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.