Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cryptid Corner: The Beast Of Falmouth

The whole of the greater Falmouth and Penryn area is abuzz with the news that a mysterious animal has been spotted on the coastal path between Maenporth and Swanpool beaches.

The beast was spotted by 23 year old Sam Bradbury, who had the presence of mind to go home and make a frankly excellent drawing of the mystery creature:

Speculation about the animal's identity is almost rife. Richard Freeman from Exeter thinks it could be an aye-aye or a spring hare, escaped from a private collection. Falmouth Packet reporter Emma Goodfellow, clearly not letting facts, the evidence presented in the above sketch or common sense get in the way of the Packet's best story of the year so far, suggests that it might be a lion or a kangaroo.

Yet despite the paper calling on the local community to identify the animal once and for all, it seems that so far no one has managed to solve the mystery.

Fortunately, past experience has made me something of an expert in cryptozoology, and over the years I have built up an extensive library of arcane literature on the subject. While gazing absent-mindedly at Sam Bradbury's drawing, it suddenly struck me that I'd seen something very like it before, in one of the books in my collection.

Fired with the thrill of intellectual pursuit, I made a cup of peppermint tea, repaired to the library and began rifling through the dusty, leather-bound tomes.

It wasn't in any of those, though, so I turned my attention to more recent works.

It wasn't long before I found what I'd been looking for: a series of rough anatomical sketches bearing a striking resemblance to the creature in Sam's drawing:

Setting stylistic differences aside, the illustration at the top left-hand side of the page clearly depicts the creature adopting the same hind-legged stance that Sam so memorably describes. Combined with the uncannily similar references to a bushy (or 'fluffy') tail, I think we can quite safely conclude that the Beast of Falmouth and the beast described in this book are of one and the same species.

It seems that John Meek, animal collections manager at Newquay Zoo, wasn't far from the truth when he gave his expert opinion to the West Briton newspaper: "It doesn't look like anything I have ever seen. The closest thing is a wallaby, although that does not have a cat's face."

Indeed it doesn't, John, indeed it doesn't.

NEXT WEEK: Legendary Owlman of Mawnan 'probably just a big owl'.

UPDATE: Occasional Poster of Comments points out that Sam has a history of inventing bizarre animals, including these ones (more here):

Never trust anything you read in a town full of art students.


Billy said...

All you need to do is take a copy of the kitten book out on the moor, repeatedly press the button and see if it summons the legendary beast.

Take a few prawns just in case.

Geoff said...

I've got Cornish blood and I'm always seeing strange beasts. It's something in us.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Hmm, the writer doesn't even seem too sure about the gender of Mr Bradbury:

"Halfway around he spotted something moving in the bushes, but was unprepared for what he says she saw."

So it's probably no wonder she's entertaining thoughts of lions and kangaroos.

As for young Sam, nice chap; had a good long chat with him about something or other once, at the end of which I passed on a message about a hat. Anyway, it looks like a cat to me, or he was bored.

rob-sp said...

It's an angry squirrel - somebody's pinched his nuts, that's all.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Oh, and it also looks not wholly unlike one of his own creations (more here: September 08 2008). Some arty mischief afoot?

patroclus said...

Good detective work, OPC. It looks like he's having a laugh to me, although I would quite like a t-shirt with his drawing on it.

Still, at least we now seem to have an answer to the Falmouth Packet's greatest ever headline: 'The Bushes: What's Going On In Them?'

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

A couple of other local classics:

"Man, 51, died of natural causes." West Briton, Jan 08.

"Snipers take pot shots at children. Terrifying ordeal for scouts at survival camp." West Briton, 2/10/08.

The clue was in the name, surely.

Tim Footman said...

So, cleverclogs, if it's all so easy, explain werewolves then.


Valerie said...

It looks a great deal like my cat — unusually large, black, fox-like tail and scary yellowy-pale-green eyes.

Maybe this explains where she's been when she seems to simply vanish from the locked house for several hours at a time.

Dave said...

When I worked in Insurance, I had to interview a farmer about the beast that had killed one of his employees.

My imagination had come up with many interesting ideas.

Halfway through the interview I realsied that 'beast' in Lincolnshire is the local word for cow.

chuffy! said...

Never mind the animal, which is clearly a mescaline vision of a cat, what's the story of how the hell a newspaper comes to be called 'The Packet'?

patroclus said...

There are many not-sensible answers to why the local paper is called the Falmouth Packet, but the proper answer is to be found here.

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

It's a thornboo. It's moved round the coast a bit. I remember helping to compose a letter to The Bude and Stratton Post many years ago, claiming to have seen one and asking for further information. They published the letter and there were several positive sighting responses. Wonderful. The whole jape was cooked up in a pub called The Ailsa in Twickenham.

Arabella said...

The Packet is a fine name for a seaside newspaper.
Over here, on road trips I'll always buy the local Picayune just so I can say "Picayune".

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it's not this:

A beast that size could probably lollop from Cornwall to Kent with no problems.

WV nomisti - sound like part of a latin mass

Chris said...

They have pretty fearsome creatures at the other end of the country as well: this is my favourite ever parochial headline (and story).

thedonething said...

It so happens the Centre for Fortean Zoology is in your part of the world.

Rather joyously, their main man Richard Freeman looks like the comic seller in the Simpsons, as his wikipedia entry shows

Billy said...

Mescaline kitteh is looking for teh doorz ah perceptions

Jayne said...

I still think it's a Blue Cat with houmous poisoning...

Sue Do Nym said...

It seems to me that the whole world is taking this story far too seriously. It is gratifying to find fellow sceptics out there. :)

patroclus said...

I do like the way that other people have now come forward claiming to have seen it. I wonder if they would still have seen it if it hadn't been in the paper.