Case Reference - KDR-220110-CRYPT-EM
Case Manager – Kirst D’Raven
Investigators - Kirst D’Raven, Steve Mera.
Case Report compiled by - Kirst D’Raven
On Wednesday January 20th 2010, The Citizen newspaper reported that a farm in Rivington had been plagued with animal attacks. Farmer John Needham had reported the loss of over 20 sheep. Of course, most people will quickly jump to the conclusion that it must have been a large predator such as a big cat. But, in this circumstance the attacks were not down to large cats, but dogs. In many cases the sheep were left so badly injured that they had to be put down. Large cats rarely attack so many animals, they seem to stalk out their prey, attack and devour. Sometimes livestock die of natural causes and are scavenged upon by birds, foxes etc. So imagine my surprise to hear of a severely mutilated deer in the small village of Buckshaw which is just a few miles from Rivington. I had seen the photograph of the mutilated deer in the national newspapers accompanied with an article that read 'The Mystery Buckshaw Beast that is savaging animals and terrorizing villagers'. Another photograph showing some type of mysterious beast had been submitted by a local resident.
The Dawn Chorus in rural Derbyshire can be a wonderful treat to behold.. the sound of blackbirds vying for the role of lead vocalist against the raucous braying of lesser vocally gifted members of the Corvid family, all supported by a veritable choir of bleating sheep makes one wonder how anyone in this pastoral county ever sleeps beyond the hour of daybreak. Add to this the rather unbefitting addition of the first verse and chorus of Korns ‘Freak on a Leash’ and to me at least it can only herald one event... my mobile phone is ringing and I’m going to have to drag myself from the haven of my duvet and answer the darn thing - and generally speaking, if the first thing I hear when I answer the phone is Steve Meras voice saying ‘Have you got a pen?’ it doesn’t really bode well either.
Steve told me of a report of a mutilation case in Lancashire. Apparently a deer had been found severely mutilated in the area, and the press had released a picture taken by a local which appeared to depict some kind of beast which was now suspected of carrying out the attack. Something stirred in the back of my sleepy mind when he mentioned the name of the village the attack had taken place, and promptly went back to sleep. It happens a lot – when you’re a full time paranormal investigator and researcher you find that you know a tale or two of a haunt or a UFO sighting or something that may be regarded as paranormal from pretty much any area anyone cares to mention, and when you’ve been obsessively prying about in this field of study for as long as I have, you can generally quote the cases word for word.
The details of the report seemed a little scant and vague, so I contacted Karl Holdsworth from the Chorley Guardian to see if anything had been withheld from the report. Karl informed me that the details that had gone to press were pretty much all they had, but that he would email pictures of the deer carcass in the hope that I may be able to shed some light on what species of animal could possibly have caused the injuries, warning me that the pictures were pretty gruesome, which was why they hadn’t been published in the paper.
The email arrived almost instantly.
Images of this nature are never pleasant, and this case was no exception. The picture showed a young deer, probably female which had pretty much been torn apart. Lying on her side with her back to the camera, I could only hope that whatever had ended her life had been quick with little suffering. Due to the poor quality of the picture it was virtually impossible to discern individual wounds that may have been fatal, so I started to inspect the picture inch by inch to see what exactly I was dealing with.
The first thing that struck me was the lack of blood at the scene. Deer are prey animals, their fight or flight response is highly developed, which means even the slightest threat of a predator will cause their heart rate to escalate, thus pumping blood around their bodies at a rate of knots. The average BPM of a resting adult deer is around thirty seven beats per minute, around the same as a resting, mature racehorse. The pulse of a horse that has been around the track can escalate as high as 220 – 240 BPM, I can only assume that a fleeing deer could very possibly be in the same range. In short, an injured deer bleeds like a tap. The lack of blood in this instance could mean one of two things – the deer was shot while resting or the deer was killed elsewhere. Hurrah! Two possibilities to prove or debunk – I was going to need more coffee…
Looking at the picture closely, it became clear that the deer had definitely been moved. The dead giveaway was that the animals exposed spine had actually been positioned back to front, as had its front leg… also there was a distinct lack of body fat and tissue, the stomach appeared to be missing yet other organs were still present… it very quickly became clear that there was a lot more to this case than met the eye. The deer had in effect been reassembled for the photograph.
