Most of us have heard legends of werewolves, a human who, often against their will, changes into a wolf only to later change back and resume their human form. These legends can be found all over the world. As can legends of shapeshifters, who unlike the werewolf, is an entity that can take on any living form it wishes. And unlike many of the werewolf legends, this change is most-often under the control of the shapeshifter itself.
Even more intriguing, some legends claim that such a skill can be learned through studying the arts (magic) and spirituality. Indeed, the legends of “reptilian humanoids” and their ability to take on human forms revolve around such tales. As is becoming increasingly clear with many myths and folklore legends, some degree of truth often resides within these otherwise fantastic “fictional” accounts. Might this be the same too of shapeshifting creatures and the stories of werewolves?
We will come back to some of the werewolf legends later, including claims of sightings of such creatures in the modern world. We will first, though, keep our attention on the legends of shapeshifters. Legends which go back to the dawn of time itself.
Legends Of The Gods And “The Sorcerer”
Right the way back to the mythology legends of the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations, and even the ancient Sumerians before them, shapeshifting abilities and accounts thereof are rife. Many of the Egyptian gods, for example, are depicted with the head of an animal and had the ability to change their form. Zeus, perhaps the most famous of the Greek gods would shapeshift into animals, and even assume the form of a woman’s lover in order to trick them into having sex.
Rather than mere myths and legends from antiquity, though, we might look at the Cave of the Trois-Freres in the south of France. One of the cave paintings is over 10,000 years old, going back to at least 13,000 BC. This cave painting appears to show a human in the process of shape-shifting. It clearly shows a strange figure with both human and animal aspects and features. Even the position of the creature suggests it is in the process of some kind of metamorphosis.
Rather aptly, then, the painting is named “The Sorcerer” and would appear to show that belief in such creatures was prevalent even before the intricate fairy tales and stories entered into the human psyche. Indeed, we might argue that the reasons such entities did appear in these early fairy tales in the first place are because our ancestors had witnessed such things. You can check out the cave painting below.
Animals, Plants, And Even Physical Objects
It isn’t just animals that these apparent shapeshifters can morph themselves into, though. Some legends even speak of the changing into plants or other physical objects. This is certainly an interesting theory. Particularly when we think of the claims from some ufologists that UFOs, for example, are themselves living sentient entities as opposed to nuts-and-bolts crafts.
Many Shamans and wise men of native tribes around the world claim to have the ability to shapeshift so that they might communicate with entities in the spiritual realm. Many of these, interestingly enough, might equally be described as out-of-body experiences or astral projection.
In our contemporary era, claims of reptilian shapeshifters flood social media daily. Indeed, a quick search of that term in Google or YouTube, for example, will bring back a plethora of results for one to sift through. What is the apparent obsession then? Do these reptilian shapeshifters really exist? Have they always been here and the “crazy conspiracy loons” were right all along? Or, even taking away the obvious hoaxes, is there a subconscious ancestral fear of these apparently menacing and deceitful creatures that remains in our minds from antiquity?
Perhaps, though, there is one particular shapeshifting legend that has found a place in the collective human conscious more than any other. The Werewolf. Before we return our attention to those beast-like creatures, though, check out the video below. Just one example of the many videos showing “shapeshifters” in today’s society. Make of them what you will.
Equally Persistent Legends Of Werewolves
Much like shapeshifters, werewolves and the idea that a human can transform into such a being go back to the beginning of time. Indeed, werewolves are just one strand of the shapeshifting legends. However, unlike the shapeshifting that can be learned and then actioned when required and controlled, many accounts of werewolves revolve around a curse-like notion that brings on such changes in sympathy with the full moon. The connection with the moon is certainly interesting. Especially when we think about the affect the pull of the moon (and indeed the planets) have on human emotions and feelings. Might, for a very select few, that affect be monstrously extreme?
