Monthly Archives: August 2013

Black Dogs and Fairies

I happened across this delightful little tidbit on Beachcombing’s Bizarre History blog, a wonderful site for anyone with an eye toward the odd in history. In this article, Beachcombing seems genuinely puzzled by the lack of “fairies” in English counties with a surfeit of phantom black dog sightings and vice versa. While I acknowledge that Beachcombing is quite the master of folklore, he seems to approach his studies from an academic viewpoint and so fails to regard the beings he is studying as real, with their own personalities, despite having read Trubshaw’s excellent book on Phantom Black Dog’s (PBD’s).

So, some discussion . . . first of all, Beachcombing has lumped PBD’s in with Alien Big Cats (ABC’s) which I view as a critical error. The PBD has a long and colorful history throughout the British Isles and extending into the Americas. The PBD is definitely a creature of the Otherside and many of the stories about it indicate that it is a spectral entity often associated with death.

ABC’s, on the other hand, appear to be flesh and blood creatures to most witnesses and, when mis-identification has been ruled out, many of the creatures, in the British Isles at least, may be explained by the English ban on keeping wild cats which resulted in the release of a number of big cats into wilderness areas. While ABC’s have certainly been associated with Otherside phenomenon such as UFO’s and it is absolutely possible that a small percentage may be creatures of that realm, ABC’s share almost no features in common with the PBD and certainly do not qualify as “cousins”.

On to the idea that PBD’s and faery do not inhabit the same areas. Honestly, this is simply bunk, folklore or not, since the Fae go where they please and inhabit whatever places take their fancy. They are an ancient and powerful people and, while it is true that faery beings tend to like less populated areas, if you look hard enough with the right sort of eye you can find them even in the heart of enormous cities. They are very low key there and harder to locate but they are there. So, if the horrible humans with their factory stench and steel do not scare them off, I doubt that the presence of a PBD in the area would effect their choice of accommodations in the least.

By the same token, I doubt seriously that the PBD has anything at all against the Faery. In fact, I suspect that the PBD might be a variety of Cu Sidhe, faery dog, since it is well known that the King of Anwwn (hope I spelled that right – the faery king of the underworld/land of the dead) was often accompanied by enormous hounds. Now, in the Mabinogian, those hounds are described as white with red ears but we know that Faerie is nothing if not a realm of shape changers. We also know, from the folklore, that certain types of faery, such as the Beansidhe (banshee) are intimately connected with death, and there is a strong strain of folklore that associates the Faery with the dead and, in fact, even confuses the two. The ancestors were often viewed as living under the hills with the Faery once they had passed over.

Again, from the tradition, the Faery seem to group themselves into realms and have a more or less feudal society. This means, of course, that certain Faery will “hold” certain areas. It may simply be that there is a dearth of faery lore in certain areas seemingly inhabited by PBD’s because that is the PBD’s demesne. PBD’s seem to be solitary creatures so they may not suffer a lot of other faery in their “turf” or, because the PBD seems to enjoy the more barren stretches of land, it may simply be that there is a lower population of faery folk in those areas. Exceptions, of course, would be places like Cornwall and Devon which seem to be real bastions for the Faery (who are suffering from habitat erosion like many other wild things). PBD’s would naturally be a part of such supernatural fauna and while they seem scary, with their association with death, they most often seem to simply be harbingers. In my mind, that simply seems to say that the PBD witness needs to look hard at his or her lifestyle choices and see what changes might be made (as well as getting a quick and very thorough physical to rule out any immediate threats to life).

The peoples of the Celtic lands, up until the beginning of the 20th century, had a very good idea how to associate with their “neighbors” and, while there were tales of the Unseelie who hated and sought to injure or kill humans, there were also stories of humans and Faery who worked together for the benefit of both. For those interested in such work, I strongly encourage the reading of the work of RJ Stewart and Orion Foxwood on working with Faery. If you find yourself really interested, there are opportunities to work with these two mages directly as well.

Once you have spent some time in Faerie, you realize that, while it can be a dangerous place, and some of its denizens can appear with fierce and frightening visages, the Faery are not out to get us. On the contrary, many of these beings would be happy to work in harmony with humans if we would only allow it. I am not encouraging anyone to go out and seek a PBD (some Faery are best left alone) but, despite the focus of this blog on the Intruders, I do like to point out at times that much of what we find frightening about the Otherside is simply due to our perception and not necessarily the bad intentions of the denizens of those realms.

