By Nick Redfern
No, the title above is not a reference to a new Japanese monster-movie, as much as it might sound like it should be! What I’m actually referring to is something that both students of UFOs and researchers of strange creatures – for the most part, anyway – absolutely hate. What is it? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s those curious, and not irregular, occasions when Ufology and Cryptozoology don’t just cross paths, but where certain cases suggest a common point of origin for both phenomena.
Of course, many Ufologists and Cryptozoologists get irate and fired up when I bring up such matters. But what the heck; I don’t care. The fact is that there are a lot of cases suggesting a connection. So why hide them? Let’s take a look…
Stan Gordon is a well-known, long-term researcher, writer and authority on many things of a Fortean nature – as is clearly evidenced by his excellent and insightful 2010 book, Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook, which was sent to me for review in January of that year. Now, I know for sure that any book suggesting Bigfoot may somehow be inextricably linked with the UFO phenomenon is bound to raise distinct hackles in certain quarters, but, such reports undeniably exist, so examine them we must…
The fact of the matter is that there is surely barely a Bigfoot researcher out there who has not been exposed to even just a few creature cases that absolutely reek of undeniable high-strangeness, and that place the hairy man-beasts into definitively Fortean – rather than zoological or cryptozoological – realms, whether in Britain, the United States, Australia, or elsewhere. But, whether or not those same Bigfoot researchers are willing to give such reports some degree of credence is a very different matter.
Fortunately, there are a number of researchers who recognise that as much as it would be undeniably preferable to place Bigfoot in a purely flesh and blood category and nothing else whatsoever, there is a significant and hard to deny body of data and testimony that points in a very different direction. And it’s a direction that, to his credit, Stan Gordon does not shy away from. Indeed, Stan’s book is a first-class study of a truly weird wave of Bigfoot / UFO activity that swamped the good folk of Pennsylvania, USA in the period from 1972 to 1974.
Moving, now, to the UK…
Regardless of what people may personally feel or conclude about the Bigfoot-UFO connection – or, more correctly, the theoretical connection – none can deny that when we go looking for places in Britain where both enigmas have been seen and encountered, there’s certainly no shortage of stories to address. Back in 1879 sightings began of a strange, “ape-man-like” creature known as the Man-Monkey that haunted England’s Shropshire Union Canal and the nearby village of Ranton. It so happens that, back in the 1950s, Ranton was the site of a famous – but now largely forgotten – UFO encounter.
Researcher Gavin Gibbons wrote that one October evening in 1954, a Dutchman living in England named Tony Roestenberg returned home to find his wife, Jessie, “in a terrified state.” According to Jessie: earlier that day nothing less than a flying saucer hovered over their isolated farmhouse in Ranton. In addition, Jessie could see peering down from the craft two very “Nordic”-like men that could have stepped right out of the pages of the controversial Desmond Leslie-George Adamski tome, Flying Saucers Have Landed.
Their foreheads were high, their hair was long and fair, and they seemed to have ‘pitiful’ looks on their faces. The strange craft reportedly circled the family’s home twice, before streaking away. Curiously, on the following Sunday, Tony Roestenberg had a “hunch” that if he climbed on the roof of his house “he would see something unusual,” which he most certainly did. It was a high-flying, cigar-shaped object that vanished into the clouds.
Gavin Gibbons, who investigated the case personally, stated: “When I visited the Roestenberg’s house almost three weeks after the sighting…Jessie Roestenberg appeared. She seemed highly strained and nervous and her husband, coming in later, was also very strained. It was evident that something most unusual had occurred.”
Then there is the ape-like Shug Monkey of Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England – which also happens to be the site of what is undeniably Britain’s most famous UFO encounter: that of December 1980 and most vividly described in Left at East Gate by Larry Warren and Peter Robbins. And, to illustrate still further the UFO-hairy man connection, just down the road, so to speak, from Rendlesham Forest is the town of Orford – home to a legendary wild man caught in the seas off the coast of Orford centuries ago.
Now let’s take a trip to Loch Ness, the lair of Nessie…
In 1968, Alistair Baxter – who had a lifelong interest in stories and folklore relative to Irish and Scottish lake monsters – traveled to Loch Ness and spent nine weeks armed with a camera and binoculars quietly and carefully monitoring the loch for any unusual activity of the long-necked and humped variety. Baxter never did see the elusive beast of Loch Ness, but he was able to speak with numerous people who had seen it.
After being at the loch-side almost constantly for five weeks, however, an unusual event occurred. Baxter was awoken in the middle of the night by a curious humming sound that was emanating from a bright, small, ball of light about the size of a football that – at a height of around fifteen feet from the ground – was slowly and carefully making its way through the surrounding trees that enveloped Baxter’s modestly sized tent. Suddenly, and without warning, the ball of light shot into the sky to a height of several hundred feet and hovered in deathly silence over the still waters of Loch Ness.
How do we explain such undeniably rogue events like those cited above? Well, right now, we don’t, simply because we can’t. All we can really say is that they offer yet further food for thought that the many and varied cryptozoological creatures of our world are not all that they initially appear to be. Perhaps, until we do know more, it’s apposite and wise to place such very hard to define cases in our definitive grey-basket and leave them there to languish.
Of only one thing can we be sure: where monsters lurk, at some point, so do UFOs…