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Lair of the Beasts: Creatures of the Woods
By Nick Redfern
November 06, 2010
Man-Monkey, in search of the British BigFoot, by monster hunter author Nick Redfern(2007).
England’s Rendlesham Forest extends to around 1,500 hectares in size and can be found in the county of Suffolk’s coastal area known as the Sandlings. It is comprised of large, coniferous trees, as well as heath land; and is home to various wild animals, including the badger, the fox, and the red deer. According to some people, however, Rendlesham Forest is home to far stranger things, too…
On a cold winter’s afternoon in 1983, for example, the soon-to-be-married Paul and Jane Jennings were blissfully strolling through the woods of Rendlesham when they were terrified by the sudden manifestation in front of them of what Jane would describe succinctly as “a big black dog.” She elaborated that the pair had been walking along a pathway when, on rounding a bend, they came face to face with the phantom beast – something that prompted Jane to intriguingly add: “It was almost like it was waiting for us.”
Reportedly, the beast’s head was clearly canine in appearance, albeit much larger than that of any normal dog. Yet, somewhat curiously, its body seemed to exhibit characteristics that were distinctly feline-like in nature. For a brief and tense moment girlfriend and boyfriend stared at the creature, which, they recalled, seemed to have an eerily mournful expression upon its face.
Far more shocking, however, was what happened next. Suddenly, the beast began to “flicker on and off for four or five times,” then finally vanished, literally, before the Jennings’ eyes amid an overwhelming smell that reminded the pair of “burning metal.” Or, perhaps: brimstone would have been a far better and more apt description. Not surprisingly, the terrified couple fled for the safety of their car and quickly left the area.
Rendlesham Forest, as well as the Suffolk locales of West Wratting and Balsham, is reportedly home to an even more diabolical beast than the phantom black dog. It is a creature that has come to be known locally as the Shug-Monkey. Described as being a bizarre combination of giant dog and large ape, the creature is said to strike deep terror into the hearts of those souls unfortunate enough to cross its path – which is something that Sam Holland can most definitely attest to.
Shortly after New Year’s Day in 1956, Holland was walking through the woods with his spaniel dog, Harry, when he was horrified to see a bizarre-looking creature come looming out of the trees some forty feet in front of him. It walked upon four huge, muscular legs – “like a lion’s” – and its thick fur coat was both black and glossy. Incredibly, said Holland, the animal was easily ten feet in length; and so could not be considered anything even remotely resembling a domestic animal, or a known wild beast of the British Isles.
Holland recalled thinking for a moment that perhaps the animal was an exotic big cat that had escaped from a zoo or private estate; that is until it turned in his direction and he was finally able to see its terrible face. Likening it to that of a sliver-back gorilla, Holland said that the monstrous creature possessed a huge neck, widely flaring nostrils, and immense, powerful-looking jaws.
For a moment or two, the animal looked intently at Holland and his whimpering little dog; then, seemingly losing interest, continued on its way and into the depths of the surrounding undergrowth. Holland would later explain that the creature looked like a strange combination of ape, dog, lion and rhinoceros.
Needless to say, the British Isles is not home to any such animal that even remotely resembles the beast that Sam Holland says he stumbled upon. Yet he is adamant that his description of the monstrous entity and his recollections of the day in question are utterly accurate.
Today, Holland believes that whatever it was that he had the misfortune to run into half a century ago, it was unquestionably paranormal rather than physical in origin. But from where, precisely, he has no idea. As for me, I’m as much in the dark as Holland. Of only one thing I can say for certain on this issue: tread very carefully if you are ever in the vicinity of Rendlesham Forest…
Nick Redfern’s latest book is Final Events – a study of the theory that UFOs have occult, rather than alien, origins.