All Things Green Man & The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green

Green Man Encounter

Sean Breadin drew my attention to a letter in the July 2010 edition of Fortean Times written by Nick Skerten from London:
One summer afternoon in 2007, I was returning from central London and my train had spent a few too many minutes idling at the platform in New Malden station. Lost in thought, I had been looking out of the window at nothing in particular when I suddenly saw something that made me gasp out loud. At the far end of the London-bound platform is a thick bank of trees and shrubs behind a fence. I was astonished to see what appeared to be an enormous face made up of the surrounding foliage looming out at the opposite platform and looking very similar to the typical appearance of the ‘Green Man’, as seen in church carvings. The face was about 5ft (1.5m) in diameter and about 7ft (2m) or so from the ground.
I was amazed how perfect the face seemed to be-though at the same time I knew it was just my brain demonstrating its knack for face recognition in random patterns. I probably gazed in wonder for 20-odd seconds before the most shocking thing happened.
Suddenly, and with tremendous velocity, the entire face withdrew backwards into the vegetation, which caused the surrounding bushes and trees to sway violently. Most strikingly of all, a branch that must have been under the ‘face’ swung upwards with immense force-as if a huge weight had been lifted from it-before smacking into the surrounding greenery and, I suppose, reassuming its original position. This whole motion took about a second and the face had completely disappeared! I could accept that a fox or even a human might have been sitting on the branches and had jumped off, causing them to bounce back into position, but this would not easily account for the very distinct retraction of the face, as if it was wrenched backwards into a tunnel.
The face in no way looked constructed or man-made and seemed to consist of a natural, though utterly remarkable, arrangement. The features of the thing were clear to see and I was particularly struck by the grinning mouth and staring eyes. Quite how the verdant visage was sucked backwards I have no idea. I have often wondered how, or indeed why, anyone would have achieved this bizarre effect for bored South West Trains passengers. The train drew away and I sat back in my chair feeling strangely unnerved. On all my subsequent journeys through the station I have never seen anything like this again.

I managed to get in contact with Nick to ask his permission to reproduce the letter and to see if there was anything else he would add. Nick commented that: “There was no-one near me when I saw this weird thing, which is slightly frustrating! I was travelling back from town after doing some shopping. It was a very sunny day and I suppose the train had been waiting for a good two minutes before I noticed the face in the leaves. I hadn’t been staring out of the window all of that time and it was, as I recall, the moment I looked at the bushes that I saw the face. I’ve always had a good look at that bank of trees whenever I pass through New Malden station on the train, but it’s always looked like a rather standard bush and nothing else. It was, though, the terrific suction that seemed to be exerted on the face as it was wrenched back into the shrubbery that I found so inexplicable. The violence of the exit and the massive swaying of branches and foliage was quite spectacular and just left me feeling really surprised and shocked. I only wish now that I had got out of the train and gone to investigate the opposite platform, but, alas, I didn’t, so I’m left with the mystery.”
Nick was also kind enough to sketch the drawing which is included on this post. Nick’s description is fascinating and I must admit that I can offer no rational explanation for his experience. This is the only record that I can find of a sighting of this kind, ghostly figures dressed in green and the children of woolpit don’t even come close, and the only image that I have seen that partially resembles this is of a brilliant piece of topiary in a garden in Wiltshire. If anyone else has heard of a sighting of this kind either present day or historical we would love to hear from you.

5 responses

  1. Hi,
    I frequently ‘see’ the Green Man face or Green Woman, particularly in the trees opposite my living room window.
    I’m sure it’s not my medication either!
    When the wind blows, they seem to smile or speak…maybe I’ve got an over active imagination but, they seem quite soothing and relaxing.

    Best Wishes,

    Dec 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm

  2. While only a very vague reference, I attended a lecture on the paranormal many years ago and a peculiar Green-Man-like experience was mentioned. It was said that an unnamed person had been a visitor to a site known as Wychbury Ring or Hill – an ancient hill fort, on the Worcestershire / West Midlands border – and, on looking around, their attention had been drawn by a movement or sound in the tree canopy. Apparently, when they looked up, they had allegedly seen something which they described as a Green Man face staring back down at them!! Laugh!!!

    Unfortunately, the experience was only mentioned in passing and that was – as far as I can recall – all that was said on the subject.

    I’ve been a visitor to Wychbury Hill many times over the years – but I’m yet to have any encounters of the Green Man kind!! Laugh!!

    Mar 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

  3. Thanks Nick,

    Takes me back to my own days of parapsychology….ah to be able to sleep on the floor of Dover castle and still be able to move in the morning, those were the days!

    Mar 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

  4. i have been collecting the accounts of the green man, british bigfoot, woodwoose tales for over 35yrs now and have around 400 mapped all across britain, if anyone would like a copy of the map please just let me know, its free and i would just like to keep finding more witnesses if i can.

    Jul 14, 2017 at 9:25 pm

  5. Hi Deborah, I’m sure our members would be fascinated to see the map. Do you have a link I could add to our blog at all?

    Jul 15, 2017 at 8:36 am

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