Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Devil Comes to Smethwick

Dr. Kark Shuker relates the weird account of Old Ned's Devil - a strange tale in which I perform a minor role, and that is very similar to the equally strange tale of the notorious "British Bigfoot" known as the Man-Monkey of England's Shropshire Union Canal.


Andrew D. Gable said...

I think it's a tantalizing possibility if the Man-Monkey were based on something concrete and then the legend lived on, giving him all sorts of other attributes as time went by. In your writings about Cannock Chase, you mentioned something about a Victorian-era gentleman who had a menagerie on his property - is it possible this was connected? Note I'm going off my rather shoddy memory, so I'm not certain if the time periods line up, or indeed if the Chase is all that close to the canal (though I believe it is?).

Nick Redfern said...


It's not impossible there is no connection, as he did have a huge menagerie of animals, including monkeys, a zebra and an ocelot!

And, as the crow flies, it's not too far from the canal bridge.

The man's name was Dr. Robert Kerr Butter, who lived in the town of Cannock.

Notably, something that very few people have noted, is that the doctor was also the police surgeon who testified in the notorious "animal mutilation" trial of George Edlaji.

If you don't know the Edalji story, you'll find lots of online links, and a couple of books have been written on the subject.