Have you been down to the woods today?

On the 4th February 2015, OWNE researchers Lee and Gayle got their 1/10th of a second pan-shot fame on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot UK (read Lee’s article here). They were attending a gathering last year at Lumley Castle attended by the US ‘Squatching’ team who were filming in the UK for their latest episode. For those wanting to read Lee’s article the whys and wherefors on the event, please follow this link: Finding Bigfoot – town hall event, Newcastle.

At the time, the idea that the UK might have a Bigfoots (surely that should be bigfeet?) or resident wookiees hadn’t really entered the OWNE sphere of research, as the idea that a large hairy hominid could survive in the UK undetected/unproven seemed to be taking cryptozoological research that one step too far. After all, we don’t have, on the scale of things the vast open areas of forest and wilderness that North America or Canada has, and while if we were lost in the middle of say, Otterburn it would seem pretty big to us, in the terms of habitat size vs. human habitation, the UK doesn’t really seem to cut it.

Out of interest though, OWNE decided to have a poke around and discovered a growing community in the UK devoted to proving that we do indeed have our very own Bigfoots/feet. Now a lot of ‘evidence’ collected is ropey to say the least. One of our members is an archaeological landscape surveyor, and pointed out that in many cases the evidence left behind in these ‘remote’ areas are likely tags being left behind by walkers, surveyors or gamekeepers for reference. As with many such issues in the paranormal investigation community, that researcher was booted and banned from said Bigfoot community facebook page, and a fellow OWNE researcher booted by association. Obviously for us, that raises immediate flags, especially when looking at the other evidence: the usual blurry distance photos, photographs of footsteps in melting snow, photos of footprints in leafy mud, recordings of whoops and calls which in many cases are obviously fox calls and of course the biggie: no actual biological evidence for these creatures actually existing in the UK in the first place.

But, what this did indeed flag up to us was the need for real research into sightings of strange creatures. As with our research into other aspects of folks’ paranormal experiences, ultimately, OWNE’s aim is to collate physical evidence of the phenomena being reported. For example, the archaeological surveyor mentioned above who was dismissed from the Bigfoot research site due to him obviously not knowing what he was talking about many years ago tracked a big cat in a remote(ish) area of Northumberland, and was able to watch more than one for over 5 minutes at the edge of a copse via surveying tools. Naturally, the distance meant that a camera was useless, but it was an interesting experience.

We’ve also had a lot of odd reports of strange creatures over the years, right here in the North East. More recently, there was the sighting of a huge dog-like creature prowling the fields near Chopwell Woods, the sight of which freaked out two seasoned hunters who reported the sighting. A deer carcass had been found in the vicinity a couple of years earlier pretty torn up, and dragged into a large area of wild garlic. Coincidence? Probably and almost certainly, but interesting nonetheless.

A few months earlier, on one of the side roads near Slaley, there were multiple reports of a ‘very odd dead thing’ by the side of the road. Apparently it looked bigger than a dog, but its fur was all spiked. This was spotted early in the morning on folks’ way to work, but when they came back at the lunchtime to have a proper look the body had gone.

So the question is, do any of our OWNE online visitors have any experiences you’d like to share about odd sightings in the North East countryside? Odd sightings, tales you’ve heard, eerie encounters etc? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Also, any biologists out there that fancy a chat about these sightings? Again, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Related articles in the popular press:

●     http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/bigfoot-britain-mysterious-figure-lurking-4731307
●     http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/angus-the-mearns/bigfoot-unlikely-to-be-roaming-courier-country-1.822567
●     http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/542815/Is-this-the-British-Bigfoot
●     http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/12/04/big-foot-in-the-uk_n_6267744.html

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Tony is the founder of Otherworld North East. He is an archaeologist by trade and classes himself as a sceptic.