Apologies to my readers for the string of re-blogs, I have been extremely busy with business travel and moving over the last weeks. I am making my move to Charlotte this week and hope to have some new content up soon. In the mean time, here is a post from 2013 that I think is appropriate given the upcoming Dogman Symposium.
I was recently re-reading Linda Godfrey’s wonderful The Michigan Dogmanand one of the things that I noted, over and over through this book, was that many of the witness sightings seemed to be transient, roadside events. As with the Dallas Werewolf testimony, the percipient was driving along a quiet stretch of road when suddenly he or she saw the creature, either running along the side of the road, feasting on road kill or chasing prey across the road. The manwolf is there and then disappears into the dense undergrowth leaving the witness dumbfounded and, often, (I think justifiably) afraid.
As I have noted throughout these blog pages, I am convinced that many of the “monsters” that people report seeing are in actuality denizens of the Otherworld who have, in some way, extended through the etheric and manifested themselves in this world. Many of these manifestations (most famously Sasquatch) manifest in an extremely physical way and it seems to me that the manwolf falls firmly into this “hard” physical manifestation category unlike its cousin the Phantom Black Dog which often seems more spectral.
Its interesting to note that when people have had interaction with the manwolf in situations other than the “drive by” reports, the scenario changes and that the manwolf has very canid behavior patterns. The manwolf that is blundered upon in the woods can be quite aggressive, beginning with a level “I don’t care if you see me” stare and progressing to chasing people and even scratching them. Interestingly, though, there have been no reported bites despite the manwolf’s formidable dentition and almost supernatural speed. Those familiar with wolf social behavior will recognize this chasing behavior immediately.
Despite their fearsome reputation, wolves very seldom fight to the death in dominance or territorial disputes. Instead, the wolf will put on an escalating series of threat displays, running from hackles up, stiff legged circling and staring into the eyes of the opponent to bared fangs and chasing and/or shoulder butting a potential usurper or intruder. The interloper’s submissive or aggressive response to these behaviors determines whether the situation escalates into a fight where blood is drawn and more serious injury may occur.
Most humans, when confronted with a manwolf, have one thought apparently: run. It seems to me that some part of the human lower brain recognizes the difference between hunter and hunted and knows that the manwolf, in this case, is the hunter and that we are very likely to become prey. One might argue that fleeing should invoke a predator’s hunting response but I theorize that the manwolf may see a human in its territory as more of an intruder and less a prey animal. In a situation of dominance or territory, it is often the case that the challenged wolf will chase his or her opponent for a distance, causing them little harm, once the interloper has begun to retreat from the scene. It seems to me that we see precisely this behavior in the manwolf.
I have to wonder though, what might happen if some brazen individual stood his ground or decided to take a shot at a manwolf engaged in these threat displays. I am not an alarmist but I do know that people disappear in the wilderness all the time. Some of those disappeared may be people who were unlucky enough to tangle with a really aggressive manwolf or humans who tried to brazen out an encounter with one of these creatures. In addition, some of the disappeared might be folks who were unlucky enough to encounter a pack of these beings. When pack dynamics come into play the whole dominance issue takes on a completely different cast and an intruder is liable to be in for a bad time unless he or she can manage to exit the area very quickly.
Best advice: if you happen upon one or more of these creatures, keep your distance. This is not a creature you want to practice your martial arts skills on unless you have no other choice. If you are caught unawares, I still maintain that cold iron is your best defense since it will dissipate the physical manifestation but you have to get close enough to use it. Not a high percentage move – in this case, discretion really is the better part of valor.