At first sight there is nothing particularly strange about Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. It is a 26 square mile forest in an otherwise completely typical piece of the English Midlands. You may notice that the area is rather flat, but so are most places thereabouts. To the casual observer only the looming Pye Green Telecommunications Tower makes the Cannock Chase area stand out at all.
Yet the Chase does have a number of special qualifications. It is both classed as an area of natural beauty and of scientific interest. It is home to several war memorials and borders on the grounds of the beautiful Shugborough Hall Estate.
Yet for as long as anyone alive can remember, and long before that, there have been strange goings on in the area. Strange goings on that have occurred so often as to be impossible to ignore, yet which have generally left little or no physical evidence.
When I talk about these strange goings on I am not referring to the unfortunate modern hobby of car park orgies, nor of the very unfortunate cases of murder which have occurred in this area. No these are strange goings on with an altogether different form of strangeness. Strangeness as in spectral sights and visions of various forms, sights and visions that have varied from the fascinating to the terrifying.
A whole menagerie of the mysterious has been sighted there at one time or another. A menagerie of strangeness including unearthly black felines, mysterious black canines, fear inspiring werewolves, furry beastmen, horrifying pig men, disturbing black eyed children and the 20th century favourite UFOs.
The very varied nature of these sightings have lead to a plethora of explanations from assorted locals, parapsychologists, forteans, ufologists and psychical researchers. Of course skeptics declare that it is all ‘stuff and nonsense’, but that is because they are generally terminally stupid elsewise closed minded to the point of embarrassing myopia.
One common suggestion is that it is just a matter of attention seekers, pranksters and the like, but this is clearly disproven by the facts. Indeed it is almost certain that some sightings could be down to such factors, but most witnesses are down to earth, sensible, normal people who saw strange things while they were going about their normal business and most of them are quite the opposite of attention seekers. In fact those people who deliberately go looking in Cannock Chase for these experiences pretty much always seem to go home disappointed. They may succeed in frightening themselves, but they don’t seem to be turning up with stories of sightings.
A quite commonsensical explanation is that many of the sightings may be caused by the electromagnetic effects of Pye Green Radio Mast, but why would the hallucinations always take on these particular forms, why not giant teddy bears? why not silver crabs? why not 8ft millipedes? Someone could argue that these visions adhered to particular fearful archetypal forms, but why then do they not include other fearful archetypal forms – also why did they start long before Pye Green Mast was built? Likewise suggestions that the army tests hallucinogenic weapons there can also be ruled out (as a general explanation) by the fact that these sightings started before the 20th century.
Some have suggested that the sightings are due to Cannock Chase being a place where the veil between this world and another one is thin, others have suggested that within the Chase there is some sort of portal to another dimension, others have suggested that the Chase is infested with mischievous semi-material non-human beings (these being generically called Jinn by Muslims, Trolls by Icelanders, the Sidhe in Ireland etc), others have suggested there may be natural hallucinogens in the environment.
Whatever is the case the mysterious sightings of Cannock Chase have been going on a long time and they are liable to continue going on long into the future, unless God wills otherwise. Anyone wishing to get a very interesting and deep perspective on the reality of similar events may benefit from reading Dimensions by Jacques Vallee.