An interesting account to look at here is The Georgia Werewolf from Talbott County, Georgia from the early 1900s. A farmer in the area was losing sheep each night to a mystery beast. Despite “hunting parties” of locals patrolling the area, the killings continued and no perpetrator, beast or otherwise was captured. A local woman, Mildred Burt, would privately suspect her sister was involved with the animal killings. She would often roam the countryside during the night when she became “restless and anxious”. Furthermore, she had very sharp and larger-than-normal canine teeth. She would also, according to Mildred, read book upon book about the supernatural and dark arts.
One evening, armed with a heavy pistol, Mildred would venture along to the farm suffering attacks on its sheep.
An Extreme Form Of Lycanthropy?
Not long after her arrival, a strange animal would lunge at her from out of nowhere. Mildred pointed the gun to where she thought the creature was and fired. She wasn’t sure if she hit it, but it ran away into the night following the shot. The next day, according to some local rumors, Emily, the sister she suspected, was suddenly missing her left hand.
Perhaps even stranger, her mother would send Emily to Paris almost immediately following the incident. She was to see a doctor who would specialize in lycanthropy – a condition that makes the sufferer believe they are a werewolf. Interestingly or not, following her departure to Paris the attacks ceased immediately. When she returned, although she was “cured” of her condition, the attacks would begin again, although they would never return to the scale they once were. Might whatever treatment she received in Paris have resulted in her being able to contain her outbreaks and attacks to a minimum?
There are several similar if less detailed accounts on record. For example, a legend from France tells of a hunter who after receiving permission to hunt in the lands of an unnamed “Lord and Lady” experiences a sudden attack by a large wolf while hunting. He manages to shoot an arrow at it which results in the severing of its paw. He would pick up the paw and place it in his hunting basket. Later in the evening, however, as he sat by a fire to examine his kills, the paw was no longer there. In its place, was a human hand. And what’s more, it had on it the unique ring of the Lady who owned the land. There is no date or names given in the account.
The Unfortunate Account Of Peter Stubbe
As outrageous as it might sound, there are just as many claims of werewolves throughout history and into our modern world as there are of shapeshifting reptilians, if not more. Many of these accounts, certainly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries would come out of Europe. There are likely several reasons for this, not least the wolf population was simply larger and more visible in this part of the world. Europe, though, was still fighting off the remaining grip of the church and the Inquisition. Claims of a “werewolf” would have been treated as brutally as claims of witches were.
For example, in 1589 in what is now modern-day Germany, is the story of farmer Peter Stubbe. During the Cologne War, as the number of dead increased, citizens began claiming to have witnessed a “wolf-like creature” stalking livestock and people alike. One particular evening the townsfolk managed to corner this strange creature after tracking and chasing it with a pack of their own dogs. However, when they moved in for the kill there wasn’t wolf laying in front of them. It was Peter Stubbe.
Under torture, Stubbe would admit to murdering several people while “a wolf”. Furthermore, he claimed to have made a deal with the Devil when he was a 12-year-old boy. Satan, according to Stubbe (or at least the recording of his confession), had given him “a belt” that would allow him to change into a wolf so that he could fulfill any dark desire he wished. He would be executed on 31st October, tied to a wheel and his limbs broken, his skin was then pulled off with “heated pincers” before he was decapitated. His head was placed on the body of a wolf to anyone else who may “do a deal with the Devil”.
The Devil’s Promise – The Wolf Strap!
The “belt” that Stubbe mentioned, however, is extremely interesting. If we accept for a moment that Stubbe’s confession was true and not one arrived at through torture and then the details for the historical record added by his accusers, there are other examples of a “wolf strap” throughout history. This “magical device” is a gift to one who “sells their soul to the Devil”. By wrapping it around the torso tightly it will allow the owner to immediately change into a werewolf.
One particular legend of this mysterious item comes from Russia around the same time as Stubbe’s final bloody encounter with his fellow townsfolk. According to the legend, in an unnamed Russian village, one particular man, who lived right on the edge of the settlement and would keep himself to himself would come under suspicion from the rest of the villagers. The villagers would describe him as “sneaky” and they would often find strange tracks outside his house. These were particularly noticeable during the harsh Russian winters and the constant blanket of snow. Such was this growing suspicion that several villagers would hide in his barn one evening. However, a blood-curdling howl from outside scared them so much, they fled back home. As they did, though, they noticed fresh, animal-like prints in the snow leading from the man’s home and out into the woodlands.
