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The Dover Demon, 40 Years Later, part 1

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April 21, 2017 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)

Tonight is the 40th anniversary of the first sighting of the so-called Dover Demon and, in honor or such as august occasion I thought I might talk a little about the case and, tomorrow, how it might inform game play in Call of Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian and Horror RPGs.

Let’s review the three generally recognized encounters with the creature…

The Sightings

Bill Bartlett, 10:30 4/21/1977

Bill Bartlett, Andy Brodie, and Mike Mazzocca (all 17) were driving north along Farm Street when Bill, who was driving, spotted something odd atop a tumbledown stone wall near the road:

It was not a dog or a cat. It had no tail. It had an egg-shaped head. 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. The color of it was… the color of people in the Sunday comics {a sort of dark peach}.

Bartlett described the creature as standing between 3 and 4 feet fall, with slightly glowing  orange eyes.  Bartlett, was was driving, was frightened and sped off.  Neither of his friends had seen the creature and when the trio returned to the spot Bartlett had seen the thing, it was gone.  A short time later, Bartlett (who would become an illustrator as an adult) made a sketch of the creature:

dover_bartlett

Bartlett’s sketch of the creature

John Baxter, about midnight 4/21-22/1977

About ninety minutes later John Baxter, aged 15, was walking north along Miller Hill Road, roughly 1 mile northeast of where the Bartlett sighting had occurred.  Spotting a small figure approaching on the dark road ahead (Dover, despite being near to Boston, is rather rural and well-forested).  Baxter thought this might be his friend M.G. Bouchard and he called out to it.  The figure did not reply but moved away from him into the trees.  Baxter stopped and, after scrambling down a small slope off the road, tried to get a better look at the figure:

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 and then I just got all these thoughts that maybe it was something really strange. ‘Cause, you know, nothing ever happened to me like this before, so I didn’t know what to think.

I finally got the thought that maybe it wasn’t as safe as it looked, ’cause the way it was staring at me it just seemed like it was– I don’t know. 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!

After staring at the thing for a few moments, Baxter grew nervous and backed away, then hurried along the road, eventually hitching a ride once he reached Farm Street.

He too drew a sketch of what he had seen:

dover_baxter1

Baxter’s sketch

Brabham/Taintor

The next evening was the final sighting of the creature by another a young couple, Abby Brahbam and her 18 year old boyfriend Will Taintor.  Brabham got a much better view of the creature, which appeared to be sitting on the side of the road where the East Branch of Trout Brook passed under the road in a culvert.  She described thusly:

As I looked at it… it kind of looked a minute like an ape. 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.

The sighting terrified Ms. Brabham, who begged Taintor to drive faster to get away and not drive back to get a better look.  She later made the following sketch of the creature:

Brabhan’s sketch

 

Here is a map showing the approximate locations of the three sightings:


 

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