Werewolves in Staffordshire?

The following accounts are said to describe wolf like creatures seen in Staffordshire and also on the Staffordshire Moorlands. This first account appeared in the Stoke Sentinel newspaper on the 19th of April 2015, written by Damon Simms, and is as follows:

MAYBE I notice it more than others because of my fascination with the paranormal and unexplained, but it seems to me that the supernatural surrounds the lives of so many people.

Over the years I’ve had numerous, lengthy conversations with perfect strangers about an unusual sighting or experience, and every time it’s really been impressed upon me just how serious each and every one of the people I speak to really are.

You may be sceptical about what you read in this weekly column – tucked away in a supplement in The Sentinel as it is – but I hope that you can keep an open mind.

What’s worth noting is that many of the tales that you’ll read here are relayed from people who aren’t ‘ghost-hunters’ – they don’t actively seek the supernatural.

Instead they’re normal people who have had their day-to-day lives invaded by something unusual at some point – and that is true of this week’s case study, too.

It involves a friend of mine, whose name is Martin – he’s a local man.

In the early 90s he was regularly travelling to Nottingham to visit a girlfriend.

One night in the summer of 1992 he was driving home from the East Midlands at around 11pm on his regular, well-trodden route through Ashbourne and the Staffordshire Moorlands, when he encountered what he still describes as a ‘wolf-like’ creature at the side of the road.

For those of you who’ve read this column previously, you may be wondering why I’m telling conflicting tales – after all, I told you about the near-exclusivity enjoyed by Cannock Chase when it comes to Werewolves, or creatures purported to be them.

But those cases are only recorded because they were reported to the police, so who knows how many sightings like Martin’s there may have been over the years?

The creature Martin described to me was around eight feet in length with huge rippling shoulders that made it look vascular, like a young bull.

It began to emerge from the tree-line, making its way into the middle of the road – stretching to its full size to reveal the true enormity of its torso, filling the road in the process.

As Martin approached, he cut his headlights to try and break the transfixed look on its face, a look that had appeared when it stopped dead in the middle of the road.

After a few seconds of rising panic as he wondered why on earth he’d plunged himself into darkness, he put his headlights back on and saw that it had moved to the side of the road before, looking over its shoulder, it slunk off into the undergrowth.

Driving home, he asked himself the obvious question – what could it rationally have been?

But he came up short, he could think of no logical explanation – it was a creature of the like he’d never seen before.

Martin drove the same route on many more occasions and never saw anything to suggest that wild beasts crossing the road were a regular occurrence, but his insistence that it was more than justifiably ‘wolf-like’ is unwavering.

He’s one of a number of people who swear that ‘unknown’ creatures exist, a greater number than you’d expect.

The next account is again by Damon Simms and was published in the Stoke Sentinel on the 22nd of March 2015 and is as follows:

Paranormal Investigator Damon Simms explores the dingiest corners of some of Staffordshire’s spookiest places. This week Damon explores an old legend at Cannock Chase.

Every area has its own unique and interesting stories or urban legends but this week’s location, Cannock Chase, is something of a hotbed.

An area of exceptional beauty which covers some 26 square miles of forest, moors and vast fields, it’s a breath-taking and interesting in equal measure.

It has an impressive list of creatures in its confines; everything from deer and badgers to hedgehogs and wallabies – but one creature said to skulk around the Chase piqued my interest, the werewolf.

I first became interested in the Werewolf of Cannock by pure chance; I read in a national newspaper a story about ‘Mystical Britain’, which claimed ‘there have been 21 official sightings – reported to the police, that is – of a werewolf in the UK. Of those, only one was outside of Cannock Chase’.

After some serious research I found that the first reported sighting of the beast was in 1975, near to Cannock Chase’s German cemetery, which holds 4,855 bodies of German casualties from both world wars.

While researching I came across a chilling story; a 17-year-old from Eccleshall promised his soul to the Devil in exchange for the ability to become a werewolf while using a ouija board.

Shortly after he allegedly called a friend in a panic of guttural noises to complain that he was transforming, the boy committed suicide.

A post-mortem examination showed that he had stabbed himself to death. This was in April 1975 – the same year the werewolf sightings began at nearby Cannock Chase.

That could be a simple coincidence but there have been many unconnected reports of wolf-like creature in the area since then.

In June 2006 a busy section of the M6 near junction 10A witnessed such a creature dodging busy lanes of traffic. The Highways Agency received several calls to report the incident.

11 years previously, in January 1995, I spoke to local woman Jackie Haughton who reported that she nearly collided with a huge beast as it crossed a nearby road.The creature, she said, stood its ground against the oncoming vehicle – glaring through red eyes.

The next account is taken from the B.B.C home page and is as follows:

A new supernatural survey – the Fringe Weird report – says there have been 20 reported Werewolf sightings on Cannock Chase.

The report has been put together by Lionel Fanthorpe – who’s a leading figure in paranormal research – by studying police reports and archives of groups who explore ghostly and unexplained events.

Sightings

The survey shows that a paranormal group visited Cannock Chase in 1975 with several of them claiming they saw a snarling beast ‘rear up onto it’s hind legs and run off into the bushes’.

Cannock ChaseWhat lurks in the woods of the Chase?

But there have been more recent ‘sightings’. In April 2007, the Stafford post newspaper ran a report which said the West Midlands Ghost Club had been called in to investigate calls from people who’d seen a ‘werewolf-type creature’ prowling around the Chase.

Several people claimed they’d seen the ‘wolf’ walking on it’s hind legs in the German War Cemetery on Camp Road.

The WM Ghost Club took what it called ‘credible eyewitness accounts’ from a local scout master and postman, who claimed they’d come face to face with the Werewolf.

They said they thought it was a large dog until it raised itself up to it’s full height of which was almost 7 foot tall. It darted into the bushes when it was startled.

Other theories

The Cannock Chase Post ran a story a month later in which it quoted a un-named paranormal expert who claimed the werewolf sightings could actually be a ‘subterranean stone-age throwback’.

He offered the theory that the creatures could have lived and thrived in the old mines under Cannock Chase for centuries, coming up to the surface via old earthworks to hunt, for local deer.

He also claimed that there had been a number of domestic pet disappearances in the area around the War Cemetery – especially dogs who’re let off their leads while out on walks.

An account written by Doug Pickford who used to be the editor of the Leek Post and Times, appeared in this paper on the 9th of March 2005 and the following is an extract of his account.

A document I have in my possession, written by Macclesfield historian John Earles, tells of an early equivalent of a commercial traveller in the late 1800s who went to Leek Mills dyeworks along the River Churnet and mills in Macclesfield selling his wares which were connected to the Silk trade.

He was travelling via Thorncliffe to Morridge and then across to Three shires Head, calling at the homes of button-makers. It was about 9pm on a March evening and the full moon was low in the sky, illuminating his way, which is why he took advantage of the situation to carry on his travels. As he walked along Morridge towards the Buxton road, he saw a man approaching him. He thought the figure was wearing a fur coat, but closer to, he noticed that this was not a coat, but the man’s own fur. The fur clad figure ran past the traveller, obviously as frightened of the traveller as he was of the fur clad stranger. After passing by at great speed, the figure stopped, looked back and howled like a dog!

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