Within the field of Crypotozoology, there are a number of accounts in which nothing less than bears seem to display paranormal phenomena. Yes, I know it sounds strange, but such a thing has been going on for a long time. As you’ll see now. Good friend Neil Arnold shared the following with me: “For several decades Clapham Woods in West Sussex, [England] has been the subject of many a dark whisper and wicked rumor. Tales of ghosts, murders and black magic often emerge from the ancient woods. My favorite and certainly, creepiest story pertaining to Sussex, and there are many, concerns a sighting of a truly dreadful creature. This manifestation even made the Littlehampton Gazette, in 1975, around the autumn. Even national radio and the popular, topical BBC program Nationwide, featured the story. At the time the area was caught up in a flap of high strangeness. News-crews, journalists, UFO investigators, and paranormal enthusiasts flocked to the area, but rarely after dark. Two dogs had gone missing in the area, and when researchers stumbled across a footprint measuring eight-inches long and almost four-inches wide, but showing four-claw mark indentations (and a fifth claw mark towards the rear of the main pad), it was clear that something bizarre was going on. Twelve inches in front of the print, was another, almost identical print. The investigators were equipped with a Geiger counter, as well as other paraphernalia.
Neil continued: “Suddenly, the needle of the counter began to act oddly when the counter was swept over the prints, and then, from the darkness a grey pillar of mist appeared. With the main A27 road in ear shot, the researchers decided it best to head for home, but then the monster appeared. The hazy shaft of mist before them took on the form of a great bear-like creature. The apparition then faded within ten seconds. From then on Clapham Woods would become known for its paranormal activity. It was once rumored that a bear cult operated clandestinely in the thickets, and maybe they’d raised some kind of tulpa-like energy forever to haunt the shadows of the ‘birdless grove.’ Strange symbols, time lapses, animal sacrifice, phantom hounds, secret societies and several obscure cults: Clapham Woods is certainly one of those special places. Blue Bell Hill in Kent, and Cannock Chase in Staffordshire seem to offer similar bouts of high strangeness, whether in the form of strange animal sightings or peculiar activity and folklore. Whether by strange coincidence, the grounds of Verdley Castle, situated also in West Sussex, are supposedly haunted by a giant bear. It is alleged to have been the last bear in England.”
Now, let’s take a look at another weird example of how bears have become attached to the domain of the paranormal. On January 6, 1954, the Lumberton, North Carolina, Robesonian newspaper published a sensational article titled “Vampire Strikes At Woman; Police Chief Warns Parents.” It began in startling style: “Worried parents kept a close eye on their children today as a strange ‘vampire’ beast continued to roam the countryside.” Indeed, sightings and killings had been going on since December 29 and plunged the good folk of the small town of Bladenboro, North Carolina into states of fear and outrage. Although many eye-witnesses described the animal as looking like a black leopard, there were some who said it was more akin to a sleek-looking bear.
Adding to the confusion, the tracks of the creature were said to be dog-like, rather than feline in appearance. It was a creepy conundrum, to be sure. The most terrifying aspect of the story, however, was the claim of both the newspaper and the witnesses that the creature “sucks blood from its victims.” And thus was quickly born a vampire legend. Very quickly. The victims were, for the most part, dogs. There was, however, one attack on a person; the unfortunate soul being Mrs. C.E. Kinlaw. Fortunately, she was not injured: the animal simply lashed out at her, when its attempts to attack and kill her dogs were thwarted. She stated afterwards: “After we first saw it, and my husband scared it away, it circled back and came running toward the porch where I was standing. I screamed and it stopped on all fours, turned and ran off. You know, the Bible speaks of sights and wonders before the end of time. This could be one of them. The Bible’s coming true, day by day.”
Moving on: “Nathaniel Neakok, the mighty hunter of polar bears, has quit scoffing at reports about the great Kinik being seen in this northernmost region of North America,” reported the Idaho Falls, Idaho Post-Register, on May 15, 1958. The story continued: “A Kinik is the name Eskimos give to a bear they say is too big to come out of the water. Its size varies with the individual story. But all agree he is a monster of great size and strength and appetite. Several weeks ago, Neakok laughed so loudly when told Raymond Lalayauk had reported seeing a 30-foot bear that is hearty guffaws echoed and re-echoed across the great, frozen polar wastes. But Neakok isn’t laughing anymore. He has seen a Kinik with his very own eyes. This Kinik, Neakok says, was grayish white and only its head was visible as it swam through the water. It was so large he did not attempt to shot it. Neakok said its head alone must have been five or more feet long – and almost as wide. This was not the first time a monster was reported by respected men of the village. Floyd Ahvakana and Roxy Ekownna, elders in the Presbyterian Church and men of undoubted veracity, tell of seeing a tremendous sea monster in 1932 while hunting with a third Eskimo, now deceased. All three thought it was a Kokogiak or 10-legged bear which occupies a prominent role in Eskimo legend.” As all of the above demonstrates, the bear is a very strange creature – at least, at times!