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Giant Slug ?
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 14-03-2005 18:10    Post subject: Giant Slug ? Reply with quote

I would like to recount a strange encounter, dating back to the summer of 1984.

It was the summer holidays, I was 11, due to start Secondary School that September. I lived in the Hardenhuish area of Chippenham, Wiltshire.

I was good friends with two brothers, my age, more or less, from a nearby street. They weren’t school-friends, and never would be, bound themselves to the town’s only other Comprehensive school.

One day we were exploring the woods behind St. Nicholas Church off Hardenhuish Lane. We stumbled on a creature in the grass, which scared the holy bejesus out of us all. It seemed like a giant slug, bright orange in colour, with a frilled underside. It was approximately two feet long and had antennae (?) at the front that reached the same height. It was alive, and vibrated, making a soft, snuffling sound. The three of us ran off to tell the nearest adult of our find. My last memory of the day was of seeing my friend’s father storm out of his garage towards the woods, with a shovel over his shoulder.

Whether he found anything or not, I have no idea. I don’t remember ever talking to the two brothers about the day, and pretty soon after we fell out (over a collection of Look-In magazines) and have well-and-truly lost contact now.

Sometimes I wonder whether what we saw was more like a manifestation of our hopes and fears of the time : Big School looming to us from the Autumn, Cold War / Mushroom Cloud paranoia on the TVs all the time, too much time watching ‘Return of the Jedi’.

Or was it an alien life-form ? A giant slug ? I’d love to know if anyone has any theories that could help explain this puzzling episode, that it many ways marked the end of my childhood.

Cheers,

Opposite Steve.
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SpookdaddyOffline
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PostPosted: 14-03-2005 18:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe giant sluglike beasties have been reported around Loch Ness and I think there's also a story associated with the Devils Elbow area of the Dark Peak. I'll have a dig around.

IIRC there's another thread on the subject somewhere.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 14-03-2005 19:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

i doubt very much that it was some kind of manifestation,
alien life form?,most likely it was a real slug.mutated maybe,did you live near an industrial sight,power plant or somthing like that?
or it could have been a new species.

hmm.cryptic,and highly interesting.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 14-03-2005 19:04    Post subject: Slug Reply with quote

There were no industrial sites or power plants nearby, just a plain old small west-country market town.

I'd be thrilled to hear of any other tales you're able to unearth.

God the thing was ugly ! Just thinking about it makes me squirm.
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Philo_TOffline
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PostPosted: 14-03-2005 19:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did it look like any of these?

How close was the nearest body of water? Fresh or salt?

I'm guessing that these critters are so primative, that given wet enough grass, you could scoop one out of the water and drop it in the grass, and it should be able to keep on truckin' for a while, particularly if it wasn't a sunny day. I'm not up on the natural history of sea slugs, but I wouldn't be surprised, that given proper motivation, that they could even come onto land under such conditions, in search of a new body of water to migrate to.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 14-03-2005 19:26    Post subject: Slug Reply with quote

What amazing creatures ! A couple of them did seem similar, yes. Possibly had been dropped by a bird ? There's a river in town, the Avon, and the Severn Estuary is about 40 miles away.

But this thing was at least a foot long, at least, and certainly didn't look like it had fallen out of the sky.

There was a graveyard behind the wood. Do things mutate out of decomposing matter, like giant maggots ??
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painy2Offline
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PostPosted: 14-03-2005 19:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went to that school aswell, juding by some of the teachers that were there it wouldnt surprise me if that was their true form!! Laughing
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rynner
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PostPosted: 14-03-2005 19:44    Post subject: Re: Giant Slug ? Reply with quote

Opposite Steve wrote:
It seemed like a giant slug, bright orange in colour, with a frilled underside. It was approximately two feet long and had antennae (?) at the front that reached the same height. It was alive, and vibrated, making a soft, snuffling sound.

If the 'frills' were legs, it sounds rather like a millipede, although I don't know of any bright orange giant ones! But the vibration and 'snuffling' sound could have been the legs working - so, 'shuffling' not 'snuffling'!

Just my two penn'orth!
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SniperK2
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PostPosted: 14-03-2005 20:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was clearing out the garden, I found some big ( by big, I mean 4or 5 inches maybe ) slugs beneath the old wood, never saw them in the garden at all, with the smaller ones, these were bright orange on the underside too, with the distinctive ' frill ' As I say, they were never ones I've seen out on wet days, they seem to lurk on the underside of things, perhaps come out at night? But that big? Gosh, I have no idea if they could muate, or under condtions , grow, or how big the biggest slugs in the world are.
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GuildNavigatorOffline
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PostPosted: 14-03-2005 20:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was it a banana slug? They can get up to a foot long. not sure about the vibration though.
http://www.speech.kth.se/~beskow/photos/sfsc99/sfsc9911.jpg
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SpookdaddyOffline
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PostPosted: 14-03-2005 20:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another big slug related thread here.
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rynner
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PostPosted: 14-03-2005 22:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banana slug fits the description...

Quote:
Description, Habitat, Ecology, & Distribution:
This is the largest species of terrestrial mollusk in the Pacific Northwest, reaching 15 cm (6 in) in length. Banana slugs vary in colour from olive to dark brown, often with black blotches or spots. This woodland slug feeds on a variety of plant foods. Banana slugs are found in forested regions from southeast Alaska to northern California.

According to
http://www.sfu.ca/halk-ethnobiology/html/animals/bananaslugdetail.htm

But no mention of Chippenham, Wilts!

The search goes on!

Another pic here
http://store.gallerycalifornia.com/bananaslug.html
but again it refers to the Pacific Northwest.

If this is what was seen in Chippenham, then it was decidedly Out-Of-Place, and truly Fortean!
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evilcupcakesOffline
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PostPosted: 15-03-2005 00:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, it sounds like a banana slug except I have never seen or head of one nearly that big- or noisy. Perhaps it was a were-slug? Laughing (not making light, it sounds like a horrible experience) I once saw a banana slug as kid hiking on Mt Pilchuck that was probably about 9 inches long and as big around as a kielbasa. I had nightmares for a week.

Those things are nasty. Especially during mating season (banana slugs, not were-slugs). Shocked
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RainyOceanOffline
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PostPosted: 15-03-2005 04:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Did it look like any of these?


Pretty Very Happy
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 15-03-2005 07:58    Post subject: Banana Slugs Reply with quote

Thanks for all the fascinating posts. The Banana Slug photos really made me shudder, so perhaps we are on the right detective lines there...But the one I saw definitely wasn't yellow. Vivid orange, with a darker underside. No legs, either.
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