Archive | August, 2012

The Essex Lion (It’s a real thing…Possibly)

27 Aug


There’s definitely possibly a lion on loose in Essex. Of this possible supposition we can be (un)certain…

I have been a long time reader of the brilliant Fortean Times and have always enjoyed the sections of the magazine on Cryptozoology and Out-of-Place animals and the works of Loren Coleman and Karl Shuker. From the minute I read about the Essex Lion story, I made this prediction:

I still stand by it (although the Guardian have already run the story). There is just too much about the story that makes it fit very nicely with other unexplained sightings of big cats across the UK (and beyond). Here are my thoughts following some good discussions and arguments with friends last night and this morning on all things unexplained and cat like:

Ah but there’s a picture this time

Pictures of Alien Big Cats (ABC), so-called because they are alien to their environment and not actually extraterrestrial, are common in the UK and have been for a long time. Since the age of the camera, there have been many pictures reporting to show large cats wild in just about every part of country.

Here’s our friend the Essex Lion:

And here’s The beast of Bodmin:

So pictures are not uncommon, what is uncommon are follow-up sightings in the same location after the initial hype. I’m not doubting that the picture is indeed of a Lion and was taken in Essex and not forged, that seems to have been independently verified*, but ABC sightings seem to be of a far stranger breed.


There was a picture verified, but the picture I used above seems to have been one of the many fakes and not the picture that was shown to experts at the local Zoo…In fact, I am at a bit of a loss to track down exactly which photo experts at the Zoo were shown that made them so adamant that a Lion was loose in Essex. I think it was this one:


Which, okay, could be a Lion…possibly. It’s incredibly hazy and hard to get a sense of perspective, but it has a mane. More on this photo later.

But the police are taking it seriously…

Yeah. It’s a picture of a Lion…you’d kind hope they would. It’s definitely a case of ‘better safe than sorry’ when it comes to making sure no one gets eaten by a Lion. But I remain convinced that nothing will be found.

It’s all a bit hazy…

The reporting of anomalous events is an interesting one. Look at UFO sightings with multiple witnesses and the range of accounts that end up getting reported especially with the passage of time during a ‘hype’. As The Guardian’s Jonathan Haynes has already noted:

And accounts are only likely to get more outlandish; part wilful exaggeration, part mild mass hysteria seems, often, to account for this. Already, various versions of the Lion photograph seem to be in circulation, all reporting to be ‘real’.

Even after the search had been called-off and, a rather sheepish, Essex police admitted that what had been seen was probably a domestic cat (I’ve yet to ever drink the required amount that domestic cats, start looking like Lions) the statement of the first witnessed still has the distinct ring of the Fortean to it:

“I was looking out of the window and we saw smoke – it looked like there had been a bit of a bonfire,” she said. “When the smoke cleared I could see this shape in the field, so I got the binoculars out. We had a look and it looked like a lion.” – Guardian Source

Though no expert on Big Cats, I haven’t come across many accounts of them appearing from fire. The witness account is peculiar if you think of it in relation to the photograph. The witness was observing the cat through binoculars, it’s easy enough to misinterpret the photograph as showing a Lion, I’m not convinced how easy it would be to make the same mistake looking through binoculars which would have a higher level of magnification than the camera.

Things get stranger with one witness account disagreeing on the Lion description and suggesting the big cat was, in fact, more Sphinx-like.

It is currently unknown if Essex police will begin hunting for Sphinx’s in the countryside. Possibly not as one local resident believes it was her cat, the Brilliantly-named, Teddy Bear, who was responsible for the sighting.

Anyone missing a lion?

It is not common for ABC sightings to be linked to the loss of animals from captivity, most big cat sightings are of Melanistic leopards and not of lions.  Lions are pretty big, you would be acutely aware of the fact if you owned one. There are no accidental Lion owners out there and no one in or around Essex had reported losing a Lion. There was a circus nearby, but that had been two weeks before the first sighting and they had not reported losing a Lion (I have to hope anyone who owned a Lion and subsequently lost it would have the decency to report it).

Essex Lion Gets in on Twitter

The Essex Lion is the first ABC I recall to have it’s own Twitter account though and some of it’s tweets have made me chuckle:

The Lion

So, is there a Lion currently on the loose in Essex? I have to say, probably not.

Was a Lion pictured in Essex at all? Possibly.

Then, where did it go?

As with many a cryptid before it, it vanished from whence it came. With little more than the movement of air announcing it’s departure, it has slipped seamlessly back into the lining of the pockets of the Cosmic Trickster.

