THE FIRST SIGHTING
On April 21, 1977, three friends, Bill Bartlett, Mike Mazzocca, and Andy Brodie were driving down Farm Street in Dover at 10:30 PM. Bartlett was driving, and as they drove past a structure called the Farm Street Wall, he noticed what he thought was a dog or a cat out of the corner of his eye, until the headlights hit it, that is.
It took Bartlett no time at all to realize that he was not looking at someone's pet. As he approached the creature, it turned its large, watermelon-shaped head and looked straight at him with two "large, glassy eyes." The eyes had no eyelids and Bartlett said they looked like "two orange marbles." We went on to describe the creature more: it had no tail, its body and head were about the same size, it had long, spindly arms, legs, hands, and feet, and had hairless, peach colored skin that looked like it had a rough texture. The thing was about three to four feet tall and "was shaped like a baby's body with long arms and legs." Its long fingers curled around the rocks it was standing on.
Bill's sighting only lasted a few seconds and neither Andy nor Mike saw the creature, but could both tell Bill was scared by something. He drove on for a few miles until his friends convinced him to turn around and go back. When they returned, the Demon was gone. When he got home, Bill drew a picture of what he saw. "It draw a lot. I train myself to remember what I see as soon as I see it." He said.
|Bartlett's drawing. Writing on the right says:|
"I, Bill Bartlett, swear on a stack of Bibles that
I saw this creature"
JOHN BAXTER'S SIGHTING
About two hours later, now the morning of April 22, 1977, John Baxter was walking back from his girlfriend's house. As he was walking up Miller's High Road, he saw someone (or something) approaching him. He thought it may be M. G. Bouchard, someone he knew, so he yelled "M.G., is that you?" He did not get a response and the figure kept moving towards him. When Baxter was about 25 feet away he stopped and yelled "Who is that?"
Suddenly, the figure took off running down a gully by the road. John could not get a good look at it, but could hear it, so he followed. He soon spotted it standing on the other side of the gully, with its feet "molded" onto a rock it was standing on. It had its fingers wrapped around a tree it was leaning on.
Baxter said the body reminded him of a monkey, and that the head looked like "a figure-8." The creature stared straight at him for a minute, and soon Baxter began to feel uneasy and left, fearing the thing might attack him. He ran all the way back to the road, where a couple picked him up and drove him home. When he got home he drew a picture of what he saw, just like Bill Bartlett. The drawings are strikingly similar, and neither of the witnesses knew the other had seen the thing until five days afterwards.
|John Baxter & his drawing|
THE THIRD SIGHTING
The night night, Abby Brabham and Will Taintor were driving down Springdale Avenue in Dover, 2.4 miles away from where Bill Bartlett had his encounter the night before. Abby was in the passenger seat and saw a strange creature crouched down on all fours by the road. Its body was "thin and monkey-like, and it had a large head with no ears, nose, or mouth." The thing was hairless and had tan or beige colored skin. The area around the creatures eyes was a lighter shade than the rest of its body, and Abby said its eyes were green. When she was told other witnesses described orange eyes, she insisted that the eyes of the creature she saw were green.
Will, who was driving, only caught a quick glimpse of the creature. All he could make out was something with a large head and tan body, and said it had its arms up in the air.
Abby became frightened and the two sped out of the area.
|"Dover Demon" by JoeLercio|
AFTERMATH AND THE MANNEGISHI
So, what did those witnesses see? To tell the truth, no one really knows. But, of course there are theories.
After the witnesses came forward with their stories, many people in Dover believed they had all seen something. A few thought it could be a prank. But, none of the witnesses knew anything about the other sightings until days later, and were amazed when the drawings showed the same thing. I do not think the Dover Demon was a hoax.
If the eyewitnesses are telling the truth, then what the heck was the Demon? Theories abound. Some people say the teenagers saw an alien. That could be true. In 1998, Marvin S. Kottmeyer said he thought the witnesses had seen a baby moose! I think that theory is complete nonsense. Last time I checked, baby moose do not look like the descriptions of the Dover Demon at all. Who ever heard of a moose with fingers and a watermelon head? That almost sounds crazier than the Demon itself!
There are legends about a being similar to the Dover Demon from Eastern Canada, which really isn't that far from Massachusetts. The Cree Indians believed in a being they called the "Mannegishi." The Mannegishi were said to be little dwarfs that were about four feet tall, with no hair, gray skin, spindly arms, and large, noseless heads. Sound familiar? Some people, including myself, think it is possible that the witnesses in Dover actually saw a Mannegishi. As I say in my second book, which is still being written, "I think the theory that the Dover Demon is actually one of these little tricksters is much more believable than it being a baby moose that has fingers and can crawl along rock wall."
Soon after the sightings, cryptozoologist Loren Coleman went to interview the witnesses. He is the one who gave the creature the name "Dover Demon," and it has stuck since. He has written about the cryptid in several of his books, including Mysterious America and Monsters of Massachusetts. I also have a chapter on the Dover Demon (and some of the other very weird creatures of cryptozoology) in my book Cryptid U.S., and in the book I am currently working on.
|A picture of myself with Loren Coleman at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference|
this year. I'd wanted to meet the guy for years!
Now, thirty-eight years later, still no one knows what was really seen those two nights in Dover. Maybe someday, the Demon will return….
|Dover Demon at the International Cryptozoology Museum|
Check back later for part two of this post!