Wednesday, January 3, 2007
At Rye, Sussex, as chronicled in a 1926 work, a courting couple walking their dog one evening across a misty field, were approached by a peculiar horse-like creature with great staring eyes that galloped away from them. The man pursued the beast in time to see it leap a fence and splash into a large, deep pool. Such a creature is what is known in folklore as a Water Horse, considered trickster spirits the world over which often appear very much as a horse but should anyone dare to mount such a monster, it will gallop off and drown them.
Strange leviathans have been sighted in the salt-waters off Kent's foaming coast.
In 1912 a Mr Stone and others aboard a boat at St Margaret's Bay saw what they described as a 'long-necked seal', something similar was seen some fifty years later in the Thames Estuary! And in 1923 at Black Deep in the Thames a Captain Haselfoot and Commander Southern saw a similar creature The area itself had been closed to shipping for some eight years when the leviathan was sighted and occurred at 9:00 am in the summer. The two witnesses watched as a long neck rose out of the water some two-hundred yards away and reached a height of some seven-feet. And in 1950 a John Handley also saw a 'long-necked seal' off Cliftonville, near Margate.
Monsters also exist in the lakes and rivers of Kent too.
In the July of 2001 an unknown predator was taking swans at the River Darent, Dartford. The smooth skinned beast had attracted many anglers and reporters to its watery lair, but no-one had fully identified the creature until a fifteen-year old Oliver Parker-Grater came forward to say he'd caught the monster, a Wels catfish, estimated to be five-feet in length, but had put it back not realising the amount of obliteration it was causing in the estuary. The Kent Fisheries Team searched the waters, believing that the fish would be a threat to the native brown trout plus other wildlife in the area. An Adrian Saunders of the Fisheries Team at the time commented, "My suspicion is that he has swum down river towards the Dartford Creek area and could even be in the River Thames. Small rivers like the Darent are not the natural habitat of catfish. It is likely this has been put into the river illegally for someones idea of angling fun but it can be a threat to the environment making a big impact on local fish stocks."
During the summer of 2005 a crocodile was being blamed for the disappearance of much wildlife in the vicinity of the River Lea in east London. Canada geese and cygnets were being dragged into the black waters by an unknown predator that refused to rear its ugly head. An eight-foot long catfish, a snapping turtle and also a massive pike were also put on the list of suspects as numbers of geese dwindled rapidly from one-hundred and thirty to single figures.
As autumn drew in, police and other wildlife authorities were even blaming people for the mysterious disappearances, believing that 'swan-snatchers' were on the loose.