Everyone loves an unsolved mystery, right? Of course they do! And the spookier the better, too. Well, the good news is there's certainly no shortage of them in the UK. Whether it's lake-monsters, UFOs, vampires, or even Bigfoot, the nation is teeming with puzzles of the paranormal kind that would make the likes of Mulder and Scully drool uncontrollably down the fronts of their FBI suits.
Loch Ness, Scotland
Monster-hunters will tell you that it's a dinosaur which has managed to survive for millions of years. For others, it's a gigantic eel. As far as Scotland's tourist industry is concerned, it's a dream come true. And, maybe, far more than a few would say it's all just a big joke. What is it? Nessie! For hundreds of years, countless eye-witnesses have told of seeing something mysterious, large and long-necked swimming in the deep waters of Loch Ness, Scotland. Whatever the truth might be, it has never stopped thousands of people flocking to the loch each year in the hope of catching a glimpse of the legendary monster.
Late one night in December 1980, something very weird happened in Rendlesham, Forest, Suffolk, England. According to numerous airmen from the nearby RAF Bentwaters base, nothing less than a spacecraft from another world paid the UK a visit. And, get this: it had on-board a crew of small, bug-eyed aliens just waiting to say "hello." Sceptics say those military personnel involved in the encounter were mistaken, and that what they really saw was the beam of a nearby lighthouse. UFO sleuths roll their eyes at such claims and cry "conspiracy!" and "cover-up!" The mystery, meanwhile, lives on.
The Beast of Bodmin
Back in the early 1980s, the UK media was whipped into a complete frenzy when reports began to surface of a large, cat-like animal prowling around the wilds of Cornwall. It became famously known as the Beast of Bodmin. Even the British Army got involved in the controversy. Sharp-shooters were brought in, squaddies roamed the moors after sunset with night-vision equipment, and the locals kept their doors firmly locked after sundown. The press loved every minute of it. As for the beast is concerned, it was never caught. But, it still puts in an appearance now and again on mysterious Bodmin Moor.
Any talk of a character named Jack roaming the darkened streets of Victorian-era London, and striking fear into the hearts of the city's people, usually conjures up images of Jack the Ripper. But not always. Spring-heeled Jack was a terrifying figure of paranormal proportions that haunted London for much of the 19th Century. Sporting two glowing red eyes, a long black cloak, and a pair of claw-like hands, he was said to have the uncanny ability to breathe fire. In other words, he wasn't exactly a local. But Spring-heeled Jack was, and still is, one of the UK's weirdest mysteries.
The Devil visits Devon
It's not every day you get to encounter the ominous calling-card of the Devil himself. But, back in February 1855, numerous petrified people in the vicinity of Devon's Exe Estuary claimed exactly that. Following a heavy fall of snow on the night of February 7, locals awoke to the sight of long stretches of footprints all across the area, even on rooftops. But these were not normal footprints. They looked just like cloven hoof-prints. For the superstitious people of the area, this meant one thing and one thing only: Satan had come calling during the night. A hellish mystery, indeed!
The Welsh Roswell
Most people have heard of the infamous legend of a UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico, USA in 1947. But, how many people know that the apparently bad-driving skills of E.T. allegedly led to a similar event occurring on a North Wales-based mountain range in January 1974? The location was the huge range known as the Berwyns. So Flying Saucer-seekers say, something unearthly slammed into the ground, the British Government hastily dispatched soldiers and Men in Black-types to secure the scene, and alien bodies were found and whisked away to a secret location. Roswell, maybe, is not alone.
The beast of Glamis Castle
Situated in Angus, Scotland, Glamis Castle is a place of terrible secrets and an equally terrible creature. Supposedly the hideously deformed thing was born around 1800, to the great-great-grandparents of the late Queen Mother, lived for more than a century, and provoked horror in all those that encountered it. Covered in hair, with an enormous barrel-like chest, and spindly arms and legs, the wild-tempered creature was forever locked in a secret room at the castle. Some say its remains are still there, buried behind one of the old walls, just waiting to be uncovered and the mystery, finally, solved.
Wiltshire crop circles
Every summer stretching back to the early 1980s, strange, huge formations have been found in the fields of Wiltshire, England. For the farmers on whose land they appear, they're nothing but a complete pain in the neck. For the press they are always big news. For the rest of us, they're something to wonder about and marvel at. They are Crop Circles. Whether the work of skilled artists of a very human kind or bored aliens with a flair for a bit of intergalactic graffiti, they continue to have mystery-seekers running around in - what else? - circles.
Ben Macdui, standing tall at 1309 metres, is the second highest mountain in the UK and lies in the heart of the Scottish mountain range known as the Cairngorms. But, Ben Macdui is far more than simply a big, old mountain. While North America is said to be home to Bigfoot, and the Abominable Snowman allegedly roams the Himalayas, Ben Macdui is the reputed lair of a fearsome, ape-like animal that goes by the name of the Big Grey Man. That's right: if you want to snare yourself a real-life Sasquatch, you don't even have to leave the UK!
The Highgate Vampire
Count Dracula, the True Blood crowd, and the Twilight characters: all just the work of fiction, right? That really depends on who you ask. Some people will tell you that vampires are all too real. And one, maybe, just happens to call none other than London's Highgate Cemetery its unholy home. Since the 1960s, the Highgate Vampire - as it is known - has become legendary. A dark, tall, shadowy thing prowling around the old graves, desecrated vaults, and coffins violently forced open are all key ingredients in the saga of the UK's most enduring blood-sucking nightmare.
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