A large hillfort well situated at the highest point of Cannock Chase (244m) in Stafordshire, England. With superb views all around this pentagonal shaped fort of 3.4ha has defences that vary with the topography of the land: from two banks and ditches with a counterscarp bank on the north and west, to five banks and four ditches on the flatter south/south-east. The original enterance was on the east, the others now visible are recent.
We visited Castle Ring in the spring and were able to enjoy walking the cirumfrence of the fort. It was a Sunday afternoon and we parked the car a little further north rather than the actual fort carpark as to enjoy a walk through the forest before the embankments themselves. Hill Forts often tend to be massive affairs and I often think you get a better feel for them if you approach them from a distance. The day was pleasant and we said hello to the dog walkers and strollers, watched horse riders on the horizon and Rugely Power Station's cooling towers in action. Castle Ring was covered in brown dead bracken and fern which would in summer when fresh and green I imagine obscure many of the forts features.
Cannock Chase and Castle Ring itself has something of a growing reputation as a paranormal hotspot: there have been numerous reports of a very British Bigfoot, Sasquatch or Yeti. (I'd prefer to use the term 'Wose' or 'Green Man', it's more inkeeping somehow). Out of place big-cats have been witnessed as well as the occasional sighting of wild boar, wolves and wallabys. UFO's and ghosts abound too with several reports that fall into the classic 'ghostly black dog' category.
'Three Men Seeking Monsters'
".....Pauline explained that she would often come up to the Ring to sit and read during the summer and on her day off work, on Thursdays. And it was on a particular Thursday morning in July 1986 that she had her fateful encounter. She had prepared herself a place to sit, stretched a blanket out on the ground and opened her picnic basket that contained drinks, fruit and sandwiches. For more than an hour she sat and read, but then something curious happened. It seemed, she told us, that she was sitting in a vacuum and all of the surrounding noises, such as those of the birds whistling and the branches of trees gently swaying, stopped. She also said that somehow the area didn't seem 'quite right.' She elaborated: "The best way I can describe it is to say it was like I wasn't really on the Chase but it was as if I was in someone's dream of what the Chase should look like. As if it was all a mirage, but a good one."
Then out of the trees came a horrific form running towards her. It was, said Pauline, a man. The man, however, was unlike any that she had ever seen before. he had long filthy hair, a matted beard, and a face that was more prehistoric than modern. He was relativly short in height, perhaps no more than five feet two inches, and was clad in animal skins that extended from his waist to his knees and with a long piece of animal skin that was draped over his right shoulder. In his right hand he held what was undoubtedly the large antlers of a deer that had been fashioned into a daggerlike weapon.
It was hard to know who was more afraid, Pauline said. She stared in stark terror at the man. He, in turn, appeared perplexed and eyed her curiously. He would instinctivly jump back at her slightest movement. He spoke to her, she said, in a language that seemed complex but that was unknown to her. It was evident, however, that he was asking her questions. But about what, she had no idea. Then things got even stranger. In the distance Pauline could hear other voices getting closer and closer and that, collectivly, grew into a huge rumbling sound. And then she found the source of the noise. Through a break in the trees came perhaps thirty or forty more similarly clad people, some men and some women, and all chanting.
It was clear to Pauline that some sort of ceremony was about to take place inside Castle Ring and she was right in the heart of the action. the men and women all proceeded to sit down at the edges of the Ring. One man, much taller than the rest and whom she took to be their leader, marched over and said something unintelligible but that she understood by the wave of his arm meant that she should get out of the circle. This she did and retreated with shaking legs to the tree line. For more than fifteen minutes she sat, transfixed with terror by the sight, as this curious band of people continued to chant. then out of the sky came the most horrific thing that Pauline had ever seen in her entire life.
It was, she said, a creature about four feet in height, human in shape with oily black skin, thin arms and legs and a pair of large, batlike wings. And it had two hideous, red, glowing eyes. It slowly dropped to the ground and prowled the Ring for a minute, staring at one and all and emitting hideous shrieks. Suddenly seven or eight of the men pounced on the creature, wrestled it to the ground, and tied it firmly with powerful ropes. It writhed and fought to get loose and tore into the flesh of the men with its claws but was finally subdued and dragged into the forest by the same group of men. The remainder of the party followed and Pauline said that the strange atmosphere began to lift and the area turned to normality. For several minutes she stood her ground, too afraid to move, but then finally returned on still-unsteady legs to her blanket and quickly scooped up both it and her picnic basket and ran to her car....."
Three Men Seeking Monsters
Paraview - Pocket Books, 2004