During June 2003, at 10 pm in West Sussex, two friends were travelling by car from a friend's house back home along a dark country road. They’d travelled this route many times but on this occasion got the shock of their life. As they came round a tight bend they both saw a movement in the trees ahead. Travelling at only 20 mph, both occupants could clearly, although for a brief time, see a bizarre humanoid ‘monster.’
A creature, standing over eight-feet in height stood in the woods and the car headlights reflected off what appeared to be a foil-like skin or clothing. The beast stepped upwards through the trees; its features were not discernible in the darkness and it moved away quickly uphill into the undergrowth, consumed by the shadows of night.
The witnesses were stunned by this peculiar entity and so the driver bravely reversed the car back to the spot.
There was no sign of the weird figure and no sound in the night air.
The passenger commented many years later, “I don’t personally believe in extraterrestrials, so for my own part I’ve ruled out anything like that, and being a fairly practically-minded person I’ve come up with various explanations, such as kids mucking about. But the problem of size keeps coming back – I even checked the Internet the following week to see if 8-ft plus people were more common than I’d thought, rationalising that it was some weirdo in a foil suit. It certainly wasn’t any kind of model, because it was definitely animated. I’m still puzzling over it.”
It’s difficult to comprehend some of the bizarre encounters that people report, and some of these perplexing mysteries are experienced by seemingly level-headed people. From zombies to hellhounds, from aliens to hairy humanoids, Sussex folklore is peppered with such accounts, leaving us to wonder just what kind of ‘spirits’ are lurking in the woods and darkest corners of this ancient county.
Neil Arnold is currently writing MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: SUSSEX