Tag Archives: Bigfoot

A strange photograph (2)

For years I have wondered if ordinary people in the United States ever take photographs while out hiking in the woods and then discover afterwards that there was a Bigfoot watching them, unnoticed in the trees. For a good few years therefore, I have been looking carefully at any photographs of the landscape in North America that I encounter, to see if there was any indication of a Bigfoot hiding away among the foliage.

I couldn’t actually find a picture to illustrate that on the Internet, not if I immediately excluded all hoaxes. The hoaxes are the sort of photograph where the person taking it suddenly announces “Look, I took this photo ten years ago and I’ve suddenly noticed a Bigfoot behind the trees. And your most likely response is

“OK, but where is he in relation to Uncle Frank in that ridiculous monkey suit?”

One or two are certainly on the borderline. Supposedly, Bigfoot will either crouch or even stand motionless, in an effort to be passed off as a tree stump. This photograph could be a Bigfoot, a strangely shaped dead tree, or it could be Uncle Frank, sober for the day. I just don’t know:

I don’t think that I have ever failed to look for that elusive 8 feet tall 500 pound individual every time I am presented with a picture of woodland or even of a distant mountainside. Talking of which, I believe that this photograph off the Internet shows Mount Denali. There is something anomalous in this picture:

Let’s move in a little closer. It’s on the horizon:

Third time lucky. It is either a very large man, a very large Bigfoot or a lump of rock that seems to be different to all of the other rocks. And, of course, given that this is Alaska and a well visited mountain, it could be that everybody except me knows all about “Uncle Frank the Rock Sentinel of Denali.” The problem is the scale. I just don’t know how large that apparent person would have to be to show up on a photograph taken at this distance:

My second picture comes from the Internet as well, and I don’t know where from, because I lost the address of the site:

Anyway, it shows just a relatively ordinary mountain scene. What drew my attention is a lot more obvious in this second version of the photograph, because it’s not as distant as in the previous pictures.

Here it is blown up a little:  
And a bit more:

I even changed it to grayscale because that kind of thing is frequently done by my Bigfooting hero, MK Davies:

 Whatever this is, it seems uniformly coloured and to have arms, legs and a head. Quite important, there is nothing like it close by. In size, it is not far short of being as tall as perhaps, half the width of the road, which seems to be a single vehicle dirt track. Eight feet? Nine feet?
One final point. Uncle Frank, if you’re still out there, just be careful what you’re doing. Not everybody will respond to seeing you hiding in the woods in a monkey suit with a big laugh and a bottle of beer, especially the ones exercising their rights under the Second Amendment.

 

As I said, I found these pictures on the Internet a long time ago but, as is often the case, I did not make a note of where they were from. If anybody is upset by my use of them, please make a comment to that effect and I will take them down if they so wish.

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Bigfoot? Where? Tunbridge Wells?

Of late, there has been an increasing number of claims by people who think that they have seen Bigfoot in Great Britain. If you think Bigfoot is a physical being, descended from gigantopithecus blacki, then for me, that particular idea of seeing such gigantic creatures in tiny England is almost beyond ludicrous.

blacki

If you think Bigfoot and all his pals come through vortices in time and space, wormholes in the structure of the dimension, then I suppose his existence here would perhaps be a definite maybe.

Rather reminiscent of the “Barmston Drain Dog Destroyer”, this is a tale from Tunbridge Wells. I have précised the account in the Daily Mail, although it did appear in a good few other newspapers in almost identical form.

Tunbridge Wells, incidentally, is located in west Kent, forty miles from London. The population is about 56,000:

“Terrified walker claims 8ft-tall creature roared at him…

Bigfoot, red-eyes, Bill Rebsamen

A man walking in the 200 acres of woodland beside the town’s common claims to have spotted an 8ft tall black beast with demonic red eyes and long arms.
The ape-like creature, which looked like America’s legendary Bigfoot, roared at the walker, who immediately ran off in fear.”

And of course, that is not the only report in Tunbridge Wells. All the people who have seen Bigfoot in the local library car park suddenly come out of the woodwork to tell the tale.

“Over the past six months there have been a number of sightings. Locals in Tunbridge Wells have mixed opinions, with some believing it could be a joker wearing a fancy dress costume.
Scientists say rumours of its existence have come from folklore and hoax.”

db_Bigfoot43_1_

Interestingly enough, though, there is a tale of a strange creature being seen in Tunbridge Wells well over seventy years ago in 1942. Every monster has to have a name, preferably slightly comic, and presumably in an effort to make it a little less monsterish. He has, therefore, been christened “The Kentish Apeman” or “The Apeman of Kent”. The tale was told best in the Kentish News:

“He was first spotted on the town’s common seventy years ago.
An elderly couple saw it in 1942.’They were sitting on a bench when they became aware of a shuffling noise behind them.
Turning around they saw a tall, ape-like creature with eyes that were burning red moving slowly towards them at a slow pace.. They observed this creature for some time until they became afraid and both fled – terrified.”

big red

“The old lady went on to say that they told the police and members of their family, thinking that a gorilla had escaped from a zoo, but they were laughed at and were not believed.”

pinterestzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

This account also mentions other reports of the creature in more detail. One extraordinary tale, even in the context of gigantic unknown apemen, came in Dartford when a student saw a creature with long arms and knees which came up under its chin as it walked. If it’s nice weather tonight, or perhaps tomorrow morning, then go out on your lawn, and give that a go. And don’t forget: “knees which came up under its chin as it walked”.
Five members of the Territorial Army in 1991 spotted this beast on Blue Bell Hill, near Maidstone. They threw stones and shouted at it before running away. A young girl in Chatham saw the apeman appear then run off into the bushes.

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Well, there we are. No real, concrete explanation. Not like the famous Man-Monkey of Ranton. (The what?):

“On January 21st 1879, a labourer was employed to take a cart of luggage from Ranton in Staffordshire to Woodcock in Shropshire.
“He was late coming back. His horse was tired, and could only crawl along, so that it was late at night when he arrived at the place where the road crosses the Birmingham and Liverpool canal.
“Just before he reached the bridge, a strange black creature with great white eyes sprang out of the plantation by the roadside and alighted on his horse’s back.”

A bit like this?

planet

“He tried to push it off with his whip, but to his horror the whip went right through the thing, and he dropped it on the ground in fright.”

When the man recovered from the fright, he returned home and excitedly spread the story.
A few days later, a policeman came round to his house and told the frightened man: “That was the Man-Monkey sir.”

Not much gets past our police, does it?

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A strange and worrying zoo in France

I have now written quite a few articles about the various Beasts of France, beginning with the most famous, the Beast of Gévaudan, which flourished from 1764-1767:

second-beast

And then it was the Beast of Benais, followed by the Beast of Noth, not forgetting the Beast of the Cévennes, the Beast of Primarette, the Beast of Orléans, the Beast of Lyonnais, the Beast of Sarlat, the Beast of Auxerre, the Beast of Cinglais, the Beast of Gâtinais, the list just goes on and on. Some of them were really quite peculiar creatures, even by the contemporary standards of Beastliness:

beast 1709

Not all French monsters are wolf-types, however. Here are just a few of the inmates of what the original website called “Un Zoo étrange et inquiétant en France”, “a strange and worrying zoo in France”.

The first animal is a snake, which used to live in the Forest of Fontainebleau, just to the south west of Paris:

forest of fontaineblasu

It was seen, and duly killed, by the King (Quite right too!). According to legend, it was 18 feet long, with a weight of some 160 kilos (around 350 pounds):

Giant_snakezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

This monster was venomous and used to hide in a great pile of rocks which offered him protection as no group of attackers was able to approach the creature simultaneously. Only one adversary at a time could reach him.