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Back to the . . . past?

What is one to make of a sighting like this one made by cryptozoologist JC Johnson in the Four Corners area? I find this sighting particularly interesting since there are multiple witnesses, a fact that helps to cut down on the possibility of mis-identification (at least in my view, skeptics would of course fall back on the tattered mass hallucination ‘explanation’ if they did not boldly assert that this experienced outdoorsman had seen a bear and mis-dentified it.) While I am not at all sure what this group saw, I am convinced that they saw something quite unusual.

Now, the article is titled “Relict Dire Wolf Sighting” and I am able to accept the possibility that JC Johnson and his fellow paddlers actually saw an extant example of a supposedly extinct species. They were in fairly deep wilderness after all and, as much as we would like to believe otherwise, humans do not have a complete catalog of all the interesting critters running around this planet. Personally, I would not be at all surprised if the thylacine actually survived its alleged extinction and it would not surprise me to find that the dire wolf had been pronounced extinct prematurely. If the coelacanth can come back from its Mezozoic extinction then anything is fair game in my book.

When we look at the sightings of things that look like dire wolves, though, we also have to consider witnesses who claim to have seen everything from mammoths to sabre-toothed tigers. Any aficionado of Nick Redfern’s books will have come across some interesting tales about sightings of prehistoric creatures. If I recall, Redfern’s book Monster Diary actually had a whole chapter on sightings of prehistoric beasts that appeared to the witnesses to be ghosts or specters of some sort. I am minded, too, of the work of Linda Godfrey where, in her discussion of manwolves, she also reports on encounters with what she calls bearwolves and relates them to the prehistoric amphycyon.

So, in some cases, like the one we are looking at, the witnesses seem to see a solid flesh and blood animal while in other instances, the creature appears more spectral in nature. Sounds suspiciously like the Phantom Black Dogs of British fame – sometimes appearing as a dog so real one could reach out and pet it and at other times only manifesting as the sound of a dog trailing the witness or as a ghost hound that could be seen through. PBD’s are, very obviously, creatures of the Otherside but a wooly mammoth or a dire wolf?

As I said, I am not ready to say with certainty that these sightings are not examples of relict populations of some of these species but I would like to propose an alternative solution. Does anyone recall the BBC science fiction series Primeval? In that show, a series of anomalies opened throughout the British Isles (and later throughout the world) allowing creatures from both the past and future to access our time. While the show is pure fiction, we have talked enough about the premise of portals to the Otherside in these pages to look at the idea that portals might just be admitting more than the Intruders and other spiritual beings.

One of the things one learns very quickly, in doing magic, is that time is actually quite relative. I can not count the number of times that I have been in meditation or ritual and felt that I had been there for hours only to discover that only a few minutes had passed. Conversely, I have had the experience of thinking I was only spending a few minutes working an exercise only to discover that an hour or more had passed. Spirits are notorious for not “grokking” human time schedules – one of many reasons why you have to be very specific with spirits about the time frame for a working while at the same time using time referents they understand such as sun and moon phases or other natural cycles.

So, time has little meaning on the Otherside. In addition, you have to remember that almost all magicians are agreed that anything that has existed at any time has imprinted its energy on the “astral” somewhere – thus the talk about things like the Akashic records where all human actions are supposedly recorded. So, let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios . . .

Let’s say that Jane Doe is out for her morning run in Seattle. She is traveling along a marked path that leads through some dense brush. The run is going well, her body is flooded with endorphins and the rhythmic motion of her movement is putting her into a trance-like state. What Jane does not know is that she has a touch of clairvoyance from her Irish grandmother. As she sinks into a trance her inner vision opens – just a little – and she looks straight into the astral and sees what appears to be the shade of a saber tooth tiger, stalking through the brush. She is fully locked into the vision at this point, can actually “hear” the creature crunching through the brush and perhaps even smell it. Viola’, strange sighting report and very frightened witness.

