Any mention of the infamous Beast of Bodmin Moor inevitably conjures up imagery of large black cats roaming the British countryside.
But not always.
Some time ago, I received an email from a man who had an intriguing, but unfortunately, very brief story to relate.
The details, from Keith Fletcher of Derby, concern a story told to him back in the mid-1980s (by a work colleague who hailed from Cornwall) of a "giant monkey" roaming Bodmin Moor 6 or 7 years prior to when Keith heard the story - which would have placed the events somewhere in the latter part of the 1970s.
Keith is currently trying to track down his source; and so hopefully we may learn more in due course.
In the meantime, it's intriguing to note that others seem to have uncovered data on what may very well be the same story.
In his book Big Cats Loose in Britain, author Marcus Matthews says: "On 2nd January 1985, an article appeared in Exeter's Express and Echo about the 'Beast of Bodmin.' I have learned from a relation that in the 1970s and 1980s there were always rumours of an escaped orang-utan ape in the area. Farmers coming home from the public houses were used to seeing a strange pair of eyes looking at them, and a hairy human-like figure disappearing quickly."
Expect more data if and when I hopefully get it...
And, on a somewhat related matter:
Another story brought to my attention not too long ago is worthy of commentary: it comes from a man named Bob Shenton, who claims to have seen "something bloody odd" on the wilds of Dartmoor back in the winter of 1967.
Bob was driving across the moors late one night (at the time he worked as a plumber and was heading to a house to deal with a case of a burst water-pipe) and - while near the village of Postbridge - came across something decidedly strange.
According to Bob, for the briefest of moments, and as he approached Postbridge, he caught sight of what looked very much like a large ape-like figure crossing the road in front of him and vanishing into the shadows at the edge of the road.
Interestingly, Bob described the creature as "like a shadow", in the sense that it seemed one-dimensional in nature - which closely, and eerily, echoes the description of the similar beast seen at Bolam Woods by Squire Downes in 2002.
Not only that, Postbridge has been the site for many years of a phenomenon that may very well be related: namely, that of the infamous hairy-hands - concerning which, a quick search of Google will provide quite a lot.
I am contacting local newspapers in the area to see if anyone else can shed further light on this mysterious encounter. I'll keep you posted.