In many ways we are very lucky. We get to travel around the world looking for mystery animals, and then write books about our adventures. Of course it isn’t quite as simple as that, because there is a whole slew of mundane administration and stuff, but on the whole doing what we do is a heck of a lot better than having a proper job. We live in Woolsery and we run The Centre for Fortean Zoology – the world’s largest mystery animal research group, and once a year we invite devotees of the weird and wonderful here for the internationally famous Weird Weekend.

We also write a monthly column for The Bideford Post and we decided that it was about time that we introduced Weird Torridgeside to the blogosphere..

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

NEIL ARNOLD: The Beast of Bideford!

Quite often local stories containing the word ‘beast’ in the headline are explained by domestic animals or on occasion, the local ‘big cat’. However, a good friend of mine, a Mr Vic Harris, who lives near Bristol, and who I consider to be a very sane person, had a peculiar sighting of a creature I hope the readers of this blog may be able to identify. His report reads as follows:

'Somewhere on the A39 between Bideford and Bucks Cross, 20/08/08 - 5pm
I don't really like driving, so on holiday I let my wife do all the driving and I get to look around and see if I can spot any interesting animals !!!

We were going pretty slow due to traffic, probably only 10 miles an hour , I was scanning the fields to my left , the field we were level with was empty and quite small only a few hundred yards wide. In the middle of the field was what appeared to be a furry red hump, as I drew level with it I got a pretty good look at it. It was definitely unlike anything I had ever seen roaming about our countryside before.


  • Overall length - tip of tail to tip of nose 6 to 7 feet


  • Height - 2 to 3 feet at the top of the hump.


  • Huge bushy tail.


  • Long thin face.


  • Colour was red, but not like a fox more like maroon, like the cushion below, but it also had some rusty brown around the shoulders and head.







    • The fur was short and course.


    • The creature seemed to be digging with really thick front legs.



    • My kids saw it as well and got quite excited as it looked so strange! I know the above description sounds pretty crazy but as you know I've spent a lot of time in the countryside and spent most of my child hood roaming the wilds around the river Wye, so I know what our wild life looks like and I'm very observant and take in visual details well and retain them easily, I usually know what I'm looking at when I see an animal and this was not a fleeting glimpse, I had a really good look at it, so I had time to dismiss any mistaken identities'.
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