Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Early Bigfoot Tales

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures.

-----------------

Early Bigfoot Tales
By Rupert Matthews

The oldest contemporary account of a sighting that seems to be of a Sasquatch so far traced comes from the Watchman newspaper of New York state on 22 September 1818. This report states that a few days earlier, near Ellisburgh, a “gentleman of unquestionable veracity” saw “an animal resembling the Wild Man of the Woods”. This would seem to indicate that the supposed Wild Man of the Woods was already a well known figure of legend or rumour. The creature was described as being like a large man, but covered in hair. It walked out of the woods on to a road a few yards in front of the witness. Seeing the human, the creature turned and ran off, leaning forwards as it did so. The creature left behind footsteps that were human-like but very wide at the toes.

In 1851 two hunters out in Greene County, Arkansas, watched a Sasquatch apparently trying to catch calf from a herd of domestic cattle. They described the creature as being “an animal bearing the unmistakable likeness of humanity. He was of gigantic stature, the body being covered with hair and the head with long locks that fairly enveloped the neck and shoulders.” As soon as the creature realised that humans were in the vicinity it stopped chasing the cattle and instead stared at the hunters, then turned and ran off at high speed. It left behind human-like footprints that were 13 inches long.

The newspaper that reported the incident speculated that the creature was a human survivor of an earthquake that had taken place in 1811. It was thought that he had taken to an animal-like existence to survive and so had acquired animal-like hair and appearance. It was a not uncommon theory in the 19th century.

In the 1860s similar creatures were reported in Michigan newspapers as having been seen several times around the Lake Saint Claire region. In 1869 “wild men” were reported being seen in Iowa. In 1874 Pennsylvania newspapers carry similar stories, and Indiana newspapers carried reports in 1895 and 1897.

One of the most detailed and interesting of these mid-19th century reports was made by a hunter who had been out near Antioch, California, in 1869. He found a good area and pitched his camp. He soon noticed that while he was out hunting during the day something had come into his camp, scattered the ashes of his fire about and left footprints that looked like those of a man, except for their immense size. Curious, the man decided to secret himself in a patch of brush which gave him a good view of his camp from a distance of about 70 feet. After two hours of waiting he was rewarded when the mysterious intruder arrived.

“The creatures, whatever it was, stood five feet high and disproportionately broad and square at the shoulders, with arms of great length. The legs were very short and the body long. The head was small compared with the rest of the creature and appeared to be set upon his shoulders without a neck. The whole was covered with dark brown and cinnamon coloured hair, quite long on some parts, that on the head standing in a shock and growing close down to the eyes.”

After looking around carefully, the creature kicked the embers of the camp fire. It bent down and picked up a stick which it whirled around its head producing a circle of smoke. After the glowing end of the stick had gone out, the beast threw its head back and whistled. Then it picked up a second stick and again swung it around. After about fifteen minutes the creature “was joined by another – a female unmistakably – when both turned and walked past me, within 20 yards of where I sat, and disappeared into the brush.” Given the date of the encounter, the writer’s reference to the second creature being unmistakably female would probably mean that it had breasts.

The hunter concluded by saying that he had met one other hunter who had seen the creatures, and about a dozen more who had seen mysterious gigantic human-like footprints. This acceptance of the reality of the creatures by those who spent a lot of time in the forested hills is a feature of theses early cases that surfaces again and again. The educated townsfolk who wrote and read the newspapers were amazed by the stories of wild men, the hunters and trappers were not.

In 1895 a man named of Riley Smith was picking berries near Winsted, Connecticut, when his bulldog came dashing out of a patch of woodland whimpering and trying to hide behind Smith. Wondering what had caused this, Smith stood up to see “a large man, stark naked and covered with hair all over his body” emerge from the trees. The instant the “wild man” saw Smith it gave a terrifying yell, then turned and fled back into the woods. Smith later admitted that he had been paralysed with fear.

Meanwhile, newspaper reports were beginning to term these unusual creatures “gorillas” in deference to the newly discovered great apes of the African forests. The idea that the sightings were of men gone wild was gradually dropped in favour of the idea that they were gorillas or similar apes escaped from zoos or travelling shows. A newspaper report from Arkansas ended with the words “If this meets the eye of any showman who has lost one of his collection of beasts, he may know where to find it. At present it is the terror of all women and children in the valley. It cannot be caught and nobody is willing to shoot it. ”

This last comment is interesting as it is the first appearance in print of a feature of many later Sasquatch sightings. Several hunters have had a Sasquatch square in the sights of their rifle, only to find themselves unwilling to shoot. There is something about the Sasquatch that seems to be very human, which would make killing one something like murder. Others have been less squeamish and have blasted away at a Sasquatch without compunction but also, at least to date, without much effect.


