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Lair of the Beasts: Castle Ring Monsters
A Magnet for Mayhem
By Nick Redfern
October 09, 2010
The Castle Ring: A Magnet for Monsters.
© Nick Redfern
While reports of weird creatures literally abound throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles, there is one specific area of the country that certainly seems to act as an absolute magnet for such high-strangeness: it is called the Castle Ring. Located in the village of Cannock Wood, Staffordshire, and inhabited more than two thousand years ago, the Castle Ring is an Iron Age structure commonly known as a Hill Fort, and stands 801 feet above sea level.
On May 1, 2004, Alec Williams was driving passed the car-park that sits at the base of the Castle Ring when he was witness to a dark, hair-covered, man-like entity that lumbered across the road and into the attendant trees. Williams stated that the sighting lasted barely a few seconds, but that he was able to make out the shape of its monstrous form: “It was about seven feet tall, with short, shiny, dark brown hair, large head and had eyes that glowed bright red.”
Interestingly, Williams stated that as he slowed his vehicle down, he witnessed something akin to a camera flash coming from the depths of the woods and heard a cry that he described as “someone going ‘Hoooooo.’” The beast did not resurface, and a shell-shocked Williams was forced to continue on his journey, wondering what on Earth had just taken place.
Just over one year later, on June 8, 2005 to be absolutely specific, in an article titled Hunt For Dark Forces at Chase Monument, Chase Post writer Sarah Taylor reported that “paranormal investigators are set to swoop on one of the area’s oldest monuments to find out what dark forces lie beneath it.” As the newspaper noted, “a team of real-life ghost-busters’ had determined that the area of Gentleshaw that surrounds Castle Ring lay upon a ‘psychic fault.” Indeed, the whole area surrounding Castle Ring has been a hotbed of unusual activity for years – and not all of it revolves around weird beasts.
For example, commenting on the high-strangeness at the Ring, Sue Penton – of Paranormal Awakening, a group affiliated to the Association for Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena – said: “There have been reports of strange music being heard up there. It is such a high place there have been lots of UFO sightings there, too.”
This was amply echoed by Graham Allen, who at the time was the head of the Etchinghill, Rugeley-based Staffordshire UFO Group, and who had taken over the reins from the group’s founder, Irene Bott, several years earlier: “Obviously, Castle Ring is the highest point on the Chase which makes it a good place for UFO spotting. There have been numerous incidents of UFOs, which could be because you are more likely to see something from a high point.”
Allen elaborated that: “There have been reports of something landing there in the 1960s. From a research point of view there are a high number of reports around ancient sites. One argument could be that ancient sites have been located there because of the incidents of UFOs and natural phenomenon. There could be locations where there could be magnetic influences in the ground which have been attributed to earth lights.”
Moreover, relatively close to the Castle Ring is an old, disused windmill, which, it is widely believed and accepted by local historians, was constructed upon the now-crumbled remains of ancient, pagan burial ground. Ghosts of the miller’s children, who local legend says suffocated in a flour-silo, are said to haunt the mill to this day, and the folklore of the area tells of a strange black figure that appeared just before the tragedy.
Could this perhaps have been the same dark figure which Alec Williams saw near the Castle Ring in 2004? Equally as strange are the reports from the village of Cannock Wood – from which the Castle Ring lies in a north-west direction – of a ghostly nun that has been seen in the vicinity of an ancient well.
In September 2005, the local media reported that the aforementioned Paranormal Awakening investigation group had recently completed a nighttime investigation of the Castle Ring in an attempt to try and chronicle the strange activity that had been reported there for years.
A spokesperson for the group said: “The Cannock Chase local authorities were kind enough to give permission for PA to conduct its research. Indeed, we are extremely grateful to them for being so open-minded as to allow us to conduct our research at this historical and most important monument. The group’s results are stunning and have created yet more questions than we have answers. We appear to have obtained a very strange mix of UFO and genuine paranormal activity.”
Midway through February 2006, the Chase Post elaborated as follows: “A paranormal investigations group say they have evidence of strange, dancing lights and ghostly figures at the area’s most ancient monument.”
On one tape, said the Post, one of the group’s members is heard to exclaim: “Tell me that isn’t a big black shape walking towards me.” The Post added that: “A mystery male voice responds, ‘There is!’”
Of course, it should not be forgotten that large, dark shapes and strange lights were both staples parts of Alec Williams’ 2004 sighting near the Castle Ring, too. Whatever is afoot at the Castle Ring, it seems to show no signs of going away anytime soon...
Nick Redfern’s latest book is Final Events – a study of UFOs and the occult.