There is an unidentified creature. An insect? A reptile? A monster? There have been numerous sightings but until there is irrefutable and verified evidence, no-one knows for sure.
It first came to our attention when we heard of Brett Moore's encounter.
Brett's story was different. On the surface it seems fabricated; too crazy to be true.
But we investigated further and we believe him.
We decided to film a reconstruction of his encounter and start this blog as a way of bringing the various sightings and accounts together in one place. In doing so, we hope to uncover the truth behind what has become known as the Burnell Beast. If you have seen this creature or have any evidence, we would like to hear from you. Industrious Dark, May 2013
Six-year-old Sam Riley, from the Serlingside area, drew this picture. When asked what it was, he replied he had "seen it at the pond in the back garden." This is just one of many reported sightings of a strange creature that has come to be known as The Burnell Beast.
There has been no official description of the Burnell Beast, although several witnesses have given various accounts of their experiences. Many have likened the creature to a cat, monkey and even insect; "could not say for certain how many legs it had- could have been four or six. It definitely didn't move like a cat or dog. It was more spider-like". Fur was one common factor amongst eye-witnesses, ranging from fully covered to small patches, looking "quite mangy". Reports on it's size have also differed with the smallest sighting comparing it to that of a rabbit and the largest "about the size of a medium dog. Large enough to harm a child or even an adult."
Of course in certain instances, there is the definite possibility a cat or even an escaped pet arachnid could be responsible. All witnesses have agreed on one thing; it was very quick and agile- one observed "it scaled a 10 foot wall in about two seconds" Until there is some definite visual evidence, we can only imagine...
No photographic evidence exists of the creature as yet.
There are several conflicting descriptions between eye-witnesses. The reason for this being that memories can be unreliable, there may be a number of creatures involved or simply some cases of false sightings.
We do know it is more active at night, extremely agile, can climb walls and it's toxin can cause intense pain and paralysis.
In recent weeks, a number of cats and a small dog have gone missing from residences in the Serlingside area and fringe regions. Local animal control have been informed and are patrolling the area for anything unusual.
Until further notice, people are asked to keep a watchful eye over their pets. "Don't leave your cat out at night is our advice right now", says Gareth Hurkman of Serlingshire Animal Control. "Keep checking our website for updates and if you hear or see anything suspicious please contact us right away on 04822 777 2947."
We found this clip on YouTube; a video which seems to fit what we have heard about the Burnell Beast so far. The creature doesn't seem to be visible in the trees, but you can certainly hear it; fits in with witness descriptions of the "guttural" sound it makes.
Are we getting closer to conclusive visual evidence?
After hearing sounds in my attic and investigating there was a loud screech and this cat-like creature leapt at my face. I raised my hand in defence and it sank it's teeth deeply into my arm. I was terrified for my 5 year old daughter sleeping in the next room, then I blacked out. It was definitely something I have never seen before and most definitely something dangerous. Brian Mcghee, Moss Grove
I was walking my dog in the Rowe Hills area of Serlingside, when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I didn't think anything of it, presuming it to be a rabbit. My dog went running after it as he usually does and chased it into the gorse bushes. I carried on walking slowly, when my dog yelped in pain. When I ran over to him, I saw this little creature scurrying away; I've never seen anything like it in my life- it was lizard-like but with fur and had razor-sharp teeth and massive claws. It had scratched my poor dog across the nose and drew blood. The encounter frightened me so much, I will not venture in those parts again. I've tried to google it but nothing seems to match what I saw. I reported it to the authorities but don't think they were taking me very seriously.
Rosie McDonald, Moss Grove, Serlingside
I've been hearing some strange noises at night outside my home. At first thought it was foxes- a lot roam in the area. The other night was even noiser than usual- sounded like foxes fighting and I saw a fox race away and into a neighbours garden. However, what seemed to be chasing it was like a furry reptile about the size of a large cat and vicious-looking. D Smith, Serlingshire
I found a dead cat in my back garden- the really unsettling thing was it seemed to have been torn apart. I guess it could have been foxes but I've never heard of foxes acting so aggressively. Luckily, I managed to dispose of it before my 4-year-old saw it. The other strange thing was when I told one of my neighbours, they say they've found dead birds in their garden, mutiltated in a similar way. Alerted the authorities but don't think that dead animals rate too highly on their agenda. It has really got my wife worried- a lot of foxes roam in this area and she's worried about the safety of our wee one-especially after hearing in the news of the twins attacked by a fox last year. Anonymous