Archive for the ‘UK cryptids’ Category

I’m always saying I don’t believe in TRADITIONAL werewolves, but almost every culture worldwide has its own, unique version of werewolves or something similar. That fact requires me to define “traditional.” What I usually mean by that are those moonstruck, hairy creatures  whose attributes are derived mainly from old European legends and Hollywood movies. But even these examples may vary. When I come across a legend with some interesting features, then, I like to note it for future reference.

Today while I was looking for something else, I happened across this charming artwork depicting a priest from Ulster named Gerald and his encounter with a couple of upright werewolves. The illustrations look a lot like many drawings made by modern day eyewitnesses and artists. The creatures appear completely canine, for instance, and they can walk either on all fours or upright. Muzzles, pointed ears and toe-pad-walking complete the pictures.

Royal 13 B.VIII ff.17v-18

(image from Creative Commons O, Europeana Collection, from the British Library Royal Collection, c. 1196-1223)

Their behavior, however, is the big surprise here.The story is written in Latin, but as I understand it from various translations, Gerald of Ulster was camping in the woods sometime around the year 1200 when he was approached by a large werewolf.

Short version: The creature begged Gerald to come with him and minister last rites to his mate. It seems they hadn’t always been werewolves. Their village had been more or less cursed to give up one couple every seven years to wander as Lycans, and it had been this pair’s turn to serve. They hadn’t yet completed their obligation when the missus fell ill. Gerald succeeded in tearing part of her fur away to reveal the shriveled elderly woman inside, and she was then able to eat a consecrated wafer. Happy ending.

There isn’t much more to the story. I simply thought it appropriate to begin the New Year with a tale from the era that still informs today’s lore. But I saw something both touching and brave about Gerald’s willingness to follow the wolfman into the woods and in the wolf couple’s determination to keep their faith. Most contemporary reports would have the witness fleeing the scene in terror (as I would be doing) while the wolf creature gave chase and then growled off into the night. That’s probably much closer to reality. But reality bites.

And I suspect they just don’t make werewolves like they used to.

Enjoy the art, anyway, and Happy 2017!

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This was another of those freewheeling dialogues that I so enjoy. Listen to The Paranormal View podcast recorded Nov. 4, 2016!

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Scan_20160420 (2)Two men young were cruising around the towns and villages of northeast England on a later summer’s night in 1989 for lack of anything better to do, when they found an unexpected cure to their boredom in the form of an upright, unidentifiable creature that ran in front of their car. The driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote me about it after having found one of my dogman sketches based on other eyewitness reports. He said he had searched for years afterward trying to figure out what he and his friend had seen that night, but my sketch came the closest.

The drawing you see here is my new rendering made to accommodate his exact description. I’ll quote his own telling of that night’s events, sent to me in two emails that I’ve combined here. He gave me permission to post his sighting but asked that I withhold his name:


The night of our encounter was not long after I bought the car. My friend Sean and I were out driving around the local towns and villages, playing some tunes on the cassette and generally just cruising about … It must have been late because it was dark by the time we passed through the small coastal village of Cresswell [Northumberland], so I’m assuming it was around 23.00hrs.
I remember we were heading SW from Cresswell to Ellington on Cresswell Rd., having just passed the entrance to the caravan site on our left. I had not yet had the opportunity to test the extra fog lights on the front of the vehicle and I wanted to see how bright they were in the dark. Sean was looking in the glove compartment for a different cassette and I told him I was going to switch the fogs on.
We were coming up to a slight right hand bend, there was a six-foot wall with dense foliage on our left and a normal hedgerow bordering a field to our right, that was when I saw something run out in the middle of the road. I wasn’t going very fast, probably 30mph maximum and had ample time to slow down so as not to hit it – even to stop but I’m not sure I did. I think I just crawled the car towards it as I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
It had ran out onto the road from my right and had stopped in the middle of the road looking directly at the car. It was covered in thick, mousey grey/brown fur about 2-3 inches long and stood on its rear legs which were jointed with the knee at the rear like a horse or dogs. Its upper arms were down by its side and It held its forearms out in front of it with its hands and long fingers hung down at the wrist. (They may have been long hands or long fingers but I remember the hands from the wrist to the fingers as being very long).
It had one foot in front of the other as if in mid-step as it seemed I had caught it by surprise, and while its body was still facing in the direction it was travelling, the head was facing the car.
I remember the eyes which reflected the light back at me as being perfectly round and a green/yellow colour much like that of a cat’s eyes when caught in the light.
It stood about 5-6 foot tall but was hunched over, even then I’d say it wouldn’t have been over 6 foot tall stood erect. It had what seemed to have a very muscular body, not big or bulky, more wiry with powerful limbs, thick chest and small waist. It also had a short tail. maybe 4-5 inches long, definitely not as long as most dogs; personally I’d describe it as more like a goats tail. (After seeing this I mainly searched for sightings of satyrs in the region as this was the closest thing I could relate it to)
Its head and face were like that of a dog or goat, as in not flat like a humans face, but with a muzzle and quite large ears. I do not remember seeing any teeth and it did not have horns. The whole encounter could not have lasted more than a few seconds. I assume it regained its composure after being caught off guard as it took off over the 6 foot wall and through the foliage atop that in a single bound. Although I often drive by the same area, I have never seen it again.
As for how I felt, I was in shock at first, like when someone gives you a fright. I shouted, Sean!, Sean! to make sure he was looking as he was fishing around in the glove box for a tape. I just couldn’t take it all in. After it had gone we were still going slow. We were looking back to where it had disappeared and I felt terrified. I’ve always considered myself a fairly macho type and not easily scared, but there was NO chance of me getting out of that car to follow it.
In fact, as we drove on a ways, there was a guy walking his dog farther up the road, maybe half a mile and for a moment I considered telling him not to go down that way. We slowed down but we honestly didn’t know what the hell to say, and we decided he was far enough away from it, so we just kept going. We were still also really shook up at this point.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that neither myself nor Sean was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It’s very hard to talk about it, as quite frankly most people don’t believe it. I wasn’t sure if you would, or even do, as I imagine you must get a few folks who try and pull your leg.
But, hand on heart, all I have said is true to the very best of my knowledge. I want you to know that. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found out someone else had seen it and I could actually put a name to the creature.


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