The Dover Demon is a very well-known cryptid that was spotted in Dover, Massachusetts in 1977. It is said to have a large, melon-ish head with a rather spindly body. It is often mistaken for a cat, dog, or sometimes even a short person. It is bipedal, but switches between moving around on two legs and four legs fairly easily, seeming to prefer running on all fours when it wants to get away. Witnesses describe a face with no nose and large orange or green eyes, as well as smooth, peach-colored skin. It is roughly humanoid, although somewhat bendy and weirdly-shaped. Its hands and feet have six long fingers that fit to whatever it is holding or standing on, rather like roots.
For such a widely-recognized creature it is interesting to note that all of the sightings happened on the same night in April, and were all by teenagers no older than seventeen. The first sighting was by William Bartlett, the second by fifteen-year-old John Baxter, and the final sighting was from Abby Brabbham, who was also fifteen, and who had a slightly older friend with her, Will Taintor, who was driving her home late in the evening.
William’s sighting occurred while he was in a car with several friends. He was driving them home when he spotted a creature walking along a stone wall separating the road from the empty land beyond. He stated that when he first saw it he thought it must be a cat, but quickly reassessed when the creature turned its glowing orange eyes on him. The whole encounter took place in the span of maybe five seconds as William drove past. He was the only one in the car to catch sight of the creature, and it really shook him quite a bit. After dropping off his friends, he was apprehensive of coming across the creature again, but saw nothing out of the ordinary on the return trip. His father stated that his son looked like he had seen a ghost when he returned, and it took some weaseling on his part to get the story out of his son. When he did get the whole story, however, he did believe what his son told him. He just looked too bewildered to doubt.
The second sighting took place a little ways down the same road, about an hour or so after William’s sighting. John Baxter had also been hanging out with friends that night and was making his way home in the dark along the road. He said that he saw a figure moving toward him, shuffling rather awkwardly, but moving consistently. Because of its height, he thought it was somebody he knew and called out to the thing. It, of course, didn’t respond. Though he felt somewhat perturbed at this point, John moved forward to get a better look at the thing in the road. As soon as he got too close, though, the creature bolted off the road and skittered down the slope. John followed for a short while, coming to a halt only when he was able to get a good look at the strange thing before him. It paused at the tree-line, rising up on its back legs and peering about like a prairie dog. John said that its feet formed to the boulder it was standing on while its hands were held in front of it, tendril-like fingers twitching nervously as it regarded him with bright orange eyes.
John knew that this was something he had not seen before, so he backed back onto the road before walking away very fast. He kept glancing behind him the whole way home, but he did not catch another glimpse of the creature.
However, the creature did not entirely abandon the road. A little later and a little further down the same road, eighteen-year-old Will Taintor was driving Abby Brabham home when the two of them witnessed the odd being sitting beside a small bridge. The two of them agreed that the thing they saw resembled a tannish-colored ape, but the oblong head and stick-like limbs were completely odd and out of place. The creature watched them go with eyes glowing green, a detail that Abby would not revoke after hearing the other boys’ description of the creature. Right at that moment, its eyes were green, whatever they may have been before.
Before returning to school, Abby and William Bartlett both drew rough sketches of the things they saw. Abby’s drawing closely resembled a malformed wiener dog, though the head and eyes closely resembled the creature in William’s drawing, which was arguably better. John, when pressed by his classmates, also drew what he saw, and despite having never seen William’s picture, he drew a markedly similar creature, though his drawing depicted it as he had seen it: standing upright.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the three teens’ relationships toward one another. Generally it would seem that the three of them were not particularly close at all, but it is still speculated that they all might have been part of some kind of hoax, spreading rumors of an alien just to stir up trouble. Indeed, the 1970’s were a fairly interesting time when it comes to UFO sightings and cryptid findings. Not all of it can be completely chalked up to little green men and flying saucers, but sometimes it can be hard to separate the true sightings from false sightings dreamed up in the overactive imaginations of young teens. Is it possible that the stories on the news of gray men, the Chessie sightings, and all the Bigfoot shenanigans going on in this time period could have influenced this event? It certainly is. And any logical human would point out how fishy it is that all of these kids went to the same school and no adults spotted the creature. But… there is a great deal of evidence that points to this not being some petty teenage trick.
For one, William Bartlett, now over thirty years old, still stands by his story. While the other witnesses have ducked out of sight for the most part, William is still gathering information and is always willing to discuss what he saw with those interested in listening. Thirty years is a long time to keep something like this up. What could he have to gain from that? This whole thing certainly hasn’t helped him financially, and he isn’t exactly well-known. Aren’t money and fame the greatest motivators for hoaxes like this?
But going even further down the rabbit hole, there are stories of creatures resembling the Dover Demon from well over a hundred years ago. The Cree Indians have stories of small “men”, said to live between rocks in the river rapids. These little men will pop out and capsize boats purely for the fun of it, often leading to serious injury and death for those involved. But the prankster behavior isn’t what’s interesting. What’s interesting is the descriptions of these men, plant-like, six-fingered beings with bulbous heads and no nose on their faces. Could the Dover Demon be one of these mischievous river men? The Cree called them Mannegishi.
But if they are little river-dwelling spirits, then why do they look so similar to the gray aliens? Why would they just be wandering around some dark, empty roadway in the middle of the night if they were extraterrestrials? These beings don’t seem all that interested in disemboweling cows or abducting people, but their presence is perhaps one of the world’s biggest mysteries. After all, they must have been roaming earth for a long, long time for the Cree to have stories about them. And they are still here. Still wandering… perhaps not in between rocks in the river, but they are still very much here.
The Dover Demon was never seen again. At least, not in Dover. There is a photograph, blurry and indistinct, of one of these spindly creatures moving across a path behind a police horse somewhere in South America. While its height is not anywhere near the four feet that the teens in Dover described, the body shape and limbs match almost exactly. Whether the picture is real or not is, of course, up for debate. There are sightings all over the world, however, of these small tannish-skinned beings.
While it would seem that they are primarily harmless, it is rather unnerving to think that aliens or mythical “little people” might still be wandering among us. Is it gathering information? Or has the novelty of flipping Cree canoes worn thin and now the Mannegishi are looking for some other means to fill their time?
As always with these cryptids, their true intentions will simply have to remain unknown.