The next day, however, the villagers, with many others including village elders, would arrive at the man’s home.
The Legend Of “Gust K.”
Upon opening the door, they would demand to know where he had been the previous evening. He would refuse to answer which would lead them to force their way inside, seizing him in the process. Once inside the home, they would search a thick chest of drawers at the side of the man’s bed. In them, under a thick blanket, they would discover a “strange leather strap carved with symbols”. It also contained several strange herbs and appeared to have a “greasy substance” unknown to them on its surface. The village elders, though, would claim to know what it was. The belt, and the man were immediately burned to death.
In much more contemporary times, shortly after the Second World War in Poland, a man named as “Gust K.” was claimed to own such a belt. And, according to the rumors of the townsfolk, he would bring “chaos and misery” to the town because of it. According to local legend, several of the villagers managed to steal the strap with a view to burning it in their oven. However, no matter how they tried, whenever they threw it into the flames it would somehow fly back out again, as if blown out by an invisible wind. Scared, they would return it.
When Gust K. died there were apparently further strange happening. Firstly, on the day of his funeral, the strange strap burst into flames. It would quickly become nothing more than a pile of ash. Then, as the pallbearers attempted to lower his coffin into the waiting grave, they would find it was too small for the casket. This happened several times despite widening of the hole. Eventually, they would drag his body from the coffin and throw it directly in the ground.
The Beast Of The Fichtel Mountains
As we have seen accounts of shapeshifting, wolf-like entities can be found throughout history. According to a tale first told by Alexander Schoppner in his 1874 book The Legend of the Bavarian Lands: From The Mouths of the People, the Chronicles and the Poets, for example, a strange beast roamed the Fichtel Mountains and had done so since at least the 1600s, perhaps even earlier.
The account speaks of a shepherd who used the regions for his flock. However, he began to notice that he was somehow losing sheep – or someone, or something, was taking them. This went on for several days before the shepherd one day caught sight of a beastly wolf attacking one of the flock and dragging it off into the woodlands nearby. Desperate not to lose any more of his animals, the shepherd began in the direction of the attacker. However, the animal had disappeared within seconds, taking the valuable sheep with it.
Realizing he needed to put a decisive plan in motion, he would seek the help of a local person who happened to be a marksman of the highest quality. The shooter agreed to go with the shepherd the following day and would be ready to take aim at the wolf should it return.
Perhaps to their surprise, the beast did indeed return, immediately prompting the marksman to take aim and fire. To their disbelief, although the shot was on target, the bullet appeared to bounce off the creature, seemingly causing it no harm whatsoever.
Perplexed, the pair returned the following day. This time, though, when the wolf arrived, the marksman – who had loaded his weapon with dried pith – fired once more. The shot was perfect, and more importantly, it wounded the creature in the leg, forcing it to retreat back into the forest.
The tale, though, was just about to get stranger.
Arrest And Jail Break
According to the account, the shepherd happened upon his neighbor the following day and noticed that she had developed a limp. Being polite he asked her what the problem was that caused her to limp so. To his surprise, she snapped back, asking “what business is it of yours?” before scurrying away as fast as she could.
The shepherd – knowing that the talk of the village was that this old woman practiced evil magic and spells – wondered whether the wound in the leg was caused by the shot by the marksman the previous evening. Might the old woman have managed to shapeshift into a wolf-like form?
Although there was little other proof other than what could be a coincidental mark, the man reported his suspicions to the authorities. The old woman was ultimately arrested, flogged, and chained up at the local jail. However, much to the surprise of everyone, when guards went to check on their prisoner, she had disappeared. And so had the wolf – at least for several nights.
Late one evening the ferocious beast returned to seemingly attack the very same flock of sheep it had previously attacked. However, it soon became apparent to the alarmed shepherd that the wolf had himself as the lone target.