One day, King Francis the First or le Roi François Premier, was out hunting in the area. This king was a contemporary of King Henry VIII, at the start of the sixteenth century:

220px-Francis1-1

The King and His Royal Nose decided to put an end to this creature which had sown terror and desolation throughout the land.( Well, it was a very big pile of rocks).

BOA

The king had commissioned a suit of armour covered with razor blades. When the snake tried to coil itself around him, the razor blades, quite literally, cut the monster to pieces.  “Scratch one constrictor!” as they say.

What other animals are in the “strange and worrying zoo”?

Well, back in 1965:

“In the Toulouse area, flocks of sheep belonging to Trappist monks at the Abbey of St. Mary of the Desert, and also those belonging to the Count of Orgeix, suffered extensive depredations from a mysterious animal. Three students from the area of Cadours who were driving around one  night in the car, saw two animals which were larger than a dog or a wolf. They had light beige fur. These strange creatures were like enormous mastiffs, with huge, round, bulging eyes. The four footed killers then disappeared from the area as mysteriously as they had appeared.”

One year later, in May,

“In the region of Pignans (in the département of Var), a tenant farmer, Monsieur Baptistin, asleep in his small house, which was located some two kilometres from the village, was awakened by furious barking from his dog. He got out of bed, switched on the light and saw the silhouette of a huge animal which was disappearing into the darkness:

bigfoot giph

The next morning, he discovered near the water trough animal tracks of a startling size:

jerry-crew-taught-by-bob-titmus zzzzzzzzzzz

The authorities were alerted. The Forestry Services photographed the tracks and made a cast, but nobody was able to ascertain what kind of animal they belonged to.

For several weeks, the locals no longer dared to go out at night. The more daring people who did venture out never failed to take a reliable rifle with them.”

(Actually, it wasn’t Bigfoot, or at least I don’t think it was. It’s just that the details of this story are so vague that it is actually possible to interpret the events as being “Grand-Pied” himself, rather than some, presumably, fairly run-of-the-mill Alien Big Cat.)

In mid-August of 1966, a monster was seen haunting the area around Draguignan near the road to Grasse , a region where many UFOs had been seen, both in flight and on the ground:

“A former member of the armed forces, Monsieur Paul G… , found himself one morning around seven o’clock  face to face with an unknown creature. The animal had its mouth open.  It had a pointed snout, which was rather long, and triangular teeth. Under its neck, it had a goitre which gave it a frightening appearance. The ears were short, like those of a dog, but they were very pointed. The body was very long and covered with grey fur. The animal had a long tail, at least 40 centimetres (16 inches) in length.”

imaginative chaingyu

Interestingly, the town of Draguignan has a name and a coat of arms which are both redolent of another species of legendary animal. The town was founded around 400AD after Saint Hermentaire, the Bishop of Antibes, had overcome a dragon in single combat. Exactly how he managed this does not seem to have been recorded, but here is the coat of arms:

draguignan

It was definitely not a friendly dragon:

friendly dragon

In 1967, the presence of a number of monsters was reported throughout the whole of France. In the Creuse region in particular, between Royère and Chavanat:

Département_creuse zzzzzzzzz

…a feline of unknown species was flushed in the hamlet of Cloux Valleret by a farmer named Monsieur Simo:

surrey puma original

A week earlier, farmers in the Vosges area had already stalked an animal of indeterminate species which looked rather like a wolf:

wolf bounding

All that was easily topped though, by a report from Italy:

“In June 1970, in Meldola, about ten kilometres from Forli, a farmer claimed to have encountered some kind of dragon, six to seven metres long, with a body some 15 inches in diameter.

dragon

The Italian police organized a hunt which did not turn up anything. The monster appeared once or twice more and then disappeared forever.”

Back to France, in 1972:

“In the area around Vigan in Hérault, some medical students, out hunting in a snow covered area, discovered the footprints of an unknown animal:

yeti tracks

They followed the tracks for several kilometres. Suddenly they disappeared just in front of a rock which was projecting up out of the ground. The beast seemed to have reared up on his back end and then been recovered by his masters on board a flying machine.”

