Oct 14, 2014 I Nick Redfern

Britain’s Bigfoot: Naming the Beast

Over at the Bigfoot Evidence blog, you can find an excellent, and extensive, list of the many and varied names that have been applied to the world's mysterious, hairy, hominids. While most people will be familiar with such terms as "Bigfoot," "Sasquatch," "The Abominable Snowman," and "The Yeti," as the Bigfoot Evidence post makes abundantly clear, the sheer number of names is almost mind-boggling.

This got me thinking  (I try and do that from time to time...) about the British Bigfoot. Very little commentary is ever given to the controversial matter of hairy, giant, ape-like creatures in the UK, but the fact of the matter is that there are far more than a few reports. In fact, there are hundreds of such reports, and they span centuries. So, I thought, in keeping with the Bigfoot Evidence posting, why not share with you the various names that have been applied to the British beasts?

We'll start with the "Man-Monkey." It's a glowing-eyed, ape-like animal that has been seen since at least 1879; although certain, fragmentary data exists to suggest the sightings may predate that year fairly significantly.  Pretty much every encounter with the infernal thing has been on, or in the immediate vicinity of, an old bridge that spans England's Shropshire Union Canal.

Whatever the Man-Monkey may be, its origins are clearly far more in the domain of the supernatural than they are in the world of all-things flesh and blood. Its ability to vanish from sight (as in literally), its spectral nature, and the mere fact that it hangs out at a bridge (which have long been associated with supernatural events) makes that abundantly clear.

RAF Woodbridge   amidst Rendlesham Forest   geograph org  uk   397829 570x427
RAF Woodbridge - amidst Rendlesham Forest

Then there is the "Shug Monkey." For those who may be interested, "Shug" is a distortion of "Scucca," an old English term meaning "Demon." The Shug Monkey is made notable by the revelation that it haunts none other than Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, the site of what is, without doubt, Britain's most infamous UFO case of all.

Like the Man-Monkey, the Shug Monkey is a beast of undeniable paranormal origins - something demonstrated by its shape-shifting abilities. After all, how many apes can transform into glowing-eyed black hounds? Not many, that's for sure!

Moving on, we have the "Orford Wild Man." What makes this saga so interesting is that the old English town of Orford is only a stone's throw from Rendlesham Forest. The story of the man-beast can be found in the following account, of one Ralph, a monk and an abbot at Coggeshall, Essex. Recorded in the year 1200 in Chronicon Anglicanum, it describes the remarkable capture in the area of a "wild man of the woods"-style creature:

"In the time of King Henry II, when Bartholomew de Glanville was in charge of the castle at Orford, it happened that some fishermen fishing in the sea there caught in their nets a Wildman. He was naked and was like a man in all his members, covered with hair and with a long shaggy beard.

"He eagerly ate whatever was brought to him, but if it was raw he pressed it between his hands until all the juice was expelled. He would not talk, even when tortured and hung up by his feet, Brought into church, he showed no sign of reverence or belief. He sought his bed at sunset and always remained there until sunrise.

"He was allowed to go into the sea, strongly guarded with three lines of nets, but he dived under the nets and came up again and again. Eventually he came back of his own free will. But later on he escaped and was never seen again."

The "Beast of Bolam" was a bizarre, ape-like thing that haunted a certain lake in the north of England in the early 2000s. Jon Downes, of the Center for Fortean Zoology, led an expedition to the area, one which culminated in Jon actually encountering the creature. In Jon's very own words...

"At about half-past-four, one of the members of Twilight Worlds [Note from Nick: a group also involved in the investigation] reported seeing something large, human-shaped and amorphous in the woods directly in front of the car-park.

"As the dusk gathered at about 5 o’clock, we again heard the raucous noise of the crows that he had reported just before dawn. Suddenly, once again, they fell silent and one of the Twilight Worlds members shouted that she could hear something large moving around among the undergrowth.

"All of the car-drivers present were ordered to switch on their headlights and to put them on full-beam. We did not hear any noise in the undergrowth; although other people present did. Eight people were watching the woods and five of us saw an enormous man-shaped object run from right to left, disappear, and then a few moments later run back again."

The most amazing aspect of the encounter, however, was that the hulking, racing, ape-like thing was one-dimensional; shadow-like, and utterly lacking in any sort of 3-D substance, but, even so, still some form of mystifying entity in its own right.

Ben macdui from carn liath 570x403
Ben Macdui

"Ben Macdui, at 1309 metres (4296 ft), is the second highest mountain in the U.K. and lies in the heart of the mountain range known as the Cairngorms," says Andy Roberts, the leading authority on the strange enigma of what has become known as Scotland’s "Big Grey Man."

The saga of the BGM is a very weird one. Although it has long been perceived by many as a British Bigfoot, the reality is that it's not so much what people have seen on the Cairngorms, but what they have felt (a deep sense of panic) and heard (something akin to heavy feet crunching into the snow). Literal sightings of a flesh and blood-style BGM on Ben Macdhui are very few and far between. Nevertheless, the monstrous moniker remains.

Add to that the "Green-Faced Monkey," "Old Ned's Devil," "Martyn's Ape" and a wide and varied range of others, and we see ourselves faced with a veritable (and vastly under-appreciated) A-Z of the monstrously British kind!

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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