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Posts Tagged ‘werewolves’

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.

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(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 beauty, Ken Gerhard’s Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts, recently arrived in my mailbox and will be my first big read of the new year! Can’t wait to dig into what looks like a thorough compendium of the wild world of weird creatures. Happy 2017 to all!

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photo from Lincoln County Sheriff’s Dept.

This time of year seems to be when reporters go looking for oddities — or oddities come looking for them. Such seemed the case yesterday when a bold young black bear was seen begging bipedally from cars passing on a highway near Gleason. It was eventually captured and taken to a wildlife refuge. It seemed utterly unafraid of humans, leading to speculation it was either a pet -YIKES – or someone had been feeding it in a habituation situation.

When Hannity Show Came to Bray Road

There’s also a short compilation of Wisconsin beasties in a 3-year old article in Whoo New online blog, including the Beast of Bray Road, Muskego’s Haunchies and others. I’ve had a few people ask where to see the Sean Hannity episode on The Beast (one of the best short documentaries on the subject, I think) and the blog included this handy link.

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A certain weird hayfield in SE Wisconsin threads its way throughout the pages of my latest book, Monsters Among Us; an Exploration of Otherwordly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and Odd Phenomena. Today I spent a few hours threading my own way through the weedy tree lines of that field with its owner, “Roy Smith,” who decided he would like to reveal his actual name and say a bit on camera. I’ll refer to him as Smith here, however, since that is the name used in the book. My video of his introduction may be found below, but first here’s an important postscript on one strange phenomenon in Monsters Among Us.

(All rights reserved on photos and video; may not be posted or printed elsewhere without written permission.)

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On April 29, 2015, one of Smith’s trail cameras caught a black figure silhouetted against the growing green field. At first we thought it was a blackbird or crow, but when we zoomed in (zoom view shown above), it looked more like the head, back and arm of some large animal presumably crouched in the hay. There were two other partial shots of it taken within one second that showed very fast progression across the screen from left to right.

I trudged out to what we judged to be the spot where this happened one dewy morning not long after, wearing a coat with hood, and Smith took photos from where the trail cam had been set up. We ended up concluding, based on comparison to trees in the background and to the original photo, that it was at least as big as me (five foot one) and much larger than a bird would have been from that distance.

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The creature’s shape also seemed to match the stance I took in my photo: crouched over, one arm reaching forward. I wasn’t able to crouch as well, but my lower legs were also hidden by the grass. It would have been heading straight for the treeline area where Smith had been noticing various wildlife carcasses, mostly deer, that displayed oddly munched and crunched areas or were carried off entirely by unknown predators.

Return of the Creature

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Skip ahead one year or so to early May, 2016, and a similar type of creature showed up on another trail cam in the same field, heading in exactly the same direction. It looked black, furry, and seemed to be in a kneeling position. There was an evident shadow around it in the grass.Unfortunately, book production was already well underway so there was no way to add it. But we still set up a comparison shot with Smith trudging out to the field this time.

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The 6-foot 3-inch tall Smith (left, in baseball cap) appeared almost the same height as the creature as he knelt in the hay, but only half as wide! Compare the sizes of Smith and the creature compared to the round-shaped tree at the right. Whatever this black thing is, it’s roughly human-sized or larger. Just one more mystery at this field of bad dreams.

Meet “Roy Smith,” otherwise known as Lee Hampel, a retired math and physics teacher from Illinois, and owner of the mysterious field featured in Monsters Among Us. Hampel had chosen that pseudonym himself, but has since decided to go public. I always feel the witnesses should be the ones to choose in this matter, and honor Hampel’s choice by posting this video taken Oct. 25, 2016 on site in the field.

 

 

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October 1992, to be exact. It was a different slate of candidates: George HW Bush vs Bill Clinton vs Ross Perot. I don’t remember whose idea it was at The Week to throw the Beast into the ring with them, but I do remember modifying my original sketch for the full page poster. At any rate, 24 years later I believe it’s worth at least considering one more time. 🙂 (Note: Please, no comments comparing the Beast with any official human candidates for better or worse – he stands on his own two rear paws)

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Before we start, I’d like to add a note to Part One of this story of a years-long dogman habituation in eastern Pennsylvania that continues to this day. The eyewitness I’ve nicknamed Jessie contacted me to say I had her permission to reveal the purpose of the family party she attended later in the day of her first sighting…it was her wedding! This fact has always seemed significant to her although she isn’t sure why. I had left that detail out as a possibly identifying factor–how many women have a dogman sighting on the day they get married? But I’m glad to be able to include it because if it’s important to her, it may also be important to the entire series of encounters. And I do consider this a case in progress.