Don’t think though, that the French are especially weak minded and that this is why they continually report crazy sightings of weird animals. In this area, the British, quite rightly, are streets ahead of their nearest and dearest neighbours. But first of all, let’s just forget our many, many, ferocious Black Dogs such as Shuck and his like:

dog

Forget the werewolves seen more than once at Alconbury USAAF Air Base:

werewolf attack

Forget the sightings of Bigfoot in Cannock Chase and Sherwood Forest (an “eight-foot, hairy man beast with red glowing eyes” seen in late 2002) (allegedly):

red eyeszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Just on cats alone we are well in front. The most famous cat of all, of course, is the Beast of Bodmin:

bodmin1

But don’t forget his less famous sidekick, the Beast of Exmoor. And before that Gruesome Twosome, it was the Surrey Puma. And don’t ever forget the heyday of the Nottingham Lion.

But look at this list, put together originally by George M. Eberhart.

Don’t just skip through it. Select your top three:

“The Ashley Leopard, the Ayrshire Puma, the Beast of Ballymena, the Beast of Barnet, the Basingstoke Beast, the Beast of Beacon Hill, the Bennachie Beast, the Beast of Bin, the Blagdon Beast, the Beast of Bont, the Broadoak Beast, the Beast of Broomhill, the Beast of Bucks, the Carsington Beast, the Beast of Chiswick, the Essex Beast, the Inkberrow  Beast, the Beast of Margam, the Beast of Milton, the Beast of Otmoor, the Shropshire Border Beast, the Beast of Tonmawr, the Beast of Tweseldown (sic), the Black Beast of Gloucestershire, the Black Beast of Moray, the Brechfa Beast, the Cadmore Cat, the Chiltern Cougar, the Crondall Cougar, the Durham Puma, the Eccles Cheetah, the Fen Tiger, the Highland Puma, the Lindsey Leopard, the Mendips Monster, the M25 Monster, the Munstead Monster, the Norfolk Grinder, the Pink Panther of Derbyshire, the Penistone Panther, the Penwith Cougar, the Beast of Powis, the Rosshire Lioness, the Terror of Tedburn, the Tilford Lynx and, last but not least, the Wolds Wild Cat.”

For me it’s, in third place, the Norfolk Grinder. Second is the Penistone Panther, but my own winner is…….. the Eccles Cheetah!!

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The Beast of Ennerdale: Part One

When I was researching the Beast of Gevaudan, and his many, many friends, both in France, Italy and a number of other countries, I was amazed to find “England” in one of the lists. I couldn’t believe it! An out of control animal rampaging in our well-ordered and generally wonderful country? A piece of slander by a lying, jealous foreigner, surely!

Well, apparently, no. The whole unfortunate business has been kept very quiet, of course, but in 1810, a mystery creature certainly did rampage across the wild countryside of the Lake District in north western England. Here is that beautiful area. Look for the orange arrow:

north of englasnd

The parallels with the Beast of Gévaudan were striking, the only difference being that the English victims were not pretty young shepherdesses or even little boys, but the sheep themselves.
The animal was dubbed at the time “The Girt Dog of Ennerdale”. To me, though, this is a singularly inappropriate name, certainly from the point of view of anyone who wants to attract tourists, rather as they do with the Loch Ness Monster.

“Where is Ennerdale?” you can hear all the tourists asking. “What does ‘Girt’ mean?” and “What is so special about a dog?”
The saga of “The Beast of the Lake District” or, a more striking name perhaps, “The Beast of Ennerdale”, began in spring, or more precisely May, of 1810, when the body of a half consumed sheep was found on the bleak hillside above the lake called Ennerdale Water. On May 10th, Mr Mossop, who lived at Thornholme, to the south of Ennerdale Water on the way to Calderbridge, had a brief glimpse of an unknown animal far away, up on the mountainside. The orange arrow indicates his farm at Thornholme:

arrow = thornholme

Soon after this, an increasing number of sheep began to be attacked. Every night, at least one sheep would be killed.

