Cryptozoologists, psychics and assorted monster hunters recently descended on the small Hampshire town of Stockbridge, following reports of a terrifying red-eyed hairy monster stalking its streets. “This is incredibly exciting! The witness descriptions and physical evidence all point to a classic Bigfoot-type hominid,” enthuses Dick Downshire of the Centre for Unusual Things, an organization dedicated to investigating Fortean phenomena. “This could be the perfect opportunity to finally prove the existence of this creature by capturing it on film!” However, rival monster hunter Arthur ‘Doc’ Swack – a practicing white witch – believes that Downshire is barking up the wrong tree entirely by trying to find a flesh and blood apeman in the Hampshire countryside. “Cryptozoologist? Craptozooloogist, more like!” cackles the heavily bearded pagan. “He and his type are too blinkered by conventional science to see the truth – these creatures are elementals, which simply tap into our subconscious fears and desires in order to find a physical form! All the technology in the world won’t capture the beast – the only way to summon it is by invoking ancient powers through the enactment of arcane magical rituals!” The whole saga began a month earlier when a female patron of a local pub claimed to have seen a huge hairy figure urinating in a sink in the ladies’ toilets. “I’d just flushed the toilet and stepped out of the cubicle and there he was,” claimed forty two year old Sophie Twigger. “As he peed into the sink there was this loud rasping noise and this and this horrible odour hit me! It was indescribably evil, like something long dead!” Overpowered by the stench, Twigger lost consciousness. When she recovered, the beast had vanished. Further sightings followed, including an incident at a local off licence about a week later. “It was just after eleven one night when he walked in, bold as brass,” says assistant manager Doug Piece. “He was over six foot tall, covered in thick black fur, and had huge feet and piercing red eyes! He didn’t say a word, just picked up a case of lager, brought it to the till and slapped down a twenty pound note before walking out! The weirdest thing was that he didn’t wait for his change!” Another week passed before another sighting, this time on a lonely woodland road outside the town. “I could see him quite clearly in my headlamps – squatting in the middle of the road taking a dump,” says retired school teacher Harriet Medlar. “I swerved to avoid him, but still caught the beast a glancing blow, knocking it off balance. As I looked in my rear view mirror I could see it picking itself up, its own shit smeared all down one side! Before limping off into the trees it shook its fist at me and hurled what appeared to be a beer can at the car!”

However, the plans of both monster hunters were thrown into confusion last week when the police announced that not only had they shot dead an ‘apeman’ in woods outside Stockbridge, but that the creature had turned out to be a man in a gorilla suit. “He was shot after an unsavoury incident at a nearby children’s playground,” Inspector Tom Cush told a packed press conference. “A group of ten year olds had found the creature lying prone under the swings, his inert form strewn with simian-related pornography. They made the mistake of poking him with sticks to see if he was still alive, at which point he sat up and hurled an empty vodka bottle at them, before collapsing again.” Alerted to the presence of the apeman by the terrified children, who had fled the scene, armed police officers rushed to the playground. “By the time we arrived, the only trace of him was a patch of foul smelling urine beneath the swings,” relates Cush, “but by following a trail of discarded porn – mainly pages torn from King Dong’s Big Banana Capers – we were able to track him through the woods to his lair.” Officers were forced to shoot the beast when it became enraged and attacked them. “He was hurling empty beer cans and bottles at them,” says Cush. “One officer was seriously injured after being hit by a half full two litre bottle of White Lightning cider!” Police are confident that this unfortunate fatality will spell an end to the saga of the ‘Stockbridge Sasquatch’. “The dead man was Harry Frenum, a well-known local prankster with several arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour, not to mention a couple of cautions for public indecency,” Inspector Tom Cush told the local press, adding that a search of Frenum’s house had revealed photos of him in his gorilla suit in locations as varied as Canada and Tibet. “It seems that Mr Frenum was a serial monster impersonator, having posed as both Bigfoot and the Yeti in recent years.” Cush added that Frenum had been living rough in the woods, having recently both lost his job and been thrown out the house by his wife as a result of his monkey obsession. “He was wearing that bloody suit day and night,” sobs a distraught Edith Frenum. “It all got too much when he rushed into the house one day in that suit and tore my dress off, before slinging me over his shoulder and carrying me to the top of the wardrobe in our bedroom, where he ravished me with a bunch of bananas! It was disgusting – they were still green!”

Nevertheless, Downshire remains convinced that a real apeman has also been on the loose. “This poor soul may have been cashing in on the scare to indulge his strange fixation, but a man in a monkey suit can’t explain all of the sightings,” he says. “The witness descriptions and physical evidence all point to a classic Bigfoot-type hominid rather than simply a man in a monster suit!” ‘Doc’ Swack agrees with this conclusion. “It’s obvious to me that this Frenum character was actually possessed by an elemental, which allowed him to transform into an apeman,” he told reporters at the playground, as he stripped naked and donned a pair of antlers in preparation for a pagan ritual intended to summon the elemental. The source of the unfortunate Frenum’s apeman obsession remains obscure, although his wife opined that it might stem from a traumatic childhood experience. “After a few drinks he’d claim that at the age of three, after a car crash which killed his parents on the remote North Yorkshire Moors, he’d been rescued by group of cave-dwelling apemen,” she recalls. “Apparently he lived with them until the age of five, when he was found wandering naked on the Moors by a group of hikers.” Such revelations have greatly excited Downshire. “So, Frenum was, in fact, an apeman!” he declares triumphantly, as he prepares a new expedition to the North Yorkshire Moors, in search of the troglodytes. “This is proof positive that there are Bigfoot-type creatures living free in Britain!” ‘Doc’ Swack was unavailable for comment on this new development, having been arrested for public indecency after performing his pagan rites, which involved him standing atop the children’s playground slide, masturbating furiously, whilst four naked women danced around him. Curiously, the elemental did not answer his summons.