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Bigfoot...in Britain?

Britain is the country traditionally associated with ghosts and fairies?but Bigfoot? However, Bigfoot encounters are being reported all over the U.K. and have increased dramatically over the last six weeks. They've been seen in a forest in Sussex, and reported from Lancashire, Sherwood Forest, Scotland, and most of all, from Bolam Lake in rural Northumberland. The reports are so similar that everyone must be seeing the same creature?whatever it is.

Three Bolam Lake fisherman had encounters with the massive man-ape. They were fishing in the evening, while the park was deserted, when they became aware of a strange feeling of being watched (something commonly associated with Bigfoot sightings). They were walking back along a wooden pathway towards their car when one of them saw what looked like a dark figure standing behind him in the moonlight shining through the trees. He says, "I was sure it was a person, the others did not see it at first. I pointed towards the figure?it looked about 8 feet tall, heavy built, its eyes, or what seemed to be its eyes, glowed in the darkness. We ran, top speed, all the way back to the car. I had a camera in my bag, but the thought had not crossed my mind, too scared I think."

One of the men had reported seeing the same figure last March at night, but this time near the hilly remains of an Iron Age settlement. He described the creature as being dark brown in color with huge muscular arms. A few weeks later, he and a friend camped out on the hill after an evening's fishing. At about 1am, he heard snapping of branches and two loud thuds. After a sleepless night, he and his friend found their tackle box lying on its side with everything spilled out and their fish missing.

Last year, a four-man team from the Center for Fortean Zoology went in search of the creature that had been attacking swans at a Lancashire Nature Reserve. The culprit turned out to be a giant catfish from Eastern Europe. Could it be something that ordinary this time? "There simply isn't a suitable climate, habitat, or food source in Britain to support an unknown great ape," says cryptozoologist Richard Freeman. ?But then again I would love to be proved wrong." During a week-long expedition, Richard plans to play recordings of known ape species and also sounds supposedly made by Sasquatch in the U.S., in an attempt to attract the Bolam Bigfoot.

Recently, sightings of big cats have also been reported from the English countryside. Two girls out jogging were left terrified by a "lion," while a nearby driver saw a giant cat in the road. A big cat was also seen on the grounds of Alnwick Castle. Are these panthers escaped from country house zoos or unknown creatures?

Throughout history there have been many English legends about wild creatures. At Bamburgh, on the North Northumberland coast, a folk tale tells of the Laidley Worm, a dragon-like creature. In the south of the region, another dragon known as the Lambton Worm is legendary. Near Alnwick, sightings of the "Wooly Man of Rugley" have been reported for centuries, while in Medieval times, people in the woods at Callaly saw a giant "devil pig."

Expedition team member John Fuller says, ??How often does one get the chance to confront a medieval folk tale which seems to have come to life?"

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