I decided to leave the picture alone for the moment and to take a look at the alleged ‘Beast’ picture. I didn’t have a copy, so, I followed in the footsteps of so many great researchers before me, and typed ‘Buckshaw Beast’ into the search engine of my PC.
I wasn’t really prepared for the result…
The Beast of Buckshaw, as some imaginative soul had decided to christen it, had made the big-time. Almost every national newspaper had picked up the story, forums as far afield as Germany and Canada were discussing this animal described variously as a cross between a boar and a wolf, a bear, a hyena and my personal favorite, an unknown species. Sadly, on viewing the picture I recognized our perpetrator straight away.
In June 2007, a Falconer photographed what he believed to be a cat of some description on Dartmoor. He described the animal to be the size of a miniature pony, and promptly dispatched the series of six photos to Mark Fraser of Big Cats In Britain. Mark immediately saw the photos for what they truly were, no doubt, but inevitably the press got hold of the story and what was later found to be a photo of Troy the Newfoundland dog out for his accustomed stroll were flouted as ‘The Beast of Dartmoor’ to anyone who cared to believe the story. The photo that appeared on my search engine was Troy in his latest incarnation, The Beast of Buckshaw.
Strike two on the case, first a reassembled mutilation, now the resurrected ‘Beast’ photo. I decided to dig a little deeper…
Meanwhile Steve had been doing some digging of his own. He’d turned up a veritable cornucopia of links to news stories from the area in and around Buckshaw village – A black fox which had been photographed in a churchyard, a series of dog attacks on sheep in the area WITH witnesses, A case from 2006 or thereabouts (which again set my memory stirring) of several domestic animals that had been found in the village, tortured and burned – I’m an animal lover, cases like these stick in my mind.
It began to seem that the more we looked, the more this case seemed to be somehow wrong. Then, as I scanned down yet another page of Buckshaw references, I found a link to the Buckshaw Village Facebook group – I almost held my breath as I waited for the page to open, hoping that it wasn’t the of group type you had to join to view the posts…
My twenty minutes hard labor searching the internet was rewarded almost instantly as post after post, claiming the Beast had been photographed in the area by a local on his new Nokia phone. Quick note to anyone planning to try and hoax any type of paranormal or odd photo – don’t. Having already secured the ORIGINAL photo file from Mark, I already knew that the pictures had been taken on the 8th June 2007 at around 6.30 in the evening – this matched the falconers report exactly, but sadly made the facebook forum posters claim to the pictures (which I was never provided the original file for)a great big hairy hoax.
Nevertheless, a report was compiled and Steve and I wandered up to Chorley in the snow the following Monday to meet with Karl the reporter, hand over our findings and to carry out a site search just to be on the safe side. We found no evidence of anything untoward in the area, not in an animal sense at least. Karl accepted our conclusions with an almost resigned air, and promised to contact us if any more reports came in. We returned to Derbyshire and spent the next four hours crunching data from a prior paranormal investigation in Staffordshire.
The official report on the Buckshaw Hoax case was forwarded to every newspaper, forum and blog which had featured the original Buckshaw story, some of which actually had the intelligence to print it.
End of Story?
What happened to the originators of the hoax? The good natured villagers with a wicked sense of humor, distracting the Police search for illegal deer hunters and unrestrained dogs (and dog owners) that are really putting animals lives in danger and causing quite an ‘amusing’ little stir of mass hysteria among some of the more sensitive locals?
Well, if the forum posters are to be believed there is a distinct possibility that they were abducted by government officials trying to cover up the story. My personal belief is that they had the good sense to disappear before the holder of the copyright to the Dartmoor photo turned up. This belief slightly marred by the fact that there are still half hearted, photoshopped images of werewolves posing in front of the village statue cropping up… the statue which Steve and I had earlier affectionately nicknamed ‘The Wicker Man’…
Case closed? On this occasion, yes. After all, a good investigator always knows when to take a step back and let the Police do their work.
Please note, the Savaged deer image, can not be authenticated by the UPIA as having been taken in Buckshaw or acquired via general internet searches, though the original witness claims this to be from the Buckshaw area.
Thanks to Mark Fraser of Big Cats in Britain for Additional information and images of original Dartmoor case. (http://www.bigcatsinbritain.org )