In the early 2000s (to be correct, 2002), a great deal of the U.K. found itself in the grip of a wave of bizarre stories of Sasquatch-type creatures. And much of it revolved around sex. Jon Downes, the director of the Center for Fortean Zoology, was someone who was at the forefront of these investigations. More than two decades later, he still recalls the affair, just as if it occurred yesterday: “There occurred a huge ‘flap’ of Big Hairy Men (BHM) sightings throughout the British Isles that we could not afford to ignore and that required our immediate attention. Indeed, such was the scale of this extraordinary wave of encounters that, a handful of new sightings of large, man-beasts from the Bolam Lake area of Northumberland, England, arrived in our e-mail In-Box in January that prompted us to undertake an immediate study of the evidence.” It was a bitterly cold, winter’s morning when Jon and his crew hit the road. The trip turned out to be a fortuitous one, however. There was distinct high-strangeness afoot, too, as Jon recalls:
“After arriving on-site, a veritable wave of paranormal chaos erupted in the direct vicinity of Bolam Lake. Although we had tested all of our electronic equipment the night before, had charged up batteries where necessary, and had even put new batteries in all of our equipment that needed them, practically without exception all of our new equipment failed. The laptop, for example, has a battery, which usually lasts between 20 and 35 minutes. It lasted just three minutes before failing. Admittedly, we received an enormous number of telephone calls during our stay at the lake, but not anywhere near enough to justify the fact that we had to change handsets four times in as many hours. The batteries in our tape-recorders also failed. It seems certain that there was some strange electromagnetic phenomenon at work here. We met with a witness, named Neil, who had been fishing at Bolam Lake one night four or five years previously. Together with two companions he had been making his way back to the car-park when they encountered a huge, dark, man-shaped object about seven to eight feet in height with what he described as sparkling eyes. The three fishermen did not stop to investigate but ran back to the car.
“However, this was by no means the only encounter that Neil had reported to us. Together with one of his companions from the first adventure, he had again been night fishing at Bolam Lake during the summer of 2002. They had been camped out on this occasion, and had heard noises, which they assumed were from an enormous animal moving around in the bushes outside of their camp. Deciding that discretion was most definitely the better part of valor, they decided not to investigate any further; but when they broke camp the next morning they found that the fish they had stored in a bait-tin had been taken, and there were distinct signs that something very large had been lumbering around in the immediate vicinity.” As the investigation came to its close, and as the dark skies of winter closed in, something extraordinary and menacing occurred at Bolam Lake, as Jon reveals:
“At about half-past-four, one of the members of Twilight Worlds [a research group that accompanied Downes to the area] reported seeing something large, human-shaped and amorphous in the woods directly in front of the car-park. As the dusk gathered at about 5 o’clock, we again heard the raucous noise of the crows that he had reported just before dawn. Suddenly, once again, they fell silent and one of the Twilight Worlds members shouted that she could hear something large moving around among the undergrowth. All of the car-drivers present were ordered to switch on their headlights and to put them on full-beam. We did not hear any noise in the undergrowth; although other people present did. Eight people were watching the woods and five of us saw an enormous man-shaped object run from right to left, disappear, and then a few moments later run back again.” The most amazing aspect of the encounter, however, was that the hulking, racing thing was flat, like a shadow-like, and utterly lacking substance. But, even so, still some form of mystifying entity in its very own right. The bizarre event was over in an instant. And Jon Downes found his life forever changed.
There is, however, another aspect to all of this “British Bigfoot” situation, something that still goes on. It relates to the matter of what are known as “Lovers Lanes.” You’ll see what I mean. There is, perhaps, no better and more relevant example of how Orgone energy is regularly being depleted form our bodies, by paranormal entities, than what I call the “Lovers Lane phenomenon.” From all across the world, there are countless tales of paranormal activity occurring in places where, “courting couples” hang out, late on dark, weekend nights. And many of those tales have at their heart such beasts as Mothman and Bigfoot – which suggests they too are paranormal parasites, and not the wholly flesh and blood animals that so many people assume them to be. Texas may not be the first place most people think of when the issue of Bigfoot surfaces. Almost certainly, the vast majority of us would very likely equate the creature with the massive forests of the Pacific Northwest. But, the eastern portion of Texas is heavily forested, too – and particularly so as one gets closer and closer to the border with Louisiana. One area with a long history of Bigfoot activity is the Big Thicket – it is a massive area of extremely dense and mysterious woodland that runs to more than 80,000 acres in size, and which is not at all far from the city of Houston. In May 2014, the online Houstonia magazine interviewed the late Rob Riggs, who spent years investigating Bigfoot reports in the area, and which were compiled in his 2001 book, In the Big Thicket. The article was appropriately titled, “Bigfoot is Hiding in the Big Thicket.”
During the course of the interview with Riggs – which was done by journalist Michael Hardy – there was this revelation: “When Riggs ran a notice in the paper calling for stories of unusual sightings in the woods, he was deluged with letters. A teenage girl claimed that a giant ape had chased her away from a cemetery. A couple in a car on Ghost Road – the local lovers’ lane – reported that Bigfoot jumped on their hood, forcing the man, who fortunately had his shotgun handy, to scare the creature away by firing at it through the front windshield.” I got to know Riggs well, having first met him in 2003, and he told me that Lovers Lane-style encounters amounted to an integral part of the overall Big Thicket-based Bigfoot phenomena. While Rob, in the earliest years of his research, was of the opinion that the creatures amounted to unknown apes and nothing else, by the time his In the Big Thicket book was published, he was sure there was a supernatural component to it all. Riggs was clearly not wrong, as the evidence shows.
