Cryptid Casefile: The Dover Demon
Updated: Oct 24
It was a cool Spring evening for the residents of Dover, Massachusetts in 1977. However, for a few teenagers out late that night, their little town would become a lot more interesting. This is the tale of the Dover Demon...
This story begins around 10:30PM on April 21st when three 17-year-old friends, Bill Bartlett, Mike Mazzocca and Andy Brodie were driving around town, looking for something to do like teenagers would. As they drove North on one of the towns rural roads, Bill, who was driving, noticed a strange figure on the side of the road ahead. It appeared to be scaling the old stone wall that followed the road they were on. At first, Bill recounted thinking it was simply a cat or a dog, however once the cars headlights illuminated the figure, what he saw was something otherwordly...
It seemed to realize there was an oncoming vehicle, and the creature slowly and creepily turned its head to face the three teens, revealing two large glowing eyes. Bill described them as "orange marbles". This creature had an enormous head, supported by an impossibly spindly body with long, thin limbs and digits that seemed to curl around the rocks that made up the stone wall it was on. Bill further described its as hairless with peach colored skin. Stranger still was it's skin also had a texture to it, almost like a fine wet sandpaper. Finally, this being, whatever it was looked to only have a 3.5' - 4' foot stature.
After a few seconds, the boys passed the creature with Bill being the sole witness to this first encounter. As it turns out, his friends, Mike and Andy had not noticed this bizarre beast at all, as the sighting only lasted a short few seconds.
Now, Bill wasn't the only one who saw this thing. Later that same night, another teenager, 15-year-old, John Baxter, was leaving his girlfriends house. Little did John know, his walk home was about to take twist towards the unusual. About 30 minutes into his journey home, John noticed a shadowy figure approaching him from up the street. Being close to his neighborhood, he figured it was probably somebody he knew and called out to them. To his dismay, he received no response. Who or what could it be? The figure continued to approach him and suddenly stopped. John called out again, demanding to know who it was. Perhaps more concerning, was that he couldn't make out any details of the figure, especially as it was overcast coupled with street lights few and far between. In an attempt to get a better look, John took one more step towards the figure and whatever it was, suddenly darted off. He could see it running down the gully on the side of the road, which led into a forest. It was real, whatever it was, as John could hear leaves crunching under its feed as it scurried away.
In a moment of curiosity, and perhaps naivety, John decided to give chase to this thing, following it down the slope to the gully. He stopped to look across, the way into the forest as it had already put some distance between them in a a few seconds. As he peered through the darkness he can see the silhouette of a short figure standing on a rock about 30 feet away. Its feet looked in this words, "molded" around the rock with long fingers gripping around a nearby tree.
To Baxter it almost seemed monkey-like, especially with how its digits almost melted into the tree and rock it was holding on to, but it was no monkey. He could see it had an extremely large, figure-8 shaped head, with two glowing eyes, staring right at him. The two stared at each other, locked in a stalemate for a brief couple of minutes, each waiting for the other to make a move.
As Johns bravery began to wear off, fear set in and decided his best course of action would be to slowly back away while keeping his eyes on this thing. He had never seen a creature like this before, and who knows what it would be capable of. In a short few moments, he made it back to the road and started walking very fast towards home. To his luck, a couple who were out driving offered him a ride, and he was able to get out of the situation unscathed.
But it wasn't over yet. The following evening around Midnight, another teenager, 15-year-old, Abby Brabham was being driven home from her boyfriends house. Like Bill Bartlett the night before, Abby suddenly noticed an odd figure standing next to a tree on the side of the road. She described the creature as having a large ovoid head with long spindly limbs. It had no facial features except for for large eyes which she described as glowing green, instead of orange. In this situation however, she wasn't the only witness. Her boyfriend also observed the creature briefly and described a similar large-headed being with a tan colored body crouched in the road.
Curiously when all the teen witnesses were interviewed by investigators, the descriptions all matched very closely. John Baxter even made a drawing of the uncanny creature he stood almost face-to-face with. To this day, abby brabham still remains shook about what she witnessed that night so long ago.
So, what was this anomalous creature we've come to call The Dover Demon that was only witnessed on these two nights in 1977? Skeptics believe they have debunked this case, claiming these teenagers were inebriated, or simply making the story up altogether. The most popular idea of an explanation was that it was a lost juvenile moose, that had wandered out of the woods and into Dover, or a loose foal (baby horse).
The problem with those theories is that both of these animals, even when juvenile are likely larger than what the witnesses described. There is also the issue that April is not the time of year for foals to be around, and moose typically don't venture into urban settings like the greater Boston area. And while the Dover Demon was noted to walk on all fours, it was also seen standing on hits hind legs, which is something that foals and moose are not known to do.
A further theory states that the Dover Demon sounds eerily similar to a creature known in Cree folklore called the Mannegishi. These trickster-like humanoids are said to live among rocks around river rapids and are known to capsize passing canoes. Further legends say they are responsible for carving ancient pictographs into rocks around the region. Their appearance is also a match for the Dover Demon. According to the folklore, the Mannegishi are described as having skinny limbs, large heads & big eyes. Although they look feeble, they are powerful. Additionally, they have no nose, or mouth, much like what the witnesses described of the creature they saw.
After April of 1977, no more sightings of the Dover Demon have been reported, making this cryptid a bit of a one hit wonder. However, it seems like this creature was known in local indigenous peoples legends. Perhaps in time, new encounters will happen, or perhaps the three teenagers stories were simply a made up story, after all - maybe a cover to explain to their parents why they were out so late, or perhaps there really are unknown creatures out there, that go bump in the night...