Thoughts on Werewolves or Bipedal Wolves?

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows that I have a special place in my heart for legends of werewolves and other shape shifters. I ran across the following blog from erstwhile Fortean investigator Nick Redfern on Mysterious Universe the other day. I could not, of course, resist the desire to comment (or to use this lovely picture that Mr. Redfern included with his blog).


I actually addressed the subject of werewolves back in 2013 in a post entitled Werewolves: A Magical Perspective. Reading through Mr. Redfern’s post, I had to admire his flexibility of thought. In the article that I cited for the magical perspective piece, he argues that werewolves and such like must be creatures of the Otherworld. In the recent article from Mysterious Universe, Mr. Redfern argues exactly the opposite – that there might be some animal, similar to a thylacine, indigenous to North America that is causing the Manwolf and werewolf sightings.

Now, certainly, Linda Godfrey, the well known writer on the Manwolf phenomenon, has posited that one explanation of these bipedal canid sightings might be a timber wolf mutation/adaptation that caused the animals to stand on their hind legs and adopt a bipedal gait. Anthropologists have great fun theorizing about why the first hominids decided that bipedalism was the way to go. If I really wanted to push this idea to its limits, I might theorize that one of the canid species of North America is developing human or near human (or, perhaps even greater than human) intelligence and has adapted bipedalism to provide greater visual and other sensory input for that growing brain. I will never say that something is impossible but I do feel that there are other and perhaps better solutions to this conundrum.

As interesting as such a theory might be, I am still bound to point out that there are sightings on the books that simply can not be explained by reference to a flesh and blood animal. While the thought of a cryptid canid roaming the woods of North America is enough to make me want to get out my hiking gear, such a cryptid would not account for witnesses who tell us that the creatures appear in their bedrooms (Manwolves in the Bedroom) or persons who have experienced a seeming shape shift in progress (The Creature of Mud Creek Road).

As with all things paranormal and Fortean, I think that we can not look to just one explanation for these events. We have to break out of the either/or mentality and instead espouse a both/and way of thinking. In the case of werewolf and Manwolf sightings, I think we can posit one or more of the following:

1) There is a cryptid canid loose in the forests of North America (and perhaps Europe, for the sake of the werewolf myth in the Old Country) that is bipedal and, at the very least, threatening, if not downright dangerous to humans.

2) There are creatures of the Otherworld coming through portals/window areas and some of those creatures either naturally appear as bipedal wolves or they have adapted that shape for the shock value. Remember that many Otherworld beings feed on energy and terror would certainly be a potent food source.

3) There is the possibility that First People, desiring to protect some of their sacred sites created these beings (thought forms) or summoned them from the Otherworld as guardians of their respective areas. Thought forms are notorious for going off on their own if not given a proper dissolution date or if the creator of the thought form dies before dissolving his or her creation.

4) There are magicians in the world capable of forming an etheric shell that could be made to resemble a wolf or Manwolf. Sighting of someone working this type of rare magic would likely result in a report of seeing a human shift into something other.

5) There are magic workers in the world as well as Faerie beings who can use the power of glamour to make a human being see whatever the worker wants them to see.

6) Finally, there is also the remote possibility that there are actually people in the world who are capable of making a real, physical transition from one form to another. As I have said many times before in these pages, I feel that the power outlay for such a transformation would require the assistance of a Major Being (god, archangel, etc.) but I could be wrong and I do not want to take this completely off the table. As Linda Godfrey says, though, I am waiting for someone to demonstrate.

I have not even listed the cases of mistaken identity, mental illness, willful deceit and what I call “I want to believe” syndrome where the person sees something mundane and translates it, in their mind, into a paranormal event. If we set aside the skepdebunker mindset, which longs for an easy, ‘reasonable’ explanation, then we are forced to admit that the issue is enormously complex and that we have to take a multifaceted approach to it. As with all things paranormal, I don’t think that we are ever going to see a Unified Field Theory. Instead, what I hope for, is more researchers who are willing to say, “well, it could be this but it could also be that and, if we think on this, we have to consider X as well . . .”

