The Dover Demon

On April 21, 1977, the small town of Dover, located just 15 miles from Boston, was thrown into world recognition. In this little quiet community, a strange creature was witnessed by several people over two days.

William Bartlett, then 17-years-old, was the first person to see the Dover Demon. As he and two friends, Mike Mazzocco and Andy Brodie, drove along their local Farm Street just past 10 p.m., Bartlett witnessed a creature “standing on a wall, its eyes glowing [in the headlights]. It was not a dog or a cat. It had no tail. It had an egg-shaped head.” Its body was thin with long spindly arms and legs. The fingers resembled tendrils as they grasped the broken wall. It began to traverse the top stones of the wall. Bartlett saw it for but a few moments before passing it. When he turned around, it was gone.

A mere two hours later, 15-year-old John Baxter encountered the creature on Miller High Road. As Baxter proceeded down the street, he saw a small figure approaching him. The figure was at first unidentifiable in the dark. Still, as it neared, Baxter knew it was not an ordinary animal or human; instead, something in between.

The figure then scurried off to the left, descending a wooden gully and stopped on the other side. Baxter followed the formation, pausing at the top of the gully, where he got his first good look at the being. It sat near a tree with its feet “molded” around the top of a rock. Its head was “figure eight” shaped with two dark eyes and a body that resembled a monkey. Struck with fear, Baxter left the scene, moving swiftly down the road until he reached Farm Street were a couple, noting he was visibly shaken, picked him up and gave him a ride home.

The next night, on April 22, a 15-year-old girl named Abby Brabham saw the creature standing upright next to a tree. Her time of witness was also around midnight. All three witnesses gave similar descriptions of what they saw and drew sketches of the creature. The monster was dubbed the “Dover Demon.” Bartlett wrote on his sketch, “I, Bill Bartlett, swear on a stack of Bibles that I saw this creature.”

Noted Maine native and Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman spoke to the teens within a week of the sightings and concluded they were credible. The Dover Demon was sighted at night, for two days within a 2-mile radius, near water. Some authorities passed the creature off as a foal or a moose calf. Still, it soon became apparent that none such animals had been spotted in the area and any such young animals were out of season. If a moose was wandering the site, it would have been easily seen and captured. Another aspect that shot holes in that theory was that the witnesses saw the creature standing upright and walking like a human.

To this day, Bartlett still remains shaken and mystified by his witnessing of the Dover Demon. In an interview, he stated, “In a lot of ways it’s kind of embarrassing to me. I definitely saw something. It was definitely weird. I didn’t make it up. Sometimes I wish I had.”

For the record, the Dover Demon is not the first strange sighting in the small hamlet. Stories have circulated for centuries about buried treasure and pirates. Also, there are legends of the devil on horseback being seen in the 1600s. However, the Dover Demon has captured the attention of many since its brief sighting and disappearance over 40 years ago.

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