My Local Werewolf - The Legend of the Welsh Werewolf - Mystery Files
The Welsh Werewolf?
" Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright"
The countryside is dark, bleak and lonely. What little light there is emanates from the full moon. Tinged with a strange blood-red hue, it hovers above the horizon. The mournful sound of howling echoes across the still night air sending a chill through the blood. Silhouetted against the eerie face of the moon is a strange creature; an abomination - Half Man, half Wolf - a Werewolf. Silently and menacingly it pads it's way across the sombre countryside of North Wales?
First hints at the exsistence of a Welsh Werewolf
Although there a some strange legends in Wales, we are far more used to hearing tales of devilish beasts and monsters such as Werewolves originating from such places as Transylvania, but in the dim and distant (and not so distant) past, North Wales also had it's share of stories about strange werewolf-like Wolf-Creatures.
One night in 1790, the full Moon was low over the Clwydian Range. Due to a recent forest fire in the Hatchmere area that spewed smoke and other particles into the air, the Moon had acquired a strange red hue which the locals believed to be a bad sign, an omen of impending evil - They did not have to wait long to be proved correct.
A stagecoach was travelling the lonely route between Denbigh and Wrexham. It was just after dusk and the Moon was full and low on the horizon. The passengers described how an enormous "black beast" lunged at them from the shadows and attacked the coach and horses.
The beast was said to be almost as long as the horses themselves, one of which was killed and torn to shreds. The other, terror stricken, broke free from it's harness and galloped off into the darkness pursued by the wolf-like beast.
Little more than a year later, during the winter of 1791, a farmer from the Gresford area was patrolling his fields and discovered Wolf tracks in the snow, but these were no ordinary Wolf tracks, they were huge and could only have been produced by an enormous animal. Fearing to follow the track alone, he called for the local Blacksmith and together they followed the tracks to a neighbouring farmstead.
As they approached they were greeted with a scene of total carnage. Not a single animal had escaped with it's life. Most had been literally torn to pieces. One of the fields appeared to be completely covered with red snow, such was the blood spilt upon it.
Strewn about were the carcasses of cattle and sheep - most little more than heads with fragments of skin attached. near the edge of the field they discovered the farmers sheep dog, it's throat severed. With their hearts pounding and the stench of death in their nostrils, they continued down to the farmhouse.
It looked dark and empty. Fearing the worst, they peered through the windows. To their relief, they could see that the farmer appeared to be unharmed inside. However, much reassurance was needed before he would let them in. They could hear the sound of heavy furniture, which the farmer had used to barricade the door, being moved. He ushered them in before quickly shutting and bolting the door again.
They could see that he was in a highly emotional state but managed to calm him enough to relate his story. He said he had watched in horror as an enormous black Wolf-like animal had set upon his sheep dog, literally ripping out it's throat with a single bite. The monsters eyes then fixed themselves upon the farmer, who turned and fled in terror back to his farmhouse. he made it back just in time to bolt the door before the werewolf, in hot pursuit, crashed against the door, almost bringing it and the door frame into the house.
Using strength derived from fear, the farmer dragged his heaviest items of furniture to the door and piled them against it as a barricade. Then grabbing his pitchfork for protection, he hid under the table and had remained there all night. He said the werewolf reared up on it's hind legs and appeared to be staring at him through the window.
The animal foamed at the mouth, and although Wolf-like in appearance, it's steely blue eyes conveyed a malevolent intelligence. Sensing that it could not reach the farmer, it ran off into the fields to wreak havoc amongst the livestock.
Locals said that only a Werewolf could have inflicted such carnage. Gangs of villagers and farmhands were quickly organised by the churches to patrol the cold snow filled fields day and night armed with pitchforks and firearms. they discovered plenty of tracks - but no Werewolf.
The Werewolf continues it's reign of terror
One night seven years later as the full Moon was rising into the sky over the Bickerton Hills in Cheshire, two men witnessed a sight that made their blood run cold. There silhouetted against the rising Moon they could see the shape of an enormous animal which lifted it's head and let out a howl that struck fear into their hearts - It could only be one thing - a Werewolf!.
Scared for their lives, the two men scurried to the nearest Inn where they stayed the night, too frightened to continue their journey in darkness. The next day, in a wood about five miles from the Inn, the bodies of two tramps were found. The corpses were mutilated beyond belief and appeared to have been horrendously slashed into virtual pulp by something with blade-like claws.
Both the heads were missing and appeared to have been literally torn from the bodies. One head was found in the wood minus it's face and ears. The skull was cracked and splintered, it was assumed, by large and powerful jaws.
A strange letter was received by one of the local Ministers. The writer claimed that the two men had been killed by a Werewolf that had been prevalent in that area for more than one hundred years. He claimed to have heard the victims dying screams, and that to avoid a similar fate befalling anyone else, the Minister should paint crosses on each door in the village. He also claimed that the werewolf was the embodiment of the spirit of an evil Warlock who had been burnt at the stake in the year 1400 by the ancestors of the village folk.
The horrific killing sprees finally abated and it seemed that the days of the Welsh Werewolf were over - But were they?
More recent Werewolf sightings
In February 1992 the Werewolf legend surfaced again when the Western Mail newspaper began reporting on a large unusual animal - Described as "Bear-like" that had been seen in various parts of Wales - Could this be a Werewolf? One North Wales farmer reported that he had seen the beast on the night of a full Moon and later discovered two of his 70 pound lambs mutilated. One was described as having been squashed completely flat, as though run over by a tractor wheel. Over the next two years almost seventy further sightings were reported.
Experts from London Zoo were drafted in to try to capture the beast. Special cage-like traps baited with meat were placed on the farmland, and everybody waited - Would it be possible to actually capture the Werewolf?. One trap seems to have snared something, but whatever it was bent apart the bars of the cage and made it's escape. The Zoo people were incredulous. No animal, they said, not even a Grizzly Bear was powerful enough to bend apart the bars in such a fashion.
The tracks left behind by the beast were studied by an American expert. he likened them to fossilized tracks of Sabre Toothed Tigers - animals that have been extinct for over two million years.
So have we seen the last of the Welsh Werewolf? Well, perhaps not. Occasional sightings continue to be reported, although they appear to be slowly drifting eastwards into Mersyside and Cheshire. But just to be on the safe side, next time that the Moon is full and the Wolf Bane is in bloom - better stay off the moors.
Some of my other Hubs
- My Local Serial Killer - Peter Moore
Peter Moore was regarded by the parents as a kindly local businessman who was trying to pump life back into a number of cinemas which he owned in North Wales. These were not modern Multi-Plex theatres, but the old-fashioned "Flea pit" type of Picture
- The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript
Most of the purchases were pretty standard fare for those who deal in antiquarian books and documents, but as he sorted through the manuscripts, Voynich noticed one particular book which was very unusual - very unusual indeed!
- My Local UFO Crash
It was a dark windy night in North Wales - The year, 1974. About thirty miles from where I live, over the Denbigh Moors and nestling beneath the Berwyn Mountains was the tiny village of LLandrillo. Llandrillo, it has to be said, is a very quiet place
- Ancient Astronauts - Strange Story of Nizza Space Ship Sightings
The story I am about to relate here is different. It is not supposition based on vague tales and extrapolations from ambiguous data. This story concerns a happening that occurred in the town of Nizza (Present day Nice in France) in the year of 1608.