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Urban Legends…
Tales Of Whispered Monsters By Craig McEvoy
M
y passion for
urban monsters was lit
quite early in
m y l i f e, w a y
back in the
days that I was still a young pup at
junior school actually! There was a
place that was about a ten-minute
walk from my house that was an old
hospital sanatorium. In the hospital
grounds was a large, deep pool surrounded by woodland. Rumours told
that the hospital used to use it to dispose of chemicals, medicines, waste
and even the occasional dead patient!
Well, as a kid you believed anything,
and my imagination used to run wild
with stories of monster fish lurking in
the deep, dark depths of the lake,
mutating on the medicines and feeding on the flesh of humans! It was a
scary place for a young Black Country
lad!
One year the pool had filled with
water so much that on one rain filled
summer’s day it broke free from its
banks, and the rushing waters meandered straight into the side tributary
that linked to the canal at the back of
the pool. It wasn’t long before stories
made their way to my ears of unseen
beasts that had escaped the depths of
the sanatorium pool into the canal,
smashing match anglers’ tackle to
pieces. I begged and begged my
mum for weeks to take me down the
local “cut”, as to a poor Black Country
eight-year-old, opportunities to catch
such fish were virtually nonexistent.
Eventually one Sunday afternoon
she reluctantly agreed, and we made
our way down to the canal. I remember the walk to the canal as though it
was yesterday. The excitement bubbling away inside me; I had never felt
such excitement… well, except
maybe for when Santa was due on
Christmas Eve! We got to the canal,
and I remember there being a few old
guys fishing. I put down my wicker
basket and began putting my old
fibreglass rod together. It was a heavy
old thing that was naturally bent with
the weight of the actual rod. The reel
was a lovely original Mitchell match
reel bought for me one Christmas by
my uncle Norman, and it was
attached to the rod with two sliding
metal rings.
I soon had a float on the line and
tied a hook on with a six-turn blood
knot that my uncle had showed me. I
hooked on a piece of bread and
flicked out the float, ever so gracefully,
and watched in horror as my reel
came away from the rod and landed
in the oily waters of the canal! I burst
into tears as my reel disappeared into
the depths of the cut. I pulled and
pulled at the line but all that happened was more and more line got
pulled from the reel, until I had a right
old birds nest of Maxima next to me
on the towpath. Mom didn’t have a
One off the top – an opportunity that came about after a countryside meal and drink with family and friends… Always keep
a rod handy.
78 FREE LINE

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