For more informaiton on the Bigfoot see the book written by Rupert Matthews “Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures.” The book is available from Amazon. 
 
You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

The Eastern Bigfoot

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures.

-----------------

The Eastern Bigfoot
By Rupert Matthews

Some researchers draw a clear distinction between sightings of the classic Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, and those of the Eastern Bigfoot. While the classic Bigfoot looks and behaves like a real wild animal, its eastern counterpart behaves in a very different fashion. It frequents heavily populated areas, has a rather different appearance and - most disturbingly - is prone to attack humans.

A few sightings of the Eastern Bigfoot give a flavour of the odd behaviour of this cryptid - if that is what it is.

Lew Lister had been driving home the 18 year old girl who would later become his wife. The young couple pulled over at the side of the road that led to the girl’s farmhouse home near Point Isabel in Ohio. They saw an unnaturally tall human-like figure approaching over a field. The thing moved with a series of bounding leaps. Lew switched on the car’s headlights to get a better look at the creature. It was revealed to be tall, two-legged, covered with yellowish blonde hair and possessing enormous eyes that glowed a blazing orange.

As soon as the headlights came on the creature began running toward the car. It passed through a wire fence, rather than jumping over it and then began to attack. It reached in through the open window trying to grab at Lister, but he managed to duck aside and wind up the window. The girl, meanwhile, felt mesmerized by the creature’s orange eyes. The creature curled back its lips to reveal hideous fangs. Then it dropped down on to all fours, snarled and vanished into thin air.

Another apparent Eastern Bigfoot attack took place on 13 September 1965. Christine van Acker, aged 17, and her mother were driving through woods near Monroe in Michigan. It was a balmy night and the pair had the car windows down. Suddenly a hulking great figure stepped out of the trees to stand in the road. It was about 7 feet tall and covered in dark hair. Christine, a novice driver, tried to swerve past it and accelerate, but succeeded only in stalling the car. Seconds later the creature was beside the car and reached in. The smell was overpowering. It put a hairy hand on Christine’s head and banged her head against the steering wheel. Then it turned and walked off as another vehicle approached.

Even more terrifying was the Bigfoot encountered by James Crabtree when out squirrel hunting near Fouke, Arkansas, in 1965. He saw some horses bolting across a field and heard what he thought was a dog howling in pain. Going to investigate, 14 year old Crabtree found himself suddenly confronted by something 8 foot tall, human-shaped and was covered with reddish hair. The beast’s face was completely featureless, apart from a broad nose and masses of cascading hair. This hairy being began moving toward Crabtree with solid, lumbering steps. Crabtree raised his shotgun and blasted the creature at a range of about 25 feet. The shot had no effect, so Crabtree shot again. Again, it had no effect. This time the boy lifted the gun so that its barrel was pointing at the Bigfoot’s head at a range of under 10 feet and pulled the trigger. Still the beast came lumbering forward. Crabtree fled, and got away uninjured.

Equally odd, though reported in all good faith, was the 7 foot tall Bigfoot covered in glossy black fur that was reported to be strolling through a park in Morristown, New Jersey, on 21 May 1966.


For more informaiton on the Bigfoot see the book written by Rupert Matthews “Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures.” The book is available from Amazon. 
 
You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

The Bluff Creek Bigfoot case

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures.


-----------------

Bigfoot Hits the Headlines
By Rupert Matthews

The Bigfoot or Sasquatch is a cryptid (allegedly real animal as yet unrecognised by science) that lives in the densely forested wilderness areas of northwestern North America. Reports about this gigantic upright walking ape had been filtering out of the area for decades, but nobody really took any notice of it until events at Bluff Creek in 1958. The fact that the stories got such wide coverage was partly due to the fact that reports about the Yeti had been filling the international news media for some years. Cryptozoology – though the word had not yet really caught on – was an acceptable topic for coverage. It was also due to the dramatic and very photogenic evidence that was produced. Any reporter will confirm that a good photo will “give legs” to a story and ensure that it continues to run, while the same story without a photo would soon die down and lose public interest.