Clearly, a  monster was at large in the county, known at this time as Cumberland. At first the locals walked the hills, trying to find the animal. They had no success, which was not really surprising, given the extent of the hills, and in some cases, the extent of the forests in the valleys between them. One or two of the men had fleeting glimpses of the Beast, which always seemed to emerge just as night was falling. All they could make out was the animal’s size, which was extremely large. In the local dialect, “girt”, or “gurt” meant “great”, so the Beast was christened “The Girt Dog of Ennerdale”. This is Ennerdale. It is very wild country by English standards:

1280px-Ennerdale
The ferocious Beast killed large numbers of sheep, far beyond what it would have needed for food. Furthermore, it killed its victims in a very unusual way: the corpses of the sheep had their internal organs consumed or even removed, and their blood was apparently drained from their bodies. This was no ordinary dog, feral or otherwise. It was not a fox either. No canid drinks the blood of its prey, and this planted a seed in the minds of a superstitious local population.
Indeed, if these 19th century farmworkers had had wider access to satellite television, I am sure that the spectre of cattle mutilation and UFOs would have raised their ugly heads:

ufo-585761_640

As the situation worsened, more and more men had to leave their ordinary work and their farms, take their dogs, and begin to comb the hills and woods in an effort to find and kill the monster.

Without any success whatsoever. The Beast of Ennerdale was just as elusive and cunning as the Beast of Gévaudan. It did not, on any occasion, stay in an area long enough to attack the same flock of sheep on two successive nights. Its self-secreting powers, the ways it could avoid capture and above all, its propensity for drinking blood soon had the superstitious locals believing that the animal was supernatural. It was soon christened, if that is the word, “The Vampire Dog of Ennerdale”:

snarling

Just like the Beast of Gévaudan, it seemed to have a power over ordinary dogs who normally would have been reasonably courageous. Instead, the locals’ dogs would shrink away when asked to follow the Beast’s trail and, as dogs apparently do with Bigfoot, they often just refused to track.  The dogs were clearly scared stiff of something that they could understand, but their human owners could not.

Sometimes, when the dogs were a little more positive and were actually pursuing the Beast, it would occasionally let just one catch up and then seize it and crush its forelegs in its powerful teeth.  None of the other dogs would then go near it. The Beast was so fleet of foot that it usually only had one dog to deal with at any one time, as all the pursuing dogs would be chasing it at different speeds.
The death toll of sheep continued to mount by the day. Eventually, as a minimum, the unknown killer was slaughtering half a dozen sheep every night. Occasionally the total would mount to eight or ten. This only added to the villagers’ superstitions, of course:

sheep bones zzzzzz

The Beast clearly took sadistic pleasure in ripping sheep to pieces, often to leave them uneaten. On occasion, he would even leave them alive. One of a particular farmer’s favourite rams was watched by the dawn’s first light as the Beast attacked it. The latter ripped out and ate great lumps of best quality mutton from the poor animal’s rear quarters. The crippled victim was then left in the field, unable to fight back, unable even to walk, as its hind legs were paralysed.  Another sheep suffered even worse. The shepherd drove the Beast off as it was feasting and then found that the mutton had been stripped off the ribs behind the shoulder to leave visible the poor animal’s still beating heart.

Soon a prominent local, John Russell, put up a £10 reward for what he thought was a huge dog, “Dead or alive” as they say. An even better offer was free beer for the people who kept watch for the Beast. Mr Russell, of course, owned his very own brewery in Whitehaven. He also had a direct interest in the Beast as he was the owner of 3,000 acres of sheep farming land in Ennerdale. Here is a general map of the valley:

ennerdale water

The offer for the combatants of free food and especially, alcoholic drink, was taken up by other wealthy sheep farmers who provided as much as £12 for refreshments. Others showed their willingness to provide free meals for all Beasthunters over a certain fixed period of time at a certain location, such as their farm or large house.
Nothing succeeded. And then, just as with the Beast of Gévaudan, a feeling of panic began to sweep the area. Parents would keep their children indoors all day long, too scared to let them go out and play.
The Beast seemed just so calculating and so shrewd. Cleverer than a mere animal. Cleverer than a fox. No traps ever came close to catching it. It was wary and watchful:

