An artist's conception of the Dover
|First Sighting||April 21, 1977|
|Last Sighting||April 22, 1977|
- The bizarre tale begins at 10:32 p.m. on April 21 as three 17-year-olds, Bill Bartlett, Mike Mazzocca and Andy Brodie, are driving north on Farm Street. Bartlett, who's behind the wheel of the Volkswagen, spots something creeping along a low wall of loose stones on the left side of the road. At first he thinks the image is a dog or a cat until his headlights shine on it and he realizes it's nothing he's ever seen before. The figure slowly turns its head and stares into the light, its two large, round, glassy, lidless eyes shining brightly "like two orange marbles." Its watermelon-shaped head, resting at the top of a thin neck, is the size of the rest of its body. Except for its over sized head, the creature is thin, with long spindly arms and legs, and large hands and feet. The skin is hairless and peach-colored and appears to have a rough texture. "Like wet sandpaper," Bartlett subsequently tells cryptozoologist Loren Coleman. Standing no more than 3 1/2 to 4 feet tall, the figure is shaped like "a baby's body with long arms and legs." It had been making its way along the wall, its long fingers curling around the rocks, when the car lights surprised it. Unfortunately, neither of Bartlett's companions sees the creature. The sighting lasts only a few seconds and, before Bartlett can speak, the car leaves the scene. Then the creature is gone. Bartlett drops his friends off and goes to his Walpole Street home. Visibly upset, he walks through the door and his father asks him what's wrong. Bartlett relates the story and later sketches what he's seen.
- Around midnight, 15-year-old John Baxter leaves his girlfriend Cathy Cronin's house at the south end of Miller High Road. Then, Baxter starts walking up the street on his way home. Half an hour later, after he has walked about a mile, he observes someone approaching him. Because the figure is short, Baxter assumes it's an acquaintance of his, M.G. Bouchard, who lives on the street. John calls out and no response. Baxter and the figure continue to approach each other until finally the latter stops. Baxter then halts as well and asks, "Who is that?" The sky is dark and overcast and he can only see a shadowy form. Trying to get a better look, Baxter takes one step forward and the figure scurries off to the left, running down a shallow wooded gully and up the opposite bank. As the figure runs, Baxter hears its footsteps on the dry leaves. He follows the figure down the slope, then stops and looks across the gully. There, he sees the creature, standing in silhouette about 30 feet away, its feet "molded" around the top of a rock several feet from a tree. The creature's body reminds Baxter of a monkey's, except for its dark "figure-eight"-shaped head. Its eyes, two lighter spots in the middle of the head, are looking straight at Baxter, who after a few minutes begins to feel uneasy. Realizing he has never seen such a creature before and fearing what it might do next, he backs carefully up the slope, his heart pounding. He then "walks very fast" down the road to the intersection at Farm Street. There, a couple passing in a car pick him up and drive him home.
Skeptics usually claim that the Dover Demon was simply a lost baby moose glimpsed under unusual conditions that made it seem like a bizarre humanoid that sometimes went on four legs. People who don't believe that explanation point out that all sightings happened during the wrong time of year for a moose that small to exist, and they also point out that Massachusetts is far from normal moose habitat. Even if such an orphan moose had been wandering around so close to populated areas, it seems as if it would have been easily captured. If the explanatory power of the baby moose explanation appeals to you, then you could get around the worst objection by substituting a creature that does actually exist in the area and can be born any time of year: a baby calf. An orange-furred orphan calf would be a more likely candidate for such a proposal than a baby moose. Other suggested explanations include a monkey, a dog, an alien, mutation, or simply a hoax. Another explanation could be that it is an escaped (and illegal to own) pet gibbon. Some species of gibbon have orange babies. White-cheeked Gibbons have an orange color in females.