The trail of events actually began in 1957 when work began on building a road through the Bluff Creek area of northern California that was designed to aid the logging industry by opening the region up to heavy machinery. The head of the firm hired to do the job was Ray Wallace, who had his brother Wilbur as one of the team foremen handling the actual workteam tasked with clearing a flat roadbed through the rugged and densely forested terrain. The Wallace company was an established construction outfit in the area and was running more than one project.

With hindsight workmen at a Wallace site near Mad River remembered that in March 1958 they found some strange tracks. Nobody could recall exactly what they looked like, and at least one man said that they were bear tracks while another said that they were faked by some unidentified prankster who wanted to spook the workmen. At this distance in time it is impossible to state anything definitive about this event, except that it was odd but quickly dismissed at the time. It is only later events that have given it any importance.

On 3 August the workmen on the Bluff Creek Road turned up for work to find some of their equipment disturbed. A spare tire weighing around 700lb had been rolled about, causing the men to wonder who or what had been interfering. On 27 August the workmen found that the site had again been visited by something odd overnight, but this time it had left footprints.

It was Gerald Crew, known as Jerry, who found the footprints. They were impressed into the soft soil around his bulldozer. The footprints were later described as being exactly like those of a naked human foot, but much larger. At first Crew thought that they must be some sort of practical joke, but after following the tracks about and studying them move closely he became convinced that they had really been left by some huge man of some kind. He went to see his foreman, Wilbur Wallace, who came to look at the tracks. The other workmen also studied the prints. After some discussion it was decided to ignore the strange nocturnal intruder – so long as he did not turn up during daylight hours when the workcrew were on site.

On 21 September the local newspaper, the Humboldt Times, printed a letter from Mrs Jess Bemis about the events up at Bluff Creek. Jess Bemis was the wife of one of the workmen on the site. The letter was printed, and prompted the editor Andrew Genzoli to dig out some old stories along similar lines. Reporter Betty Allen then made the link between the mysterious giant footprints and the stories that had been circulating for years about a hairy man-ape that the white settlers and farmers called “Big Foot”. Allen went out to talk to people who had seen either the tracks of the man-ape itself. On 28 September she had a piece published about the creature she called “Bigfoot”, summarising the evidence known to that date. She also suggested that next time somebody found any footprints they should take a cast using plaster of paris.

Then, on 1 October, Jerry Crew and the work gang at Bluff Creek found more footprints that had been left overnight around their worksite. Two of the workers promptly quit. Wilbur Wallace sent for his brother, and boss, Ray Wallace to come up to Bluff Creek to inspect the situation and talk to the workmen. Meanwhile Jerry Crew had called an old friend of his, Bob Titmus, who went to see Betty Allen to get some plaster of paris and instructions on how to use it. On 3 October Titmus arrived at the worksite and, with Crew, poured the plaster into the clearest of the footprints.

The cast was taken down to the offices of the Humboldt Times by Crew. The man and the cast were photographed and the amazing photo used to illustrate an article by Andrew Genzoli. It was that combination of a stunning photo, solid evidence and well researched writing that propelled the “Bigfoot” into the national media. The story was taken up and reprinted across the USA and Canada, then filtered out to media in other countries.

Back at Bluff Creek, the excitement mounted when on 12 October two workers – Ray Kerr and Bob Breaezle – actually sighted the mysterious footprint maker. Driving along a local dirt road after dark, they momentarily caught a gigantic upright figure in their headlights. The creature ran off into the woods very quickly, but the two men described a hairy human figure well over 6 feet tall. Within 48 hours another 13 men had left their jobs on the road construction project.

Bob Titmus was meanwhile out in the forests looking for signs of the mysterious creature. So far as is known he was the first man ever to go out into the forests looking for Sasquatch. He found some more footprints, and took casts.


For more informaiton on the Bigfoot see the book written by Rupert Matthews “Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures.” The book is available from Amazon. 
 
You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

The Splashing Hooves

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Haunted Hampshire.

-----------------

The Splashing Hooves
By Rupert Matthews

Of all the haunted sites in Buckinghamshire, few are as atmospheric as the Ford at Fulmer.
 
The narrow lanes around the village of Fulmer are lined by high hedges which are awash with wildflowers in the spring and summer. Birds rustle through the undergrowth and hatchlings call for their mothers. Come autumn and berries line the lanes where brambles twist between the hedges and fences, while old man’s beard sits gently on the branches. Even in winter these lanes are delightful places. The hedges shelter the walker from the chill winds while frost decorates the landscape with its sparkling white magic.
 