In the case of JC Johnson, we have someone who is traveling along a river that has known Anasazi sites. These people were a mystery themselves since they seemingly vanished in a short period of time. There seems to be a good correlation between portals and Native American sites, particularly the prehistoric sites such as Anasazi ruins or the Midwestern mounds. We do not know, really, what triggers some of these portals or why they manifest certain creatures (stuff for serious magical research, actually) but, in this case, the portal in the area coughs up the fully manifest (i.e. it looks like a physical animal) dire wolf. Note that in the sighting, the dire wolf seemed to follow the paddlers for a while and then was lost to sight. Perhaps it went back to the portal, or perhaps, it simply lost congruence and disappeared.

Now, please remember this is wild conjecture on my part. I have never heard of any magician summoning a prehistoric animal into manifestation. But given all the strangeness out there, if we really stop to look, this idea of portals or window areas carries a lot of weight, especially when it is coupled with magical theory.


Mirror, Mirror on The Wall

I found this this interesting piece on the Mysterious Universe site the other day. The article is mostly about the prevalence of mirrors in ghost stories and other horror memes and posits that mirrors give us the “willies” because they are about the only place where we can see our faces. I must confess that I found the argument in the piece rather vague but there was some interesting information provided nonetheless.

The author of the article mentions that mirrors were used in divination but does not go too deeply into the subject. This tendency to skip over magical knowledge when looking at paranormal phenomenon is one of the frustrations of my life and part of the reason that I started this blog. Make no mistake, folks, divination, done properly, is a magical discipline and this magical discipline is one that can give us some answers as to why mirrors give us the “willies”.

We can simplify what we are talking about by using the term that many magicians use for divination with a mirror: scrying. There are as many forms of scrying as there are magical types who use the practice but they all boil down to the idea of enhancing one’s psychic abilities, particularly clairvoyance, by the use of ritual gazing into a (usually) specially prepared mirror. The idea is to disconnect yourself from the daily, monkey mind and allow yourself access to your inner self, the part of you that is connected to the web of life, if you will, and able to read the strands of that web.

Information from scrying may come in many forms ranging from visions to strong intuition (“I just knew it!”) and, as with most psychic skills, some people are better at it than others. I find that the information that I get via scrying is somewhat dream-like in nature and requires a lot of interpretation so I don’t spend a lot of time mirror gazing. Other magicians, though, derive very specific and useful information from the practice and use it as others might use the runes or Tarot.

Now, if we look at the word divination, we may begin to get some hints about the “willies” effect of mirrors. Divination can be rightly understood as seeking the will of the gods in a matter. The most famous example of divination from classical times would likely be the Oracles of Delphi and Dodonna, mouthpieces of the gods Apollo and Zeus respectively. Over time though, magicians have come to realize that a number of different types of spirits may also assist in the divinatory process since their perceptions are not so limited to the physical plane. Mages have worked with everything from angels to daemons in divination, and often these spirits are contacted and visioned via, you guessed it, a mirror.

I have never heard a clear explanation of why magical types started using mirrors for this purpose but I can conjecture. In Celtic lands, the Veil between the worlds was known to be thinnest in borderland places, such as the shore of a lake or river where one stood at the border between earth and water with the sky overhead. Standing in such a place, with the water before you, it was sometimes possible to see your reflection in the water. Such reflections would have been the first mirrors and, no doubt, they were used for magical purposes even then.

Anyone who has sat next to a body of water and watched the play of wind and sun across the surface knows the trance inducing effect of such a vigil. Trance, of varying depths, is what makes scrying possible and, in fact, some scrying disciplines are still carried out with a bowl of water rather than a mirror. I imagine that some magician of the past realized that they could get much the same effect with a mirror or other reflective surface and the right sort of lighting (usually candle light) and thus scrying was born. By the law of association, if the reflective surface of water could be used to induce trance and commune with the inner self or with spirits then so, too, could the reflective surface of a mirror.

I would also note that, in some ceremonial styles of evocation, the spirit being summoned is commanded to appear in what is called a Triangle of Art and that the Triangle may actually have a mirror in it through which the spirit may manifest. So we have some evidence that, in magical thought, the mirror came to be viewed as not just a tool for opening the psychic senses but an actual portal through which beings might manifest. Thinking on this gives the “willies” phenomenon a whole new level of meaning.

