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In Search of
The Beast of Exmoor
Very level walk. Abandoned RR line. About 1 mile round trip.
From Columbia, Willimantic, take route 6 in the direction of Andover, or Bolton. Stay on route 6 as it goes through Andover. You will see a sign that you are entering Coventry. Take your first left which will be just over the Bolton line. This is Steeles Crossing Road. Across the street from Steeles Crossing Road is a white house with a white fence and a sign for Patriot Farm.
Coming from Manchester, Vernon, take route 6 in the direction of Columbia, Willimantic. After passing South Street on the left, take your next right. Onto Steeles Crossing Road. Across the street from Steeles Crossing Road is a white house with a white fence and a sign for Patriot Farm.
Pull onto Steeles Crossing Road. Travel just over 2/10 of a mile around a sharp curve to a large pedestrian crosswalk across the road. Park on the right in the parking area. Take the Hop River Trail northwest. After passing the metal gate, keep going until you get to a spot where there are wooden railings on both sides of the trail and a stream going underneath. Walk 13 steps past the end of the railing and turn left at an opening to a gully. Walk 5 steps back towards the stream. Look to your left and move the bigger flat rock to reveal a cavity that holds the letterbox.
The Beast of Exmoor:
The Beast of Exmoor is a large, wild, cat-like creature that has been held responsible for the killing of many farm animals in Devonshire, England. The reports of this beast began in the early 1970's. In the spring of 1983, local farmer Eric Ley lost over one hundred of his sheep over a period of two and a half months. The killer of the sheep did not attack its victims like a dog or fox would, but rather like a lion or leopard, by ripping out their throats. It was in 1983 that the beast acquired itís name. The London Daily Express placed a reward for the capture or death of the Beast. Royal Marine sharpshooters were stationed in the hills, hoping to kill the beast. When the marines were in place, there were no attacks. Some did claim to have seen the creature, but none of the soldiers were able to get a clear shot. When the sharpshooters were gone, the attacks started again.
In 1987 the creature was blamed for over 200 farm animal deaths. More recent attacks were reported in August 1995 and January 2001. Most witnesses say the Beast of Exmoor is a large cat. It looks like a large panther, almost eight feet long from nose to tail and jet-black. It walks low to the ground and has been known to have jumped a 6 foot high fence. One report from a witness states that the beast jumped a 15 foot hedge. No such cat is native to England. There are some that claim that the creature is tan or dark gray. Others claim that there are more than one creature. One is tan and one is black. Some believe that they are the descendants of an escaped black puma, that mated with another large cat, thus creating a new species. In Victorian England, the rich very often kept exotic animals on their estates. It is possible that some escaped and over the years created a small group of big cats. There are some that believe there is something more supernatural happening here. No one has ever caught or killed one of these big cats and they seem to escape out of tight situations very easily. One good example of this was when the British army was hunting for the Beast of Exmoor. It is said that the beast was thought to have been trapped and surrounded in a barn. When the soldiers went into the structure, they found nothing. The barn was empty. It has even been suggested by some that the beast comes from a parallel universe, slipping in and out of our dimension. Skeptics say witnesses have been misidentifying known animals and that the creatures are probably pet house cats whose size is being exaggerated by the witnesses. What exactly is this beast that roams Britain is a mystery and may never be known. To find out more about the Beast of Exmoor, visit these web sites:http://www.occultopedia.com/e/exmoor.htm
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