June 28, 2006
The Beast of Cannock Chase is back - and on the hard-shoulder.
Motorists on Junction 10A of the M6, near Cannock, jammed Highways Agency helplines on Wednesday morning, with reports of a 'wolf-like creature' racing between lanes at rush hour.
Motorists looked on in disbelief as the three-foot long creature, described as 'greyish black', raced between lanes, dodging stunned motorists before diving for cover in nearby trees.
Highways Agency staff joined motorway police to hunt for the creature and later stated the 'beast' was likely to be a husky dog.
But a spokesperson at Saga Radio, whose eye-in-the-sky traffic reports were first to clock the event, said: "Highways staff said that it was probably a husky dog. But everyone who saw it is convinced it was something more than a domestic dog. I know it sounds crazy, but these people think they've seen a wolf."
With wolves extinct on our shores for centuries, could it be the mysterious creature was, in fact, the legendary Beast of Cannock Chase? World-renowned paranormal investigator Nick Redfern certainly thinks so.
He said: "Many big cats, such as panthers, were kept as pets until a couple of decades ago. The 1976 Dangerous Animals Act put an end to that, making it an offence to own them. What happened was, many of these pets were released into the wild as a convenient way for their owners to be rid of them.
"It is possible that by now, these animals are on to their third or fourth generations. They could be the big cats people are seeing on the Chase now.
"But saying that, there are a lot of documented reports of sightings which date back as far as the 1600s and 1700s, predating the 1976 Act by centuries. It does make you wonder why, 300 years ago, in the absence of publicity, someone would go to the lengths of making up a sighting."