Friday, June 13, 2008

The Bolam Bigfoot In A Major New Book

I received in the mail yesterday a copy of the Center for Fortean Zoology's newest book: Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Northumberland and Tyneside by Mike Hallowell.

Basically, this is the first in an ambitious series of books. The idea is that there will be as many books in the series as there are counties in the British Isles - and all of which will focus upon the many and varied reports of weird creatures that have surfaced in the relevant counties - and in some cases for centuries.

Future titles in the series include The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent by Neil Arnold; The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Dorset by Jonathan McGowan; The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Staffordshire by me; The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Co Durham and Humberside by Mike Hallowell; The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Greater London by Neil Arnold; and The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Devon and Cornwall by Jon Downes.

I haven't read all of Mike's book yet; however, I did spend last night reading the chapter titled The Beast of Bolam Lake. As I have noted at Man-Beast UK previously, the story of the Bolam Beast is truly one of the strangest "British Bigfoot" cases to have occurred in the last few years, and is one that culminated in a bizarre encounter for CFZ Director, Jon Downes.

Over the last few years, various people have written online and in-print articles on the Beast of Bolam, but now, thanks to Mike Hallowell, you get the definitive story - in a 39-page chapter, no less.

Comprehensive, packed with data, case reports, eye-witness testimony, and much more, this chapter alone makes the book well worth buying - and for anyone and everyone with an interest in accounts of the British Bigfoot it's essential reading.

As soon as I've finished reading the whole book, I'll be reviewing it over at my There's Something in the Woods and Reviews of the Fortean Kind blogs.


Little Mike said...

Sounds like a promising series of books, I look forward to your reviewing it!

On the subject of British Bigfoots, I recently created a short story (which is purely fictional) on such a thing. Please feel free to check it out and let me know what you thought of it:

Nick Redfern said...

Thanks for the link to the story, Mike - Good one!

Unknown said...

Hi, I've just stumbled across your blog and the reference to the Bolam Bigfoot reminded me of a story only just related to me last week by a work colleague out here in Thailand. (Incidentally, I am originally from the North East of England and my colleague is Swedish). Anyway, my colleague, who is an engineer, has the habit of working late until midnight. On this particular evening, he had some things on his mind and decided to stop off a local beauty spot (a temple near to a Chinese graveyard) for a few minutes. This was not the first time he had stopped here for a brief meditation (as he called it) and it seems as if even the stray dogs that hang around the temple even know him. After a few minutes of lying back in the drivers seat with his car-door open he noticed that this isolated spot was even quieter than usual. Even the temple dogs had vanished. Prompted by something, he got out of his car, and then something caught his attention in a thicket of trees on some lower ground (I'm not sure of the distance, but think it was something like 100 - 200 metres away). At first he thought it was a person, but it was unnaturally tall (I'll check with him again, but he said it looked about three metres tall and was dark, possibly hairy, and very slim). It is, of course, a cliche to say that he couldn't believe his eyes. Neither could he believe the speed with which this thing ascended the tree. As he described it to me, it was with almost lightning speed. The final confirmation that something large had ascended the tree was that the tree was now shaking furiously. He himself was also badly shaken and clambered back into his car and pulled out of the temple grounds as fast as he could. I suggested to him that it might have been an escaped monkey (though I've never seen one out in the wild here). He discounted that saying it was exceptionally tall and the speed with which it ascended the tree was for him the most astonishing part of the experience. He also noted how the temple dogs had all fled before his encounter. He has no idea what it was he saw. He told me this tale in confidence, and I have not relayed to any of my other colleagues. I did mention it to two Thais (not connected with my workplace, and not known to my Swedish colleague). Both immediately claimed to know what this thing was, and even ascribed a name to it (unfortunately, I have forgotten the name, except that it is supposedly some form of "win yaan" or spirit common to temples and graveyards. I don't subscribe to this superstition, but found the both my colleagues story and the apparent recognition by the Thais of this creature as quite compelling. I really have no explanation of what happened. Perhaps it is just another indicator that reality is perhaps a lot stranger than we think.

Nick Redfern said...


Many thanks for sharing this account - much appreciated.

The details are very similar to a number of other reports.

One in particular being the sudden silence, and the other being the reaction of the dogs, in terms of leaving the area.

Dogs seem to react negatively to Bigfoot and vice-versa.
See this link for Bigfoot-dog info (half way down the link):

The account is interesting too in the sense that - like so many of these reports - there is an atmosphere of oddness about them, such as being sighted in or near graveyards.

I grew up near the Cannock Chase woods in Staffordshire, England and there is a cemetery there (called the German Cemetery) that has been the site of similar encounters.

A friend of mine, Richard Freeman (formerly a zoo-keeper at Twycross Zoo) traveled to Thailand a few years ago to hunt for the Naga - a large, snake-like animal rumoured to haunt the caves of Thailand.

I'll ask him if he came across any reports like that of your colleague, and if so, I'll post the details here, in the comments section.

Many thanks again!

Nick Redfern said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Nick, thanks for your interesting response. I checked with a Thai friend last night and can confirm that they call this ape-like inhabitant of temple grounds and graveyards "Bpet" (Thai script: เป็ด) which literally just means "duck" on account its protruding mouth (though it was too dark and my colleague was too far away to notice this detail). Nevertheless, the Bpet is described as having an ape-like body. And of course, one notable simian facial feature is a prognathic or protruding jaw that could be construed as duck-like.

Nick Redfern said...

Thanks George, I'll see if I can find more.

The Count of Monte Cristo in a Bubble Car said...

Hi, a rather belated but necessary correction to the information I supplied in my original post. It seems that I misheard the name Thais give to this creature (it is very easy to mishear Thai because of its essential monosyllabic tonal nature). Rather than "Bpaed" the name is "Bpraed" (in Thai script เปรต). A Thai dictionary will tell you that this word means: "spirit of a dead or a particular demon from Thai mythology". If you cut and paste the Thai script into google, and do an image search you will see some traditional representations of this creature in Thai art; some picture links are provided below:

Note in the representations of the creature that it is tall, with long ape-like arms, exactly as in my original story.


Nick Redfern said...

Many thanks; I'll take a good look at the links.