#1
Legend has it that a four-legged fiend with glowing eyes and a blood-curling howl stalks eerie, desolate Dartmoor, in Devon, in the far south west of Britain.

Legend also has it that a pack of phantom black Hounds of Hell prowl these moors, which were the inspiration of Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles. Not to mention that mystery black cats have been spotted in that area over the years as they have throughout Britain.

Could this photograph of a strange animal on Dartmoor in Devon be one of these creatures?


Demon of Dartmoor: Mystery beast seen at hell hound's haunt

by REBECCA CAMBER
29th July 2007
Daily Mail


The mystery creature was photographed in the south western county of Devon



Legend has it that a four-legged fiend with glowing eyes and a blood-curdling howl stalks this very spot.

Which makes these pictures of a mystery creature taken near Hound Tor on Dartmoor more intriguing than ever.

Seen only yards away from a party of schoolchildren, the animal has a thick, shaggy coat, rounded ears and large front limbs which would be powerful enough to tear human flesh.


The Beast in close-up: Some think it is a bear or wolverine


Some say it is a wild dog or cat. More fanciful theories include wolverine or bear.

Whatever its identity, the Beast of Dartmoor is giving some farmers sleepless nights because they fear it will prey on their stock.

Falconer Martin Whitley, who photographed the creature, said: "It was walking along a path about 200 yards away from me.

"It was black and grey and comparable in size to a miniature pony. It had very thick shoulders, a long, thick tail with a blunt end and small round ears.

"Its movements appeared feline, then bear-like sprang to mind. There was a party climbing on the tor opposite making a racket but it ignored them completely."


On the prowl: The creature trots along oblivious to the crowd of schoolchildren nearby



A pack of spectral dogs known as the Whist Hounds or Hounds of Hell is said to roam the area according to local folklore, which inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write the Sherlock Holmes mystery The Hound of the Baskervilles.

The author is said to have been inspired by the legend of Squire Richard Cabell, a keen hunter from Brook Manor, Buckfastleigh, Devon.

The squire was rumoured to have sold his soul to the Devil and after he died on July 5, 1677, a phantom pack of black hunting dogs with glowing red eyes is said to have raced across Dartmoor on the night of his interment, breathing fire and howling at his tomb.

According to local legend, the demonic hounds have roamed the moor ever since and can often be seen around the anniversary of his death (just three and a half weeks ago) prowling around the grave trying to get the promised soul for the Devil.

The founder of the national research network Big Cats in Britain, Mark Fraser, said: "It looks like a wolverine or a bear in some shots and a big wild dog in others. It is a very strange animal."

Mr Whitley is adamant that the creature is not a wild dog.

He added: "I have worked with dogs all my life and it was definitely not that.

"I have seen a collie-sized black cat in the area about ten years ago and it was not that - this was a lot bigger.

"You would be surprised at the number of people who have seen black big cats and something resembling a small bear in the area over the course of the years."

Disappointingly for those who possess a vivid imagination, the most likely explanation yesterday was that the Beast is nothing more supernatural than a large and hairy wild boar.

North Devon farmer Al Dedames lost more than 100 of his stock of boar in December 2005 when animal rights activists raided his farm and destroyed fencing.

Since then, more than half are thought to have died in road traffic accidents or been shot by farmers or hunters.

But those which survived have bred and up to 175 are said to be roaming the wilds of Devon and Somerset.

dailymail.co.uk
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jul 30th, 2007 at 12:07 PM..