Friday, 19 February 2010

Folklore Accounts Part two

Big cat or phantom hound ?

From Richard Jefferies 'Wild Life In A Southern County' (1879):

‘Near by the hollow, where the stream crosses the lane, is another spirit, but of an indefinite kind, that does not seem to take shape, but causes those who go past at the time when it has power to feel a mortal horror.

A black dog may be seen in at least two different places: the wayfarer is suddenly surprised to find a gigantic animal of the deepest jet trotting by his side, or he sees a dark shadow detach itself from the bushes and take the form of a dog. The black dog has perhaps more vitality, and survives in more localities than all the apparitions that in the olden times were sworn to by persons of the highest veracity. They may still be heard of in many a nook and corner. I have known people of the present day who were positive that there really was “something” weird in the places where the dog was said to appear.

It is supposed that horses are peculiarly liable to take fright and run away, to shy, or stumble, and break their knees, at a certain spot in the road. They go very well till just on passing the fatal spot a sudden fear seizes them as if they could see something invisible to men; sometimes they bolt headlong, sometimes stand stock-still and shiver, or throw the rider by a rapid side movement. In the daytime – for this supernatural effect is felt in broad day as well as at night – the horse more frequently falls or stumbles, as if checked by an invisible force in the midst of his career. This, too, is a living superstition, and some persons will recount a whole string of accidents that have happened within a few yards; till at last, such is the force of iteration, the most incredulous admit it to be a series of remarkable coincidences. These last two, the black dog and the dangerous place in the road, are believed in by people of a much higher grade than carters…

The carters have a story about horses which had spent the night in a meadow being found the next morning in a state of exhaustion, as if they had been ridden furiously during the hours of darkness. They were totally unfit for work the next day. Instances are even given where men have hidden in a tree with a gun, and when the horses began to gallop fired at something indistinct sitting on their haunches, which something at once disappeared, and the excitement ceased. But these things are said to have happened a long time ago.’

Folklore Accounts Part One

Big cat, bear, or something stranger in Sussex ?

When Spring-Heeled Jack fever hit the foggy streets of London in 1838, The Times reported that on the 14th April the same year, another Spring-Heeled Jack was on the rampage, but in Sussex. Peculiarly, in this instance ‘he’ was described as a bear. Strangely, in several discussions held at Mansion House in the capital, the spring-heeled marauder, was said to have many guises, and was described as a ‘ghost’, ‘bear’ and a ‘devil’.

The Times wrote: ‘Spring-Heeled Jack has, it seems, found his way to the Sussex coast. On Friday evening, between nine and ten o’clock, he appeared, as we are informed, to a gardener near Rose Hill, “ the shape of a bear or some other fur-footed animal”, and having first attracted attention by a growl, then mounted the garden wall, and ran along it upon all fours, to the great terror and consternation of the gardener, who began to think it time to escape.
He was accordingly about to leave the garden, when Spring-Heeled Jack leapt from the wall, and chased him for some time; the dog was called, but slunk away, apparently as much terrified as his master. Having amused himself for some time with the trembling gardener, Spring-Heeled Jack scaled the wall and made his exit. The fellow may probably amuse himself in this way one to often.’

Monday, 15 February 2010

Neil Arnold's upcoming talks:

Tuesday 16th February 2010 - 7:00pm - Eastchurch Gardening Club, Village Hall, Warden Rd, Sheppey.

Thursday 18th February 2010 - 7:30 pm - Rodmersham WI, Rodmersham Village Hall.

Tuesday 23rd February 2010 - 10:00 am - Bexley NHS Retirement Fellowship, Social Club, Calvert Drive, Bexley.

Wednesday 24th February 2010 - 2:00pm - Dartford KARF, Brent Methodist Church Hall, St Vincents Rd, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1XF

Wednesday 3rd March 2010 - 2:00pm - Gravesham Ladies Club, Christ Church Hall, Old Rd East, DA12 1NR,

Wednesday 3rd March 2010 - 8:00pm - Matfield WI, Matfield Village Hall.

Monday 8th March 2010 - 7:30 pm - London Monster Walk - Meet at outside Starbucks next to Holborn Viaduct.

Tuesday 9th March 2010 - 8:30pm - Halstead WI, Halstead Village Hall, Sevenoaks, Kent.

Wednesday 10th March 2010 - 2:00pm - Ashford ARA, Centrepiece, Bank Street, Ashford, Kent.

Monday 15th March 2010 - 8:00pm - Allington Castle WI, Palace Wood School, Allington, Maidstone.

Tuesday 16th March 2010 - 2:00pm - Meopham ARA, Meopham Village Hall, Wrotham Rd, Meopham, Kent.

Tuesday 16th March 2010 - 8:00pm - Joydens Wood WI, Community Centre, Birchwood Drive, Joydens Wood.

Wednesday 17th March 2010 - 2:00pm - Faversham ARA, United Church, Preston Street, Faversham, Kent.

Wednesday 17th March 2010- 8:15pm - Detling WI, Detling Village Hall, Maidstone, Kent.

Thursday 18th March 2010 - 7:30pm - NW Kent Group of the Wildlife Trust, Mick Jagger Centre, Dartford Boys Grammar School, Shepherds Lane, Dartford.

Saturday 20th March 2010 - 11:00am - Gravesend Info Centre, 18a St George's Square, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 0TB.

Tuesday 23rd March 2010 - 7:30pm - Explorer Scout Unit, Guzzlebrooke (awaiting details)

Wednesday 24th March 2010 - 10:00am - Crayford Probus Club, VCD Athletic Club, Old Rd, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4DN.

Wednesday 24th March 2010 - 8:15pm - Aylesford WI, Brassey Centre, Aylesford, Kent.

Thursday 25th March 2010 - 2:15pm - Hans Volunteer Group Gillingham, Millennium Centre, Rainham.

Thursday 1st April 2010 - 8:30 pm - Cuxton WI, St Michaels Church Hall, Cuxton.

Tuesday 6th April 2010 - 1:30om - 55+ Fellowship, Wyvern Hall, Sittingbourne.

Monday 12th April 2010 - 1:45pm - Sole Street Monday Club, St Mary's Church, Manor Rd, Sole Street.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sussex big cat sightings - now read the book!

Neil Arnold is a full-time researcher, author and speaker, regarding sightings of elusive 'big cats' in the south-east countryside. For twenty years Neil has accumulated a vast file on sightings across Sussex.

He is the author of MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: KENT (CFZ PRESS) which covers a vast number of Sussex 'big cat' sightings. He writes for magazines and newspapers, and is currently writing MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: SUSSEX

Sightings around Sussex, of black leopard, lynx, puma and smaller exotic felids date back centuries. there is no mystery as to why such animals roam the woodlands of the south-east of England.