Driving down a dark, rural road in the middle of the night, your imagination is bound to get a little wild. Spotting eyes in the bushes, conjuring figures in the shadows between trees, or even feeling like you’re being watched are all understandable reactions to a spooky atmosphere. But what happens when an overactive imagination isn’t enough to explain the bizarre creature staring out at you from the dark?

The town of Dover is a relatively quiet and peaceful community but for one week in 1977, a rash of unusual creature sightings sent the local area into a flurry of confusion and curiosity. Was there a demon in their midst?

On the night of April 21, 1977, local youth William Bartlett was driving down Farm Street when he allegedly saw a terrifying creature with massive eyes, “tendril-like fingers” and a pale body perched atop a crumbling stone wall on the side of the road. Upon returning home, Bartlett sketched the strange creature for his father. Both decided not to report the sighting, fearing that William would not be believed.

However, later that evening, another local encountered the same terrifying creature. Fifteen-year-old John Baxter was returning from his girlfriend’s house when he saw a small, pale and humanoid figure approaching from down Miller Hill Road. Baxter reported following the creature into the woods until he feared becoming lost and turned back. His account of the creature and its physical appearance was practically identical to the account that William Bartlett had provided. He too created a sketch, and showed it to the local police.

The next day, Abby Brabham reported spotting the so-called “Dover Demon” along Springdale Avenue. She said that the creature had lifted itself off the ground and stood partially upright, looking at her. All of the witnesses described the creature as having a body similar in size and shape to that of a human infant, as well as an abnormally large head with no discernable features besides its huge, protruding eyes.

By this time, the story had attracted national attention. Many people wrote the whole thing off as a coordinated “hoax,” but there was no indication at the time that any of the witnesses knew what the others were reporting. Another theory is that the sightings were actually of a young moose calf, which would have a similar gangly appearance and large eyes. However, there were actually no wild moose in Massachusetts at the time. William Bartlett gave an interview to the Boston Globe in 2006, reaffirming the veracity of at least his bizarre sighting. Since that week in 1977, others have also reported encounters with the Dover Demon.

For an amazing synopsis of the Dover Demon legend, check out the video below by YouTube channel “Cryticc.” If you’re looking for more Massachusetts chills, take a look at the 10 most dangerous places in the state after dark.

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