Cannock Chase

Thursday, December 13th 2018

Enlightenment & Amusement with Regard to York, its Surrounding Areas & the British Isles
Supernatural Britain Regular Feature

he astute reader that I am confident you are will have noticed with scarcely a moment’s pause that the subject matter of the article you are courageously about to absorb does not in any way concern the fine and noble city that is our normal focus of study.
    We are, periodically, entreated to lapse from our peregrinations towards our beloved town and cast our hearts and minds a little further afield. I can assure your good self that any travels beyond this fair city’s walls will not be too extravagent, as the resultant anxiety experienced by your guide would excise any potential pleasure that would otherwise be gained.
    On this occasion, we head in a southerly direction towards an area of Britain justifiably renowned for it’s areas of natural beauty, indeed it is one of these very areas that has gained for itself a reputation for being a veritable nexus of paranormal activity. Such is the area’s legendary status that were you to impart the news that you were familiar with the location and accompanying scary tales a complete absence of surprise upon my part would be the inevitable outcome.
    A former Royal forest, it may benefit the reader to bear in mind that Cannock Chase is amongst the largest of England’s country parks and consists of 3000 acres of varied landscape, from dense forest to open heathland. Given the enormity of the area in discussion one could, if one were of an adventurous mind, accept only to readily the concept of unnatural creatures residing undetected within. Creatures such as The Pig Man; half, as his somewhat compendious non de plume suggests, pig, and half, at the risk of now seeming gratuitously apodictic, man, it was described in one eye witness testimony from 1993 as     being seven feet tall and having the body and accompanying clothing of a man, but with the face of a pig. Adding to what we can safely assume without any fear of ridicule must have been a terrifying experience was the unearthly squealing of the creature as the witness quite sensibly took flight.
    Sightings of this singular entity have been recorded since the days of the second world war, at which time the military had a base at Cannock and were accused of inventing the character as a way of deterring interest by the local residents. A not altogether ill-conceived concept if it were not for the annoyingly unobliging fact of there being a continued succession of reports that have continued to this very day.
    Equally as compelling is a second hybrid creature that is far more commonly found within the pages of folklore; the werewolf. Paranormal Investigator Damon Simms began researching reports after realising that of the twenty one officially documented sightings made to a local constabulary, all but one were within Cannock Chase, the first being in 1975. A more recent sighting was in 2006, where the creature was seen traversing a section of the M6 and narrowly avoiding being hit by traffic. Consequently a number of reports of the incident were received by the Highways Agency.
    A yet third hybrid exists that can boast a protracted sightings chronicle that has it’s most recent entry as being within the last six months and its inaugural sighting as far back as 1879, when a hapless gentleman had the misfortune to witness the creature leaping onto the back of his horse. One can only thank whatever deity one has chosen to endorse that the man was not riding his horse at the time but had chosen to walk alongside it. A curious detail is that upon trying to fend the animal away with his whip, the chosen weapon merely went through the creature and dropped to the ground. It was a local constable that allegedly told the man that he’d seen the Man Monkey, suggesting that the name had already been established and there existed a history of sightings prior to this one.
    The incorporeal attribute of what many have described as a ‘British Bigfoot’ is, to my mind, more synonymous with that of a spirit, or ghost, rather than a flesh and blood entity. Which brings us, rather adroitly, to the Lady Of The Chase, also know as the Grey Lady, whose appearances have dwindled in recent years (possibly as a result of the sheer volume of supernatural entities now cluttering the terrain) but have been suitably alarming to have remained within memory, a noteworthy encounter resulting in the description of a naked apparition seemingly capable of mesmerising its victim and probing their mind.
    Probing, if you’ll forgive the slightly indelicate connotation, is an activity more frequently associated with small, grey extraterrestrial beings than ghosts, but even this area of phenomena is not shy of imposing itself on the residents of Cannock, with a number of sightings of unexplained aerial phenomena in recent years culminating in a mass sighting of an extremely large vessel moving slowly over the area and consisting of little more than a dark shape, three lights and a very loud engine noise that literally shook town’s buildings as the craft passed by.
    But lest you be erroneously assuming that a digression into unorthodox scientific matters excludes the possibility of further zoological proceedings, pay heed, for inherent within what by now must be apparent to even the most unversed of dilettantes is the most burdened area of supernatural activity in Britain resides a creature so commonly sighted throughout these isles that it can no longer be considered a chimera but a living, colonising creature; the black panther. By its very definition, a big cat sighting in Britain is incongruous for we have no indigenous big cats. Alas, that has not prevented the amassing of over one hundred sightings in the West Midlands area alone during the period of the last twelve months. There have even been photographs and video footage of the elusive felines but they still stalk the borderland between the real and the imagined for the simple reason that there has never been a recovered body. Unlike foxes, hedgehogs and even deer, who at times appear to have been genetically obligated to hurl themselves into the pathway of rapidly moving vehicles, big cat carcasses seem to vanish into an ether of some sort, resulting in there being no undeniably tangible evidence that they ever existed.
    Seemingly the occult forces undoubtedly at work in Cannock Chase are unwilling to allow an exclusive feline presence as additionally there have been reports of a phantom black dog, much less frequent but indubitably far more sinister, on at least one occasion acting as a harbinger of a future death.
    Equally as intangible as the prodigious cat and dog population but undeniably more chilling is the entity know as Slender Man. Despite being predominantly a resident of the internet he has allegedly been witnessed in Cannock Chase, and rather disturbingly he has also been seen in people’s homes. However, I feel it incumbent upon me to urge caution with regard to the veracity of this tale as it appears to emanate from a sole source [1] and although this in no way calls in to disrepute the gentleman investigating the reports it does leave one wondering as to their true nature, especially as it has been pointed out that the descriptions do not really match that of Slenderman. [2]
    As such, we will curtail any further speculation with regard to this being and move to the final and arguably the most eerie manifestation within our collection of spine-chilling characters; the black eyed child. Seemingly witnessed for the first time over thirty years ago the creature has recently re-appeared, coinciding with a growth of the phenomenon in the United States. The manner of their appearances in America are reminiscent of urban legend: their ages range between five and thirteen and they implore their victim for some assistance, either entry to a vehicle or residence, at which point the recipient of their demands becomes uncontrollably fearful and refuses. Consequently, the child becomes angry and at that moment the total darkness of their eyes becomes apparent. Conversely, despite there existing a theory that the sightings constitute the ghosts of three girls who were murdered in the 1960’s [3] the Cannock Chase child operates companionless and seems not to utter a word. There have been two claims recently of capturing the child on video. [4]
Whilst you may have developed a hitherto absent appreciation of the distance between yourself and Cannock Chase, please bear in mind that the vast majority of visitors to this picturesque location see nought but beauty.
    However, that proviso does not endorse a lack of caution should you decide upon a visit; praemonitus, praemunitus.

  1. Paranormal investigator Lee Brickley.
  2. Ben Emlyn-Jones identified this point on his blog at:
  3. The Cannock Chase murders, also refereed to by the media as the A34 murders, were committed by Raymond Leslie Morris of Walsall in the late 60’s. He was imprisoned and died in captivity in 2014 after being incarcerated for 45 years.
  4. If one is fortunate enough to have access to the wonder that is the world wide web you may consider further scholarly enquiry by visiting the following sources:

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