Hairy Teeth The North of England 1972

Hello Deborah,

I saw your videos on YouTube and I was initially surprised at the notion that a large hairy biped similar to those believed to roam the USA, is in our own British Isles.

But after listening to your livestream with Nathan Reo from Utah, I began to wonder about an incident that occurred many years ago when I was a boy.  I'm fifty-seven years-old now and enjoy walking in the nearby countryside -just as I did when I was younger. It was 1972 when what I'm about to relate happened and I was twelve at the time.

My old home town was in the North-East of England. I was out doing something that i and my friends would do most evenings and weekends, as children all across the UK would do on light nights, and any chance they had to spend some time outside in the fresh air was taken, hail rain or snow.

Phil: My Account.

If memory serves, the incident happened one September evening round 9.00pm in 1972. I lived in a small area that is village-like, but it's actually known as the edge of a north-eastern town and just a couple of hundred yards away from my old home, the countryside begins.

There are woods, streams, farmland, and the main railway line that connects the south to the north is very close by, along with a large golf course and a river that is only a short walk away. More housing developments have taken place recently and sadly, the countryside is slowly moving further away.

But on that September night of '72, my three friends and I were playing with a football in one of the streets. When the incident occurred it was just a cold, damp autumn night. This particular street might seem odd to many as it comprised of a road that could accommodate two cars passing each other, a pavement on only one side and the street was contained by a collection of semi-detached houses on the side of the pavement and a row of terraced houses on the other. All the homes had small front gardens bordered by waist-high brick walls or privet hedges of a similar height.

As a side-note, my Father lived on this street as a boy and told me that where the semi-detached houses now stood, was the beginning of the countryside. Like many towns, it just expanded after the Second World War ll It was dark on the street that night and the only illumination came from an old-fashioned gas lamp that was situated at the bottom of the street. This was a long time ago and some of the homes still lit their rooms with interior gaslights! So with that in mind, one can appreciate that vehicles were not as plentiful as now and what we were up to would not be disturbed by passing cars.

We were playing a game named 'Kerby' played across the UK no doubt, which involves attempting to hit the corner of the pavement kerb with the ball to score points. One my friends, a older boy called Kevin -who sadly died a few years ago, kicked the ball in the right direction, but it bounced awkwardly and flew off over the privet hedge into an elderly couple's garden!

Being the culprit who'd lost the ball street rules apply and he was the one who had to retrieve it, Kevin opened the gate quietly and stepped into the garden behind the chest-high hedge. Then disappeared!
We waited and assumed he was just messing about as we thought we heard grunts or sounds that made me think that the ball was stuck in a bush or something. It must have only been about thirty seconds later when we finally gave up and went into the garden to see where Kevin was. There on his back in the shadows of the hedge, Kevin laid moaning. He looked terrified and as we reached for him, he said "I've just been beaten up!"

Of course, we looked around to see who else could be hiding in the dark garden, but there were no bushes, nothing. Just a dark night in a shadowed garden. The garden comprised of dug-over soil of around twelve feet long by seven feet wide. A high wooden fence separated all the gardens from each other and the privet hedge bordered it from the street. The only other exit apart from the gate that we'd come through, was where the path went up beside the house to connect with a rear garden. From there you could access the open expanse behind it. And we'd seen nobody else come or go. The owners of the house had their curtains closed and I doubt either of the elderly couple had hidden there for half-an-hour or so, when we had first began to play our game.

Kevin looked dishevelled, he told us he hadn't been punched or kicked, just 'man-handled'... sort of
pushed out of the way by the stranger that had been hiding behind the privet hedge. When asked what 'he' looked like -because one always assumes it is a male in these situations, Kevin's answer was alarming.  He looked at us and said  "He had hairy teeth'  and that was the total in his description. We can assume whoever this person was had arms and legs, due to his-or-her's ability to 'manhandle' our friend and also flee from the scene. Being a couple of years older than myself and the others, we didn't press him further and I can state that I knew Kevin all of his life and he was far from having an overeager imagination. He clammed up and we didn't push the matter or ask him any questions. Just like kids all over the world, a few minutes later we were back playing our game and all was forgotten about this weird encounter with 'the man with hairy teeth'

A few years later, I was sat in a local Pub with Kevin and jokingly brought up that incident of our youth and I was surprised at the serious look on his face. He assured me that it did happen and considering he actually still lived in the area -now being an adult and a parent had forced him to analyse the short-lived encounter in the gloom of that hedge. Although this time he did go into more detail and did explain what he so when he went over the hedge that night. He didn't see any eyes and added that it really annoyed him because one can tell a lot from someone's eyes,he said. He couldn't say he felt clothes during the tussle, nor if the stranger smelled strange in anyway, although being in a dark, dank place under a hedge may confuse any conclusion! The only thing he kept saying was that he saw hairy teeth and when asked to describe these 'teeth' he struggled and just said he knew there was hair and teeth.

I suggested that whoever had obstructed him from retrieving the football may have had a beard, but he just shrugged and said he didn't know. As I said, Kevin wasn't one for imagination or conjecture. And was a man of few words.
Time moves on.

Living in another area of the town not too far from where the above incident had occurred, my wife and I took a walk along a country lane that would bring us out back on my 'old stomping ground' This was around 2010 and we were getting to the age where retirement was on the cards and some might say that memories become really important!

I had heard that Kevin has passed away a few years before and after chatting to his widow at her front-gate for a while, we carried on our way. We spoke to a couple of people that I had grown up with and when we came across a family that we also knew, we began talking about 'the old days' and how things used to be. But, I was surprised when my friend's wife answered an indifferent question about how things were now that the area was busier with traffic and such. She remarked that the kids were still up to their usual pranks and from time to time, playthings, vegetables and shrubs would disappear from the gardens in the area Her husband agreed and added that his allotment-garden had taken a few hits from someone he suspected was after sabotaging his prize vegetables! With her own children attempting to interrupt, they continued to say in a resigned tone that it was all part of life and... well, yer' know.

But when one of her children, a small boy of around eight or nine chimed in and said “it wasn't the kids -but that man with hairy teeth, the lad grabbed my focus. But not wanting to raise any alarm-bells and make a big-deal of the boy's comment, I looked quizzically at his mother and casually asked what he meant. She explained that for a few years now, when the kids in the area had been coming in from their wanderings in the countryside or if they'd arrived home late from doing whatever kids get up to in the evenings, they'd occasionally mention that they'd seen the man with hairy teeth!

And that's it, that's where it ended. I felt it was inappropriate at the time to 'interrogate' the child about what he and friends had seemingly taken for granted and assumed somehow, our forgotten incident had become part of a local myth or 'boogeyman story'

Was -or is it, an unshaven transient that has quietly gone about for over forty years nightly-visiting the gardens of a small community or is it one of your guys...? Something we just don't fully understand yet?

I myself have spent the long dark evenings here in the North of England play Kirby and Kick Ball Run, the area i had my encounter was so similar to this you could mistake them, this account also brings to mind the Evesham weeping creature, also seen at night by a child coming in from play (remember on the shorter nights it can be dark by later afternoon in the North) and the many accounts where the are is betwixt town and fields.  All of the usual signs apply here, and for all i can make no call on what the children saw that night. It is so similar to many accounts on the map that one day Phil may just get his answers.

D. L. Hatswell 10/8/17