So, I say to Nick Redfern and Linda Godfrey and all the others out there researching this phenomenon and others, keep those theories coming! Half the fun of looking at the things that go bump in the night is seeing researchers think outside the box.


About stormeye60

A place for discussing the interface between magic and things that go bump in the night. View all posts by stormeye60

5 responses to “Thoughts on Werewolves or Bipedal Wolves?

  • Gatekeeper

    If werewolves were real makes me wonder what else could there be?

  • G. B. Marian

    I love werewolves, and I actually prefer them to vampires. However, I’m not sure I believe in the existence of actual shapeshifting bipedal wolves. I think werewolves are really just powerful magical symbols that represent a wide variety of things. That being said, I do believe that some of the people who see they call “werewolves” are actually seeing real things; I’m just not sure that these things are really “werewolves” in the common sense d the term. That’s what I think, anyway; I not claiming to know the objective truth on the matter.

    • stormeye60

      I have always laughed at all the paranormal romances that face a person with a choice between a vampire and a werewolf lover. What choice? Cold blooded, undead bloodsucker vs. live, warm blooded, werewolf (who incidentally is not a wolf all the time)?

      Seriously, though, my point in writing this piece was that there are many ways that bipedal wolf/werewolf ‘being’ could manifest. Are we going to ‘get to the bottom of it’? No. Even if we could capture a specimen (highly unlikely), that being would only explain one particular manifestation of what is a decidedly strange phenomenon.

  • greenguy

    I’d have to lend support to the skepticism of there being a bipedal wolf-creature out there. One of my degrees is in Anthropology. While I mainly focus on cultural anth, I’ve studied enough physical anthropology to believe that it is likely that constant bipedalism was a result of brachiation and mutations that lead toward bipedal locomotion, which was advantageous, thus natural selection took its course. Note, ancient African forests existed before the savanna stage and bipedalism was well-developed before the landscape changed to a primarily Savanna scene. Bipedalism greatly aided here too, thus no extinction event occurred along with this change. The other great advantage of bipedal locomotion is that it allows for encephalization, that is, it allowed for the growth of the head and thus allowed for much larger brains. Obviously a smarter animal has more advantages, but the big old brain came later.

    So, if a mutation for a bipedal wolf/canine creature occurred, it would likely be advantageous, right? Well, not necessarily. First, a larger head would appear later in evolution, so this isn’t an immediate advantage. We have to assume that the bipedal creature is capable of attracting a mate despite its mutation. It would still need to be stealthy so it could hunt for food (unless it also learns to rely on scavenging) and to hide from humans who I am sure would love to catch ’em a walking dog creature.

    The point of going through all the great stuff about human bipedalism is to show how it took a really long time to become dominate and how each step in this evolution was advantageous. My issue here is that wolves or wolf-like creatures walking around on two legs do not exclusively appear where breeding populations of wolves and wolf-like creatures live. Yet, werewolves are sighted all over the US and in parts of Europe. Sometimes multiples of these creatures have been spotted in the same area (either suggesting a breeding population or suggesting a set of mutants from the same parent). The advantages of walking on two legs for a stealthy wolf is questionable and there does not seem to be a lot of evidence that in the existing wolf populations (which are tracked and closely monitored by researchers, experts in wildlife science) any cases of bipedalism have been observed in the breeding population.

    Lastly, consider the dog, which is descended from the wolf. It is the most diverse mammal on the planet, with more breeds than even cattle. Yet, even within all these breeds, all this genetic variation, no one has ever developed a breed that primarily walks on two legs. Sure, we have some dancing poodles, but it isn’t a natural form of locomotion even for these dogs.

    Other explanations are much more likely than bipedal wolves.

  • The Dog Headed Ones | Monsters and Magic

    […] the creature that Linda Godfrey calls a manwolf on a number of occasions in these pages.  In this post, I actually lay out a number of different theories about what might be responsible for these […]

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