But the atmosphere quickly changes when you approach the ford. The trees crowd in upon the road, reaching to meet overhead in a dark embrace that blots out the sunlight. The road dips suddenly downward and at once the air is chill and dank. Silence replaces bird song and even the air seems still and silent in this shaded spot. There certainly does seem to be something odd about this place.

At night the atmosphere is even more marked. The overhanging trees cut off what light might come from the moon or stars and the ford is plunged into an almost solid blackness. It is at such times that the distant clump, clumpity, clump of approaching horses can be heard. As the horses draw nearer, the crunching rumble of carriage wheels becomes distinct.

Odd this, as the road is now metalled over with tarmac, but the hooves and wheels seem to be crunching through gravel. Then, suddenly, horse and carriage plunges into the ford. Water is splashed by the hooves and wheels as the vehicle drives through the waters of the Alder Bourne, then emerge again and push on up towards Gerrards Cross.
 
Odder still is the fact that although the sounds are quite distinct, nothing is to be seen. The horse and carriage which careers through the ford are quite invisible. It is, Ghosthunter has been told by one who has heard it, a most unnerving experience.
 
Fortunately it is not all ghostly gloom around Fulmer. The Black Horse, which stands beside the church in the village centre, offers welcome hospitality after an encounter with the chilling atmosphere of the ford. Visitors are welcome to park their cars in the ample car park beside the pub while the walk down to the ford, so long as they seek refreshment in the Black Horse afterwards. Ghosthunter can recommend the roast lamb shank, but a tempting array of other dishes are also on offer.
 
And you can learn the strange tale of local character Slippery Dickory while you are there.

The Ford lies just to the east of the village of Fulmer where Hawkswood Lane crosses the Alder Bourne stream. You can park your car beside The Ford if you wish, but the lane is narrow and you will be missing out on a very pleasant walk. Far better to park your car in Fulmer village and walk down the narrow Alderbourne Lane which leaves the village beside the parish church. After half a mile you come to a T-junction. Turn left down the hill into Hawkswood Lane. The Ford is just a hundred yards or so away from the junction. 
 
  
Rupert Matthews is the author of the book Haunted Hampshire which is published by the History Press (ISBN 978-0752448626) and available on Amazon and from all good bookshops. You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He also maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

If you would like to contribute a guest article for the website please contact Richard Thomas at richard@richardthomas.eu.

Ghostly cries at Upton Court, Slough

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Haunted Hampshire.

-----------------

“Why?  Why?”
By Rupert Matthews

It is a disturbing phantom which haunts Upton Court and the adjacent Upton Court Park. More than one witness to the haunting has come away unable to sleep for some nights afterwards. For not only is this a particularly gruesome ghost, but its plaintive wail seems to penetrate the brain and haunts the mind as surely as the ghost haunts Upton Court Park itself.

If you want to encounter this disturbing ghost, then Friday evenings as the day turns to dusk are said to be the best time to visit. Not that those who see it would want to repeat the experience.

“I was taking the dog for a walk,” one witness told Ghosthunter. "I had covered a fair bit of ground and were coming back up the long walk that runs from the main road past the children’s playground. I saw a woman standing on the grass in a light-coloured coat. At first I took little notice. I thought she was someone else walking the dog or something. Then she turned to me and I saw she had spilled something down the front of her coat or dress. It was bright red and I realised it was blood. Then she started to sob and cry. It was really upsetting. I thought something must be very wrong. She looked off to one side and called out 'Why? Why', then began crying again. She called out 'Why?' one more time, then vanished.”
 
When asked how she vanished, the man said “She seemed to shake to pieces, sort of like if you are looking at something reflected in a pond and then splash the surface, but not quite like that. It was really weird.”
 
The gentleman at the Sough Council Parks Department knew about the ghost and was happy to confirm to Ghosthunter that it was of a lady in a pale dress. But he had not seen it. Instead, he was keen to emphasise the sporting and leisure facilities on offer in the park which are, indeed, impressive.
 
Who this ghost may be is unknown, but it is generally believed that she is connected in some way with Upton Court. She is said to appear most often close to the house and, on occasion, in the house itself. The oldest part of the house dates back to the 15th century when it was the central manor of a large estate owned by Merton Abbey.
 
