The ‘Beast of Hackney Marshes’ mystery - pictures

14:29 17 May 2012

A hoax, a large dog, or the beast of Hackney Marshes?

A hoax, a large dog, or the beast of Hackney Marshes?

Helen Murray - submitted

A strange creature has been captured on camera on Hackney Marshes - 30 years after the unexplained sighting of another mystery beast sparked a full-scale search for a suspected bear on the loose.

Terrified university student Helen Murray said she took the snaps while out for a stroll near dense woodland close to a path near the Old River Lea on bank holiday Monday earlier this month.

She said she was stopped in her tracks by the unknown animal, which was larger than a person and covered in shaggy black fur.

“I tried to stay calm as I wasn’t sure what kind of animal it was or if it was even alive,” she said. “I had my phone ready to call 999. Then the creature moved. Somehow I managed to take a couple of pictures before I ran.

“I managed to get away but was scared half to death.”

Ms Murray says she didn’t contact the police because she thought they wouldn’t believe her.

A spokeswoman for Hackney police said there have been no other reports of sightings, while experts at London Zoo said the pictures were not clear enough for them to comment.

The photographs have revived memories of the unexplained case of a bear reportedly sighted on the Marshes in 1981 - 50 police officers, army marksmen, and a helicopter were drafted in to search the area, but the beast was never found.

Officers at the time stressed the people who’d seen the animal were not hoaxers, although they admitted they could have been victims of a hoax.

Two bear carcasses had previously been found nearby in the River Lea and it remains a mystery how they got there.

• A hoax, a large dog, or the Beast of Hackney Marshes? What do you think of the pictures? Send us your comments below or email us at hg.editorial@archant.co.uk.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

More Quirky London

Thursday, March 5, 2015
The fish is a grey koi carp like these ones - and is half a metre long! [Photograph by Ingrid Taylor]

A man reported his pet fish stolen today - but officers thought the situation was a bit, well, fishy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Who doesn't like a good game of pass the parcel?

Any attempt to make boring commutes across London more fun is to be admired - and when it involves a game of pass the parcel then that’s even better.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
[Photograph by Bluebella]

Commuters at the newly-refurbished Tottenham Court Road Tube station got a surprise when a gang of underwear models turned the platform into a catwalk.

Monday, March 2, 2015
'Does this train go to 1945?' [Photograph from Cahoots]

A bar fitted out like old abandoned Tube station will whisk passengers back in time to the Blitz in 1940s Soho when it opens this week.

Monday, March 2, 2015
Jubilee is a real black cat, not just covered in Tube dust [Photograph from BCDH]

A stray cat who lived in Acton Town Tube station has finally found a new home - and it’s not even in Zone 6.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Red or brown sauce? Bread or bap? White or brown?

It’s the subject of countless greasy spoon arguments: should the perfect bacon sandwich be made with brown sauce or ketchup?

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

The comedian took on the #GimmeFive challenge to support Flotus’ campaign in the US.

Read more

A one-off version is being auctioned off for Comic Relief.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

(Not guaranteed)

Mothers Day is fast approaching, so we’ve rounded up some unusual and beautiful gifts for you to dazzle the most important woman in your life come March 15th.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

A one-off version is being auctioned off for Comic Relief.

A man has now been jailed for the attack which left the officer unconscious.

The thieves were in and out in one minute – much like in the films.

Quirky London