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Monsters In The Neigh-boar-hood: Cannock Chase
Search for “Cannock Chase” on the internet and you will come across a wealth of articles and websites referring to the area as one of England's top paranormal/UFO hotspots – a strangely alluring and ultimately warranted title. For generations this forest in Staffordshire has been home to the highest concentration of odd reports in the entire country, from aliens and werewolves to big cats and ghostly apparitions, Cannock Chase is known by enthusiasts and researchers across the globe for them all, but the most diabolical and peculiar creature to inhabit this mysterious woodland has to be the half human / half pig beast, known locally as “The Pig-Man”.
The story of the Cannock Chase Pig-Man has deep origins dated back around 70 years to wartime England when the region was occupied by the British army who constructed two huge training camps in the forest. These camps, located at Rugeley and Brocton were some of the largest around, interestingly it is estimated that well over half a million troops passed through on their way to fight on the front-line – a staggering figure for a 26 mile square area I'm sure you'll agree.
Also, within the boarders of these training camps was a prisoner of war hospital used to detain hundreds of German and Austrian troops who were either captured or shot down over blighty. With enemy soldiers residing on Cannock Chase, the military obviously wanted local civilians to stay well clear, but how far would they go to achieve this? Would they create a myth about the scariest monster ever to exist? Well, at around the same time German prisoners arrived, a rumour began to spread throughout the area about a human/swine hybrid who, reports suggested, roamed the woodlands after dark in search of anyone who had mistakenly strayed from the trodden path. A savage beast, this devilish monster was allegedly created by top military scientists, before escaping to a solitary existence deep in the woods.
The almost fantastical rumour was spread mainly through the medium of a terrifying rhyme that is still recited locally to this very day:
When night falls, enter the woods at your peril
For inside lurks something worse than the devil,
Avoid at all costs, the gathering place,
Where at midnight, the The Pig-Man roams on Cannock Chase.
So, is that it? - not on your nelly! Although the rhyme and accompanying story seem at first sight to be a fabrication dreamed up by the army to keep people away, there have actually been some credible sightings reported over the years. Here is just one of them, sent from local couple John & Anne:
“In October 1993, whilst walking around Castle Ring (an ancient Iron Age monument on cannock chase), myself and the wife heard some strange noises coming from the surrounding trees. Thinking it was likely to be a couple enjoying an illicit liaison, we quickly moved away from the sound and headed back in the direction of our car. Upon reaching the steps down to the car-park, I happened to turn around and lay my eyes on the strangest creature I've ever seen. This thing was 7 feet tall, from the neck down it looked like a man, even wearing clothes, but it's head was far too big for a human and it had an elongated face with a snout-like nose. When I pointed it out to my wife, she became terrified, so we started walking more quickly towards our car and got inside. That's when we started to hear this really high pitched squealing noise that sounded like a pig being killed......”
The question now becomes: were the army really telling porkies to keep people away? Or were they trying their damnedest to contain and cover up a sickening genetic experiment that went wrong? The jury is most certainly out on that one, but if the alarming tale of The Pig-Man is nothing more than a wartime falsification, how can the modern day sightings be explained?
Answers on a postcard......
If you'd like to find out more about the mysteries and monsters of Cannock Chase, you can pick up a copy of my new book “UFO's Werewolves & The Pig-Man: Exposing England's Strangest Location – Cannock Chase” from Amazon.