Since I no longer work there, I very rarely go into the town centre anymore, but I found myself there today, waiting in the bus station to meet someone. Amongst the many things I encountered whilst there was Bradford’s Mad Monk, which made the horridness of all the other sights dissolve.

Bradford’s Mad Monk or Jesus Man is legendary around these parts. Sporting a habit and sandals he walks the streets in all weathers and all times of the year smiling, waving, dancing and occasionally chastising (and possibly damning to an eternity of fire and brimstone) those he deems unworthy.

Rumour and mystery surround him and he is everything from a hermit living in a cave to an eccentric millionaire. Stick his name in google and you’ll find websites and forums dedicated to sightings of him, a Facebook Group (well who doesn’t?) and plenty to watch on YouTube. There is, however, one constant in all the stories which anyone will tell you, they have known of him all their lives, and so have their parents, and these days probably even grandparents; he has always worn the same clothes and never appears to age.

My personal experience of him goes back to the late 1970’s and at that time I remember him to already be solidly stamped into the history of Bradford. The earliest sighting of him I could find in a quick peruse of the internet is 1952. He has certainly always worn the same outfit, habit, sandals and some kind of bag around his neck. As for his aging, he really doesn’t appear to have aged as much as he naturally should have in the time I have been seeing him, he has always appeared to me as an ‘older man’, however, what an ‘older man’ is to you changes as you become older yourself.

There is one thing that’s certain, if he’s been walking the streets of Bradford as a man since 1952, he’s at least 80 years of age. He sure doesn’t look, walk or dance like an 80 year old man. It’ll be a sad day in Bradford when he no longer roams the streets, I hope he lives forever.

Go on, google him, you know you want to.

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