It is difficult to believe that a man could be living wild dressed in tree bark and leaves only 9 miles away from this country’s second largest city, however if the witness testimonies are to be believed this is in fact a reality.
Sutton Park which covers an area of 2,400 acres in the West Midlands is said to be the place where the mystery man has been seen and where over the last few months numerous sightings of him have been made. He has acquired the name Bark Foot as his feet have been seen wrapped in tree bark which have been made into a primitive form of foot wear, his hat also has been formed of what I presume to be made of Birch bark.
Patrick Sheehy told his cousin Oliver how he was jogging through the nature reserve one morning last May when he took a shortcut through one of the Holly groves when he collided with a man cooking sausages in a frying pan over an open fire, dressed in his birch bark suit.
A local reporter discovered the remains of a makeshift shelter with a fireplace and frying pan. From April to June this den was covered with blue plastic sheeting, according to John Fowler whose dog took him to the site in November 2003, he went on to say that “It was quite well hidden, about 40 yards off a path and covered with holly branches and bushes”, “Quite a few times you could see smoke coming out of the top”. It seems that Bark Foot is actually breaking the law by making the park his home as an old by law forbids anyone from taking up residence in the park.
Mrs L Smith met Bark Foot at about 6.30pm on the 25th of July when he emerged from Queens Coppice, a clump of trees on one of the hills in the park. He was covered with tree bark and leaves and his bark shoes were tied together using thin saplings. He was holding a charred frying pan which had a big hole in its middle. He asked her if she had any sausages, she said she hadn’t but offered him some fudge which he took before he disappeared into the undergrowth.
Peter Molesworth encountered the wild man as he walked his dog Zeberdee at 5.30am one morning in August. He described him as about 5ft 10in in height, 60 years old and very rough looking. He was wearing a cowboy style hat made from tree bark and a long one piece overcoat which looked as though it had been woven from leaves and reeds. He had as usual with him his trusty frying pan and around a dozen sausages and he offered Peters dog one, however Peter told him his dog had already eaten. The wild man went on to identify himself as Larchey, or Larry Larch and said that he had been living in a tree house that he had constructed somewhere in the park, he also went on to say that at some time in the past he had used to be a bottle opener designer from Hemel hempstead, a sort of poor mans suburban Crocodile Dundee!
It is not known whether the wild man is still alive as this item was taken from the Sutton Coldfield Observer which appeared on the 6th of August 2004,