What happens if you dance naked around the Devil's Bush in Pluckley, Kent's most haunted village? Do 'big cats' roam the local woods? Does the Devil appear if you manage to count the 'countless stones' at Aylesford? Is Bloody Mary more than just a childhood rumour? Does a phantom hitchhiker haunt the dark lanes of Blue Bell Hill? KENT URBAN LEGENDS is a new book by full-time monster hunter and folklorist Neil Arnold, a strange, quirky and downright weird collection of tales reputedly true yet never proven, passed down through generations and best told around a flickering campfire.
Chinese whispers, playground murmurs, internet rumours, and friend of a friend tales are the most potent in that they can embed themselves into a local community despite the fact such yarns are not true. Stories can spread like wildfire despite lacking any detail, causing a snowball effect that can affect an entire village, town or city. KENT URBAN LEGENDS looks at a number of stories not just related to the county of Kent, but legends which have spread across the world, varying depending on the storyteller. Have you heard the one about the famous footballer who paid the mortgage of a couple who had booked their wedding on the same day as his? Have you heard about the girl whose hair was so dirty that all manner of creepy crawlies took up residence and eventually burrowed into her brain? And what about the woman who chomped down on her Chinese takeaway only to find the remains of some animal? These type of stories are known the world over, and you can guarantee that there's always someone you know who knows someone else this has happened to.
Urban legends come in all shapes and sizes, but for the most part they are tales of horror - confined to mist-enshrouded lanes and eerie woods, but with KENT URBAN LEGENDS you'll also find out what happens if you play a heavy metal record backwards, or if some horror movies are cursed. You'll also find out if the Chelsea Smilers really did slash the mouths of school children in the 1980s, and what really happened to the woman who had a Killer In The Backseat of her car. Whilst tales of the Bunnyman, The Hook, and The Babysitter & The Man Upstairs may seem to have their origins in the USA, Neil proves that there's more to these scare stories than meets the eye, and delves into similar tales from Kent often involving lone female motorists and cavorting couples brave enough to venture into the night. From video nasties, to phantom viruses, from chain letters, to tales of monstrous bogeymen and out of place animals, KENT URBAN LEGENDS is one book you won't want to read before camping, driving, babysitting, or eating a meal! Be warned...the bogeyman is real after all!
KENT URBAN LEGENDS is published by The History Press, with a foreword by Janet Bord (Alien Animals), is an essential book to be read by candlelight!
Available from Amazon and all good bookshops, priced £9.99
Monday, 11 March 2013
Thursday, 7 March 2013
Well, it seems that for every sceptic quick to dismiss reports of so-called 'big cats' there is a witness who comes forward to report another. On Wednesday 6th March 2013 there was a sighting of a black leopard at Sandy Lane, Ashford. A male witness observed the cat, which stood just fifty yards away, at 7:00 am as he was working in the area. Again sceptics will argue that "he should have got a photo" but it must be worth ading that when someone is out working, the last thing they expect to see is a 'big cat.' The witness said: "Something caught my eye and I was drawn to the head and ears of an animal that was at least the size of an alsatian dog - the animal had a long tail, appeared jet black and was looking in my direction. It was about fifty yards away, I could see it wasn't a dog or domestic cat, and I turned away for a few seconds and then looked back and it had gone. I went home and looked on the internet and saw a picture of a 'panther' and that was definitely the cat I saw." A few days previous there was a sighting at Folkestone of a similar animal, this time a female witness whilst visiting her daughter, had been having a cigarette in the garden when she spotted a large black cat mooching through wasteland just a few yards away. The animal slinked off into undergrowth. The witness stated, "If it had been a domestic cat it would have been relatively small considering the distance but this thing was huge, and was built like a big cat. I wish I'd had a camera..." If we could have a pound for every time we heard a witness say "I wish I'd had a camera..." but this is a natural reaction. However sceptical you may be to the existence of such animals roaming our wilds, not everyone sleeps, drives, or has a cigarette with their camera at the ready. Most sightings reported last only a few seconds, and in most cases involve animals in the distance. Unless a leopard walks up to someone we're pretty much of the opinion that a majority of photo's and pieces of film footage will be heavily criticised, which is understandable. And so, we have to rely on other evidence - and yet even faeces, paw prints, and sheep/deer kills are arrogantly dismissed, leaving us asking the question, just what evidence will be good enough? A dead cat? Well, lynx, jungle cat and leopard cat have been shot or run over, still not sufficient evidence? Hopefully the number of trigger camera's set up in woodlands across the UK will get a convincing photo, but even then we're sure that the sceptics will argue that the animal on film is an escapee from a zoo.