yello eye
People thought that it spent the day high up in its look-out place, watching the scared natives far below in the valley make huge but vain efforts to catch it. The animal’s senses of sight, hearing, and scent, were so acute that it was a rare event indeed, for anybody to come upon it unawares during daylight hours. When it was accidentally approached in daytime, surprisingly perhaps, the animal never did anything vicious towards humans, and always took to its heels. The Beast never uttered the slightest sound, not a single bark, growl or howl.

As happened with its French counterpart in Gévaudan, the dead sheep were all poisoned and left out on the hillside. The Beast was no more attracted to these carcasses than it was to the many traps which were optimistically set to catch it.
One of the more subtle sheepfarmers even tried leaving out a dog on heat to attract the Beast within musket shot, but he had no success with this cunning plan:

nature-50514_640
The male dogs, of course, as soon as they caught the distant scent of the Beast, still continued with their policy of cowering and whimpering. They refused absolutely to follow this strange, ferocious animal.
As the weeks went by and the summer drew towards its close, the Beast was beginning to have a very negative effect. While the men were all off chasing it, the poor cows often had to wait to be milked. Horses too were not looked after properly and often went hungry. Fields were neglected. Years before computer games, the poor little children were confined to their homes as their parents were too frightened to let them out of their sight. And all this neglect had its impact on the womenfolk of the area who tried (I almost wrote ‘manfully’) to make up for their absent husbands and servants.
Finally, a shepherd out on the hillside, watching his flocks not by night but in the cold grey light of the early morning, caught a clear sight of the monster. In actual fact, his description was not desperately helpful, but to anybody who had ever heard of the Beast of Gévaudan, it had some strangely familiar elements:

p_AD48_gravure_bete_14Firstly, the Beast of Ennerdale was pale brown or sandy coloured. It was well built and solid. And it was very large. Its jaws seemed unusually large and wide and it had dark stripes on its back. It was a strange mixture of the features of both a very big dog and a very big cat. It was really quick, and, as they found out later, it possessed enormous stamina.  The Beast was not like anything the scared shepherd had ever seen before.
After this, the Beast seemed to be spotted more frequently. Shepherds and the bravest of their sheepdogs would chase after it up the hillside. Occasionally a group of some fifty or so locals would assemble, seemingly at the drop of a tricorn hat, to set off following their various hunting hounds, racing across the mountainside.
That princely reward of £10 plus free beer for everybody who kept watch for the Beast attracted scores, if not hundreds of professional hunters to the land around Ennerdale Water. Beer, money and undying fame! What was there not to like?

Edinburgh

The would-be hunters, of course, had no success whatsoever. The phrase “Wild Goose Chase” might have been invented for their efforts. At one point there were more than a hundred men and several hundreds of their dogs racing back and forth across the desolate hills. Useless. The killing and the blood sucking and the soft organ eating all continued as before. By the end of the summer, more than 300 sheep had been killed.

Next time: “Chapter Two: This isn’t going to end well”.

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An insect with a billion friends

This story is an extract from my old birdwatching diary “Crippling Views”.

These events all took place on Friday, October 28, 1988, which was the fourth day of my stay on the Isles of Scilly:

“A late lie-in this morning, with the Radde’s Warbler ticked off, and little else to get up for, certainly not at five o’clock in the morning:

RaddesWarblerxxxxxxxx

I eagerly consume a splendid Scillonian breakfast made up of every conceivable Identified Frying Object, with the possible exception of haggis, although this could well be the single mysterious item which I cannot identify with absolute certainty. Then it’s a leisurely walk down to the Porthcressa Restaurant where the magic blackboard promises Melodious Warbler at the Garrison. With a bit of luck, I might see that, and then go over to St Agnes for the Short toed Lark. I walk up the horrendously steep slopes of the hill to the Garrison, and start looking…

