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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

NICK REDFERN: The Bear Facts

Things are getting very weird regarding yesterday's post about a bear seen in Rendlesham Forest. First we had the sighting of Jenny Pearce, who said: "I saw it moving through the trees ahead. It was much bigger than a dog. I picked up my son and left for the car straight away."

Then today, news surfaced that the tale of the bear was actually part of a publicity campaign by a theater production company that was putting on a version of Shakespeare's A Winters Tale - which includes a famous stage-direction: "Exit, pursued by a bear."

All well and good, except for the fact that (a) Jenny Pearce continues to stand by her account of seeing a bear-like animal in the woods; and (b) this is not the first time a large animal with somewhat bear-like qualities has been reported within Rendlesham Forest.

Sam Holland, for example, had a close encounter with just such a beast in the same area in 1956. I interviewed Holland in 2001, and published his story in 2004. So, there's no way his case can be connected to the current publicity campaign of the theater production company.

And for those who are interested, here is the text of my original Word document on Sam Holland's story :

"Shortly after New Year’s Day in 1956, Holland was walking through the woods with his spaniel dog, Harry, when he was horrified to see a bizarre-looking creature come looming out of the trees some forty feet in front of him.

"It walked upon four huge, muscular legs – ‘like a lion’s’ – and its thick fur coat was both black and glossy. Incredibly, said Holland, the animal was easily ten feet in length; and so could not be considered anything even remotely resembling a domestic animal, or a known wild beast of the British Isles.

"Holland recalled thinking for a moment that perhaps the animal was an exotic big cat that had escaped from a zoo or private estate; that is until it turned in his direction and he was finally able to see its terrible face.

"Likening it to that of a sliver-back gorilla, Holland said that the monstrous creature possessed a huge neck, widely flaring nostrils, and immense, powerful-looking jaws. For a moment or two, the animal looked intently at Holland and his whimpering little dog; then, seemingly losing interest, continued on its way and into the depths of the surrounding undergrowth.

"Holland would later explain that the creature looked like a strange combination of ape, dog, lion and rhinoceros. Needless to say, the British Isles is not home to any such animal that even remotely resembles the beast that Sam Holland says he stumbled upon. Yet he is adamant that his description of the monstrous entity and his recollections of the day in question are utterly accurate.

"Today, Holland believes that whatever it was that he had the misfortune to run into half a century ago, it was unquestionably paranormal rather than physical in origin. But from where, precisely, he has no idea."

Franky, this whole affair puzzles me a great deal. I have no doubt at all that the theater company's publicity campaign is indeed an integral part of the story.

However, that the company should have chosen a location for their campaign that was already home to a large, mysterious 4-legged beast that was seen back in 1956, is decidedly synchronistic in the extreme.

And what about the fact that Jenny Pearce still stands by her report of seeing a large, lumbering beast in the woods?

Is it possible that, in a strangely Fortean fashion, the theater company decided to embark upon its campaign at precisely the same time that a large, bear-like entity (perhaps related to that seen by Sam Holland) manifested in the woods?

Whatever the ultimate truth, I strongly suspect we have not heard the end of this story!

1 comment:

Neil A said...

Nick, get yer arse over to the UK and let's go on a hunt for weirdness through Cannock Chase. Sumfin' strange is bound to happen, but I'll have to bring my hair straighteners...or as Jon called them, "a whip!".