Category Archives: Shape Shifters

Review: Wood Knocks – various authors

image

I have made my views on the creature known as Sasquatch plain in other articles for this blog. I have made it clear that I think that at least some of the giants people are seeing in the woods are kin to the Faery and do not belong completely to this world. In the parlance of modern paranormalists, I think Sasquatch is an inter-dimensional being that is capable of walking into our world and back out of it, pretty much at will.

That said, I greatly admire the work of the people who actually go into the woods looking for the creature and who spend their time talking to witnesses, setting camera traps and even flying drones hoping for a glimpse of the elusive ‘booger’. While I think that a lot of them just might be tilting at windmills, it is still admirable that they have the strength of their convictions and are willing to walk their talk.

The new anthology from Leprechaun Press, Wood Knocks, Volume 1: A Journal of Sasquatch Research is a collection of articles from the sorts of people who have devoted their lives to exploring the strange and especially to looking for cryptid creatures such as the Sasquatch. The anthology is an easy read, at just over 200 pages, so do not expect extensive or detailed articles, but it is packed with information that new and experienced Sasquatch aficionados will find interesting and informative.  In my view, the cover art by Sam Shearon is worth the price of the book, all by itself.

The meat of the book is quite good as well.  Whether we are talking Sasquatch amongst the First Nations people (David Weatherly) or hunting the Orang-Pendek in Sumatra (Richard Freeman) or talking about the presence of Sasquatch in Wisconsin and its surrounding areas (Linda Godfrey), the writing is, with one notable exception, crisp and there are cases in the book that I had not heard of, side by side, with some of the old standards. I enjoyed this chance to ‘touch base’ with the work of many authors that I admire and some that I did not know.  Freeman’s article on the Orang-Pendek made me think that the Sumatrans may have a genuine undiscovered species in their midst.

Having said that, there is one article in the anthology that is a confused, rambling mess and could have easily been cut from the line up with no damage to the work. As I noted above, readers will be able to discern this one quickly and will have to decide for themselves whether the tidbits of information in the article are worth the pain of reading the disjointed ramblings of someone with entirely too much research and not enough space to present it cogently.

I would have been quite happy if that article had been cut and the other writers given more space to present their research. I had the feeling, in several of the sections, that the authors had a lot more to say but were unable to do so due to the editorial pen or space limitations or both. This is a real shame since, as I mentioned, there is quite a lot of original research amongst the articles. I would have been particularly interested to see Micah Hanks spin his thoughts on abductions out further and Nick Redfern’s article on infrasound was interesting but too short.

Wood Knocks is noted as volume 1 of a journal of Sasquatch research. If this is going to be a continuing series of works then the series is off to a good start and, with some minor tweaks, I can see such a series becoming a respected reference amongst those Sasquatch researchers willing to flex their minds a bit and look at new ideas, even if they do not agree with them.


Short Follow Up: Alert – Cryptid Roaming Denver Suburbs

I caught this report on Phantoms and Monsters this morning after my own blog posted. The being described in this post sounds very similar to the thing that I saw snatching people off of pathways in the vision reported in my blog this morning. I think that this percipient is quite lucky that he did not become one of the missing and I will be interested to see the witness’ sketch.

In my own psychic impressions, I thought this being might be some predator out of the Faery realm (as I have often mentioned, the Faery can be entities of great power and not all of them take kindly to humans) but, in some ways, the speed and ‘shiftiness’ of the being remind me of the many skinwalker reports from the desert Southwest. The short black fur over black skin reminded me of the manwolf reports specific to people seeing the beings in their homes (this would be the ‘Anubis’ sort of manwolf).

In any event, I would not assume that this being and entities like it are harmless. Remember that some astral entities have the ability to wrap themselves in etheric substance as they come through and are therefore able to cause real physical harm. If you see something like the being described in the Phantoms and Monsters post, do exactly as this witness did, do not run (may invoke the predatory response) but move carefully and quickly away from the entity and out of its sight. Only try to record the event if you can do so safely. A spectacular video is not worth your safety.


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).

werewolf

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.