Now certainly, much of what scares us about mirrors is that fear, developed from too much exposure to the media, that we will see someone or something creeping up on us from behind. But I believe that the part of us that is more attuned to the Otherside also recognizes that, under the right conditions, mirrors can act as portals and, where there are portals, there may be Intruders. We see a pale reflection of this portal opening power in the Bloody Mary urban legend.

My advice – mirrors are potential portals. Never do anything that could actually turn them into a means for accessing your area:

1) Use them for what they are designed for, in bright light when possible.
2) Do not spend a lot of time staring into them (even if you have a blemish).
3) Do not talk to your reflection in the mirror, or, if you do so for psychological purposes, do not make the talk into a mantra (repeating the same thing over and over and inducing trance).
4) If you buy a used mirror of any type, know the provenance (I would say the same of any used furniture) and be prepared to banish if you can not determine where the mirror came from.
5) Beware of mirrors given as gifts especially if the source of the gift has issues with you or might want to try to bind you to them (a lot of coercive magic such as love spells can be done with a mirror).


The English Werewolf

Link: http://malcolmsanomalies.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/the-english-werewolf.html

I forget where I gathered the link to this blog but, as an unabashed lover of werewolf lore, I could not resist a title like this. The thing that disturbs me about this case though, is the implication that werewolf = demonic possession. This misconception comes from the Middle Ages witch hunters and writers such as Montague Summers who, while providing us with some outstanding examples of werewolf lore, also let their religious beliefs tinge their perception of the stories.

A real werewolf is a rare thing since the perfection of the skill requires the sort of discipline and concentration that you only see in high level athletes and occultists. ’Tis not as easy as some of the werewolf tales seem to imply; the power of the werewolf is in building up an etheric body that is “present” enough to be perceived physically and then being able to “wear” that body, to in fact blend with the body so that the wearer is able to move and behave like the animal. In my view, to be a really good werewolf, one would not only have to have the skill of building up this sort of etheric shell but also a strong connection with the spirit of the wolf in order to incorporate the proper behaviors.

So, to begin with, William David Ramsey was not a “real” werewolf in the sense of the word that I use above. There is no indication that Mr. Ramsey had any sort of magical skill and it is clearly evident that he had no control whatsoever over his “change”. What is evident is that Mr. Ramsey suffered from “fits” in which he lost control of himself and behaved in an animalistic fashion. From the accounts, we can deduce that Mr. Ramsey possessed greater than normal strength during these “fits” and that the only thing that would calm him was massive doses of sedatives. Obviously, the poor man was in a bad way and suffered from a debility that had to create great stress in his life.

Then, along come the Warrens. Now, I have some strong issues with these two (well, one now, Ed Warren passed on a while back). I could say a lot of things about the Warrens but one thought will suffice: what individual who deals with the Intruders on a regular basis and knows their strength would keep a museum full of items from their worst cases including a doll which is allegedly haunted/possessed by a spirit that has done grave injury to people? There are magical ways to deal with such things but these remedies would render the object inert and thus not worthy of publicity. Draw your own conclusions but suffice to say that Lorraine Warren would be the last person I would want to see at a hostile haunting and I would be as inclined to banish her as I would any disharmonic entity.

Now, about Mr. Ramsey. I think that one could make a pretty good case for some type of periodic psychosis here, perhaps even clinical lycanthropy, although I saw no evidence of Mr. Ramsey claiming to transform into anything. He did see himself as a wolf but never seemed to make the claim that he actually became the wolf. We would need to delve deeply into each of the fits and look for a trigger mechanism that set off the incident. I notice, for example, that in a couple of the cases, Mr. Ramsey had been partaking at the local pub. If we follow the mental health model, then something in this man’s psyche, probably deeply repressed was triggering these fits and bringing out the beast within. I can only conjecture what that trigger might be but I do note that on all occasions, Mr. Ramsey seemed to be trying to defend himself.

While there were tests run by the various psychiatric institutions that Mr. Ramsey visited, a periodic illness, like a periodic problem with your car, is extremely difficult to diagnose. Even if we jump to the paranormal, though, we have some issues. If this was some sort of spirit then it obviously had the ability to take Mr. Ramsey over completely. My question to the erstwhile Warrens would be: if this were a demon, an entity that, by definition, seeks to displace the human from his or her body and then wreak havoc until the host dies or is severely injured, why did this being not take Mr. Ramsey over and kill him?

