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Seven Suffolk myths that will leave you spooked, including the Rendlesham UFO incident, the Green Children of Woolpit and the Wildman of Orford




Suffolk, a typically unassuming and quiet county, has many mysterious myths and bewildering legends circulating within its quaint villages and picturesque market towns.

Are these stories merely old wives' tales, or is there some truth in their madness? You decide:

The Green Children of Woolpit

Woolpit, home to the legend of the Green Children. Picture: Google Maps. (50184933)
Woolpit, home to the legend of the Green Children. Picture: Google Maps. (50184933)

Woolpit, seven miles east of Bury St Edmunds, is home to the perplexing story of the Green Children of Woolpit.

Legend has it that in the 12th century a brother and sister, whose skin was green, appeared in the village speaking an unknown language.

It is said that at first the pair only ate raw broad beans, but when they learned to eat other foods, their skin lost its green colour.

The boy became unwell and died, but as the girl learned to speak English, she supposedly explained that they had had come from Saint Martin's Land, an underground world inhabited by green people.

While the tale may be unbelievable, it is still prevalent in the village of Woolpit, with the village sign which was designed in 1977, featuring green children.

Rendlesham Forest incident

Rendlesham Forest has a UFO trail following the story.
Rendlesham Forest has a UFO trail following the story.

The Rendlesham Forest incident put the 5.8 square mile forest on the map, as an RAF Woodbridge security patrol reported witnessing a UFO.

At around 3am on boxing day, 1980, servicemen saw what they thought was a downed aircraft but upon entering the forest to investigate, they described a glowing metal object with coloured lights.

According to their story, when they approached the object it moved through the trees, sending animals on nearby farms "into a frenzy."

In daylight, the men reported seeing small inprints on the floor in a triangular shape where the craft had been, as well as burn marks on surrounding trees.

The story has been the subject of a huge number of books, TV shows and films, but sceptics say the UFO was in fact a mixture of bright stars and the lights of Orfordness Lighthouse.

Wildman of Orford

Orford. Picture: Google Maps. (50185412)
Orford. Picture: Google Maps. (50185412)

It is said that fishermen in Orford caught a mysterious, naked, hair-covered creature, seemingly a merman, who couldn't talk when they raised their nets during a fishing trip.

The fishermen imprisoned the creature in Bartholomew de Granville's castle and tortured him in an effort to get him to talk.

Legend has it that, after some time, his captors allowed the wildman to swim in a particular, netted area of the sea. The creature dived beneath the nets into the sea beyond, but returned again.

As time went on, it is said the guards became less vigilant of the man and he dove under the nets and out to sea for the last time, never turning back.

Witches stone, Westleton

The curious and creepy myth of the 'Witches Stone' at St Peter's church in Westleton, is sure to spook even the bravest among us.

Built in 1340, the churchyard contains a flattened gravestone, known as the witches stone, which grass has never grown over.

The story goes that if you put a handkerchief over the grate to the right of the priest's door and run around the church anti clockwise seven times, using the witches stone as a starting point, without looking back at the grate, the handkerchief will disappear and you will hear Satan's chains rattling from below the church.

The Black Shuck, Bungay

Bungay's mysterious myth is that of the Black Shuck, a huge black dog with red eyes who caused anyone who saw him to have bad luck, or even die by the end of the year.

It is said that, in 1577, Black Shuck massacred a man and a boy in Bungay before fleeing to Blythburgh and killing locals at the church.

Blythburgh church. Picture: Google Maps. (50185632)
Blythburgh church. Picture: Google Maps. (50185632)

Locals attribute Shuck to the devil based on scorch marks that can still be seen on the door to the church to this day and, just seven years ago, there was speculation that the dog's 7ft skeleton was found in Leiston Abbey.

The Brecks Bigfoot

The Brecks Bigfoot, a long-haired creature with a light grey coat, is said to lurk in the forests of Thetford and Brandon.

The creature was first spotted in June 1986, and was seen walking on four legs.

Witnesses said they later saw the beast stand up on its hind legs and it was about 8ft tall.

There have been many reports of the bigfoot since then, with some saying they can hear growls while walking in the forest.

Saint Edmund and the wolf

Cathedral and St Edmund Statue, Bury St Edmunds.
Cathedral and St Edmund Statue, Bury St Edmunds.

The legend of Saint Edmund, an Anglo-Saxon king that ruled England between 855AD and 869AD, is hugely famous in Suffolk, particularly in his namesake town, Bury St Edmunds.

Legend has it he was killed by Viking raiders, who shot arrows into him, cut off his head and threw it into the briars in the forest.

Edmund's body was found by his people, who heard his voice shouting 'here' and followed the sound to his head, guarded by a wolf.

When the head was re-united with the body, the story says it miraculously reattached.

Do you believe any of these Suffolk myths and legends?

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