It was blowing a gale on the Friday when Ghosthunter visited. A cold easterly wind whipped across the bare grassland and moaned in the trees. There were few people out in the park, apart from a couple walking their dog and they slunk off well before dusk. A few cars rumbled slowly down the narrow road towards the Cricket and Rugby Clubs, but these are at the far end of the park from Upton Court itself and far from the haunts of the lady with the bloodstained dress.
 
Suddenly something snatched at Ghosthunter’s shoulder and gripped firmly, but it was only a twig blown loose from a tree in the wind. The pitiful white lady was not walking that Friday night.
  
To find Upton Court and its Park, follow the A4 to the large roundabout where this road crosses the A412. Take the A412 south half a mile to a second roundabout where it turns sharp right and the B376 goes straight on. Upton Court is immediately on your left, set back from the road across a broad lawn. The building is now occupied by private offices and is not open to the public. To reach the Park, turn left at the second roundabout down Upton Court Road and park in the car park situated on the right after about 300 yards. A gate from the car park opens in to Upton Court Park. If using public transport, catch a train to Slough Station. Exit into William Street and walk south to the roundabout which forms a junction with the A4. Turn left and walk about 4 00 yards to the junction with the A412, then proceed as if you were driving. The walk from the station is just over a mile in length.  
  
  
Rupert Matthews is the author of the book Haunted Hampshire which is published by the History Press (ISBN 978-0752448626) and available on Amazon and from all good bookshops. You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He also maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

If you would like to contribute a guest article for the website please contact Richard Thomas at richard@richardthomas.eu.

The Black Monk of Missenden Abbey, Great Missenden

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Haunted Hampshire.

-----------------

The Black Monk
By Rupert Matthews

The Black Monk of Missenden is one of the most active ghosts in Buckinghamshire. Stories about him in Great Missenden are legion. It almost seems that this phantom takes a positive delight in popping up around the village and giving locals - and visitors - a fright.

The centre of the hauntings is, of course, the Abbey which lies just off the High Street towards the southern end of the village. In medieval times this was a wealthy Augustinian monastery which owned vast estates in the area. As with all such religious houses, Great Missenden was founded on the principles of holiness, poverty and prayer. But the Black Monks of Missenden did not stick to their principles for long.

With increasing wealth and prosperity pouring into the Abbey, the monks acquired a taste for luxury and loose living. The monks were accustomed to slipping out of the Abbey by means of a secret tunnel which led to a tavern in the village. There they discarded their habits and dressed in fashionable clothing, before riding off to enjoy themselves in the fleshpots of London. The phantom Black Monk is said to be one of these spectacularly worldly monks.

By the 1530s the growing scandal could not be suppressed any longer. MIssenden found itself one of the first to be closed down by King Henry VIII in his dissolution of the monasteries.

The Black Monk most often wanders the grounds of the Abbey and the watermeadows to the south. Walking with downturned head and slow footsteps, he is seen plodding across the grass at all hours of the day and night. He is sometimes seen heading east towards the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Built in the 15th century, the church catered to the villagers, but the monks sometimes came here to preach. Some witnesses say he is carrying a sword, which would make him sinful even by the standards of the monks of the Missenden Abbey, but others say it is a staff.

The village itself also plays host to this wide ranging phantom. In the 1970s a glazier at work on a property in the High Street saw a figure dressed in black enter the room on which he was working, although the house was locked and empty. The streets just around the George Inn are a particular favourite for the ghost, though here he is most often glimpsed at night and only indistinctly. The George dates back to the 15th century, so perhaps this is the tavern where the monks would change their clothing.

Missenden Abbey is these days a Conference Centre and venue for weddings, birthday parties and the like and is not open to the general public. However, a public footpath does run around the grounds and from here you can see the meadows where the Black Monk is at his most active. To find the footpath, walk away from the village southward along the High Street, which becomes London Road. After about 300 yards there is a gravel road on the left which leads to an iron kissing gate. This is the start of the footpath which runs across the meadows flanking the River Misbourne before climbing the hill to the parish church and thence, down Church Lane, returns to the village centre. It makes for an enjoyable half hour walk which Ghosthunter thoroughly recommends.
 
Great Missenden is well served by both road and rail. The A413 runs by way of a modern bypass to the east of the village. If approaching by car, exit the A413 at the roundabout where the A 4128 heads off to the west. This road runs directly into the village centre and a small car park can be found just on the right of the road. If coming by rail, alight at Great Missenden Station and walk out into Station Approach and then turn right to reach the centre of the village. If you need refreshment after tracking the Black Monk around his usual haunts, you are not short of choices. Great Missenden has a number of pubs, each of which is most welcoming and serves very tasty food. It would be unfair to pick out one for recommendation at the expense of the others. Just take your pick. The Black Monk does!
   