The creature leaped at the shepherd, who despite doing his best to defend himself was immediately on the back foot. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that the marksman who had wounded the wolf happened to be in the area hunting, he would have surely met his end.
The shooter immediately brought his weapon up and took aim. Once more he hit and wounded the creature. He dropped the gun, pulled out a large knife and took aim at the beast, stabbing it precisely.
However, to the shock of the pair, the wolf began to morph and transform into the old woman who they had accused and had arrested only days previously. They would agree to bury the woman in the woods, and when they had done so, they placed a cross over the makeshift grave.
Although it is uncertain if the location exists, legends state that those who claim to have been there feel the presence of evil.
The Wulver Legends Of The Shetland Islands
Perhaps even stranger legends can be found lurking in the Shetland Islands of Scotland in the form of the Wulver – a hairy humanoid beast with the head of a wolf. However, unlike many other strange wolf-like beasts, Wulvers are said to only be harmful to humans when threatened.
According to the legends, perhaps documented best by Jessie Saxby in Shetland Traditional Lore, the Wulver was often seen “catching and eating fish” from a “small rock in the deep water”. What’s more, this strange creature would often leave fish outside the homes of those in need of food.
What is perhaps interesting here is that there is little evidence to suggest any kind of shapeshifting and more of a permanent appearance and existence. And, if we accept the legends to have some grains of truth to them for a moment, its kind gestures with food would suggest empathetic intelligence.
However, there are other accounts of the Wulver. In the book Shapeshifters: Morphing Monsters & Changing Cryptids, Nick Redfern writes of an encounter documented by Elliot O’Donnell, who had a fascination with accounts of werewolves. The encounter was told to O’Donnell by a local resident of the area, Andrew Warren, who had experienced the Wulver when he was a young boy with his grandfather.
According to the account, Warren and his grandfather, who was a hunter and collector of fossils and skeletons, discovered what appeared to be human skeletal remains one day while out walking. However, what was particularly strange about the remains was that the head appeared to be wolf-like. Suspecting they might have discovered something truly unique, the pair wrapped the remains and carried them back to their home.
They were left outside the property, and Warren’s grandfather went to work at the local church for the evening. Warren, though, was about to experience one of the strangest, unnerving nights of his life.
A Night Of Sheer Terror
A short time after his grandfather had left for work, Warren heard a strange, scratching sound coming from the kitchen door. He turned his attention in its direction, noticing immediately that there was a silhouette of a wolf’s head on a human body peering through the glass of the door.
As he continued to watch, the creature became even clearer, making its glowing green eyes and razor-sharp teeth much easier to see for Warren. He ultimately fled the kitchen and then shut the door behind him, choosing to wait until his grandfather returned home. When he finally did, they came to the conclusion that the beastly apparition at the door during the night was likely the spirit of the skeletal remains they had discovered – remains that were seemingly a Wulver. They immediately carried the remains back to where they were discovered and reburied them. They had no further experiences with the Wulver after that.
How true such accounts of wolf-like creatures might be is perhaps open to debate. However, it is not completely beyond the scope of imagination, if admittedly unlikely, that a creature, human-like or beast-like or a combination of the two, could live discreetly in such environments.
The short video below examines the legends of the Wulver a little further.
The Bizarre Hexham Heads Encounters
Without a doubt, one of the strangest incidents on record occurred in the town of Hexham in the United Kingdom in February 1972 (some sources claim the year to be 1971). One evening, brothers Colin and Leslie Robson were digging in their back garden when they came across the strangest of things – two bizarre, carved heads. Each was about the size of a tennis or cricket ball, with one being male and the other female.
Fascinated, the two boys spent the morning playing around with their new finds. When it was time to come inside, however, each decided to bring their new toy with them. Following this, things began to turn decidedly strange in the Robson house, including paranormal activity and even the appearance of a demonic half-animal, half-human entity.
After the strange heads were placed on a shelf in the family home they were seen moving along of their own accord. Not only that, but other family ornaments would begin disappearing over the coming days, while others would simply explode as if triggered from their inside. One particularly harrowing incident featured a window shattering above the two brothers’ sleeping sister.
