Cannock Chase is an area of outstanding natural beauty in the West Midlands of the U.K. The district is also mainly renowned for its dense forests and the remains of an Iron Age fort. In recent times, however, the locality has added another – altogether more supernatural – string to its bow.
How? Well, over the past few decades, Cannock Chase has become infamous as being something of a paranormal focal point. From UFOs to a female ghost, some locals have reportedly been witness to some very unusual phenomena. The alleged sightings of at least one werewolf in the area, however, are perhaps the most frightening to hear about.
Still, there’s said to be a plethora of mysterious, unexplained creatures in the U.K. From the Beast of Bodmin Moor – a big cat supposedly roaming an area of Cornwall – to Scotland’s very own aquatic behemoth, the Loch Ness Monster, there are several unusual beings apparently lurking in the country’s darkest, oldest corners.
But werewolves are not your usual, run-of-the-mill big cats; they’re the stuff of nightmares. Indeed, these human-wolf hybrids are arguably more fearsome than either of the animals of which they are constituted, and the creatures have been the backbone of terrifying legends for centuries.
The folklore surrounding lycanthropes has been popularized in the West through movies such as An American Werewolf in London, Dog Soldiers and the Twilight films. It’s also said that a human will actually be transformed after a bite from a werewolf, since the injury somehow infects the victim with the condition.
Other well-known were-tropes include the theories that infected humans will turn into werewolves at the time of a full moon and that the beasts themselves have an aversion to silver – since using a bullet cast from the metal is apparently the only way to kill a werewolf. Then there’s the reputation the creatures have as bloodthirsty, rampant hunters.
Not all werewolves are created equal, however. There are some who believe that a second type of the being exists – one that lives its life as a mixture of wolf and man, having lost the ability to shift back and forth due to age.
It’s not known exactly which kind of werewolf the creature allegedly terrorizing Cannock Chase is purported to be. Sightings of the beast are reported to date back more than 40 years, though – to 1975. Furthermore, these visions are theorized to be linked to the fate of a young man from a small town just outside Stafford, England – one who, by several accounts, met a very sad end.
The 17-year-old in question had reportedly been using a Ouija board to contact the Devil. The reason? The boy is said to have wanted to offer his soul to Satan in order to gain the power to turn himself into a werewolf. Not long after this negotiation apparently took place, however, the teenager allegedly made a call to a confidante, with the boy explaining in a panic that he was indeed becoming a werewolf.
Then, some time after that phone call, the young man allegedly ended his life using a knife. After that, the mysterious wolfman sightings at Cannock Chase, which is located near to Stafford, began. Coincidence? Perhaps. Or just maybe that young man got his wish…
And according to a 2009 report from the BBC, a group of supernatural investigators stopped by the area in 1975 an attempt to see the werewolf for themselves. What’s more, their visit was apparently fruitful, as members of the group revealed that they had seen a growling creature square up onto its hind legs and then flee in the direction of nearby vegetation.
Since then, there have been more than 20 alleged glimpses of a werewolf in Cannock Chase. Even spookier, many of the purported meetings are said to have taken place in a cemetery dedicated to German war casualties. In addition, there have been reports of pets going missing in the vicinity – not to mention an apparent spate of deer maimings in the area.
And the accounts of werewolf encounters often bear an air of legitimacy, according to Damon Simms. In 2016 the specialist in the field of paranormal investigations told local newspaper The Sentinel, “There have been many creditable people who have claimed to have seen the werewolf, including rangers, an ex-police officer and a good friend of mine who is a civil surveyor.”
One such witness was reportedly a scout leader, who in 2007 was walking in the woods when he allegedly encountered something that he couldn’t explain. The man apparently told Nick Duffy, a member of the West Midlands Ghost Club that, at first, he assumed the creature lurking nearby was merely a particularly big dog.
After the scout leader got into his car, however, the creature seemingly transformed into something altogether more frightening. In 2007 Duffy recounted the unnamed man’s story to the Stafford Post, saying, “[The beast] reared up on its back legs and ran into the trees. It must have been six to seven feet tall.”
Then there’s the story of the postman who also witnessed something very unusual, according to Duffy. The fan of the supernatural explained to the Stafford Post, “[The postman] told me that he had seen a large dog. But when he got closer, the creature got on his hind legs and ran away.” The scariest part? This encounter purportedly happened during daylight hours.
And if those witnesses and their reports aren’t enough evidence for you, how about something you can actually see for yourself? Believe it or not, film of what looks to be a mysterious, wolfman-like creature was taken at the woods in Cannock Chase in January 2009.
The footage depicts a tall creature standing on two legs and looking suspiciously like a werewolf. The apparent lycanthrope is then seen pausing before eventually moving into the tree line. It’s a brief but intriguing glimpse of something that no one has yet been able to explain.
But while many are skeptical about the creature’s existence – even when the video is taken into account – the jury is still out for Simms. The investigator said to The Sentinel, “The history of the place gives [the theory] credence. There’s been murders and all sorts of horrendous things gone up there. [Cannock Chase] has got a dark past.”
So, with the evidence piling up, it seems that the case of the Cannock Chase werewolf is a long way from being closed. Are there lycanthropes running around a cemetery there, terrifying the locals and attacking deer and pets? Well, it’s up to you to decide…