Rumour had it that in 1851 beneath Hampstead, feral pigs, or hogs were prowling the depths of the sewers! Legend claimed that a pregnant sow somehow ended up trapped in the gloomy tunnels, giving birth to a happy litter of excrement swilling, offal consuming offspring, even more ferocious than their known relatives which may have inhabited some nearby yard.
Sceptics argued that such animals had never been seen or heard to grunt through the drain grates, but believers in such quirky tales claimed, that the reason for this elusive behaviour was simply down to the Fleet ditch, which, once encountered from the mouth of the sewer at the riverside, would have flushed the piggies back to their lair after failed attempts to swim against the rapids.
If only pigs could fly!
Such a mystery echoes the similar, yet more consistent myth of alligators roaming New York's sewer system, particularly from the early 1900's when it was said that unwanted pets were released into the rat-ridden domain, breeding successfully, and creating a local monster scare.