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Lair of the Beasts: When Creatures Collide
By Nick Redfern
February 26, 2011
No-one, I’m sure, would doubt that any sort of encounter with an unknown animal is going to be considered weird – to say the very least! But, what about those cases where the location in question is rumored to be the domain of not just one, but two or more strange, and vastly different, unidentified creatures? While such a scenario may stretch credibility, surprisingly enough there are more than a few reports on record that fall directly within this particular category.
As a perfect example, a few years ago, I interviewed a woman Eileen Gallagher, who had a weird tale to tell of a sleepy little English village said to be the haunt of two bizarre beasts. Gallagher had telephoned me early one week-day morning to relate how a friend of hers – named Janice - had undergone some sort of very traumatic encounter late at night with a hairy man-beast in the village of Childs Ercall – which can be found in the old English county of Shropshire. Gallagher had lost touch with Janice in the late 1970s; however, she still well-recalled the salient facts.
So the story went, it was back in 1971 and Janice was fifteen at the time and living in a nearby village. After an evening spent with her then-boyfriend at the home of his parents in Childs Ercall, Janice was happily riding her bicycle back home when she was shocked to see a large, hairy animal dash across the road directly in front of her, while simultaneously glaring at her in a menacing fashion as it did so. Eileen Gallagher recalled that Janice had told her that the animal was human-like in shape, was covered in long flowing dark hair, possessed a pair of bright yellow eyes that “twinkled,” and had a black-skinned and “shiny” face.
Although Gallagher could recall nothing more of any real substance, she said that the way Janice had described the beast made it sound like a definitive British Bigfoot. More remarkable, the Sasquatch-style entity seen by Janice in the Shropshire village of Childs Ercall was not the only weird creature said to inhabit this otherwise utterly normal and pleasant little English village. Indeed, legend has it that centuries ago a deadly mermaid was said to inhabit a pool there. In 1893, the writer Robert Charles Hope described the story as follows:
“…there was a mermaid seen there once. It was a good while ago, before my time. I dare say it might be a hundred years ago. There were two men going to work early one morning, and they had got as far as the side of the pond in [a] field, and they saw something on the top of the water which scared them not a little. They thought it was going to take them straight off to the Old Lad himself! I can’t say exactly what it was like, I wasn’t there, you know; but it was a mermaid, the same as you read of in the papers.”
Hope continued: “The fellows had almost run away at first, they were so frightened, but as soon as the mermaid had spoken to them, they thought no more of that. Her voice was so sweet and pleasant, that they fell in love with her there and then, both of them. Well, she told them there was a treasure hidden at the bottom of the pond - lumps of gold, and no one knows what. And she would give them as much as ever they liked if they would come to her in the water and take it out of her hands.”
He concluded: “So they went in, though it was almost up to their chins, and she dived into the water and brought up a lump of gold almost as big as a man s head. And the men were just going to take it, when one of them said: ‘Eh!’ he said (and swore, you know), ‘if this isn't a bit of luck!’ And, my word, if the mermaid didn’t take it away from them again, and gave a scream, and dived down into the pond, and they saw no more of her, and got none of her gold. And nobody has ever seen her since then. No doubt the story once ran that the oath which scared the uncanny creature involved the mention of the Holy Name.”
I have no real idea how we can even begin to explain why certain places might act as magnets for a whole range of strange creatures. I can only reports like this one are far from being rare. So, the next time you hear of a Bigfoot sighting in your area, keep a careful look-out, as there just might be something else running around too...
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including Final Events; There’s something in the Woods; and the forthcoming The Real Men in Black.