I have looked at the British wild-man of the past and even 19th century in my three books. The wild-man craze of the 19th century I had not even heard of until I came across obscure news items.
Over decades I have spoken to hunters, game-keepers, poachers, estate owners, naturalists (with some VERY weird interests) and even pagans who have spent years going deep into the UKs remaining ancient woodlands and forests. All of these people have had "weird stories" covering ghosts, odd lights -all recounted as I talked to them as a naturalist looking into exotic fauna.
In all of this there is one thing I have never ever come across or heard one word of: a wild-man or Bigfoot type creature.
Even in the 1980s there were no such reports.
Why have these accounts suddenly started appearing -and being back-dated) since the mid 1990s? Fraud? Hoaxers? People seeing things?
John Hanson, one of the authors along with Dawn Holloway of the excellent Haunted Skies series of UK UFO encyclopedias, tells me they both spoke to one witness, Gary Higginson, who was quite genuine and still seemed to be unnerved by the experience.
So what is going on?
As an historian I say "rubbish" -no wild-men lived into the 18th century in the UK let alone 21st century.
As a naturalist I have to say that I've seen evidence of possible relic wild-cat populations, definitely wolverine and large felids: spoor, kill methods and many, many eye witnesses accounts prove that. But I have never ever seen nor heard of "Bigfoot style-dens" nor territory markers and certainly never tree-tapping or stone-tapping.
As a research-investigator of the strange and weird for fifty years, again, never ever heard of any such accounts. If someone told me they had seen a 7 feet tall pink, flashing green eyes, four-armed entity I don't bat an eye-lid. I ask them to tell me everything and make a sketch no matter how bad. I then look for reports of such entities and I have had cases that took 40-45 years to mark as "closed".
So what is going on?
As it stands I find it all hard to believe because I have failed to find one actual witness willing to come forward and give their real names despite the fact that the strictest confidentiality is observed and never been broken in all these decades. Internet pseudonyms are not a sign that you should trust someone -as proven a few times over the last half century.
Without first hand testimony then any investigation is dead before it starts. Having corrected so many 'reliable' sources the idea of referring to published books on the subject also kills a potential study data base. Authors spin a yarn and add or even take out information from reports. Book writing is a money-making effort and not serious research findings.
To begin with there has to be an initial data base of reports built up. From these you can decide which might be jokers, who is genuine or who might be misidentifying something. You can then build up a data base map of sightings now this is important for a number of reasons. Yes, it might show you "hot spots" of activity but it is more basic than that. A large hominid needs to eat and drink, therefore you study the flora and fauna of the areas involved, basically, from roots up. Assessing allof this could take six months or even a year, luckily, food sources I am aware of in most areas due to my work.
It is only after all of this is looked at that you can even begin to assess areas that might be worth field trips. I could go out on the Mendip Hills or Dartmoor today and stand there all day but am I going to see a lynx, puma or melanistic leopard because they have been reported there? No. Cats have territories and if -if- there was such a thing as a British wild-man (though reports are clear that people are reporting more Sasquatch-like creatures) then it should have a territory it considers as home ground -especially if there are young and if you tell me only tall males are sighted and have continued to exist....without procreating then the matter is at an end.
At the moment I would say that, applying the scientific idea of "Dismiss nothing. Investigate everything", I am not dismissive. Doubts I have do not come into it. Facts do.
So, I would appeal to anyone who claims to have encountered or seen a large, hairy homind get in touch in the strictest confidence (but -PLEASE- let me know if you have reported the incident to someone else so I don't confuse one case as two "similar" ones!) and tell me:
1. Where (as close as possible or nearest village/town)
4. How far away from you the hominid was (+/-)
5. As detailed a description of what (hominid) you saw as possible
6. As detailed an account as possible of why you were where you were, the incident itself and aftermath
-how has the sighting affected you?
If you have photographs of the area involved then please include them. If you have photographs of any physical evidence associated with the sighting please include them.
Now, if I only hear from one or two people then there is no study and, really, only one conclusion can be drawn. But as far as I am concerned this needs to be seriously looked into.
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