The “Dover Demon” Petrified Four Teens In A Small Town In 1977 – And Remains Unexplained To This Day

Published December 3, 2018
Updated December 6, 2018

Over the course of two days in April 1977, four teenagers in the idyllic town of Dover, Mass. witnessed a horrifying, alien creature. But before they could find an explanation, the Dover Demon disappeared.

Drawing Of The Dover Demon

Wikimedia Commons A sketch of the alleged cryptid commonly referred to as the Dover Demon, as drawn by William Bartlett.

Just 20 miles southwest of Boston, Mass. lies a picturesque hamlet named Dover. But hidden among the hardwood forests and curvy backroads lurks the Dover Demon. It’s an unpleasant little creature, to say the least, with a watermelon-shaped head and the body of an emaciated monkey.

Within but a few hours, four teenagers in Dover claimed to have witnessed the horrifying creature, and all of their accounts described the same thing: large, glowing eyes on an otherwise blank face. But was the Dover Demon real?

Famous First Sightings Of The Dover Demon

Over the span of two nights in 1977, several teenagers reported to have seen a similar creature – and there has still been no explanation for these sightings.

William Bartlett, then 17-years-old, was the first person to see the Dover Demon. As he and two friends, Mike Mazzocco and Andy Brodie, drove along their local Farm Street just past 10 p.m., Bartlett witnessed a creature “standing on a wall, its eyes glowing [in the headlights]. It was not a dog or a cat. It had no tail. It had an egg-shaped head.”

The Dover Demon, as the creature soon became known, appeared more human than animal. Bartlett said that it reminded him of children with distended stomachs. But the head had no mouth, ears or nose.

A dramatic retelling of the Dover Demon sightings.

Two hours after Bartlett witnessed the creature, 15-year-old John Baxter walked his girlfriend home near a heavily wooded area. He said he got within 15 feet of a creature that looked remarkably like the one Bartlett saw.

Baxter made a black-and-white drawing of the Dover Demon. He stated this creature had large eyes and tendril-like hands. He saw this thing standing next to a tree.

Baxters Drawing Demon

John Baxter/cryptomundoJohn Baxter’s sketch of what he observed.

The next night, on April 22 at around midnight, a 15-year-old girl named Abby Brabham saw the Dover Demon. It was standing upright next to a tree, she said, much like the sighting the night before.

The locations of the sightings, when plotted, lay in a straight line over two miles. All the sightings were made near water.

Bartlett remains shaken and haunted by the sighting even years later, “In a lot of ways it’s kind of embarrassing to me. I definitely saw something. It was definitely weird. I didn’t make it up. Sometimes I wish I had.”

Possible Explanations For The Sightings

Independently, all three witnesses of the Dover Demon had the same – or eerily similar — story. In all accounts, there was something that was kind-of human but not quite animal about the creature. It seemed undeniable that something uncanny had come to Dover.

Some chalk up the strange encounters to inebriation. While Bartlett says he and his friends were looking for beer that night, they never did imbibe.

Alternatively, the creature could have been a foal or baby moose mistaken for something more sinister. Though April wasn’t foal season and moose were long gone from Dover at the time of the sighting, additionally, foals and moose don’t stand on hind legs. Nor do they sit on top of walls.

Barlett also denies that this creature could be an animal of any kind, “This definitely wasn’t [a fox or animal]. It was some kind of creature with long thin fingers. [The thing was] more human-like in its form than animal… I’ve always tried to guess what it was. I never had any idea. I wasn’t trying to be funny. People who know me know I didn’t make this up.”

Loren Coleman, a noted cryptozoologist from Maine, thinks all three sightings were credible. He spoke to the teens within a week of the reported sightings. “We have a credible case, over 25 hours, by individuals who saw something.”

Coleman believes that the Dover Demon doesn’t match any inexplicable sighting reported before, such as those of the chupacabras, Sasquatch, Roswell aliens or the bat-eared goblins from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1955.

Stranger still, weird sightings like this isn’t out of the ordinary in Dover. This area of Massachusetts has had its fair share of weirdness throughout the centuries.

Other Strange Sightings In Dover

Coleman noted that the area in which the Dover Demon was sighted already had a history of unexplained activity.

“In the same area, you had three major legends going on,” including a sighting of the devil on horseback in the 1600s, stories of buried treasure, and then the Dover Demon. “I think it certainly says something,” Coleman continued, “It’s almost as if there are certain areas that ‘collect’ sightings, almost in a magnetic way.”

Dover could be one such place.

Then in 1972, just five years before the Dover Demon sightings, Mark Sennott swore he saw a creature in the woods. Something with glowing eyes had turned up in his car’s headlights, too: “We saw a small figure, deep in the woods, moving at the edge of the pond. We could see it moving in the headlights. We didn’t know.”

But whatever the reality behind this barrage of odd occurrences, the Dover Demon has since sparked a cultural phenomenon. There are video games and figurines of the alien-like creature from as far away as Japan.

The Dover Demon certainly makes for a good campfire tale, and a sufficient reminder to always have a buddy when driving down Farm Street southwest of Dover – just in case.

After this look at the Dover Demon, read about the Zozo Demon and how it terrified people nation-wide through a ouija board. Then, check out Mothman, the huge insect-like creature that terrorized a West Virginia town in the 1960s.

William DeLong
A graduate of Missouri State University with a degree in English and creative writing, William DeLong is a freelance wordsmith who has written approximately 40,000 articles since 2009.
Leah Silverman
A former associate editor for All That's Interesting, Leah Silverman holds a Master's in Fine Arts from Columbia University's Creative Writing Program and her work has appeared in Catapult, Town & Country, Women's Health, and Publishers Weekly.
Cite This Article
DeLong, William. "The “Dover Demon” Petrified Four Teens In A Small Town In 1977 – And Remains Unexplained To This Day.", December 3, 2018, Accessed April 20, 2024.