Read More 

Possible Origins of the Big Cat Legend: Spectral Black Dogs

British Big Cat Attacks

The Fortean Times: Cryptozoology

The Fortean Times: Alien Big cats 2003 – 2006

The British Big Cat Society

Big Cat Sightings



On Self-Policing Society (Or on being failed by Warwickshire Police)

26 Aug

Take a look at the fire that I’ve used as the featured image for this post. What you’re looking at is two living Trees and someone’s fence going up in flames, at it’s height the flames reached about 15 meters into the air. This took place on Tuesday 14th August at 7:55pm. The fire was on  a piece of council-owned land in Rugby, between the roads of Wentworth and Saunton and less than 20 meters away from the bottom of my garden. I personally witnessed two youths start this fire and reported as much to both Warwickshire Fire Services  and Warwickshire Police who, despite the fact, chose to do nothing…

I used to have raging arguments with my Dad. He, like his father before him, had grown up in a community that policed itself. In the little mining communities of Wales and Kiveton Park, 10 miles outside Sheffield, as a rule, youths didn’t go around in large groups causing mayhem. If they did, it would not be the local bobby who was called! No, the community dealt with their own. It was truly self-policing; the ring leaders would be singled out and introduced to the ‘fear of God’ and the problems went away. We call this vigilantism today and it’s frowned upon in polite society; I’ve always believed in the rule of law, that self-policing is too wide open for abuse to be tolerated and that we should trust in a police force and legal system that we pay a vast whack of our taxes to maintain. On the 14th of August 2012, I witnessed and reported a serious act of arson close to my property and the law, I’d put so much faith in for so long, failed me, failed my family and the things I’ve worked hard to have.

Me and Dad fought when he extolled the virtues of a self-policing society, but he sagely warned, ‘that’s fine, trust in the police, but what will you do when the people and things you care about are threatened and the police aren’t there, won’t help. Will you stand up and protect it yourself?’ I honestly believed that he was wrong, that would never happen so it was pointless even considering. I’m considering it now…You see, last night I witnessed the same youths responsible for the fire, throwing stones and eggs at moving cars, causing several to swerve dangerously. Again, this was reported to Warwickshire Police and again Warwickshire Police, who at least had the decency to show up this time, did nothing.

Am I being naive? Are arson and endangering people’s lives no longer crimes?? Did I miss that memo?

It hasn’t just been the arson that that I’ve witnessed or the reckless endangering the lives of drivers, no this has been going on for months now. A large glass ashtray smashed upon our patio and narrowly missing our glass patio table, our garden has been repeatedly strewn with rubbish, broken CDs, DVDs while the youths consistently use vile and threatening language against myself and my wife. All these things have been reported to Warwickshire Police who have done nothing despite the fact that the behaviour clearly continues to escalate, taking more and more violent and destructive forms with each passing day. Warwickshire Police have failed us with their disinterest and ineffectual policing. So what now…

I’m considering my Dad’s words like never before:

but what will you do when the people and things you care about are threatened and the police aren’t there, won’t help. Will you stand up and protect it yourself?

I think I already have my answer…

I will continue to use this post to detail further escalations of their behaviour, hopefully, if nothing else, it may shame our local police force in to action before someone gets seriously hurt.

Note on Naming and Shaming  

I have so far resisted naming, shaming and posting the pictures that I have of the youths involved, but this may change if there is continued escalation.

The Prince is Naked. Please don’t look.

22 Aug

Hands up who wants to see Prince Harry’s cock?

Just joking.

It’s not that kind of blog. But…

I bet a lot of you would quite like to see those naked pictures of Prince Harry and the lovely, lovely girls. It will not matter whether the UK media decide to honour the Royal Family’s request to not publish the pictures, many of you will see those pictures anyway. This fact is largely the fault of the Royal’s themselves, as the brilliant Robin Bogg put it:

I woke up this morning not really thinking about Prince Harry’s knob and here I am 10pm writing a blog about it. Well done the Royals on missing the point and calling upon the Lawyers before you call on the Public Relations People. So…

Should the UK media honour the Royal Families wishes not to publish the pictures? No, they should not.

On another note

I like Prince Harry. I liked him before, I like him more now. He”s human, he’s flawed and, best still, he’s really shit at hiding it.

If we have to have a monarchy, let’s at least allow it to contain humans who come equipped with foibles, vices and demons; it beats the regimented tradition and stuffiness that seems to typify the vast majority of the Royals. Good on you Harry, you’ll drag the Monarchy kicking and screaming into the 21st century one picture of your cock and one spliff at a time.

To all the people moaning about the money being spent being Tax Payers…Really? The vast sums of money that the Royals piss away on a plethora of entirely useless and unnecessary junk, houses, boats and God knows what else; I’m kinda glad at least a little bit of that money is being used so that Prince Harry can have his end away in Las Vegas.

Anyway, lots of great Tweets on this topic today, here are some of my favourites:

In short: Bad PR for the Royals and Good PR for the Royals or at least Harry, who is basically doing what most of us would do if we were him. 

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