It may seem odd that the bride-to-be would go hiking on her wedding day, but this bit of back story gives me a chance to add a few more of Jessie’s pertinent characteristics. She describes herself as an avid hiker and prefers sunrise and sunset, so this walk was part of her daily routine. She had worked for several years as a mechanic in the US military and was not afraid to be in the woods by herself. So that morning, she decided to begin her big day by de-stressing with a sunrise walk to a rock ledge where she could best see the colors of dawn. That was what led to the first encounter discussed in Part One.

It also sets the scene for another shock that occurred the next spring after her grandfather passed away, after Jessie’s second encounter in her own back yard. Jessie woke up one night to see her beloved grandfather, whom she described as a “a good Christian with his head on straight,” standing next to her bed. She rubbed her eyes, gulped down some water, and he was still there, watching her. And then he spoke. She wrote:

“‘Don’t,’ he said. ‘Don’t do it. Don’t go after them. You don’t know what they really are. Don’t,’ he said. And meant it. He disappeared after [that], but left me with a sense of horrible dread…To find answers [to what the creatures are] is to find something worse than death, is the sense he left me with.”

Needless to say, Jessie was very disturbed by the visitation and says she has had recurring nightmares ever since. She began awaking with the sense that something was just outside her window almost every night, and would often feel the hair rise on the back of her neck as her cat stared intently at the window for no reason she could see.

Mulch Ado About Something

On June 9, 2015, Jessie wrote me that she had found deeply indented prints in the mulch around her house, and scratches on her house siding. (See her photos, below. Note crushed flowers, too) She had also found a snow print that looked canine a few months earlier.

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She wrote that the activity was all next to her bedroom window. The prints were about four inches wide. (They resembled a similar case I called The Hartland Hairy Thing in Wisconsin.) Jessie also asked whether I knew anyone local who might come out to her place and have a look. I did, and made the connections but unfortunately they have not as yet been able to find a mutually workable time to get together. In the meantime, I advised her to get motion lights, a strong flashlight, and a trail cam, if possible, and to spread playground sand in a few strategic spots around the yard to try for a better footprint.

On June 11, 2015, she awakened to the familiar sense that the creature was outside. This time she got up and peeked through the side of the blinds, only to see it standing there. “I saw ears, eyes and teeth,” she wrote. “The ears are upright dog ears. The eyes were a bright yellow/orange. Like an amber color, and they kind of seemed to glow! The teeth…I don’t want to think about any more. It didn’t see me peeking at first, but once we locked eyes it let out a tremendous deep-throated growl and bared its teeth, then turned and ran into the woods behind our house. It ran on two legs, and leapt our fence like it was nothing. I stayed up the rest of the night but it didn’t return. At least, not that I know of.”

She estimated that it would have had to have been at least six feet tall to see into the window, and noted that it seemed partially hunched over which meant it was probably taller than six feet.

Near the end of June, Jessie managed to capture a howl on her phone camera and she gave me permission to share it. She did not see the creature at the same time so it’s not definite as to what this was, but given all the other sightings I think it is worth listening to. And she did see yellow eyes at her back gate that evening. The howl reminded me of some howls thought to be Bigfoot vocalizations that I’ve heard on other sites:

July 14, 2015, Jessie wrote me again to say,”A little after 2 am, I was starting to doze off in my bedroom after staying up late with a good book, and I heard this massive SLAM against the back door, as if a 7 ft., 400 lb. linebacker just threw himself full-force into the back of our house! It even rattled the chain on the deadbolt on the inside of the door! I jumped up and ran out to the kitchen and in the window of the back door was two bright glowing yellow eyes!!  The wolf-beast was standing on two legs, hunched and snarling through the door window at me, it growled and let out a sort or ROAR!”

She continued, “I ran to my bedroom to grab my phone and video it, and tried to wake up my husband, but no matter how bad I shook and yelled, he wouldn’t wake. I ran back to the kitchen and the beast was gone, no where in sight. Also, on a side note, I do special effect makeup as both a hobby, and a job. I’ve done work in theater, in film, not just with makeup but also as an actress and editor, so I know when it’s someone in a suit or makeup. But what’s outside my house, is a real living, breathing, whole animal. It’s alive, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. And it’s not a regular wolf, or a wolf coyote hybrid, or a neighbors dog. This is something else entirely.”

In mid-August 2015 she wrote that something was tapping and pounding on the back wall of her home all night. “These aren’t normal noises and it doesn’t sound like raindrops or acorns/pinecones falling, I know what those sound like and where they usually hit,” she said. “I can’t bring myself to look outside, I don’t think I could handle what I’d see,” she added.