In most cases of demonic possession that come to the attention of an exorcist, the possessed is at least trying to fight off the entity. Mr. Ramsey made no such effort, succumbing completely to his fits until they had passed. This fact alone would indicate to me that rather than a demon, Mr. Ramsey might have run afoul of something in the daemonic or Faery realm that was having a bit of good fun with him periodically. This would make more sense to me since neither of these types of spirits would be interested in a long term possession but could certainly have the power to effect a personality and the vindictiveness or even mischievousness to cause these “fugues” if they desired to do so. Remember, for example, that the djinn (who fall into the Faery realm in my system) are known shapeshifters and are known to possess people. One of their favorite forms is a black dog so, again, draw your own conclusions.

My point in all this? Demonologist will find demons. Ghost hunters will find ghosts. UFOlogists will find aliens. Your perceptions guide what you will see and sense. It is easy to go into a situation like this one and go straight to the demon hypothesis and, in this case, to our knowledge, the exorcism did benefit the victim. I wonder what the Warrens would have had to say if this spirit had laughed, spit in their faces and come after them though. That is the risk that one takes when dealing with spirits without accurate diagnosis and knowledge of treatment. A one size fits all solution is going to fail at some point and chances are good that, when it does, it will happen at the worst possible moment.


Mountain Monsters

Along with several people in the blogosphere, I have noted the introduction of Destination America’s Mountain Monsters to the paranormal TV programming mix. I actually had a chance to catch an episode at a relative’s house. If you happen to be a fan of this program, you might want to stop reading now.

I am normally quite tolerant of paranormal TV programming. I understand that TV shows are made for entertainment purposes, that they are edited in a way that is supposed to give people a little scare and that they sometimes play off the supposed tensions between cast members to give more of the reality show feel.

From a magical perspective, some of the techniques used in the ghost hunting shows, such as spirit provocation, are questionable but unlikely to cause serious harm unless the TV team happens to blunder across a really powerful spirit. It is a bit of a dice roll but, given that most of the investigations that we see do not involve the signs of strong physical manifestation, the hunters in these shows are generally safe.

In the same way, when we look at shows like Finding Bigfoot, I would, honestly, be extremely surprised if that team ever actually sighted a Sasquatch. Coming across such an elusive creature, whether it is flesh and blood or something other, would require far more stealth and stalking ability than a group of people being followed around by camera crews could manage. I imagine that the local Sasquatch probably have quite a good time watching these jokers running around, snapping and crackling their way through the woods. I have an image of the local “monster” population sitting up in trees watching and eating popcorn, popping down long enough to get the team going with a howl or a tree knock and then lounging around watching the fun.

In both cases, the shows can be entertaining if they are done well, no one gets injured in filming and people who try to imitate the things they see on TV are not likely to harm themselves in the process. Of course, you will have the occasional person who gets busted for trespassing while exploring an abandoned building or who misjudges their preparedness for wilderness time and gets lost or takes a bad fall. These seem to be the exceptions to the rule, for the most part though, so we can say that it is all in good fun.

Until we look at something like Mountain Monsters. Regan Lee has made several damning indictments against this show but I want to focus on her first point: these monster hunters are armed.

When the Mothman craze was at its height, the local constabulary shut down the TNT area where the creature was most famously sighted for fear that armed citizens/hunters would end up killing each other in the dark. Anyone who has ever had real firearms training knows that night ops are risky and that certain protocols have to be taken in order to avoid “friendly fire” incidents. I see none of this in the referenced show. What I do see is a bunch of people running around with guns, in the dark, pointing the barrel at anything that startles them. While they do seem to run as a group and try to keep track of each other, the fact that I can see a barrel pointing in my direction (i.e. the general direction of a camera person) indicates to me that good safety protocols have not been established.

Now, for all I know, none of the guns is actually loaded (I did not see anyone open fire on the episode that I watched) and everything is perfectly safe. What bothers me about the show is that there are thousands, perhaps millions of people, watching. Some of those people are bound to own firearms of one sort or the other and many of those people are not going to be the experienced hunters that these guys claim to be. People are going to seek to emulate some of the tactics shown on this program and someone or more than one someone is going to take a round designated for the local monster.