Now, let’s jump back to Bolam, for a few more pieces of data that are definitely intriguing. It was on a freezing cold morning in 2002 that Downes and his team of monster-hunters drove up to Bolam from Downes’ home in Devon – a mammoth convoy-style drive, to be sure. High-strangeness hit the team – and in sinister fashion – just about as soon as they arrived. To his consternation, Downes found that all of his electrical devices – his computer, his cell-phone, his audio equipment, and his cameras – were completely and utterly drained of power. All of them had to be charged before they could be used. This further bolsters the idea that energy-“eating” entities – in the form of Bigfoot – were wildly on the loose and had already got their claws into not just Jon Downes and his crew, but into his devices, too. Of the many and varied accounts given to Downes during his time at Bolam Lake, one of the most intriguing came from a man named Neil. In his 2004 autobiography, Monster Hunter, Downes says: “Possibly the most astounding story that [Neil] had to recount had taken place a couple of summers before our visit. He had been in the woods at the opposite side of the lake with his girlfriend. They had been making love when his girlfriend told him she that she could see what she thought was a man in a monkey suit watching their sexual adventures from behind a bush. Neil, unsurprisingly, looked around the area but could find nothing.”
Very notably, Downes himself caught sight of the creature on one particular, dark night in the woods around Bolam. Incredibly, Downes says the thing looked like a huge, black-colored ape. This quite naturally brings up the issue of the Shadow People, in regards to how they have the disturbing ability to drain us of our vital energies. While Jon is absolutely sure that the British Bigfoot phenomenon is all too real, he is of the opinion that the idea of colonies of giant apes roaming the U.K. is absurd – which it is. After all, there is no fossil record of apes ever having lived in the U.K. – at all. Plus, there is the fact that the U.K. is very small, but has a population of more than sixty million. In other words, there is nowhere for such immense things to hide and still not be caught by now. Downes concludes, therefore, that the Bigfoot of Britain is something supernatural in nature. We should listen to his opinions. He is a man who knows of what he speaks.
One other thing: there’s no doubt that the most famous “Lovers Lane” saga of all revolved around nothing less than that winged monster known as Mothman. Between late 1966 and December of 1967, the people of Point Pleasant, West Virginia found themselves in the icy grip of a fear-inducing monster. It became infamously known as the Mothman. Its name was most apt: the creature was described as being humanoid in form, but with a large pair of dark wings, and a pair of eyes that blazed menacingly. Numerous encounters with the beast were reported, all of them creating overwhelming terror in those that crossed its path. People saw the man-beast soaring the sky late at night, lit up by a powerful moon. It chased terrified drivers on the dark roads around town – and matters all culminated in the collapse of Point Pleasant’s Silver Bridge, in December 1967. Dozens of those on the bridge at the time lost their lives, their vehicles plummeting into the churning waters below. Today, there are two prevailing theories: that either the Mothman caused the disaster; or that, in its strange, own way, it tried to warn people when the tragedy was looming large. The jury is still very much out on that one.
It’s most interesting to note that the bulk of the initial sightings of the monster occurred at – yes, you’ve guessed it – Point Pleasant’s very own Lovers Lane. It was a place that, locally, was known as “the TNT area.” There was a very good reason for that. And it had nothing to do with explosive fun on the backseats of cars. Today, the area is called the McClintic Wildlife Management Area. Back in the Second World War, though, there existed around five miles outside of town a processing plant for the production of TNT – hence the name. As for the storage area of the TNT, it was a nearby place in the woods where a number of secure, igloo-like buildings were constructed to house the highly dangerous and volatile materials. It was a bustling area, an important military facility that helped the Allies to overcome the hordes of crazy Adolf Hitler. Indeed, at the height of things, more than 3,000 people were employed at the factory. But, that was then. By the 1960s, the area was very different.
Friday and Saturday nights were when the woods were filled with cars. Guys and girls, playing music, drinking beer, and having a blast. That’s until the Mothman put paid to all of that. In November 1966, one of the most spectacular encounters with the monster was reported by Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette. It wasn’t long after the four reached the old plant when they encountered in the shadows an approximately seven-foot-tall monster glaring at them. They wasted no time in exiting the area: the accelerator was floored and it wasn’t long at all before they breathlessly shared their story with Deputy Millard Halstead, of the local sheriff’s office. The media had a field day with the story – a story which, arguably, set the scene for the mayhem that was to follow, and which culminated with the collapse of the Silver Bridge. Today, the area is even spookier: the old TNT plant is no more, as it has been razed to the ground and the area is fenced off. As for the now-decades-old igloos, they are empty, abandoned and covered in overgrown bushes, vines and moss, and hidden by the trees. Graffiti adorns most of the igloos – some with imagery of Mothman himself. The setting – and particularly so at night – is apocalyptic, to say the least. Indeed, the ruined, run-down area looks like the kind of locale one might expect to see in the likes of The Walking Dead. And, decades later, it still oozes a sense of hard to describe menace.