SALFORD, England — A 48-year-old woman claims she saw a Bigfoot-like creature at a public park with a golf course and a tennis court in Lancanshire, north west of England.
Retired cook Deborah Hatswell told Cryptozoology News that she was truanting school in 1982 when she and a friend had the face to face encounter with the beast at around 2 p.m..
“We decided to skip the afternoon lessons and go and hide out in the park till the 3.30 p.m. bell. There is an old mansion called Summerfield in the north of the park, huge golf course and lots of trees and bushes and places to hide,” she said.
Hatswell states they had been playing around the Buile Hill Park area for about two hours when they decided to lay on the ground to take a break.
“We were just being silly giggling and playing around, it was warm and sunny and a really nice day.”
Suddenly, she said, she noticed a “slight movement” on the bushes to her right. Thinking it was a teacher about to put an end to their truancy, she became worried.
“Or maybe a local lad messing about. In the split seconds it took the bushes to part, I went from being worried to terrified. In my town, there was no talk of bigfoot or monsters, although we do have the famous haunted Ordsall hall, but thats about as strange as it gets, or so I thought.”
The young girl’s worst nightmares reportedly materialized when she caught a glimpse of the “thing” peeking at the pair through the green vegetation.
“A huge ape-man type thing leant forward and just looked at me, from about mid-chest I could see him and he was in my mind a monster,” Hatswell recalls.
According to the woman, there were only about 8 feet between them and the unidentified animal. She described it as a big-headed primate-like creature without hair on its face.
“My father is a big strong man and he made my dad look tiny,” she explained. “He looked like an ape version of us, his head was huge, large jaw muscles, hair was very dark brown and reddish when the sun caught it, he had eyes like ours but in proportion to his face, a similar nose but flatter and lips and teeth like ours, his eyes were dark and amber at the same time. He had very tanned leathery skin, no hair on his face, except for his jaw and chin. I could see his shoulders, top of his arms and a small amount of chest, no neck really, he was completely covered in hair, I didn’t see ears as I was still looking up at this point.”
As the purported beast curiously scanned the girls, Hatswell decided it was time to get out of there. And she ran, as fast as she could, until reaching her house.
“I reacted with fear and I’m ashamed to say I pushed my friend over and took off running. As I looked back, she was up and running too, and he just leant back into the greenery and within two steps, he was gone.”
For a while, Hatswell says she didn’t tell anyone about the incident . She also blamed her friend for “talking her into skipping school”.
“We never really ever talked again after that,” she said.
But when she decided to come forward, Hatswell’s story wasn’t well received.
“I told my mum and she thought I’d just seen a homeless person, everybody thought I was just being dramatic.”
So, she says she began doing her own research. She read paranormal books and studied similar cases from the United States. Then, she came across the Patterson-Gimlin film.
“‘Patty’ looked very similar, but just not the same.”
Years went by and her experience still remained a mystery. And when it looked as though Hatswell had finally given up, a TV show dug up the cryptid memories.
” The Sykesville monster appears, it was so close to what I had seen it took me right back,” she explains. “I was crying and shaking, and I was 15 again, looking at him. At that point I decided I needed to put this to bed once and for all.”
She figures contacting a British Bigfoot website would most likely help her decipher the decades-old encounter.
“But they didn’t want to know. They said it was ‘too close too town’. I got out the maps and started to work out how he got there. I’m finding green corridors in the country parks and off to the moors. I started looking at old Woodwoose articles and finding people in the comments who had had experiences,” says the retired cook.
The Woodwoose, also known as the Wodewose or the Wild Man, is a mythical creature present in European literature from the Middle Ages. Critics believe that inaccurate accounts of possible apes written by explorers and travelers in that time period may have been responsible for the creation of the myth.
And Hatswell, who was forced to quit her job due to an accident she had nine years ago, has now become an investigator and, indirectly, a paramount source of Bigfoot stories coming out of the United Kingdom. She has collected hundreds of eyewitness accounts.
“I met most of my fellow team member this way too, most of whom have had their own sighting and a need to understand like myself. We set up blogs and Facebook pages, expanding the net and finding more and more witnesses.”
And it appears that the hard work has finally paid off.
“This month, a lady from the area came forward and said she saw the same thing in 1984, I have contacted her but as of yet have not received a reply,” she said.
Used as a military base during both world wars, the 87 acre park remains the largest of its kind in Salford.
In 2007, the local media announced plans for the conversion of the 1827 Buile Hill Mansion to a Hilton hotel. These plans reportedly came to an end three years later after the the National Lottery refused to provide with the needed funding.