Among the strangest legends in Britain is the story of the "Stick Man" of Loose – a bizarre creature which seems to have haunted a group of young people.

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Among the strangest legends in Britain is the story of the "Stick Man" of Loose - a bizarre creature which seems to have haunted a group of young people.

It is one of many tales gathered together by writer Neil Arnold as part of his book "Paranormal Kent" which looks into the county's darker side.

His book tells how on January 14 2003 a persona named only as Simon posted a story on the forum of Fortean Times magazine which covers stories of strange phenomena.

It states: "I will record a rather unpleasant experience which took place tonight. A group of about ten of us were sitting chatting in the Loose Valley at about midnight. After about forty-five minutes Will leapt to his feet slapping his head saying there was a bee in his hair; he looked absolutely terrified.

"Both Dorothy and I saw the outline of a tall, thin figure wearing a hat dancing behind him. Will said later it was as if a terrifically loud buzzing was coming up through the top of his head. However, only Rachel heard any buzzing.

"We partially satisfied ourselves that it must have been a bees' nest, and so we moved a little distance away. As we moved away Dorothy and I saw a ring outlined in the grass which enclosed where we had been sitting.

"Eventually it started raining so we headed for Rachel's house. As we left I turned around and saw the same thin, black figure walk across the opening between the trees to where we had been sitting.

"We had been sitting in Rachel's bedroom for a while, when I looked at Will who was reading and saw an amorphous black blob drop out of his hair onto the bed. I was the only one who saw this. A few seconds later a black shape started whizzing around. The main movement was from bottom left to top right as I was sitting, getting larger during the movement and inducing a great fright. About four people altogether saw this.

"Later the girls slept in a room together. Apparently Rachel and Molly saw the black blob in the curtains during the night. I, however, had an excellent night's sleep. On first awakening I saw the thin black figure silhouetted against the wardrobe doors. I must admit I lost my calm last night and was bloody terrified by the whole thing."

The legend of the stick man is one that is included in several cultures - most notably some native American tribes who believe them to be malevolent entities.

However, the Loose myth is possibly the only recorded instance of the story appearing in Britain.

Villagers say that it is possible the shadows cast by a number of trees could have been the cause of the apparition.

Roy Hood, who has lived in Loose for 80 years, also has an explanation.

"There was a man who used to cut wood and he would often by seen with bundles of sticks around him - maybe that was the origin of the legend," he said.

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