The Spirit of the Wolf

I do not remember exactly where this notification came from, Twitter perhaps, but I recently saw this story from the amusingly titled Who Forted blog. As anyone who has been reading for a while knows, I have a soft spot for stories of werewolves and Black Dogs and the recurrent reports of manwolves throughout the US (and now, per Linda Godfrey, the world) make my ears perk up, so to speak.

As manwolf stories go, this one is pretty typical. A night shift worker has not one, but two, encounters with creatures that appeared to be bipedal and wolf-like. Interestingly, both times, the beings seemed to be moving in groups and the witness did note several color variations. The author of the blog post, Ken Summers, also noted that Linda Godfrey had reported a manwolf incident in the same area in her book Real Wolfmen. Mr. Summers goes on to note a possible mountain lion sighting in the area – unusual since mountain lions are supposed to have been killed off in this region.

Wolf

Mr. Summers closes out his article with these words which really got me thinking:

Silver Creek is a tributary for the aptly named Wolf Creek. Long ago, Timber Wolves were common across Ohio, though as farming developed among early settlers, these furry canines became less of an accepted part of the wilderness and more of a nuisance as the animals hunted and killed many sheep. Thousands of Ohio wolves were hunted, trapped, and poisoned in an effort to eradicate them from the area. 1842 marked the final killing of a wolf in Ohio and the end of the wolf’s presence here. While wolves have been driven from Ohio, perhaps something far more frightening has replaced them.

Silver Creek is in Ohio, home of a number of mounds left behind by early indigenous peoples. I’ve theorized, in past blogs, that the manwolf might, in some cases, be a sort of materialized guardian left in place by the medicine people of those early tribes to protect the mounds and burial sites of their people. Reading Mr. Summers’ piece, though, another thought occurred to me.

Anyone who has taken even a cursory look at the new shamanism, as proposed by people like Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman, will be familiar with the concept of a power animal – a spirit, in animal form, that serves as your guide during shamanic journeys in particular areas. Some people confuse the power animal with a totem animal – a spirit, sometimes in animal form, that has allied itself to a particular group of people. The totem ranges across all of human culture from the varying societies with animal totems in the Native American traditions (the Cherokee and Iroquois had clans that were aligned to various animals) to the wolf and bear warriors of the ancient Norse who actually took on the traits of their totem in battle.

A totem animal is a powerful spirit in its own right and, with the attention and offerings of a group of people, it only becomes more powerful. As with any relationship with spirit, one has to approach an animal totem with respect in order to avoid any negative repercussions and one would never harm the totem’s representative animal unless given specific permission from the spirit to do so (as in those Native and Norse folk who wore the skins of their totem for certain occasions).

Harming of the totem’s representative animal can result in harm to the person who causes that injury and, in extreme cases, even death, if one violates a taboo laid by or about the totem. I am minded of the Celtic warrior Cuchulain (the hound of Chulain) who was forbidden to eat dog meat as a part of the relationship with his totem. Cuchulain was killed in battle after being tricked into eating the flesh of a dog by an enemy.

So, what has this to do with our manwolves? Simply, the wolf is a common totem amongst Native people. It is admired for its hunting ability and for its structured, efficient and loving pack life. We know that the European settlers regarded the wolf with fear and loathing. Once they had driven the Native people from Ohio, settling them in out of the way places or killing them, they turned their hand immediately to what they knew best – farming and livestock husbandry. Wolves and other apex predators went from being respected representatives of their totems to wicked slayers of sheep and other livestock, good only when they were dead.

As the article notes, by 1842, the settlers had managed to wipe out the wolf population in Ohio. I doubt that the wolf totem, the powerful spirit of the wolf, simply skulked off to hide on the reservations or disappeared into what woodland was left. Mr. Summers says, “While wolves have been driven from Ohio, perhaps something far more frightening has replaced them.”

I admit that my thinking is pure conjecture. I’ve not done any journey work to test this theory. It simply makes intuitive sense to me that the spirit of the wolf might want to periodically remind the ancestors of those rapacious settlers that they are not the apex predators that they think they are. The manwolves could be something like a tulpa created by the spirit of the wolf or they could be the spirits of those who walked with wolf skins on when they were alive and who have become a part of the spirit of the wolf in death.

