Man’s belief in werewolves has been around almost as long as civilization. Since that time man has studied the origins of the werewolf “myth” and the affect it has made on the world. Most seem to agree that the recorded legends started around the same time in France and England, (although every country can point to it’s own legends) and might had come as an afterthought of the “burning times” when scores of innocent people were burned alive after being declared witches.
As a caution, it must be stated that there are some unfortunate human beings that suffer from a mental disease called Lycanthropy. These people believe they are werewolves and metamorphose during the full moon, kill and eat small animals, often walk about on all fours, growl and display other types of animal behavior. Unlike the unfortunate sufferers of the past, this disease can be successfully treated today with therapy and medication. What we do know is that Lycanthropy is recognized as a serious mental illness and people diagnosed with it take very seriously. Their delusions were frighteningly real. Many people who had believed they were werewolves made testimony under torture of murdering people and animals while in their transformed state.
For our purposes, A true werewolf is a human being, usually a male, that transforms into a wolf when the moon is full. Since no normal God-fearing human can do this, this supernatural power must be from the devil, much like witchcraft. Hence, both Catholic and Protestant felt the need to combat Lucifer at any cost. They publicly declared that any missing or dead human was the fault of these imaginary werewolves, any slaughtered livestock and any other act of God as well. People were terrified of their neighbors to the point of bizarre oddities. If a person in their own community or any man traveling through the area had bushy eyebrows that grew slightly in towards the center of his forehead in the direction of his nose, he could likely be accused of being a werewolf and risked being put to death. A set of excellent teeth when everyone else in your village suffered the usual tooth decay of the time instead of displaying the usual toothless grin was also grounds for suspicion. Much like the the witch hunts the terror of being ripped apart and eaten alive turned neighbor against neighbor and the stakes were raised again even as the villagers gathered and stacked firewood for the executions.
Some historians feel that this irrational fear of werewolves comes from a very deep seated human fear of wolves. There are many old historical accounts of wolves having to prey on humans during hard winters, and although they cannot be verified, there are enough of them to have incited fear. Modern naturalists and wildlife experts would all agree that the wolf has gained an unfair reputation over the years. Perhaps this fear became part of our genetic make-up. Who knows?
There are century old stories you can read if you want to dig up some old case files on werewolf sightings. They are interesting, but people were a lot more superstitious then and we really can’t be sure what they were seeing. The more recent stories are far more interesting to me. One of the more interesting werewolf stories comes out of Wisconsin from a place known as Bray Rd.
One of the sightings occurred on Halloween night in 1999 by an 18 year old girl, Doristine Gipson. She was driving along Bray Road coming near the intersection of Hospital Road when she felt something “bump” under her right front tire. Doristine thought she hit something and stopped the car momentarily to looked out the window. To her utter horror, she saw a large, dark hairy thing racing towards her. She tried to drive away but the beast jumped onto her truck. Thankfully, due to the rain, it was too wet for it to hang on. The beast fell off and rolled into the road.
Doristine returned to the site later that night(is this girl a gluten for punishment or what?) with a little girl that she was taking out trick-or-treating. She again saw a large form on the side of the road. She talked about what had happened the next day in town and as word spread, more local people began to step forward with their own stories of the beast, dating back to 1989.
One night in the fall of 1989, Lorianne Endrizzi was coming around a curve on Bray Road and saw what she thought was a person hunched over on the side of the road. When she slowed down, she took a closer look at the figure on the passenger side of the car. She was no more than six feet away from it at the time. Although she only saw the beast for a short time, she stated that she clearly saw a beast with grayish, brown hair, fangs and pointed ears. Around the same time period, a dairy farmer named Scott Bray reported seeing a “strange looking dog” in his pasture near Bray Road. He said that the “dog” was larger than a German Shepherd and had pointed ears, a hair tail with long gray and black hair. He added that it was built very heavy in the front, as if it had a strong chest. He followed the “dog” to a large pile of rocks but the creature had vanished. He did find that it had left behind huge footprints though, which disappeared into the grass of the pasture.
There are other sightings along Bray road, in fact, too many to list here but there is a book written on the subject that is well written and quite intriguing. “The Beast of Bray Road” was written by Linda S. Godfrey. I would highly suggest reading the book and then maybe taking a trip to Wisconsin for yourself. What do you think? Are werewolves real or not?