If you know of any local ghosts or other strange phenomena, contact the Bucks Ghosthunter on: ghosthunter@bretwalda.demon.co.uk or 07721 455944.
 
  
Rupert Matthews is the author of the book Haunted Hampshire which is published by the History Press (ISBN 978-0752448626) and available on Amazon and from all good bookshops. You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He also maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

If you would like to contribute a guest article for the website please contact Richard Thomas at richard@richardthomas.eu.

The Phantom Martyrs

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Haunted Hampshire.

-----------------

The Phantom Martyrs
By Rupert Matthews

As one of the oldest buildings in Amersham, it hardly surprising to learn that the Chequers pub is haunted. But what is unusual is the nature of the ghosts to be found in this charming old inn and the frequency with which they are seen.

Because there is not one ghost in the pub, but nine! Some are more active than others, of course, but the welcoming landlord Stuart is happy to tell you about them all.

The main part of The Chequers was built in about 1450, and fifty years later the gruesome events which led to the haunting took place. In those days religion was not a subject to be trifled with. The Catholic authorities took a very dim view of Protestant ‘troublemakers’ who went around making outrageous demands such as wanting the Bible printed in English, or asking how paying a thick wadge of cash to the Pope could remit your sins in the eyes of God.

What these ‘troublemakers’ needed, the authorities believed, was a good burning at the stake. And one of the hotbeds of Protestant questioning was Amersham. Which brings us to the Chequers, for it was here that some hapless Protestants were kept under armed guard before being taken out and burnt.

The leader of the Protestants of Amersham was one William Tylsworth. He, together with six other men, were convicted of heresy and condemned to be burnt at the stake in nearby Rectory Woods. The men were kept locked up overnight in an outbuilding of the pub under the watchful eye of a man named Osman. Next day the men were led to their deaths. In a macabre twist, Tylsworth’s own daughter Joan was forced at swordpoint to light the fire that was to kill her father and take him to martyrdom.

It is hardly surprising that the moans and groans of the Amersham Martyrs have continued to disturb this building ever since. At one time the groans were so loud and persistent that it was difficult to sleep at the inn. The chamber where the martyrs were held lies to the back of the pub and can be identified by its old wooden door - the other outbuildings having more modern doors. The moans are today less disturbing than they used to be, which is just as well for the pub does a thriving bed and breakfast business.

There is, however, one small room where paying guests are not put, and with good reason. This room is occasionally visited by a hooded woman dressed all in white. She is said to be the unhappy spirit of Joan, returning to grieve for the father she was forced to kill.

“Actually, I quite like it up here,” Stuart the landlord told Ghosthunter when we visited the haunted room. “It has a very restful atmosphere. I can get on with my paperwork or have a nap without being disturbed by the noise from the bar.” A steely soul indeed to have a nap in the presence of a spectre.

And the bar itself is haunted by an equally persistent ghost. This is Osman, the gaoler who has been condemned to return time and again to the site where he sent innocent martyrs to their deaths. His cloaked figure is seen lurking near the fireplace in the front section of the bar. Not so long ago a new barman who knew nothing of the ghost asked the landlord about the man dressed in black he had seen apparently trying to climb the chimney. Was it a chimney sweep? No, it was Osman.

Ghosts apart, the Chequers is a fine example of an old country inn. The ancient fabric has not been too much altered over the years and the old timbers and beams add character to the bar. The ale is well- kept, as Ghosthunter can testify, and the omelette speciality is every bit as good. Ghosthunting can be hungry work, so what could be more convenient than to find good food in the very place where a haunting takes place?
 
The Chequers public house stands on London Road West, otherwise known as the A365. If you are driving, the pub has its own car park on just off the north side of road. If you are using public transport, take the train to Amersham. On leaving the station walk south down Station Road for about half a mile, then turn left at the roundabout. The Chequers pub is about 100 yards on the left.
   
 
Rupert Matthews is the author of the book Haunted Hampshire which is published by the History Press (ISBN 978-0752448626) and available on Amazon and from all good bookshops. You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He also maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

If you would like to contribute a guest article for the website please contact Richard Thomas at richard@richardthomas.eu.

