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A leading cryptozoologist believes there could be communities of Bigfoot living in the UK – and that they've been hiding in plain sight for centuries.
Andy McGrath, author of Beasts of Britain, told the Daily Star there's a real possibility that huge ape-like beasts are thriving in remote areas across the UK.
And while they're not as infamous as their US counterpart, Sasquatch, Andy says there's plenty of evidence of their existence – if you know where to look.
He said: "The idea of a 'British Bigfoot' is not very accepted worldwide, even among the Bigfoot community.
"But our history mainly relates to the legend of the Green Man, hairy man-like creatures that are depicted on ancient heraldry like crests, and carved into our ancient churches.
"It definitely adds some sort of plausibility that this figure can be found in the Middle Ages in architecture, art and noble families' coats of arms."
Do you think Bigfoot exists in Britain? Have you seen one? Tell us in the comments below…
The Green Man is a pagan idol, and usually represents the life cycle of the forest, and is represented by a human face surrounded by leaves, and the imagery is common across Europe, particularly in Germany and France.
Of course it is also a popular name for a pub, with 30 boozers in London alone bearing the name of the iconic forest guardian.
It is not thought that any "bipedal crypto" currently living under the radar in the UK has a beard made of leaves, but it would definitely make them harder to spot, and would allow them to easily blend into the background if they heard a human approach.
Andy explained: "You could say no one has found a British Bigfoot yet as nobody is really looking for it.
"But when it comes to taking pictures of wild animals, it can be hard to photograph something even when you're looking for it.
"Just the other day I tried to take a photo of a deer from a few feet away and in seconds it had disappeared."
Sadly neither a "Green Man" or "European wild man" has ever been caught on camera – but that doesn't mean there isn't modern evidence of their existence.
People across the UK claim to have come face to face with terrifying "ape men" in woodland, and the overall theme is that these mysterious bipeds do not want to be our friends.
Despite looking a bit human, these creatures – if they do exist – are to be treated like wild animals, and by the sound of it, they share a lot of behavioural traits with apes.
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Andy said: "If they exist, and it is a big IF, proceed very carefully.
"There have been reports of close encounters where the creatures have become angry at the presence of humans.
"Then, like a gorilla or chimpanzee, they have run or chased them out of their territory, ape style, to deter them from coming any closer."
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Unsurprisingly, being run at by a terrifying creature usually works and that is where most encounter stories end, but Andy knows of some tales where people got a serious look at these evolutionary oddities – and lived to tell the tale.
He added: "There was a story of children chased out of a forest by a hairy ape man. One of them fell and and noticed the creature stopped the chase as soon as it fell. It just looked at them.
"Similarly, a group of youngsters were chased through woodland near Sheffield by a '6ft tall figure with red eyes'.
"The children fled in terror as the beast jumped across the river with ease, but stopped some distance away when one of them fell to the ground."
The British Bigfoot might be wary to lay a finger on people, but they appear to have no qualms about smashing their way through the forest, with torn branches and destroyed trunks hinting at incredible levels of strength.
Children running for their lives through woodland; the sounds of trees crashing down as eerie screams and groans echo across a field; unexplained sightings of aggressive ape-faced men; and of course mysterious footprints, have all been carefully recorded and analysed over the years by a small but dedicated community of researchers.
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Using eye-witness reports like the ones above, they have formed a rough idea of what a British Bigfoot looks like – and it's not as imposing as its US cousin, Sasquatch.
Andy said: "The main difference is size, with the British Bigfoot rarely being bigger than six foot tall.
"Its facial features are more man-like in some respects, with a wide jutting jaw and brow, and a low forehead.
"Picture a Neanderthal, a largely hair covered humanoid, and you're getting there."
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As well as having a different build and look to any of the other Bigfoot types found around the world, its tracks show that it doesn't have flat feet – they are arched like a human's.
This has caused a lot of false starts for Andy and other members of the British Bigfoot Research Group.
He said: "A lot of the 'Bigfoot tracks' found in forests and woodland are actually from people running wearing those strange trainers that fit like a pair of gloves!"
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But weird shoes or not, there has been a huge surge in sightings across the country – does that mean that they are growing in numbers and moving towards towns and cities?
Andy thinks it's more likely that people have developed an interest in this area of cryptozoology due to an increase in US TV programmes about Bigfoot hunters.
Similarly, people fascinated paranormal theories surrounding Bigfoot's existence, as seen on cult series like Skinwalker Ranch, which argue the beasts travel through time using a series of wormholes powered up by different Moon phases that are found on key lines that criss-cross the Earth.
He said: "I've got quite a strong opinion on there being an otherworldly connection to Bigfoot.
"If you saw one and it made you feel uncomfortable or scared, and then was able to disappear – which might be it retreating to a ready made den, or due to natural camouflage – suddenly it becomes a supernatural event.
"If you see one chasing a deer or eating blackberries, there is nothing supernatural about that.
"I think that the portal theory is a throwaway explanation and we should be exhausting every line of enquiry on Earth before we get into the non-corporeal theories."
Thinking about the size of the UK, you could be forgiven for thinking that it shouldn't take too long to track and trap a Bigfoot, but a 2012 study revealed that just a measly 6.8% of the UK's land area could be classed as 'urban' including rural settlements and roads.
That leaves huge swathes of unchartered territory – which is plenty of space for the Bigfoot to live in peace, eating rabbits, berries, and roots.
And while the idea of Bigfoot being indigenous to Britain will shock some people, there is one thing Andy is sure of.
"If they've always been here, we are not new to them," he said. "Animals are good at keeping away from us humans, nobody likes us!"
- The 3rd edition of Beasts of Britain will be available from July, (buy the 2nd edition now on Amazon). Visit beastsofbritain.com for more information about Andy's work, and his new Monster Book series out this summer.
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