By the time the human figure with an animal, wolf-like head appeared in front of the boys’ sister and mother, the family quickly decided that the arrival of the heads must be responsible for the outrageously disturbing incidents that had plagued them.
Ultimately, an expert in Celtic history, Dr. Anne Ross took an interest in the finds and the bizarre activity that had occurred since. She would examine the heads up close and determine they were likely around 2,000 years old and were likely used in certain Celtic rituals. She also claimed that she could feel a “strange coldness” to them. So much so, that she disliked holding, or even looking at them.
Even so, she would take them with her for temporary study at her home. Not long after she did so, the bizarre activity appeared to focus on her.
Strange Activity Follows The Heads
Somewhere between 2 am and 3 am on the first evening of the heads being in Ross’s possession, she suddenly awoke to a disturbing feeling that “something” was in the room with her. As she spun her attention around the room, she focused on a human figure with the head of a wolf in the doorway. As shocked as she was, when the figure retreated from the room and proceeded down the stairs, Ross followed. The creature, though, was much too fast and disappeared at the back of the house.
Over the coming days, almost all members of the family would catch sight of the strange werewolf-like entity in their home. Each time, it would retreat and disappear but was certainly making its presence very much known.
Ross would ultimately complete her research on the objects as quickly as she could and would pass them on to other experts who wished to examine them. Ultimately, the strange appearances and activity stopped as soon as the heads were out of her possession. Many of those who took possession of the heads, incidentally, would also experience similarly strange goings-on.
The heads seemingly disappeared during the examinations of them. Their whereabouts today remains unknown. Just what the exact connection was to the apparent appearance of the wolf-headed figure might also remain elusive. However, in the aforementioned Shapeshifters book by Nick Redfern, there are some startling revelations of other bizarre wolf-like attacks on livestock in the very same town.
Strange Incidents In The Same Place For Hundreds Of Years
For example, in 1904, local newspaper reports spoke of a wolf being loose in the area that was attacking, mutilating, and killing many animals, including those of local farmers. The report is particularly intriguing, as Redfern writes, because “the wolf is extinct in the United Kingdom and has been for several centuries”. Why, then, was there seemingly a lone wolf working its way through the animal population of Hexham?
The reports were seemingly taken seriously enough, with public advice being that people should remain on the main roads, as well as staying away from the woods and moors of the area. In a twist of sorts, several weeks after the attacks had begun, the body of a dead wolf was discovered in the area. For many, this was the answer to the mysterious attacks.
To others, though, there was doubt as to whether this wolf was really the perpetrator of such vicious attacks. Not least as a top-class pack of hunting dogs had thoroughly examined the area only weeks previously and had not picked up on a single scent – something they certainly should have had a wolf, alive or dead, been anywhere near the area.
Perhaps more importantly to us here, might these attacks have a connection to the strange heads and the appearance of the human figure with a wolf’s head in the early 1970s?
Going back even further still, an incident in 1810 has been highlighted – this one taking place in the village of Ennerdale a very short distance away. According to local reports, hundreds of sheep were attacked by an unknown beast over a period of around six months. The attacker, on occasion, would even drain them entirely of their blood. The beast was ultimately shot and killed by a local marksman. However, at least according to local records, examinations of it failed to identify what it was. Unfortunately, the remains have failed to survive in the modern age, and if they do still exist, their whereabouts is unknown.
The short video below looks at the strange Hexham Heads case a little further.
The Defiance Werewolf Encounters
At roughly the same time that the Hexham Heads case was unfolding, across the Atlantic in Defiance, Ohio, a series of chilling encounters would grip the small town. And what’s more, they were reported on in the local press.
Late on the evening of 25th July 1972, several employees were busy at work at one of the town’s freight train companies. One of these was Ted Davis, who would perhaps have the first encounter with what would quickly become known as the Werewolf of Defiance.
