Some say it resembles a prowling hyena, others a ferocious wolf.
While there are those who have seen the mysterious creature menacing Buckshaw Village and describe it as a terrifying cross between a wild boar and some kind of big cat.
Whatever it is, it has been blamed for mauling several deer to death, and one resident’s Alsatian dogs were left quivering with fear after a particularly close encounter.
Now one intrepid villager has taken a photograph of what locals have dubbed the Buckshaw Beast, sparking a feverish online debate about what exactly it might be.
Residents of the ‘village’ – actually a modern estate on the edge of Leyland, Lancashire – have been reporting sightings of the shaggy, hulking creature for months.
The initial consensus was that it is a wild boar forced out of the countryside by the cold weather as it strives to find food, but experts have said one would be unlikely to kill deer.
Resident Tony Kenvig caught sight of the beast as it rifled through his bins late one night, and described it as resembling a dark-coloured hyena.
‘All the rubbish was strewn over my garden,’ he wrote in an online forum.
‘This happened on a few occasions, and one night I heard snuffles and looked out of my window and saw some kind of hyena standing rigid on its back legs.’
Another, calling himself Shelley Levene, also disturbed it late one night.
‘I’ve seen it too,’ he wrote. ‘It’s not a dog. I have two Alsatians, both ex-police dogs. I saw it going through my bins.
‘I couldn’t understand why they weren’t barking, so I went down to investigate and they were shaking and cowering in their kennel.
‘Just the scent of this thing must have been enough to spook them.’
He warned fellow villagers to be on their guard.
‘I no longer walk the streets of Buckshaw alone at night anymore and would advise all other residents to start to be vigilant.
‘This beast in dangerous.’