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..

Saturday, 9 January 2010


Woolsery is a very strange place at times. About a mile and a half south of the village is an area of Forestry Commission woodland called Powler's Peice.

I have always liked it down there; there are deer a-plenty; both roe and red (and the occasional muntjac); and there are several small ponds that are chocker with palmated newts every spring. But it is undoubtedly freaky.

It has a very strange atmosphere, and Corinna has always refused to ever go there on her own. On several occasions when she has been walking the dog down there with the girls she has felt the sensation of "being watched" and the dog has stopped dead in his tracks in exactly the same place.

Yesterday afternoon she, Shosh and Gavin were taking the dog for his afternoon run (it is far too slippery for me to even risk it) and deep in the woods on one of the rides, traversed only by the occasional Forestry Commission worker and the most intrepid of dog walkers, she found a small, squat, and very ritualistic looking snowman. Or rather snow-woman, because her above-the-waist secondary sexual characteristics were clearly visible. It is only the lack of anything below the waist that stops me labelling her a snowy sheela-na-gig.

It is hard not to see her as a depiction of one of the tree spirits who guard the wood and make visitors feel so uncomfortable.

Very strange.

Even Biggles felt compelled to make several offerings to this snowy dryad (note the lower picture and the yellow stains on her right hand side in the upper).

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