I have known Neil for fifteen years now, since he was a mod schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippy who merely wanted to start a club for people interested in unknown animals. Nothing much has changed over the years; we are just both a tad older....
In the annals of ‘big cat’ folklore in the UK, reports of attacks on humans are often dubious. However, consider the legend of Gypsy Wood, a dark stretch of woodland in Warrington. Here originated the tale of the Furry Demon, a ferocious cat-like entity still in existence up until the early 1980s.
Many at the time considered the legend to be a hazy campfire spook tale, but not the two lovers who stopped off in the shadows whilst travelling home from their date at Earlestown British Legion. Whilst having a kiss and a cuddle in the vehicle, they were both startled by a face at the window, of grotesque and hairy appearance. The creature had fangs and scurried off into the darkness. The frightened man assured his date that the creature had gone and went out to inspect the car where he found huge scratch marks on the paintwork.
This incident echoed a similar assault by the beast, this time from the 1940s, when a sergeant who’d taken his girlfriend to her home at Earlestown, decided to walk back via Gypsy Wood, in the vicinity of Winwick. The area had an eerie ambience to it for the place had been under the threat of an air raid and the sky had been illuminated by German parachute flairs, which were trying to trace the R.A.F. base at Burtonwood.
The sergeant was strolling along a tight lane when suddenly he was leapt on by a strange creature, which clung to his back. The beast clawed at his face savagely; his uniform had been torn and the teeth of the monster had sunk into his face. Bravely he tangled with the creature and managed to throw it to the ground. Luckily, a car came by and the driver stopped to aid the sergeant. However, as soon as the driver saw the bloody mess the ‘thing’ had made of the sergeant’s face, he cowardly drove off. The sergeant hobbled back to the barracks, always peering over his shoulder. But there was no further sign of the beast. With wounds tended to he told the tale of the demon cat; over four feet in length, with large fangs; how it had sprung onto his back in the still of night. But the medical officer believed that maybe the sergeant had had a violent row with his girlfriend.
Maybe the ‘Winwick demon’ still lurks around Warrington, waiting to sink its fangs into its next victim.