Over the years here at Mysterious Universe, I have written many articles on the multiple enigmas of Cannock Chase, England. It's a large area of forestland and heath and which has been the site of numerous activity of the paranormal, ufological and cryptozoological kind. People have spoken of seeing large black cats roaming the Cannock Chase. Others claim to have encountered Bigfoot and werewolf-type creatures lurking in the trees. There is a controversial tale of a UFO crashing in the area in early 1964. And the list goes on and on. Could it get any weirder? well, yes, actually, it could. And it does.
No less relevant to my quest to uncover the many and varied tales of unusual beasts on the Cannock Chase, is the story of a local man, Jason Hill. Jason told me: "It all started in the late 1950s. My dad was visiting a friend in Heath Hayes [a town very close to the Cannock Chase woods. This friend sadly died in the early 1990s, so I am afraid the details are secondhand. Even so my dad is not the sort of person for tall-tales. It was back in 1959 and dad was at his mate's house talking when his friend's mother pipes up: 'Look! In the newspaper: your little green man!' The newspaper story - dad thinks it was the Express and Star or the Cannock Advertiser - told of a little girl from Pye Green [an area of Cannock] running back home to her mother in tears.
"When questioned she said a little green man had run from the undergrowth and frightened her. Dad waited his chance and raised the question. His friend, who was very embarrassed, said that in the summer of 1958 he played cricket for GEC [the General Electric Corporation] at Stafford, his place of work, and cycled back home, later than normal across the Cannock Chase. On a weaving part of the road he saw something in the headlight of his cycle. The 'something' he saw ran into the road, stopped, and then ran back into the trees. He described it as a 'little green man.'"
Jason added: "When I first heard it, at the age of nine or ten, I thought it was great; but I grew up and thought it was a pile of rubbish. Until a conversation with a friend about strange creatures on the Chase revealed he had a story to tell. Driving past the German Cemetery he felt something fall on the back of the car, like a big branch from an overhanging tree. He looked in the mirror and for a split second saw what he described as a 'gremlin or sprite,' little and hairy."
Jason concluded: "The more I think about it, the less it makes sense and seems logical. In fact, if I had thought it through, I probably would not have contacted you. But somewhere in a story that has stood the test of time lies something. But what?"
What indeed? This is not the only sprite/gremlin-type story that has surfaced from the Cannock Chase. Another such incident occurred in 1975, a story you can find at this link. It's hard to know what to think of these kinds of cases, as they obviously push things down a path marked "little people" "goblins" and the like. So, it's hardly a wonder that such tales are so often held back for years - sometimes for decades - for fear of ridicule.
Certainly, these tales of the little people of Cannock Chase are hugely outnumbered by the likes of tales of "Alien Big Cats" on the Chase. Even the werewolf tales outnumber those of the kind that Jason Hill described. An under-investigated aspect of a place renowned for bizarre weirdness? Definitely.