There is already, in the Sasquatch community, a huge argument between the no kill and we need a body factions. Setting aside the arguments for and against shooting something like a Sasquatch (something that has proven remarkably hard to do – but that is another argument), when people go into the woods hunting their local monster, whether it is a Sasquatch or the Jersey Devil, and they go into those encounters armed, the chances of someone being hurt or killed rise exponentially. Given that approximately 1,000 people are injured in hunting accident every year (see various internet sources) and about 100 of those are fatalities, it seems very logical to assume that people who attempt to emulate the Mountain Monsters show will be placing themselves at some risk, especially since these folks will be out at night.

Some people will shrug and make some comment about the Darwin Awards at this time. I can not be so blase’; like or not, viewers take a lot away from what they see on TV and, in this case, what they are seeing can lead them into dangerous behaviors that could get them killed or seriously injured. I stop short of saying that the show should be pulled but I do not see any other good solution.


First Impressions of My New Home

The great moving adventure is almost complete. After weeks of planning, phone calls, packing, frustration and general mayhem, and a moving company that was less then stellar in their performance, I am finally in my new place in the foothills of the Catskills in New York state (about 45 minutes south of Albany, for those of you who might know the area). There are still boxes to unpack but the furniture is settled, the computers are set up and my internet access is up. Amazingly, this provider seems to be higher speed and more stable than the one in Georgia so I am happy about that.

I have not had a great deal of time to explore yet but I just had to comment on the “feel” of this new area. While I am a Southerner by birth (originally from Texas) and I felt very comfortable with the manners and culture of Georgia, I never really felt at home there. For one thing, even though Columbus was not a huge city, I was coming from a semi-rural area in New York state. I did not realize, until I got to this new location, how “noisy” my apartment in Georgia had been.

Now, yes, I am talking about the sort of noise where people are wandering around talking and playing their radios too loud but, mostly, I am referring to the sort of psychic noise one experiences when one is at all sensitive and placed into close proximity to a lot of people who are all packed together. I am no telepath; I did not sit around in my apartment picking out the thoughts of those around me but I was, unconsciously, always aware of everyone in the dwellings around me. There was a sense of pressure that has been relieved since my new place is the top story of an old home with only one person (the landlord) living below me.

That, in and of itself, is a blessed event but I have to say that the Land here feels completely different in a strange and wonderful way. Again, I liked Georgia just fine but I never had the sense of belonging there that I did after I had sunk roots in Western New York where I had lived previously. As I drive and walk around my new home though, I am struck by an almost golden aura over the forests that gives me moments of deep peace and wellbeing and a strong desire to go and lose myself in those forests for a while and commune with Those who live there. Of course, it is coming into autumn, the season of my birth and my favorite time of year, but I never had this sense of peace about the forest and Land of Georgia. There is definitely something here that speaks to me.

The other thing that I have noticed as I have acquainted myself with my new home, is a surfeit of faery. The house where I have my apartment is surrounded in a wild tangle of greenery – the landlord is not a gardener apparently – and, as I enter or leave my domicile, I am very aware of the spirits who dwell in that wild tangle. I can feel them, too, and sometimes catch a glimpse of one in the woods lining the roadways around here. No Disney pixies, these, but the spirits of trees and plants long rooted that have been allowed to thrive with little or no human interference. Certainly, there has been habitat destruction here as roadways were carved and utility byways were cut through the forests but the area has not been turned into a concrete heat sink and the local spirits seem much more inquisitive about humans than those I have encountered in other places. Once again, I am looking forward to getting out and nosing around in the woods to see what I might encounter. It seems to me that I may have a whole forest of friends waiting for me to come out and play.

I am minded of my post about the Missing 411 books. While these forests certainly seem friendly, my research indicates that David Paulides has placed one of his disappearance nexus areas just north of me in the Adirondacks. Given the huge amount of spirit and especially Faery activity that I sense in the area without really opening up and trying to “see”, I am inclined to hold to my original theory that some of these disappearances could be the work of the Fae. While much of this might be the work of what the Scots would call the Unseelie Court – those Faery beings who are actively hostile to humans – I would not be at all surprised to find that some of disappearance are simply the result of people accidentally wandering through a portal and being trapped on the Otherside.

I know that sounds like something out of a fantasy novel but, if one looks at folklore pertaining to the Fae, such an accidental trip into the Faery realms is often described and the hapless human in question, unless is he or she is unusually witty, often ends up being trapped and having to be rescued by someone with knowledge of those realms – if anyone even realizes they are gone. I shall certainly keep you all apprised as I explore further.