Similar incidents have continued without her husband ever having witnessed the creature. Jessie did feel vindicated in early August 2016 when a visiting friend caught a glimpse of it at mid-day. The woman spied it lurking in its favorite place, the tree line at the back of the yard. Jessie wrote, “She saw its shadow. She didn’t see its face because he was under the shadow of the trees but she could see the furry outline, the ears, and the eyes standing out.”

Was it a supernatural or otherworldly creature? The fact that two people saw it at the same time means it is not a hallucination on Jessie’s part.

There have been more incidents than I can describe here, but Jessie hopes that one final action will end the visits: she and her husband are planning to move away from that house and yard. In other cases I’ve known of, putting some distance between witness and cryptid often does indeed do the trick. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this does it for Jessie, too. Dogmen just don’t make ideal neighbors.

 

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Witness sketch provided with permission from “Jessie”

Pennsylvania certainly seems to be a hotspot lately for sightings of dogman, wolfman, upright canids–whatever you choose to call the wolf-like creatures that get around on two legs. Most of these encounters could be described as one-time, random incidents. But some reports tell of sightings that never truly end, as creatures return again and again to terrorize individuals or even whole families.

One woman from the eastern side of the state has endured such a situation for four years now. She wishes to retain complete anonymity for several good reasons, so I’ll refer to her as Jessie. The incident that began what she calls her living nightmare began with a sunrise walk in the woods near her house in October, 2013 as she sensed an eerie change in the atmosphere as is often reported by those who encounter mystery creatures. She wrote:

“The stillness and predawn glow of the forest around me seemed somehow off, but I couldn’t put my finger on how. I mean, the light was coming in like normal; it infiltrated the woods and made everything sort of glow for that moment before the sun peeked…so I got up and headed back to the car. I got close to where my car was parked, and got a whiff of something rotten. I thought it was just the deer carcass lying near the trunk of my  car that looked like it was hit the night before.

“I heard something shuffling around in the same spot as the deer. I started to hear something dragging, and I walked slowly toward my car in case it was a bear. The smell became almost unbearable, and I started to cough and gag. When I did that, the shuffling stopped. I turned to see a VERY large…thing…on two legs; it was kind of hunched over the deer carcass and was dragging it with its claws dug into the meat of the deer. It was mostly brown with a bit of grey in it. When it saw me, it stood all the way up and turned to face me. It had blazing yellow eyes that seemed to stand out more than any animal’s normally would. It had a snout somewhat like a husky or German shepherd. Its teeth were fully bared and it gave a very low and menacing growl.

“This thing was my worst nightmare come to life.

“I was frozen, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. This thing towered over me! I’m five foot, one. My neck cramped looking up at this thing…it had to have been close to seven feet  if not more. My heart was hammering so fast I thought it would explode. I remember hearing it beat in my ears. My throat burned with a strangled scream that never came out,  and my eyes were locked with his (it was very much male). He growled a second time, licking his bared teeth, and took a step toward me. He had let go of the deer and his claws were free and curled, ready for action.

“That step was enough to break my paralysis. My eyes watered and I broke into a run to my driver’s side door. As I ran around the car, he lunged at it. Not very forcefully, just kind of a half lunge sort of like, ‘Get the f— out of here,’and his arm and claws came down on my car. He scratched down the back window making a horrible high-pitched squeaking noise, then got to the trunk and dug his claws into the paint. I was able to get into the car and turn it on and drive, but he was scratching while I was inside fumbling to get my keys in the ignition. It almost seemed as if he was taunting me with his scratching noises.

“I threw the car in drive and hit the gas. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw him grab the deer carcass and drag it back into the woods at the trail opening. I drove back, shaking still.”

Jessie had to attend an event with relatives later that day, and she said they kept telling her she looked “preoccupied.” That was one way of putting it!  She did not confide her experience to anyone, but began combing the Internet to learn what she might have seen. Almost as if the creature knew she was focusing on her sighting, it paid her a visit one night as she sat on her backyard deck listening to music .

“I felt a stare,” she wrote. “Suddenly I got a chill and my hair stood on end, and I turned to look and there he was. It felt almost like a warning to me. This time, he was standing in the woods of my backyard along the fence,” she said. “And he was staring at me and my home with those yellow eyes!” She went inside and the creature also retreated. Shortly after that, Jessie called me and asked if we could talk. The experiences have continued, despite some precautions and remedies I’ve advised that have helped others.

Altogether it’s a lengthy story but one worth telling, so I’m going to split it into parts in order to better communicate all that has occurred to the present time. Watch here for the rest of Jessie’s ordeal.

End of PART ONE of The Persistent Beast of Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

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