The beast of Dartmoor

painy2

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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."

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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.

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 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.




Link with Pictures
 

Waylander

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I reckon it's just someones poor lost and lonely, over shaggy, rough weathered, LABRADOODLE. I kid you not! They do have a big nose too, as one of the pictures did show.

A breed origianaly from Australia, which are a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle. They can stand quite large, and with a shaggy mane of hair can look very big. It's very possible, as they are very popular, and now available in the UK! ;)

http://www.labradoodle.org.uk/

Excellant example of them here http://www.labradoodle.org.uk/gallery.p ... um=37&next
 

Onix_Martinez

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Waylander28 said:
I reckon it's just someones poor lost and lonely, over shaggy, rough weathered, LABRADOODLE. I kid you not! They do have a big nose too, as one of the pictures did show.

A breed origianaly from Australia, which are a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle. They can stand quite large, and with a shaggy mane of hair can look very big. It's very possible, as they are very popular, and now available in the UK! ;)

http://www.labradoodle.org.uk/

Excellant example of them here http://www.labradoodle.org.uk/gallery.p ... um=37&next
I agree, it looks like a big fat dog. Actually, it reminds me of a stray female that used to hang around my wife's boutique. A very nice and docile animal that was unfortunately caugth by the dog pound on a day my wife wasn't around. When we realized what happened it was too late. :cry:
 

DougalLongfoot

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Not a serious suggestion, but does it remind anyone else of the werewolf from American Werewolf in London?
 

Shadow_Wolfpack

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All the pics I've seen of this creature make it look remarkably like a Mackenzie River wolf - has the (former) Dartmoor wildlife park lost one of its charges again?
 

rynner2

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Devil dog of Dartmoor unmasked
By Richard Smith 04/08/2007

The Beast of Dartmoor mystery has been solved...it's a giant Newfoundland pet dog called Troy.

Pictures of a phantom black prowler roaming over Hound Tor past a group of climbers had baffled animal experts.

But 12-stone Troy's owner Lucinda Reid recognised her loveable two-year-old dog straight away. She said: "It made me laugh so much when I saw the photo in the paper. It certainly looks like Troy and we're always up on Dartmoor.

"A lot of people don't have a clue what he is because he's so big and black. He's 12 stone and comes up to my hip. People always joke that he's the Beast of Dartmoor, or they say it's like a bear coming towards them. He leaves huge footprints."

Lucinda, who has a five-year-old daughter Summer, said other sightings of beasts going back decades could also have been Newfoundlands.

But falconer Martin Whitley, who took the picture, is not convinced he snapped Troy because the pet is pure black and the animal in his shot had patches of gray.

He said: "I'm certain it wasn't a dog. I believe it was some sort of cat."

http://tinyurl.com/2u454p
 

Shadow_Wolfpack

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If the creature in the photo posted on the BBC website is a fully-grown Newfy, then the people in the background must be giants.
 

WhistlingJack

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That's Not the Beast of Dartmoor... It's My Pet Dog

Another report: -

That's not the Beast of Dartmoor... it's my pet dog



By LUKE SALKELD - More by this author » Last updated at 23:23pm on 3rd August 2007

When a picture emerged of a hulking beast stalking the moors, one woman wasn't chilled by rumours of its gaping jaws, glowing eyes and blood-curdling howls.

That's because Lucinda Reid recognised the "Demon of Dartmoor" as ... her pet dog.

The two-year-old Newfoundland - called Troy - weighs in at a whopping 12 stones. But, far from being ferocious, he's as gentle as a lamb.

Miss Reid lives close to the spot where the photo was taken and often takes Troy for a walk there.

"I was in stitches when I read that someone thought Troy was the beast of Dartmoor," she said yesterday.

"I spotted that it was him right away - you can tell by the shape and the way he is walking.

"We go up to that spot on Dartmoor all the time. It is only ten minutes away from our home and Troy loves to run about there."

Miss Reid lives with her boyfriend Phil Hervin and their five-year-old daughter Summer in Newton Abbot, Devon.

She said the family pet is often mistaken for something far more sinister during their regular moorland walks.

"A lot of people don't have a clue what he is, because he's so big.

"Troy frightens the life out of everyone because of his size and he doesn't look like a dog from a distance.

"He sometimes disappears off round the rocks on his own, and that's when he must have been photographed."

Martin Whitley's picture shows what looks like a strange animal loping across Dartmoor near a group of ramblers and children.

Publication of the photograph stoked rumours that the moor is haunted by a pack of spectral dogs known as the Hounds of Hell.

These mythical creatures are said to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his famous Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

The legend goes that a keen hunter called Richard Cabell, from Brook Manor, Buckfastleigh, Devon, sold his soul to the Devil.

After he died on July 5, 1677, a pack of phantom hunting dogs with glowing red eyes are said to have raced across Dartmoor to howl at his tomb.

They are supposed to appear every year on the anniversary of his death, trying to take his soul to Hell.

But Troy is definitely no hell-hound. "A lot of people can be a bit afraid of him at first," said Miss Reid.

"He weighs 12 stone and comes up to my hip. He leaves massive footprints. I suppose from a distance he may not immediately look like a dog.

"But Troy is certainly nothing to be afraid of, he's a big softie. So, if anyone else sees him on the moor - there's no need to panic."

Miss Reid believes Troy might even hold a clue to the identity of the mystery creature said to prowl Bodmin Moor.

"One of Troy's brothers lives near Bude in Cornwall," she said. "So maybe he is the Beast of Bodmin."

©2007 Associated Newspapers Ltd
 

GNC

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Certainly looks the same, but it's a different colour. That could be down to the photography and light conditions. Still, it's plausibly the same animal.
 

marion

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That animal in the pics in FT is a wild boar, its obvious, to me anyway :?
In one pic there is a clear shot of its snout. Wild boars can have very heavy coats especially if they are living out in the wilds. I was watching a Johnny Kingdom program a short while ago where he chanced upon a boar unexpectedly (on Exmoor) and it looked just like that, dark grey, very heavy coat, tiny ears. The proprtions are right too. Its definitely not a Newfie, the head would look a lot bigger and the legs longer.
 

mrpoultice

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I thought boar as well, but the shape across the sequence of photos does seem to change somewhat.

It annoys me though that you find people with a large black dog who say they visit the area and THATS it! fine, solved, no further questions need be asked. (Such as where they even visiting at the time the photo was taken)

Hack column filling reporting, followed by lazy easy stick solution a few weeks later. :hmph:
 

sisiphus

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Doesn't look like a boar to me, and I see them sometimes out walking my dogs...
 
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