When I compiled my Monster! The A-Z Of Zooform Phenomena, little did I realise just what an exhaustive task it would be. By the time it had gone to press in 2007 I’d received and unearthed hundreds, if not thousands more cases of ethereal monsters, paranormal manimals and winged humanoids. One of my latest favourites is the pig-slaughtering entity that prowled Runcorn in Cheshire in 1953.
The festive season was disturbed by a black, seven-foot tall apparition that killed fifty-three pigs at a farm owned by a Harold Crowther. The Sunday Graphic of 27th December reported that the fifteenth-century farmhouse had been plagued by unusual events since the 10th August, when a ghostly figure, resembling the deceased father of Mr Crowther’s wife appeared. But it was clear that the monster that killed the pigs was an altogether more malevolent spectre.
Mr Crowther reported that, “Two days after the loss of the last pig, I saw a large black cloud about seven feet in height, shapeless except for two prongs sticking out at the back moving about in the yard. The shapeless mass approached me, stopping about four or five-feet away. Then it turned in the direction of the pig sties, passed into an outhouse and disappeared.”
Meanwhile, the entity Mrs Crowther observed was smaller and sprawled out but moved like black smoke.
The vampyric predator stalked the farm until its grisly work had been done. Its grim activities bringing to mind the Highgate ‘vampire’ seen two decades later in London, and a similar figure in Argentinean folklore known as El Petizo; a tall, black apparition that attacked a young boy in 2002 as he was cycling nine miles east of Rosario de la Frontera. The spectre appeared in broad daylight, accosted the boy and attempted to drag him by his hair to the edge of the lane.
In 1935 a vampire-like spectre haunted a village near Gnjilane, southern Serbia. The monster was said to be immune to gunfire, prowled an area inhabited by peasants and spooked the cattle. The Serbian vampire was said to have been cornered by several bold peasants one afternoon (this particular vampire was not affected by the light) but as they fired at the monster, it vanished through a door, filling the air with three loud knocks.