Cannock Chase

bakelite brain

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#1
I've been watching some Youtube videos about Cannock Chase - a mostly wooded area in Staffordshire, UK. When I was in infant school in the mid 1960s we lived in the adjacent village of Little Haywood. I have no recollection of weird stories from so long ago about The Chase. Maybe there weren't many back then because it's mostly new stuff, or maybe my parents thought it best not to inflame the mind of an impressionable seven-year-old.

What I find interesting is the collection of apparitions experienced there; everything from UFOs, cryptids, ghosts and now the 'new-fangled' Black-Eyed Kids and Slenderman.

This poses some interesting points. Does the landscape there:
  • Somehow cause hallucinations?
  • Enhance perception of weird phenomena?
  • Attract weird phenomena of all types - even new ones, and if so how/why?
  • Does it attract folks who to want to "experience" something, not necessarily realising that Black-Eyed Kids and Slenderman are new inventions? (One report claims BEKs were first spotted on The Chase before spreading elsewhere, but I can't find anything to support that.)
I'm not a researcher in the paranormal, just a fascinated onlooker, but I get the impression that once a new phenomenon gets a foothold, or a new site gains a reputation, "critical mass" is soon generated and the stories keep on coming - especially in the social media age. Maybe this observation is already known in paranormal research...

It seems the area has been known for sightings of Black Dogs and werewolves for at least 200 years. Then came along UFOs, Bigfoot, Big Cats, and now the very latest must-see apparitions. Probably unanswerable, but how or why does the place continuously evolve to capture new apparitions? ( I guess the Cannock Chase murders of the 1960s helped enhance the area's notoriety.)

Anyway, I'm curious as to why this relatively small area of forest and scrub-land should ever have gained this reputation. There are suggestions that the Pye Green microwave tower has something to do with it (presumably the radio signals messing with perception), but that wasn't built until the mid 1960s - I remember the local speculation surrounding it. But it should be relatively easy to see if the radio signals from similar installations attracts clusters of rampaging cryptids nearby. Fitzrovia - around the BT tower for example in London - should be rife with increased sightings of UFOs and Bigfoot!

Does anyone have any experiences from Cannock Chase, or thoughts about the area?

BB
 
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bakelite brain

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#3
We went cycling at the Chase last year and had great fun apart from when I fell off every time we reached a certain t-junction.
Lovely area! We'll be back this month.
Yes, there are lots of videos showing the cycling. I see there is now Pay and Display parking, signposted trails, shelters...

Just the luxury of a gravel car park there when I was a kid!

Do they have a paranormal gift shop yet? A ghost tour? Come and spot a werewolf from our air-conditioned hide? They're missing some money-spinning tricks if not...

BB
 

Eponastill

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#4
I like your thoughtful post, BB.
I've never been to Cannock Chase :) so this is pure speculation from a position of complete ignorance. I've got two thoughts. One, that it was an area with lots of deep coal mines, and coal miners are a superstitious lot (which I think is fair enough given the dangerous conditions of working in a mine). So my unwarranted total leap is that the local area might be receptive to / full of weird folklore? And secondly, that wild areas are strange numinous spots at the best of times, and in sharp contrast to the built up areas nearby - it's very accessible isn't it. Weird stories beget more weird stories (especially if you're expecting something weird?) It used to have a reputation for being a bit of a wilderness. But now isn't it planted forestry commission style, a lot of it? Those dark plantations are a bit weird. Or is it just that pissed / stoned teenagers find it a good spot to hide out. And then freak themselves out.
This isn't really helping with the explanation for why it's a 'focus area' for such stories though, as opposed to somewhere else hmmm.

What would you recommend as a good source of these stories? (and do they really go back as far as you say? or is that a necessary part of the lore, that they do?)
 

Bad Bungle

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#5
I've visited Cannock Chase a couple of times with my father and his friends from the Lutheran Church years back because of the German Military Cemetery there. Just inside the entrance are some alcoves with the memorials for. Zepellin aircrew shot down over England in 1916, many graves are dated to 1947 (?). I think there are also Commonwealth graves there - very poignant but I don't know if it adds to the general Fortean landscape..
 

Ringo

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#6
I visited two years ago and enjoyed having a nosey around. Didn't experience anything unusual but just enjoyed being on the Fortran trail.
 

bakelite brain

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#7
What would you recommend as a good source of these stories? (and do they really go back as far as you say? or is that a necessary part of the lore, that they do?)
Prolific paranormal writer Nick Redfern is local to the area. He's someone who has written extensively about it. Also found this: https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2018/01/little-green-men-in-the-cannock-chase-woods/

And this short piece - a little bit down the page. http://nickredfernfortean.blogspot.com/2013/05/paranormal-cannock-chase.html
 

bakelite brain

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#8
I don't think the Skin Walker Ranch is open to the public, but I wonder if the apparitions there keep up with modern trends...?
 

Sharon Hill

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#9
I don't think the Skin Walker Ranch is open to the public, but I wonder if the apparitions there keep up with modern trends...?
Skinwalker Ranch is very much a decendent of Keelian ideas. They seem to be "space poltergeists" - every trope is thrown in there. Even though the area was studied by Bigelow's folks, the "evidence" is not impressive except in story form. Paranormalists tend to cite the entire Uinta basin area as a weird area.

I also like your post because I find the idea of "paranormal hotspots" or "window areas" interesting. They really seem to be self-fulfilling places - if you expect something spooky, you experience something spooky and the reputation grows. But has anyone ever found any measurements that document they are physically anomalous? I don't think so. But there certainly is such a thing as a spooky sense of place.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#10
Prolific paranormal writer Nick Redfern is local to the area. He's someone who has written extensively about it. Also found this: https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2018/01/little-green-men-in-the-cannock-chase-woods/

And this short piece - a little bit down the page. http://nickredfernfortean.blogspot.com/2013/05/paranormal-cannock-chase.html
Recently read his Man-Monkey book.
He writes in a light and entertaining manner, but also crammed every known sighting of the "British Yeti " into the slim tome.
 
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