Cannock Chase is a beautiful piece of country in Staffordshire, England. It has been designated an “Area of Outstanding Beauty” by the British government. The Chase is home to a number of rare bird species as well as a herd of about 800 fallow deer. It’s also been designated an area of “special scientific interest.”
Natural beauty aside, there’s another intriguing aspect to Cannock Chase—it’s an area of high strangeness and paranormal activity. From cryptids to ghosts, UFOs and weird crimes, the Chase seems to have it all. Such areas of concentrated weirdness are often called “portal areas” or “window areas” and they have always been a special interest of mine. That being the case, it’s always nice to add a new book about these portals areas to the library. The most recent addition is “UFOs Werewolves & The Pig-Man” by author Lee Brickley.
Brickley grew up in the area so he offers insights and accounts directly from his own experiences as well as from locals that he has interacted with over his time investigating the region.
Lee starts the book off with a brief rundown of some of the strange history of Cannock Chase showing that bizarre murders and weird encounters have been a part of the area’s history for a very long time. From there, the book moves on to Alien Encounters with some modern cases, abduction accounts and a look at the Penkridge UFO crash of 1964.
One of my favorite sections of the book covers the weird case of the Werewolf of Hazelslade Wood. The werewolf struck in 2004. There wasn’t even a full moon out; in fact, the attack took place in broad daylight, certainly not typical of classical werewolf mythology. While some aspects of the incident sound as though the creature was a dogman, the young lady who was attacked experienced strange hair growth such as that found in traditional werewolf lore.
Brickley goes on to cover giant snake sightings in the Chase as well as the Cannock Chase Panther a famous “Alien Big Cat” that has been sighted on many occasions.
Next we get a chapter devoted to the Pig-Man. Undoubtedly, the most bizarre being purported to roam about in Cannock Chase. As the name implies, the Pig-Man is a humanoid hybrid of man and pig whose story starts many years ago. The tale involves taboo science experiments, Nazis and a birth that reminds one of the infamous Jersey Devil. Adding to the strangeness, encounters with the Pig-Man continue to be reported in modern times and Brickley includes some interesting accounts that he’s collected from locals to add to the lore.
The book moves on to cover some ghostly events in Cannock Chase. A number of tales are presented including some recent (2012) encounters with ghosts of Roman soldiers in Birches Valley and details of the Black Phantom of Slitting Mill Road. This creepy figure has glowing eyes and has been witnessed levitating over the area. Lee ends the chapter with a report on demonic children, always a creepy topic.
Brickley rounds the book out with a chapter on secret military activity in Cannock Chase. Some interesting information is presented that indicates a series of tunnels may run under the area. Not a big surprise as military and government presence often occurs in portal areas.
I recommend this book. All in all, it is well worth a read if you’re interested in locations of concentrated strangeness or if you just like to read weird accounts of the paranormal. I’m looking forward to more from Lee Brickley and hope he serves up more tales from the mysterious Cannock Chase.
Lee Brickley also has a blog on Paranormal Cannock Chase. It can be found here: