|The Rose Files
True Scary Stories from Life
| The Mysterious Demon of Dover!
~ Rose Titus ~
The 1970’s was a fun time to be a kid, especially if you were a nerdy kid. Movies like Star Wars and
Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jaws were waiting at the drive-in… the magazine racks were filled
with beloved horror comics such as Scary Tales and Swamp Thing… the kind of comics that parents
especially hated! Dark Shadows reruns were still on TV… in black and white! And the UHF channels
(hey, we didn’t have cable!) ran those famously bad Hammer House of Horror films over and over and over
But this article is not about how much fun it was to be a kid in the 70’s… because apparently way back
then there was an actual Real Monster lurking about somewhere in my very own home state of
Massachusetts! And this monster was called “The Dover Demon!”
You see, before the internet, we got our information from newspapers, and even as a kid I was
interested in the outside world, and so each day I would grab the paper that was left at the end of the
driveway and read it. And one day as I turned the page the news revealed strange sightings of a bizarre
creature lurking in the forests of a small, rural town called Dover, Massachusetts. The newspaper had
illustrations, and all these years, I never, ever forgot about it…!
I always wondered what the thing was, and so I decided to do some research, which I shall now share
with you all:
This strange and terrifying being was seen over a two-day period in April of the year 1977 by various
young people (as is typical in monster movies, the teenagers see the monster and run to report it to grown
ups!). It’s too bad that people back then did not have cell phones with cameras in them, because the only
images we have of this “thing” were hand-drawn sketches done by the witnesses.
At that time, a teenage boy named Bill Bartlett, age seventeen, was driving in the dark of night down
Farm Street when he saw the creature on a stone wall. And just a few hours later, another teenager, John
Baxter, age fifteen, was walking home when he got a close up view of the little beast while near a creek in
a wooded area near Miller Hill Road. It was said to be a four foot tall, orange being with eerie glowing
eyes. It has been described as “monkey-like,” hairless, with a large head, and with no ears, nose, or even
The boys probably weren’t imagining it or making it up, because the next night, the “monster” was seen
again, this time by fifteen year old Abby Brabham, while riding in a car with her boyfriend when she saw it
These were just average kids, living average lives. And they each had an encounter with the
mysterious and otherworldly.
Young Bill Bartlett drew a picture of it, depicting a large-eyed being that stood upright and was thin and
delicate looking. He then wrote on his sketch, “I, Bill Bartlett, swear on a stack of Bibles that I saw this
The former police chief, Carl Sheridan, recalls that, “I knew the kids … they were good kids … pretty
reliable kids.” He also says, “That thing has haunted me for twenty nine years.”
Mr. Sheridan says that God only knows what they saw, “Strange things have happened.” The former
police chief even got calls from all around the world when the news circulated.
Famed cryptozoologist and “bigfoot hunter” Loren Coleman came to investigate, and it was Coleman
who labeled this strange invader the “Dover Demon.” He now runs the International Cryptozoology
Museum in Maine and if you visit, you will see a display of the “Dover Demon.” He never found the Dover
Demon and never found out exactly what it was. At the time he did however ask some UFO investigators
to join him on his investigation. They went around the area of the sightings, asking people questions. It
did turn out that in 1969 an “unidentified flying object” was sighted in the area, but this was many years
before the Dover Demon appeared.
There are many theories as to what it was, a deformed animal, for instance. Some believe it may have
been an alien. But no one knows for sure what it was.
A year later, Bill Bartlett was in a parked car with his girlfriend when he heard a thump on the car and
then saw something small wandering away from the scene. Was it the mysterious creature he saw the
year before, coming back to pay him another visit?
Well, if you want to find the Dover Demon, don’t bother driving to Dover, Massachusetts to look for it,
because this “Massachusetts Monster” has not been reported since then. Maybe it’s gone back to
wherever it came from, perhaps to another dimension, to another planet, or to some far away place deep
in the forest where no one ever goes.
No one knows what it was, and perhaps we’ll never know. Was it a demon? Was it an alien? Was it
deformed wild animal? Was it something that escaped from a circus? It never harmed anyone, and when
seen, the creature would just scurry away into the bushes. Perhaps, whatever it was, it was just as afraid
of us as we were of it.
Yet Mr. Bartlett, now middle aged and married with kids of his own, still insists he saw “something” that
night. “I have no idea what it was … I didn’t make it up. Sometimes I wished I had.”
If you want to learn more, then check out these resources:
1. Sullivan, Mark, Decades Later, the Dover Demon Still Haunts, The Boston Globe, October 29,
2. Cahill, Robert Ellis, New England’s Things That Go Bump in the Night, Old Saltbox Publishing &
3. Schulte, Mary, The Dover Demon, Gale, 2010.
4. Coleman, Loren, Monsters of Massachusetts, Stackpole Books, 2013.