On April 21 1977, in Dover Massachusetts, an event took place that placed the town of Dover in the paranormal history books. Bill Bartlett and two friends were cruising around this small town enjoying the typical teenage conversations. Around 10:30 they began driving down Farm Street, a long and winding road surrounded by woods and fields. Suddenly, Bill noticed an animal climbing over a stone wall to the left of the road. As they approached the creature the headlight illuminate it and it froze in place like a startled deer. As it stared into the lights Bartlett noticed it had glowing orange eyes that resembled glass marbles. “It looked like a baby’s body with long arms and legs. It had a big head about the same size as the body, it was sort of melon shaped”, Bartlett stated.
He went on to describe it as having no facial feature and a peach colored skin with a texture like sharkskin. As he raced past the creature he could see it clutching onto the rocks with its long spindly fingers. The other boys were busy talking and did not notice the creature. Bartlett dropped off his friends and went home to draw a picture of what he had witnessed.
Later that evening John Baxter, age 15 was returning home from his girlfriend’s house. Around 12:30 am he reached the intersection of Miller Hill Rd. and Farm St. when he noticed someone about 150 feet away walking toward him. John could see that this person had an unusually large head. He thought it may be M.G. Bouchard, a young boy who had a deformed head due to a childhood disease. As he got closer he called out to him, but there was no reply. Once he was close enough he could see that it couldn’t be Bouchard; it was far too small. “I was about 15 feet away from it when I stopped and it stopped…” John said, “We just stood there, I was looking at it and I’m sure it was looking at me. I could barely see the shape of it…I said one more time, who is that?” John took one more step forward and it quickly dashed into the woods. He could hear this thing making its way through the brush. Curious to discover who or what it was, John quickly followed behind it. Reaching the bottom of the embankment, he could see on the other side of a brook. He now could clearly see the outline of the creature’s body. “All these thoughts going through my mind, “John told investigators, “you know, ‘what is this? A monkey, maybe?’… As I was looking really close, there I could see the eyes… it was looking at me… I just stared at it for another few minutes…” Soon John began to feel very uncomfortable. “I got all these feelings that it was thinking to itself, or waiting to spring or whatever, you know, and so I backed up the bank kind of fast and my heart started beating really fast…” He ran to Farm St and got a ride home. That night he drew a picture of the creature he had seen. It had glowing eyes and strongly resembled the thing Bill Bartlett had seen.
Dover would experience one more sighting of this strange creature. The next night around midnight Will Taintor, 18, was driving his girlfriend Abby Brabham, 15, home. While on Springdale Ave Abby saw something at the edge of the bridge on the left hand side of the road. “As I looked at it, it kind of looked a minute like an ape.” She claimed, “And then I looked at the head and the head was very big and it was a very weird head… It had bright green eyes and the eyes just glowed like, they were just looking exactly at me.” Abby went on to mention that she assumed that the creature’s eyes might have been reflecting the car’s headlights. She described it as having a tan hairless body, and a watermelon-shaped head that was featureless. Taintor only saw it for a brief moment crouched in the road. Both of them compared its size to that of a goat. This would be the last sighting of the creature.
Realizing other people had seen the same creature he had witnessed, Bill ran off copies of his drawing and began to hand them out. He hoped that he might find others to corroborate his story with their own experiences. Over the next month several local papers ran stories concerning the sightings. On May 16 the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe ran stories on the Dover Demon. Bill’s unusual experience became big news.
Since then there have been many theories as to what the Dover Demon was. Some people believe it has a strong resemblance to the alien beings witnessed in many UFO sightings. The Demon also has many similarities to a creature the Cree nation of eastern Canada call Mannegishi. It may also be possible that Bill had seen an undiscovered natural species, mutation or hybrid that still has not been cataloged by scientists. Martin S. Kottmeyer suggested that they had actually seen a young moose. The location of the eyes and absence of a nose or mouth fit with the description of the head of a young moose. Each sighting was brief and in darkness of the night. Under such conditions, a person’s imagination can easily play tricks on them. We may never know the truth, so next time you’re in driving through Dover, Keep one eye on the road and the other eye out for the Dover Demon!
~ Strange New England
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