Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Giant Hill Fox

Giant Hill Fox

Description:  This rare vulpine beast grows to be larger than most wolves, usually possessing fur of a black or gray color.  Due to its odd appearance and fox-type antics (like balancing and hopping on its hind legs) it is often taken for a werewolf.  The Giant Hill Fox is clever at covering its tracks, making it so difficult to follow it can be mistaken for an apparition.  It dislikes the elaborate hunts formed in some countries to chase its smaller cousins and harries them from the shadows and woods.  It is not known if it has powers like the famous Kitsune of the East, but it demonstrates near-human intelligence and cunning.

Sources:  In an article in the British publication The Countryman, a woman named Vida Herbison writes of a strange encounter in Sussex.  One morning as she and a friend named Mike rode their horses along part of an ancient Roman road, heading, ironically, toward a foxhunting meet, “the horses shied as a gigantic grey wolf-like creature came loping across the field on our offside.”  It ignored the humans and horses completely as it crossed the track and vanished over a hill.  Vida’s friend cried, “What the devil was that?  Looked like a wolf, didn’t it?  A werewolf.”  They found no tracks, and inquiries as to possible owners, or animals escaping from circuses or zoos, were all negative.

In a later issue of The Countryman, a Doris W. Metcalf had this to say:  “I too have come across wolf-like creatures in this part of Sussex, before the 1939-45 war.  I always understood they were the last of an ancient line of hill foxes, though I have found them on the marshes too.”  One of Metcalf’s sightings took place on a summer day near Jevington.  As in the Herbison story, Ms. Metcalf was horseback riding with a companion when a large gray animal crossed the trail ahead of them, “taking not the slightest notice of us.”  It loped down into a hollow and vanished.  A second sighting took place during a foxhunt near Glenleigh Manor.  It appeared on a lane in front of Metcalf and some companions only “a yard or two away.”  When the humans stopped walking, it did as well, yet it otherwise didn’t acknowledge the people so close to it.  It “seemed to listen to the sounds of the hunt before turning and loping off across the marshes towards Pevensey.  Probably it was these big foxes that gave rise to many of the werewolf legends.”

Herbison, Vida.  "Ghosts I Have Known," in Countryman Vol. LIV, No. 4 (Winter 1957), pp. 633-636.

Metcalf, Doris W.  "Werewolves in Sussex," in Countryman Vol. LV, No. 2 (Summer 1958), p. 357.

Comments:  Foxes as big as or bigger than wolves?  The mind boggles.  I always wondered if you really could "expand" small animals to make them giants.  There might be physiological reasons against it.  But in Sussex they apparently have super-sized vulpines!  Even though we’re given only three sightings, there are common details that make them interesting:  the creatures seem unafraid of humans, to the point of ignoring them completely even if they’re only a few feet away.  Two were seen near foxhunts.  Perhaps they had hunts of their own in mind . . .

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