is both obvious and painfully coincidental. Even the cryptids-experts think it may be a case of autosuggestion. Still, here’s the story.
Around five years ago the good people of County Fermanagh and County Antrim (Northern Ireland) started talking about sightings of giant wolves … creatures believed to be extinct and once known as Dire Wolves. In all cases the creature was seen in poor light and in heavily wooded regions. However, it was also around this time that the hugely successful TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ – which often featured dire wolves – was being filmed in the same locations – from Tollymore Forest Park and Poulnagollum Cave to Inch Abbey, in County Down. On the upside, Game of Thrones is a wonderfully atmospheric drama and popular amongst TV audiences worldwide. It’s likely that as long as it’s being filmed in N. Ireland the spate of cryptid sightings will continue. Of course …”Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.” – George R.R. Martin.
THE BLUE MEN OF MINCH
(a) Blue skin with muscled torso
(b) Powerful fish-like tail
(c) Long, dark and matted hair
No list of cryptids would be complete without at least one reference to merpeople (mermaids & mermen). In Britain these are known as The Blue Men of Minch – the Minch being a 27 mile wide stretch of water between mainland Scotland and the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides
They have human torsos and arms but large fish tails instead of legs. (Although some references claim that the creatures appeared completely human.) In all cases these aquatic cryptids were blue from top to tail. Folk tales refer to the Men of Minch as escaped Moorish slaves that learned to live underwater or even fallen angels. According to local legend they can be benign or malevolent and sometimes try and tip over small boats to drown the sailors. During WWII sightings of these creatures increased around the Island of Bayble (Eilean Phabail) and prompted speculation that 10 German frogmen were operating in the area from a hidden U-boat. Sceptics believe the creatures to be Minke whales and point out the similarity of the names. (minkehval).
WERE-RABBITS – PEAK DISTRICT
(a) Huge wide-set black eyes
(b) Long snout with black nose
(c) Muscled legs with long feet
For the past five decades there have been sightings of weird furry cryptids that resemble small monsters in and around a strange series of rock formations known as The Roaches. Sightings that led to a local belief in were-rabbits.
Situated in the heart of England’s Peak District, the area is sparsely inhabited and a top destination for hikers – many of whom have claimed to be walking peacefully around the gorse and heather when a bush will suddenly disgorge a strange looking creature which then runs madly away with a wild hopping motion. Over time these cryptids – which seem harmless – have been nicknamed were-rabbits. The creature, which is said to have large teeth, a pronounced snout and long rear legs, reminiscent of a velociraptor, is approximately 90 cm tall.
Most people believe the legend of the were-rabbit was fully explained when naturalists acknowledged that for many years the area was home to breeding colony of Red Necked Wallabies from Australia that had escaped and established themselves in the countryside.
WEREWOLVES OF CANNOCK CHASE
(a) Narrow and lustful yellow eyes
(b) Leering expression
(c) Animal like – semi-naked
Cannock Chase is an area of woods and moorland in south Staffordshire that was once an ancient royal forest and now has a significant reputation for the strange and bizarre. The list is long – From wandering pig-men and UFO’s to haunted WWII German cemeteries the area has it all.
It’s also well known for beautiful paths hidden clearings and lovers lanes. The very first reports dates back to 1914 when the area was home to Brockton Camp military base. Residents came to believe that a strange creature roamed the woods. 1981 saw a list of animal attacks at the nearby stately home of Shugborough Hall. From this time on various witness from teenage boys to drivers in cars have claimed to see what can only be described as a werewolf. During 2006 and 2007 the ‘encounters’ increased dramatically and prompted even international newspapers to cover the story. The creature is larger than a normal wolf, has an unpleasant smell and runs on its hind legs. It is said to peer into the windows of parked cars. The investigations continue.
THE BIG GREY MAN OF BEN MAC DHUI
(a) A giant hominid easily 2.5m tall
(b) Covered with grey fur and rags
(c) Huge shoeless hairy feet
The Big Grey Man of Ben Macdhui is a yeti-like cryptid (Bigfoot in the USA) that is said to live in the inhospitable passes and crags of the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland. The creature is believed to favour the area surrounding Ben Macdhui – the second highest mountain in the UK.
Witnesses claim the creature is approximately 2.5 metres (8ft) tall and covered in grey fur and rags. Some believe it is related to the Yeti of the Himalayas while others have suggested that it is a descendent of the legendary wild men of Scotland. Hikers and climbers have regularly claimed to see the Grey-Man and even more have come across the tracks that look as if they were made by a giant barefooted man. It is said to have a distinctive odour and its presence stimulates a near irrational terror in both humans and dogs. Sceptics explained away the sightings as a combination of fatigue and the phenomenon known as a Brocken Spectre which is caused by a list of factors including the observer’s shadow, intense low-level sunlight and high altitude clouds or mist.
THE LOCH NESS MONSTER
(a) Large dinosaur-like head
(b) Elongated snake-like neck
(c) Humped body with a long tail
The Loch Ness monster – or ‘Nessie’ as it is affectionately known, is top of the list for the World’s most famous cryptid and is certainly the most investigated. The monster is said to resemble a plesiosauroid (Long-necked Plesiosaur) from the Late Cretaceous period.
It has been sighted on so many occasions it is remarkable that there are so few good photographs of the ‘Beasty’. The first recorded sighting dates back to the 6th century when it was confronted by St. Columba. Modern sightings date back to 1933 and have continued to this day. Over the decades there have been many missions to track down the Loch Ness Monster. Under water cameras revealed glimpses of a flipper, tourists photographed a head with an elongated neck and strange tracks have occasionally been found crossing the road that runs for much of the length of the Loch. A comprehensive sonar scan in 2003 failed to reveal the animal but Nessie’s supporters quickly pointed out that there is a labyrinth of underwater caves easily large enough to provide a hiding place. Even today, the existence of the Loch Ness Monster is still a hotly debated subject.
THE BEAST OF BODMIN MOOR
(a) Hybrid of giant hound & panther
(b) Savage jaws and teeth
(c) Dark matted fur with foul smell
For centuries the people of Cornwall and Devon, in the west of England, have believed that their desolate moors hid the lair of at least one savage beast. Originally tales describe a monster best described as half hell-hound and half panther. This legend is said to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his famous Sherlock Holmes novel – ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.
The Beast came to the general attention of the public during the 1990’s when a series of animal attacks occurred in the region. Residents and holiday visitors started reporting that they had seen a large panther-like creature which was quickly nicknamed the Beast of Bodmin Moor.
Official investigations during 1995 found no evidence of significance and released a statement that “there is no verifiable evidence’ of exotic felines (cryptids) loose in Britain.” This hasn’t stopped people seeing the creature. The problem is separating the real evidence from that left by hoaxers. During 1995 a leopard skull was found on the moor and caused great concern until officials announced it was actually from a leopard skin rug. Naturally, there were immediate accusations of a cover up.
People who haven’t seen the cryptids are dismissive and often condescending. Those who have seen the beast, some of whom are highly credible witnesses, are in no doubt that there is something wild and mysterious living out on the moors. It is estimated that there have been over 600 sightings of the Beast of Bodmin Moor since 1990.