While I have heard of no serious injuries in manwolf reports, the creatures certainly scare the life out of most who see them and many witnesses report the strong feeling that the creatures would and could do them harm. Maybe, just maybe, the physical wolves are gone and have been replaced by representatives from Wolf itself.


Native Land and “Window” Areas

I have just finished reading Ryan Skinner’s book Skinwalker Ranch: No Trespassing. I am not really going to review the book; it is a collection of stories and reports put together in book form that outlines some of the activity on and around the area now known as the Skinwalker Ranch. While I would have appreciated a little heavier editorial hand, the reports speak for themselves and the reader can choose to believe what he or she reads or not. For those interested in this specific area, the book is not expensive and does contain some food for thought.

120px-Four_Corners-USA2308

I have given my thoughts on why the Four Corners area is the site of so much high strangeness. As I noted in the referenced blog post, the Dine’ (Navajo) have a long tradition of ceremonies in that area but, reading through Mr. Skinner’s book, I was reminded that the Dine’ are not the only indigenous tribe in the area. There are also the deeply secretive Hopi as well as the Ute and Paiute. Each of these tribes has their own medicine ways and those ways have been enacted on this land for centuries. As I said before, no matter how good the magical hygiene of a group is, repeated magical working in a single place or places will tend to thin the veil between the worlds and produce episodes of high strangeness, especially amongst people who are already sensitive to the ‘vibration’ of that magic e.g. the tribal people who have come forward to report some of the events in Mr. Skinner’s book.

I theorize, too, based on my own experiences, that tribal lands serve as refuges for the creatures of the Otherworld. While modern America wallows in its soup of materialism and lack of belief in anything beyond the senses, the traditional indigenous folks of this land learn early on that there is more to be seen than what can be seen with the physical eyes alone. These peoples attempt to live and work in harmony with the spirits of their land rather than ignoring them. Even those native people who are not raised in the traditional manner are often exposed to the stories of their people at some point in growing up. It is no wonder then that the native lands are host to all manner of beings – both ‘good’ and disharmonic.

I have already talked about the presence of ‘interesting’ areas in the Superstition Mountains, a site that is holy to the Apache of that area. When I was younger and working for a non-profit health organization, I was asked to come speak to a group on one of the reservations in the Phoenix, AZ metro area. Quite frankly, I felt the energy shift as soon as I drove onto reservation land. I found my speaking site and gave my presentation then started the drive home. By this time, night had fallen and as I made my way carefully down the road, I spotted a small creature hopping along the side of the road. At first, I thought this was a rabbit but, as I got closer, I realized that I was looking at a miniature version of the Kokopelli image so popular in Arizona. To this day, I can not tell you whether I was seeing this being with my physical eyes or the eyes of spirit but, as I watched, it disappeared by simply fading from my view.

I have also had the privilege of living right on the border of one of the Seneca reservations in Western New York. We often bought gas for our vehicles on ‘the rez’ and, again, I noted a subtle change in the energy around me as I moved onto reservation land. During the great Celtic feast of Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is traditionally quite thin, I would sometimes drive through the forest of the area and look into the woods, just to see the variety of beings slipping through those trees, careful not to reveal too much of themselves but nonetheless there. While these experiences were noted more with spiritual senses, I still felt certain that, given the right circumstances, these beings might just pop up in front of someone with eyes to see.

Granted, my experiences do not a fact make. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary. In my mind and my experience, however, native lands will always equate to areas where the veil between the worlds is, perhaps, just a little thinner than it is in other places. Given their long tradition of medicine workings and the belief that traditional native people place in those workings, I do not think this is surprising at all.


A New Manwolf Sighting

Linda Godfrey, the noted writer on all things werewolf/manwolf/dogman, posted this excellent sighting to her blog on 24 July. This report has it all: a midnight encounter with something unknown, a subsequent call to the police who not only believed the witness but advised her to be careful (with the unspoken implication that there had been other sightings) and footprint evidence that indicated a pattern of the creature “hanging out” around this home. Ms. Godfrey even included a witness sketch that will, if you are not a complete skepdebunker, raise the hair on your arms and the back of your neck.

images

One of the things that struck me about this sighting was this paragraph:

They (deeply impressed canid footprints) were also very evident in the mulch around her house, especially under several windows. One of the windows belonged to the couple’s young teen, who has a special needs disorder. The teen had been telling the woman that there was a “monster” peering into the window almost every night for a month, she said, but it was never there by the time she got to the room, so she thought the teen was imagining things. She does not think that any more, she added.