Vampires and Werewolves

Those of you who have been reading for a while have probably figured out my carefully hidden obsession with the lore of werewolves and other shapeshifters so I offer this little byte to prove that I am not without humor and that I am a stone folklore geek.

**Places tongue firmly in cheek**

I do not watch TV. My cable is internet access only and, if there is something I want to watch, I have to see if I can find it online. Nevertheless, since I started getting Google Alerts for anything with the keyword ‘werewolf’, I have been forced to note that there are some shows out there with werewolves in them.

One of the ones that keeps popping up is something called “Being Human”. From what I have been able to gather, the premise of this show is that a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf share a home and are trying to live under the radar amongst human beings. Now, I have not seen the show so I do not know what the story line is but I want to make it perfectly clear that no self respecting werewolf would ever share space with a vampire. Ghosts are okay since they are disembodied people (or so some believe) but a vampire is another thing altogether.

Some magical traditions see a vampire as a person who has decided not to undergo the second death (the dissolution of the subtler levels of the human ‘personality’) and has developed magical means to draw vitality from unwilling subjects to keep this from happening once their physical body dies. I’m not sure what vampire mythos the show uses but, in almost all the folkloric tales, the vampire is a dead person, reanimated in some way, who rises from the grave to prey on human blood.

And herein, lies the rub with having a vampire and a werewolf co-habitating. Apex predators are notoriously territorial. No matter how we view a vampire, it is a predator driven to prey on human beings.

A werewolf would not tolerate such a creature in its territory for two reasons. First, the werewolf spends a considerable amount of time in human form and, therefore, the vampire represents a threat to the human part of the wolf. Second, the werewolf in its wolf form would be loathe to share territory, much less personal space, with another predator. Werewolves might not prey exclusively on humans but, if the opportunity for a snack happens by, I am sure they are not too fussy about what flesh they eat, especially after the high calorie burn of the Change. No wolf is going to allow another predator to encroach on its hunting ground.

And let’s not even talk about the smell of an undead ‘person’, cloying in the werewolf’s nostrils all the time. It would be an affront to the werewolf’s vaunted hyper-senses. So, next time you are cruising the channels, and you come across a show where a werewolf is hanging out with vampires, take the whole thing with a grain of salt.

**shift to rant mode**

No matter what the popular culture may be trying to pass off, the vampires and werewolves rarely intersect in the lore. They are two entirely separate and distinct legends and there is very little that dovetails the two creatures together. The only intersection between these two “races” that I can think of is the Eastern European legend that a werewolf, once dead, must be buried in a manner that would keep the former wolf from rising as a vampire. Given that the area was, apparently, infested with vampires at one time, this seems to me to be more of a cautionary note than anything else. Better safe than sorry.

I have not made an extensive study of the pop culture desire to put vampires and werewolves in the same room, often competing for the same damsel (no contest in my view – who would choose a cold blooded bloodsucker over a nice hot blooded wolf?) but it seems to me that we might start looking at the 1930’s horror classics for a clue on how things got so bollixed up.

Do not get me going on the silliness promulgated on both the vampire and werewolf in movies of that time. There was a perfectly good body of scary as hell lore to work from for both creatures but, instead, they chose to listen to Bram Stoker and his repressed Victorian musings for the vampire and created myths about the werewolf from thin air. Once they had done scaring people with one monster and then the other, what could be better than putting the two (or more) together?

Given that there was almost always at least one maiden with a heaving bosom in these movies whose sole purpose seemed to be to scream and faint fetchingly, it is not a long jump to the more modern TV shows and books that turn the heaving bosom to erotic or semi-erotic purpose and turn the scares of the early films into the contest for the fair damsel in the later works. At its worst, this turns into paranormal porn that sells like crazy and leaves people like me who actually enjoy the myths and legends that surround these beings (werewolves, in my case) tearing their hair out.

I realize that writers take liberties with folklore all the time. If I should ever be in a position to do so, I am going to push someone into making a movie with real werewolf lore as a base. Plenty of great scary stories out there to be mined if people are willing to look; instead, we are getting remakes and reboots of television shows that were awful the first time.