The Starr Case

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Roswell.

-----------------
The Starr Case
By Rupert Matthews

Not too different was the sighting at Old-Saybrook in Connecticut, USA, on 16 December 1957. Mrs. Mary Starr, a retired teacher, was awoken about 2.00am by a bright light shining into her bedroom. She looked out the window to see a cigar-shaped object hovering about 15 feet away in her backyard.

The object was about 30 feet long and dark grey in colour. Along the side was a series of square windows from which a bright light streamed out. Through the windows, Starr could see two men walking about. The object was only about five feet tall, so Starr estimated the men to be about three feet tall, but that they were otherwise quite human. They seemed to be wearing jackets that flared at the waist and had on square helmets that carried a reddish-orange light on top.

Mrs Starr opened her window and leaned out to get a better look. At this point a third figure came into sight through the windows. Then the light inside was switched off and the outer skin of the object began to glow with a dull blue colour. What looked like a wire antenna then rose out of the top of the object and began to emit sparks.

After about five minutes the antenna slid back into the object, which began to glow more brightly. The UFO then moved off as a row of small, circular lights appeared around its centreline. After clearing the yard fence, the object tilted upward and accelerated out of sight.
 
 
Rupert Matthews is the author of the book Roswell which is available on Amazon and from all good bookshops. You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He also maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

If you would like to contribute a guest article for the website please contact Richard Thomas at richard@richardthomas.eu.

Maryland Aliens

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Roswell.

-----------------
Maryland Aliens
By Rupert Matthews

Another similar sighting was made barely a week later by Mrs. Suzanne Knight at Seat Pleasant, Maryland, USA. At about 9.30pm the newly married Knight was at home with her sister, her husband being absent on business. She was tidying up the kitchen when she heard a loud buzzing noise coming from the back yard. Looking out she saw what she at first thought was an aircraft diving down to crash into a field.

The object was shaped like an aircraft fuselage, though without wings or tail and was plunging down at a steep angle and high speed. As Mrs Knight watched in alarm, the object pulled out of its dive and came to a standstill, hovering at a height of about 300 feet some 250 feet from the house.

The sides of the object had what looked like square windows through which streamed a bright yellow light. Through the windows Mrs Knight could see several square objects that she later likened to filing cabinets with sloping tops. On top of the object was a dull red light or glow that seemed to be rather diffuse. Underneath the object was slung a long yellow tube or box which also had windows.

At the front of the object was a larger window through which Mrs Knight could see a man. He was sitting bolt upright and staring straight ahead without moving. He had on a hat or helmet of some kind. His skin and clothing appeared yellow, though Mrs Knight thought that this might be due to the yellow light. Otherwise he looked quite human.

After watching the object hover for what she thought was a minute or more, Mrs Knight left the window to phone the local newspaper and call her sister. The newspaper phone was engaged, and her sister did not reply to her shouts.

Mrs Knight then returend to the kitchen window in time to see the object climbing back into the sky. The internal lights had gone out and the object was now more reddish in colour than silver. It began to shimmer as if it were being seen through a heat haze, then it accelerated away.

Mrs Knight’s sister arrived at this point to ask why she had been calling for her. Mrs Knight told her of the UFO, but the sister merely laughed and said that she must have been dreaming. Her husband was more sympathetic and suggested she report the matter, which she did.

 
Rupert Matthews is the author of the book Roswell which is available on Amazon and from all good bookshops. You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He also maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

If you would like to contribute a guest article for the website please contact Richard Thomas at richard@richardthomas.eu.

Aliens at Pittsburg

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Roswell.

-----------------
Aliens at Pittsburg
By Rupert Matthews

Perhaps the first case of a close encounter of the third kind to be made at the time it happened, rather than in retrospect, occured on 25 August 1952. William Squyres, a radio worker in Pittsburg, Kansas, was driving to work through farmland at 5.30am along Highway 60. As he drove he saw something odd in a pasture field that usually held cattle. As he drew closer he saw the object was silvery grey in colour, about 70 feet across and 12 feet high. It was shaped, Squyres said, rather like two soup bowls placed rim to rim and then flattened somewhat.

Squyres drove up until he was alongside the field and only about 100 yards from the object. He then stopped his car and studied the object more clsoely. He could now see that the underside of the object had a faint bluish glow to it. Around the edge of the object was a rim or walkway. From this rose a number of vertical poles, each topped by what seemed to be a spinning propeller. The object was making a dull, throbbing noise.

