In January 2003, a team from the U.K.’s Center for Fortean Zoology headed out to the town of Bolam, which is situated in the north of England. In the days and weeks previously, there had been a spate of sightings of what can only be termed a “British Bigfoot.” The dark, hulking creature was even seen by members of both the CFZ and a local group, Twilight Worlds. Although, it appeared to be one-dimensional in appearance, which is highly strange. So what, exactly, was it that the CFZ and TW crews encountered? Let’s take a look at a highly controversial theory, one which suggests something not just incredible, but beyond incredible, occurred.
One of the little-known, and seldom talked about, aspects of the Bolam affair goes like this: in February 2003 – barely a month after the amazing encounter with a one-dimensional Bigfoot-type occurred – a story appeared in the local press that suggested a very down to earth explanation for the presence of the creature. In an article titled Back to the Beast of Bolam: Hoaxers’ Horror at Bolam Beast, a journalist with the Newcastle-based Evening Chronicle – one Andy Lloyd – reported that: “Young hoaxers today revealed how they created a monster myth – only months before the real life Northumberland Bigfoot reared its head.”
The article told of how two friends – Harriet Warman and Alex Dordoy, then seventeen and eighteen, respectively – had hired a gorilla costume from a local shop, and duly roamed the pathways of Kielder Forest in the summer of 2002, as part of an arts project at school. And as Andy Lloyd noted: “So the pals, both sixth formers at Gosforth High School in Newcastle, were spooked when they discovered Northumberland does have its own Yeti legend.”
Harriet, who lived in Gosforth, told the Evening Chronicle: “We were amazed – it was really weird when we saw the news about the Bigfoot, we followed it closely. We visited Kielder Forest with the idea of a photography project. The place was so atmospheric a Bigfoot myth seemed a great idea. We hired a gorilla costume from a fancy dress shop and took turns to dress up as Bigfoot and take pictures. We spent three days there. It was boiling hot inside the costume and the forest was full of midges.”
She continued: “The idea was to recreate some of the famous Bigfoot photos from America with the animal walking away, as if a human and a monster had encountered each other and the person has grabbed their camera, snapped and hoped. We tried to capture that shaky, don’t quite know what it is effect, but we also developed it as a story, from a police hunt for the beast to pictures of Bigfoot visiting a corner shop.”
Harriet added: “No-one has taken a photo of this creature in Northumberland, but our photos show how easy it is to create a fake.” Her final words, specifically on the matter of the Beast of Bolam encounter investigated by, and even witnessed by, the CFZ and Twilight Worlds, were: “Lots of people in school are coming up and asking if we are behind this sighting, but I can say we weren’t responsible for this one.”
And as the Evening Chronicle’s Andy Lloyd noted in closing: “Alex and Harriet were among dozens of young artists from the North East to devise arts projects through the Samling Visual Arts Foundation. Linda Russell, head of sixth form at Gosforth High School, said: ‘The project caused a real talking point in the school – the younger students loved it.'”
So, you may wonder, where am I going with all of this? Well, let’s look at the facts. Most – but, granted, not all – of the reports of the Bolam beast did originate around the time that the kids from Gosforth High School were running around in an ape costume in the depths of Kielder Forest, which just so happens to be the largest man-made forest in all of England. The problem, however, is that the distance from Kielder Forest to Bolam Lake is more than forty miles, and the kids who took part in the arts project are adamant that all their activities occurred at the forest, and never, even on a solitary occasion, at the lake.
But, Gosforth High School is situated only seven miles from the scene of all the action at Bolam Lake. In view of the close proximity between lake and school, maybe someone else – perhaps, even another student, one who took inspiration from the actions of Harriet and Alex – may have later, and secretly, hired the very same gorilla costume and decided to take part in some high jinks at the lake. Such is not at all an impossible scenario. But, here’s the important thing: regardless of what may have been behind the sightings at Bolam Lake – a real beast or a kid in a costume – the encounters most certainly instilled in the minds of many, including members of the Center for Fortean Zoology and the Twilight Worlds people, the idea that there really was a Beast of Bolam in the area.
Thus, with deep belief and firm expectation both brewing and expanding at near-exponential rates, is it feasible that – in a truly astonishing fashion – the one-dimensional monster that appeared before the startled eyes of the research teams was actually a thought-form, one unknowingly born out of that same belief and expectation, and which manifested before those present in all its shadow-like glory? Certainly, that particularly memorable encounter could not, under any circumstances whatsoever, be blamed upon the antics of a student of Gosforth High School – particularly so when one takes into consideration the utterly “flat,” and huge, shadow-style nature of the entity that appeared before the amazed and shocked throng.
Perhaps, then, we should give some very serious and deep thought to an intriguing idea. By sowing the seeds of a Bigfoot in the area, the antics of the kids of Gosforth High School caught the attention of numerous, seasoned monster-hunters. Those very same monster-hunters were collectively hopeful that they just might be lucky enough to see the creature of Bolam Lake. As a result, they inadvertently created a temporary thought-form equivalent of the very beast they sought. The result was that for a few brief moments, and right in front of two teams of researchers, the monster briefly manifested, before winking out and, perhaps, being reabsorbed into the minds of its creators – who were the very same monster-hunters who saw “it.”