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Lair of the Beasts: Seeking the British Bigfoot
The Wild Men of Castle Ring
By Nick Redfern
December 31, 2011
While reports of Bigfoot-like hairy wild men abound throughout Britain, there is one area of the country that seems to attract more than its fair share of such activity: Castle Ring, in the county of Staffordshire. Located near the village of Cannock Wood and constructed between 500 B.C. and A.D. 40, Castle Ring is an Iron Age structure commonly known as a Hill Fort. It is 801 feet above sea level, and it main ditch and bank enclosure is fourteen feet high and, at its widest point, 853 feet across.
Little is known about the mysterious and long-forgotten people who built Castle Ring, except to say that its creators were already in residence at the time of the Roman invasion and remained there until approximately A.D. 50.
On May 1 2004, Alec Williams was driving passed the car park that sits at the base of Castle Ring when he witnessed a hair-covered, man-like entity lumber across the road and into the trees. Williams stated that the sighting lasted barely a few seconds but that he was able to make out its 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 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.’”
Just over one year later, on June 8, 2005, 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 weird activity for years.
For example, commenting on the weird activity 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 echoed by Graham Allen, then of the Etchinghill, Rugeley-based Staffordshire UFO Group: “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: “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 Castle Ring is an old, disused windmill, which, it is widely believed by local historians, was built upon an ancient, pagan burial ground. Ghosts of the miller’s children, who suffocated in a flour silo, are said to haunt the mill to this day, and legend tells of a strange black figure that appeared just before the tragedy.
Could this perhaps have been the same dark figure that Alec Williams saw near the Ring in 2004? Equally as strange are the reports from the village of Cannock Wood – from which Castle Ring lies in a northwest direction – of a ghostly nun reported seen in the vicinity of an ancient well.
In September 2005, local media reported that the aforementioned Paranormal Awakening investigation group had recently completed a nighttime investigation of Castle Ring in an attempt to 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: “A paranormal investigations group says 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 was heard to exclaim: “Tell me that isn’t a big black shape walking towards me.” The Post added that: “A mystery make voice responds, ‘There is!’”
Of course, large, dark shapes and strange lights were both staples parts of Alec Williams’ 2004 sighting near Castle Ring, too. Clearly, if you’re intent on finding a British wild-man, then the Castle Ring may be the place to go!
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including the newly-published Keep Out!