At one end of the object there were what seemed to be opaque windows through which indistinct objects could be seen moving. At the other end was a completely clear window through which could be seen a man apparently fiddling with controls or instruments. So far as Squyres could make out, the man was entirely human.

Fascinated, Squyres got out of his car to get a better look. Instantly the object began to rise vertically, the throbbing noise increasing in volume as it did so. The object continued to rise slowly for some seconds, then suddenly accelerated and flew off at high speed.

Squyres reported the incident to the USAF in case he had seen some sort of advanced foreign aircraft. An Air Force officer turned up a couple of days later and asked to be shown the site. He found that in the centre of the field the long grass had been squashed flat in a circle about 60 feet in diameter. The grass stems had all been bent over, not broken, and formed a swirling spiral pattern. The officer collected samples of grass and soil and sent them off for analysis - which later found nothing at all unusual.

The sighting of the UFO was in many ways routine and shows many of the usual features of a close encounter of the second kind. The sighting of a pilot for the UFO inclined the Blue Book investigator to put the incident down as an hallucination, if it had not been for the flattened grass. In the event it was put down as unexplained.
 
 
Rupert Matthews is the author of the book Roswell which is available on Amazon and from all good bookshops. You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He also maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.

If you would like to contribute a guest article for the website please contact Richard Thomas at richard@richardthomas.eu.

The Dr. Enrique Botta UFO case

The following guest article is by Rupert Matthews, author of the book Roswell.

-----------------

The Botta Alien
By Rupert Matthews
 
Dr. Enrique Botta in 1950, though he did not talk publicly about the event until 1955 when persuaded to do so by friends. Botta was a former pilot aged about 40 who was in 1950 employed as an engineer working on a construction project in the rural area of Bahia Blanca some 75 miles from Caracas.
 
Botta was driving back to his hotel one evening when he saw a strange object resting in a field. He stopped the car to get a better look. The object was shaped like a domed disc made of a silvery metal. It had no legs or landing gear and seemed to be resting slightly askew. There was an open door on one side.
 
Getting out of his car, Botta walked over the field toward the object and peered through the door. Inside he could see a small, empty room lit by a vague glow and a flashing red light. As Botta touched the object he noticed that although it looked as if it were made of metal, the skin of the craft had a jelly-like softness. Walking inside, Botta passed to a second, much  larger room.
 
In that room Botta saw a curved bench or sofa on which sat three figures facing away from him. Each figure was about four feet tall and dressed in a tight-fitting overall that reached to the neck. The heads were rather large and looked bald.
 
Botta stopped in alarm, but when the figures took no notice of him he approached them. As he got close he saw that the three figures were facing what he assumed to be a control panel. It was filled with guages, lights and what seemed to be meters. Above the panel floated a transparent sphere which rotated slowly.
 
As the figures still took no notice of him, Botta reached out and touched one. The humanoid was rigid and hard, while the skin had the texture of charred wood. Believing that the beings were dead, Botta fled. He dashed to his car and drove off to the hotel where he and fellow engineers working on the project were staying.
 
Botta blurted out his story to his two closest colleagues. One of these men had a gun he used for hunting, and suggested that all three men should return to the craft to inspect it further. It was by now dark, so the three men decided to go in the morning.
 
Next day the three men drove back to the site of the encounter, but the disc-shaped craft had gone. All that was left was a small pile of ashes. One of Botta’s friends stooped to touch it, but found it was hot and his hand turned purple, so he dropped the ash. Botta, meanwhile, had spotted a UFO circling high overhead. It was shaped like a cigar and pulsed with a red glow. After a few minutes it flew off and the men were left alone.
 
The encounter was not yet over. Later that day Botta collapsed with a fever and was rushed to hospital. His skin came up in a rash and began to blister. A test showed no sign of radiation and the doctors thought that a very severe case of sunburn was the most likely explanation, although Botta had not been out in the sun much due to his work. Botta recovered after a few days and returned to work. He decided not to talk about the incident, but later as news of UFO sightings became more common in South America decided to speak out.
  
   
Rupert Matthews is the author of the book Roswell which is available on Amazon and from all good bookshops. You can find Rupert’s website at www.rupertmatthews.com. He also maintains a blog about the unexplained at www.ghosthunteratlarge.blogspot.com.
 
If you would like to contribute a guest article for the website please contact Richard Thomas at richard@richardthomas.eu.