He would tell one of the local newspapers that while he was switching a train to an alternative track he suddenly “saw these hairy feet”. When he looked up, he saw a strange, hairy creature with a “big stick over his shoulder”. When the shocked railroad worker began to speak, the creature turned and ran back into the shadows. When speaking with more of the workers who had also witnessed the creature, albeit from a further distance, the general description was of it having “huge, hairy feet, fangs, and it ran side-to-side like a caveman in the movies”.
Davis would also have another encounter with the creature at the same location around a week later. Once more, the creature stared directly at him for several seconds, before turning and disappearing into the surrounding woodland. Also of interest, on the same evening of this second encounter, a nearby shop owner would also report being attacked. He would describe his assailant as having an animal-like head, hairy, and carrying a large piece of wood.
Although the local newspapers ran several follow-up articles on the apparent sightings, there was debate as to how serious they should be taken. It was most likely, was the general notion among the locals, a bored prankster looking to scare people to amuse themselves.
The local police, though, thought otherwise. To them, the large piece of wood was a potentially deadly weapon and they very much considered the “werewolf” – whatever it might turn out to be – a danger to the local community. They would undertake an extensive search of the area that would last several days. It would, though, prove fruitless.
The short video below examines the Defiance Werewolf a little further.
The Michigan Dogman
There are many sightings of “dog-men” or werewolves throughout North America and the United States. Perhaps one of the most intriguing, and persistent, is the “Michigan Dogman” sightings. These go right the way back to the late 1880s when two local lumberjacks would witness a beastly creature. They would claim it to have the body of a man and a dog’s head.
Multiple sightings of these strange creatures would continue throughout the decades. One particular sighting in 1938 saw the witness attacked by a pack of five dogs. At least one of them, he would later claim, walked on two legs. In 1961 at a manufacturing plant, a night security guard witnessed a man in black clothing approaching. As he stared a little harder, though, he could clearly see bizarre “dog-like” features to this strange entity. As he was about to pull out his gun, he remembered his camera. He managed to snap a picture of the bizarre creature before it disappeared. You can view that picture below.
Sightings of the Michigan Dogman continue today. Particularly over the swampy marshes of the state. Many Michigan residents claim to hear strange “child-like howls” coming from the swamps and woodlands. The vast majority of descriptions of this apparent beast-man are eerily similar to each other. Some local legends even speak of “dog-soldiers” of native tribes of the area. These warriors, through ancient techniques and practices, would become in tune with their spirit animal. So much so, that could control the change into a dog-man and unleash the powers that come with it. Some conspiracies suggest US military programs would hunt down these dog-soldiers. Some, however, would survive.
The short video below looks at some of the legends of the Michigan Dogman a little further.
Sightings And Reports Continue Into The Twentieth Century
Reports of these apparently bizarre half-beast half-man creatures continue today. For example, in Brazil in 2014 came reports of a “werewolf” coming out of the trees, searching around for several moments before disappearing into the woodland again. The incident would appear on CCTV and wasn’t the first such report in the town of Sao Concalo de Campos. Local authorities would treat the incident so seriously they would put a 9 pm curfew in place.
Around two years later in May 2016 in Hull, East Yorkshire in the north of England, came seven separate sightings of an “eight-foot-tall creature lurking in an abandoned industrial area” of the city. One of the witnesses would even claim to witness a man change into the beast. She would watch the transformation from a bridge above. She would claim to the press “It was stood upright one moment. Then next it was down on all fours running like a dog”. She would continue that at one point it would stop and “rear up on to its back legs”. It would stand upright for a moment before it continued on and “vaulted thirty feet”. It would land across the water on the other embankment.
At the same location, another couple saw a similar creature “eating a German Shephard dog”. When they stopped in shock and horror, the creature stood, the dead animal still in its mouth. It would then jump clear over an eight-foot-high fence. A local councilor is even keeping an official incident log of the sightings. Interestingly, Yorkshire was one of the last parts of England where wild wolves roamed freely. Might it also be home to something a little more menacing and mysterious?
The video below looks at some of the alleged sightings of werewolves captured on video.
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