The National Cryptid Society today released this article.
You may have seen some recent articles on the “British Bigfoot” phenomenon, or perhaps you’ve seen more talk of unknown hominids in the wilds of the UK on various social media platforms. However, there is a researcher who has been at the forefront of data gathering and mapping of sightings in the UK. Deborah Hatswell has been researching cryptid encounters in her homeland for decades, and has a wealth of information on those sightings on her website britishbigfootsightingreports.com.
“This experience changed things for me and I have been lucky enough to study the possibility of wild humans or hairy hominids in the UK for almost four decades now. I have expanded my search across Europe and into Russia taking accounts from people and mapping them for others to see and share.”
The Encounter That Started It All
In the early eighties, Hatswell encountered a large, hairy hominid in a park on the outskirts of Manchester, England. While Manchester and its closest city to the east, Liverpool, may be sprawling cities, they lie between a trio of vast National Forests with the Forest of Bowland to the north, Peak District National Park to the southwest and Snowdonia National Park further southeast of the cities
Hatswell details her encounter below:
I lived close to or next to Buile Hill park for most of my life until i was in my late teens, I spent most of my days in the park or around the park, it was a good area to play, no [homeless people] were around till after dark and people avoided the area at night for some reason. When I was around 14/15 I had my experience with something I’m still trying to work out to this day. I saw something come out of the bushes that I still don’t really believe even to this day. I will probably spend my whole life asking myself “what did I see that day…”
It was 1981/82 late May early June, it was warm and breezy and just a beautiful day. It was the time of mock exams I think and it was nearly large Summer holiday and term would soon be over and with nothing important going on myself and my friend who was new to the school sneaked off around lunchtime to the park, we were having so much fun we rebelled and skipped the afternoon lessons.
The area where we were had an old mansion called Summer Hill with a sensory garden right next to it. Its pretty run down and overgrown, with massive trees and rhododendron bushes, tall grass, an unused golf course and there was a huge Victorian green house left to go to ruin and the landscaped gardens have more or less returned to nature. there are Rabbits, Squirrels, back then there was also a small petting zoo. Its hilly and there is also a swampy water course in the lower SW corner with a large sluice drain entrance.
“There is no way he should have been there…”
That day we were hidden between the house and the sensory garden and behind the foliage which opened up. I would say we were there for about an hour ish, making noise, giggling and rolling around, maybe at around 2:00pm I noticed a movement within the leaves and “he” just leant forward out of the greenery. I froze at the size of “him.”
I could only see “him” from about mid chest area up so it was mostly his face on view, but we were only about 8ft -10ft apart so we got a good look at him, I fixated on his eyes and mouth as I could see his teeth, (not because of a facial expression just that his mouth was slightly open) his mouth was same as ours but his jaw was huge, he had dark tanned weathered skin and was covered in dark dark brown hair that looked auburn where the sun caught it. He had huge shoulders and a massive chest, he looked like a Man/Ape like a human and an ape had combined somehow.
He was very tall and there is no way he should of been there. It was like a time slip almost, one of the many things I have tried to tell myself over the years. But at that time I thought he was a monster. I was so scared I reacted with an almost primal panic and pushed my friend to the ground (I’m still ashamed of that to this day) and I ran like the wind. I turned back to see if he was following us and to make sure my friend was up and running and I saw him just lean back into the greenery.
He blended in with the bushes somehow. I have no way of explaining this. Even with my knowledge of Cryptids and hominids I still have no reasoning for why I would of seen him in an impossible place but I did, and luckily for me other people have seen him here too and they have shared their accounts with me and others online. So I’m one of the lucky witnesses and I have spent decades helping others find their answers.
I tried to go back three times and could never do it, the fourth time I had a virtual panic attack but I made it through the day OK.
What Hatswell’s Encounter Set In Motion
Although she did not realize it at the time, her being the unexpected and unwilling observer of such a strange creature that should have never been where it was sparked what is now the most comprehensive collection of cryptid sightings in the UK. Hatswell describes her journey from witness to researcher.
“The sighting I had all those years ago, set in motion a journey of 36 years, I questioned myself so many times over the years and of course many other people asked me the usual questions of What did you see? How did it get there? What if you dreamt it? What if you imagined it all? Why are people not reporting similar things? And a whole host of other questions, for years it bugged me having to keep answering them over and over and I realized the only way I could answer these for myself was to start looking.
So I set about doing just that, I looked for other people who had seen something similar to me, in the beginning it was a very slow process, as the years went on I would find more and more stories the same or similar to mine, and people would send me accounts of their own or ones they had sourced online and in many a forum and chat room. With a huge Atlas Map pinned to the wall I set about mapping the exact area of the accounts, and as I added each one I began to see patterns forming, routes almost. Not only that but a pattern in the descriptions too, around 7ft tall, hairy, ape-like creature on two legs, broad shouldered, muscled legs, arms and chest. Mostly males or subject off in the distance walking upright and moving off into the trees.
I noticed as each account was added people heard or read them word of mouth would bring me so many more who recognized something very close to an event experienced by them or someone they knew. With the help of some friends we set up the British Bigfoot Research team that has grown into a whole community of interested people, researchers, bloggers, and vloggers and a whole host of witnesses and experiencers, each account brings in another person who has seen for themselves an upright, hairy hominid or have experienced some of the similar habits you have heard about worldwide, the bluff charges, the distraction technique to move you on or scare you from an area, accounts of howls and footprints found way up in the mountain ranges or in the River Valleys below.
In the last couple of years the subject has grown and we collect and database all the structure finds in the hopes of one day working out what they are and if they are of use to us in the search for answers. We can now answer all of the FAQ and there are many theories as to what we have seen and I feel it’s for the individual themselves to decide what theory works for them. I hope to continue to bring people forward and put researchers together with like minded people.”