One of my favourite channels is the wonderful Fire Side Tales by D. L. Soucy and I was delighted years ago when he added an account of the capture of a wildman in Bakewell Derbyshire. The Video speaks for itself, as do all of his others, the perfect thing to watch on a bad weather day, curled up by the fire. This account I feel is very important in the history of the UK Wildman accounts, as the Wildman in question was seen by many witnesses and even police officers. I have contacted the police archives for any information available, and I would like to draw your attention to the “hut” that was found by the search party as you can see it is very similar to finds from all across the UK and America.
Here is a transcript of the account:
Hello everybody welcome to another episode of Bigfoot tales and today I head over to Great Britain and we’re going to look at a story that was in a magazine from the late 1890s in the area of Derbyshire England, it’s interesting to note that there are some photographs within the article that show a very interesting structure similar to today’s finds from a publication called Wide World Magazine
In the October of 1904 and written by Joe Adam and it describes how people who lived in a village in Derbyshire had to deal with a so called wild man of the woods, it was an extraordinary being as they put it who apparently wanted to live in but a primitive way.
Travelling by train to Bakewell is a delight as you wander through some of the most beautiful scenery England has to offer. When emerging from the station you come upon a small bridge which crosses the railway line and there are some extensive grassy slopes these are the golf-links skirting the length of the railway and stretching for miles to Matlock and it is a dense woodland known locally as Worms Wood some of the recesses of which are well nye inaccessible unless you stick to the path that runs through the wood but trying to walk off this path the undergrowth of Bracken is so thick that it is impossible to penetrate. There are also several old stone quarries in the woods and where the ground is comparatively clear it is much broken up with boulders. On the outskirts of the wood you can view the plateau and on the slope of the hill is a reservoir which supplies the village with water.
Now in the Victorian era on certain calm balmy spring evenings on a Friday some certain young ladies were enjoying the delights of golf on the Bakewell
links, as to their identities that is not a matter at the moment except to state
that they were daughters of a prominent resident. So the ladies in question were playing golf at the top of the slope and close to the wood line, they all stopped suddenly and stared in amazement toward the dense foliage then they all screamed in alarm, turned about and ran as fast as they could down the slope. Whatever could have happened to the young lady and her friends to forget all modesty and ran screaming like fish wives down the brew.
To the ladies horror from the wood line came the appearance of an extraordinary apparition, bursting suddenly through the undergrowth came a man? or something resembling a man, his clothing if indeed he could be regarded as clothed was of the most meagre description and he was a most eccentric character, his apparel consisting solely of a tattered shirt in rags and boots in an ancient size that no longer fit in fact he was now it seems struggling to walk in them. And from under his shaggy brows his eyes glistened as this weird being advanced with leaps and bounds in their direction, The cries he admitted were strange noises which increased the ladies terror a hundredfold. As down the slope they fled helter-skelter and stumbling over the broken strewn ground, slipping, falling and rising again paying little heed to the scratches or bruises they received. The only idea was to get as far away from that horrid spectre as possible.
It was at this point the Creature/Wildman? seemed to realise the fright he was causing and pulled up in his chase and plunged back into the dark depths of the woods still howling and grunting. Of course the news of this exciting experience was soon brought to Bakewell whence it travelled via tongue and the press far and wide over the land, Headlines screamed “a wild man of the woods, “a real living, breathing, dancing wild man” this was too much for the Bakewell residents when the whole place was stirred to its depths and almost its entire male able bodied active population rose as one man and pressing into service a variety of weapons, set out in a team of 60, some with blunderbusses they went in search of the wild man.
It seems the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, all joined in, they started by spreading out as they beat the woods and countryside for miles around. But alas no wild man was flushed or appeared, so as evening drew near on this eventful Friday many of the search party gave up the search for the day. It seems that some of the more ardent spirits formed themselves into small watch parties and equipping themselves with lights, crept out over the woods throughout the nocturnal hours until the next morning. On returning the only news they had to report was that they had seen a flickering light in the remote depths of the wood that moved about like a “willo the Wisp” as though the hunted wild man might be in direct contact with the devil himself. Some of the more daring youth’s volunteered to pursue the mysterious light when next it should be seen, but to their great sadness nothing tangible resulted from the quest.
On the morning of the the next day Saturday the search was continued, and for the first time the police also joined in searching for him. As the wild man hunting happened out in the woods, Superintendent Blake was seated in his office studying some documents when a small boy burst breathlessly into the place and collapsed saying only “wild man” before running out of breath. The inspector looked up with a professional frown regarding the small boy as a miscreant, the latter shrank before the piercing steadfast gaze and between his tremulous lips there trickled the words again “wild man” and nothing more
The superintendent smoked and spoke softly to the boy and these are the memorable words that he uttered “a wild man! yes sir in the wood, all shirt and boots and hat and long hair and he dances and he makes funny noises sir. The policman forthwith summoned a subordinate and they conferred together, extracting as much of intelligence from their juvenile informant as their astuteness could drive. The mysterious individual was not to be so easily dismissed he had even had the effrontery to pay a return visit to the Golf Links where he again startled some ladies with his appearance and incomprehensible antics, this time the terrified ladies straightaway reported the matter to the club and two gallant male members set of in pursuit pushing into the woods they were lucky enough to catch a good view of the mysterious stranger. They gave chase as fast as the numerous obstacles would allow and they noticed that he was sprite and quick and although the golfers exerted themselves to the utmost they failed to overtake the fugitive or catch up as he scaled precipitous slopes with almost superhuman speed and scouring the undergrowth with ease, he climbed trees and swung himself from branch to branch and from tree to tree with the agility of a monkey while his pursuers looked on amazed at this creature with his tangled masses of hair clambering swiftly through the almost impenetrable recesses of the wood. Needless to say he out distanced his pursuers and the male golfers returned to the village pondering over what they had seen.
That week the wild man made repeated appearances in various parts of the Peak District. For instance one man saw him indulging in a siesta on the banks of the river. If he noticed that he was perceived however he would retreat to the friendly seclusion of the wood. And he was seen once again by a tradesman of Bakewell who surprised the strange creature enjoying a dip in the water, but again the wild man betrayed the excess of modesty which always seemed to prompt him to seek safe asylum amongst the foliage. It’s very clear this was no ordinary Tramp as he exhibited on various occasions a strong predilection for water until a local farmer discovered him taking his ablutions in the reservoir which supplies the village with water. The town then concluded this level of cleanliness had gone too far, at night his flickering lights could be discerned on the highest point. A fire maybe is kindled by the wild man for his personal comfort?
The police thoroughly searched the woods as far as they could and kept watch during the night hours and were eventually rewarded by the discovery of a crude hut structure which was found with the cold ashes of a fire in it the shanty was constructed of the branches of trees and Bracken which grows in great profusion to these parts and was sheltered from the wind by a wall of stones, was it a misdirection that the light had been first seen moving around the woods? But since then fires had been noticed much further in the wood indicating that the wild man had shifted his quarters to the thickest parts. The most rigid search however failed to locate either the man or his camp after that first week. So in spite of everything the wild man was never captured.
The story suggests to me that we’re not dealing with a simple human being but a true wild man of the woods but let’s get into the the biggest reason I believe this could be a Bigfoot type creature or as they say in England a Wildman, it was the structure or hut that caught my eye when I was looking through these old papers. There is a photograph of his hut and if you look at it and take a good long look at it, it looks an awful lot like a lot of the Bigfoot structures that we see today so I’m going to leave it to you? Is it possible that this is a simple a joke ? or could this have been an actual Bigfoot and then that leads to the question of Is a Bigfoot human?
D. L. Soucy