Melodious%20Warbler%zzzzzzzz

Unsuccessful after a couple of hours, I return to Hugh Town, the Big City. I find that I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity facing me. It’s not a bird, but a flying creature just as rare as any of the birds which reach the Scillies. It’s a Locust. Only the fourth or fifth ever to be blown to these rocky isles. At the moment, it is being housed in an art gallery in a backstreet. I stroll over there and find that the insect is living happily in a vivarium on the counter. It is a truly splendid and beautiful creature, far better than any of the birds that I have seen on the Scillies, including the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling:

rc starling xxxxxxxxxx

I could even imagine this magnificent insect being used as a powerful argument for the existence of God, particularly in mediaeval times.  It is constructed so wonderfully skilfully that it becomes a classic example of the Celestial Watchmaker. It has one set of protective plates inside another, and then another beyond that. It looks like a knight in armour, but instead of being as dry as dust and rusty like something in an old stately home, this is a live being and it can move. It is a child’s clockwork toy that has the gift of life.

I am surprised by two things. Firstly, the creature’s colour, or rather colours, for it is at one and the same time, both yellow and pink and orange and sandy. I am shocked too by the size. I have never seen a Locust before, and it is absolutely huge. At least to a person like me who leaves the room when the zookeepers take the tarantula out of the glass case, or somebody who thinks that ladybirds are fierce.
The gentleman in the shop tells me that the creature was found on the local beach and was brought to his gallery so it could be drawn and photographed. He quite clearly and obviously is very attached to his six legged guest and seems to be well on the way to regarding it as his very own pet, or at the very least as an attraction to his gallery. Apparently, the British Museum have already contacted him and told him that he must kill it immediately, put it in a cardboard box, and send it to them in a parcel as a scientific specimen:

scan one zzzzzzz

I am totally appalled and disgusted by this news. I cannot find the words to capture my feelings. It seems somehow so repulsive to kill this beautiful innocent creature which has had to fight so hard for life. It has crossed the Atlantic in all probability, or has perhaps arrived here all the way from West Africa. Now it’s happily munching English grass, but soon it is supposed to die at the whim of some cold hearted scientist who has taken upon himself the right to dole out life or death. It seems to be taking such an advantage of an insect’s lack of awareness and essentially innocent existence.

The gallery owner, I feel, would rather not kill the insect, but keep it. I do try to tell him that in all probability it belongs to him, and that the British Museum have no legal right whatsoever to tell him to do what he does not want to do, and still less to actually make him do it.

Strangely, it seems to be to no purpose. The  gallery owner seems overawed by the demands of an organisation as apparently so powerful as the British Museum. And presumably, the locust will have to die. It is so sad that we should be given the chance to meet such an exotic and unusual member of God’s family, but should then lack the reasoning power to do anything more creative or imaginative than to kill it.
I would hope that I personally could do better than that, if put in the position of having to look after a stray innocent. At the very least though, I will remain the only person with a framed, but not autographed, picture of a locust above the fireplace…Even if it is only when my wife is out of the house.

Years and years later and I am sure that I read somewhere that the poor unfortunate locust was not  killed for the British Museum, but instead was allowed by its admiring owner to live out its life in its little vivarium on the counter of his gallery. Unfortunately, I have been unable to substantiate this, as I have long forgotten where I read the wonderful news. Locusts continue to reach the shores of our freezing wet little island, but only on very rare occasions. Certainly, there has been nothing like the situation in 1869 when whole swarms of Desert Locusts reached England, apparently from West Africa.

Cruel scientists still insist on killing creatures to prove what they are, and there was considerable outcry a few years ago, when a Californian ornithologist, I think it was, killed the first Arctic Redpoll ever to be found in that state. This, of course, is why Bigfoot keeps such a low profile for somebody who is nine or ten feet tall. He knows he exists, so why should he get himself killed just so that other people can?

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