The Loch Ness Monster isn’t the only beast on the minds of monster hunters and cryptozoologists in the UK and Ireland. RICK HALE looks at the possibility that Nessie might have some friends…
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of anomalous phenomena in the United Kingdom?
Perhaps you might think of a lonely old spirit forced to forever wander the corridors of some ancient castle that is slowly falling down stone by stone.
Or you may think of unidentified flying objects zipping over the countryside, occasionally landing and forcefully removing some unwitting person from the safe confines of their home.
On both of those you are right. Nevertheless, there is a much overlooked third option that people rarely ever think of in the British Isles, and that would be monsters.
Yes, the United Kingdom has plenty of frightening creatures to keep the intrepid monster hunter busy.
Many of these monsters are nothing more than mere folklore handed down through the generations.
However, there are a few that seemed to have escaped those ancient folk tales.
Monsters that are flesh and blood and witnessed by people who would rather not see these nightmarish beings.
Here are some monsters that stalk the hills, moors and lakes of the United Kingdom.
Bigfoot in England?
Large hairy bi-pedal ape-men are generally witnessed by campers and hikers in the vast woodlands of North America.
How could such a creature inhabit an island nation as small as the British Isles going undiscovered for centuries?
I was naturally sceptical of Bigfoot in England. But, there are credible witnesses who saw what could only be described as a Bigfoot.
Turnbridge Wells Monster
In 2012, the Sun newspaper ran a story that struck many of its readers speechless.
Turnbridge Wells is a quiet town in Kent with a population that doesn’t go in for weird stuff.
But weird stuff was what they got. Actually what they got wasn’t so much weird as it was terrifying.
The citizens of Turnbridge Wells claimed they were being terrified by a large, black ape-man with eyes that burned with the fires of hell.
The creature was known to let out a terrible cry. It also hurled rocks and gravel at homes. And stole family pets if they were out after dark.
This isn’t some bizarre creature that one day just showed up. During World War II, an elderly couple claimed to see a similar creature.
Whatever this creature was, it appears to have made its leave of the town.
The Beast Along the Track
The Bristol Post reported that a man saw a large upright ape-like creature near Yatton as he made his way home on the train.
He described the creature as being excessively tall and covered in black fur.
He further noted the creature walked heavily hunched over.
His sighting may have lasted mere seconds, but what he saw is permanently burned into his memory.
Our last credible sighting takes us to Leeds, where a teenage girl saw a large fearsome beast standing by the side of the road.
Rather than stopping to get a closer look , she stomped on the gas pedal and sped away.
When she looked in the rear view mirror, she could see the creature had stepped into the middle of the road.
She would later tell people that it was well over seven feet tall and covered in dark matted hair.
She wasn’t sure what she had seen but it’s given her nightmares ever since.
The Beast of Green Drive
The seaside village of Lytham was a quiet town where very little happened. That all changed in 2005 when a mysterious creature was seen walking along Green Drive.
Local newspapers ran a story about a mysterious creature that the people in Lytham, Lancashire were seeing.
The eyewitnesses all described the same creature. It was larger than a Labrador retriever with oversized floppy ears and a large mouth lined with razor sharp teeth.
One man remarked that it looked like Wile E Coyote from the Warner Bros cartoons only more vicious.
The creature didn’t stick around long and vanished as mysteriously as it showed up.
Sceptics have offered the theory that the creature was nothing more than a mangy dog. The people who saw the creature were not convinced.
The Legend of River Conwy
No list of cryptids in the United Kingdom would be complete without at least 1 lake monster. Well, a river monster at least, the Afanc of River Conwy in Wales.
According to legend, the people who lived along Conwy were being cursed with flooding from the river. Floods that destroyed their crops and homes.
The people didn’t believe the floods were an act of God, but rather the acts of a river monster the people called Afanc.
Over the years the citizens went about trying to kill the beast, but the creature was far to fierce and it’s hide appeared to be impenetrable.
They had to do something about the Afanc before it completely destroyed their livelihood.
Then one day the wise men of the village came up with a brilliant plan.
They would lure the monster from the river using a beautiful young girl and get it to relocate to Llyn Ffynnon Las, a lake in the shadows of Mount Snowdon.
The plan was a success, but not without its difficulties. The Afanc nearly escaped several times and would have killed everyone in sight.
Fortunately, they were able to get the creature to the mountain lake and threw it in.
The people that lived along River Conwy were now safe from the monster that threatened everything they owned.
Beast of Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor in Cornwall is a wild place with vast fields and windswept hills and reportedly haunted by many ghosts.
But something more than ghosts haunt the moor. A jet black creature the size of a wild cat lurks in the moor. The creature has a reputation for being a ruthless and vicious predator. This creature is known as the beast of Bodmin moor.
The first reports of the Bodmin beast were made in 1978, when several farmers reported that some phantom beast was killing their livestock.
When locals went on a hunting expedition to find and kill the beast, all they got were brief glimpses of what appeared to be a large black cat.
When people in Bodmin contacted the Ministry of Agriculture to report the beast they were met with scepticism.
The Ministry told them they could not have seen what they thought as large cats as they were not indigenous to England. Therefore there is no risk to livestock.
Ever since 1978, there have been dozens of sightings of the Bodmin beast. Without a single specimen being captured.
Whatever the beast of Bodmin moor is, it seems to outsmart any hunter that comes gunning for it.
The Werewolf of Barmston Drain
Legends of horrific creatures that look like an ungodly mix of wolf and human has been a staple of European folklore for centuries.
Creatures known as werewolves are cursed beasts borne of black magic or deals with the devil. Although considered nothing more than a myth they are still witnessed in modern England.
For decades the people of Hull have reported seeing such a creature near Barmston Drain.
Those who have seen the monster all describe the same thing. A large humanoid wolf.
They have even given the creature a catchy nickname, “Old Stinker” as his breath smells as if he’s been feeding on long dead corpses.
Several hunting parties have been formed to hunt the beast down hoping to put an end to its life.
Unfortunately, no one has ever captured or killed the beast.
Fortunately, the creature has not been seen or heard for a number of years. It appears to have just vanished.
However, the people who have experienced the creature live in fear that Old Stinker could one day return.
This is just a small sample of the creatures said to lurk in the shadows of the United Kingdom.
I would be aware as you travel alone at night because something could be stalking you waiting for the right moment to attack.