So, this ‘critter’ has enough juice to give itself physical substance and has made itself known to the lady of the house, in the middle of the night, resulting in the woman’s complete lack of sleep that night. Additionally, the creature has been playing peek-a-boo with the above-mentioned teen, disappearing before anyone, other than the child, could see it. I think we can safely assume that the woman’s inability to doze off that night and the child’s reference to the ‘critter’ as a monster places this being firmly in the ranks of the Intruders. This one, like so many of its kind, seems to feed off fear and it has had an open season food source with the developmentally disabled teen (and now the mother). I’d love to see someone place a circle of rock salt mixed with some silver shavings around that house (both etheric repellents), give it a good strong magical charge and see what our midnight visitor had to say then.

Now, there are a subset of people who have suggested that the manwolf/dogman is a tulpa – a thought form – created by ancient shaman or other magicians to guard certain sacred sites. Given the behavior of some of these beings, I think this is a valid assumption. I am thinking, for example, of the 1950’s sighting in one of Ms. Godfrey’s books, where a gentleman is confronted by a manwolf standing on top of an Indian mound (if I recall correctly) and actually growling something that sounded like words. The witness got the message and backed off and there was no further interaction with the beast. Such an encounter clearly marks the actions of a magical guardian.

I do not think, though, that we can use this thought as a universal field theory of big hairy monsters. The behavior of some manwolves is entirely reminiscent of the Phantom Black Dogs of the UK, for example, in that they seem to favor cemeteries and other burial sites. Given that these creatures are often described as black or dark gray, I have been given to wonder if they are not an American iteration of the PBD, perhaps bent into a slightly different shape by the energies of this land. PBD’s, while sometimes scary to the percipient, do not usually cause harm (yes, I am aware of the very notable exceptions) and may, in some cases actually act as way-faring guardians, especially to women wandering alone at night. The PDB is strongly associated with death and, in some counties of the UK, the lore indicates that to see one portends a death in the family. I have not noted any such correlation amongst the manwolves here.

Coming back to our witness in Hartland, though, I do not see this ‘critter’ being a guardian. First of all, a thought form requires a lot of energy and concentration to form and then maintain. While the thought form of a skilled magician can certainly seem as real as the person sitting next to you, very rarely would one become powerful enough to actually clothe itself in etheric substance so that it could have the mass to make the paw prints seen at the scene. Essentially, we would be talking about a thought form that had escaped the control of its maker, developed a way to feed itself energy and eventually became strong enough to take on etheric substance. It is unlikely almost to the level of impossible for all three things to come together and stay together for this long.

In addition, if this were a programmed magical guardian, it would not be peeping in windows and startling people in the middle of the night. It would be responding to its programming, appearing when the humans breached its perimeter (wherever that might be) and doing its level best to either scare them off or do damage to keep them away. That damage might range from manipulating energies in the area to cause psychic anxiety all the up to physical harm (usually done by effecting the etheric body of the person). If this were a guardian that these people had accidentally provoked, I think they would know it.

As I said above, I think that this is one of the Intruders who is projecting a form that is guaranteed to give it plenty of fear energy to feed on.


Book Review: Strange Intruders

Strange Intruders
Author: David Weatherly
Order from this website, no e-book available to my knowledge

I happened to catch a podcast interview with this author and thought, after listening, that I might check out this book. I had high hopes for the text since Mr. Weatherly’s biography includes the following:

“David has also studied shamanic and magical traditions with elders from numerous cultures including Europe, Tibet, Native America and Africa . . .”. The text goes on to elucidate Mr. Weatherly’s energy work credentials as well as mentioning his study with Taoist masters and so forth. I hoped, therefore, that the author might approach his subject from a more magical point of view.

Unfortunately, for me, Mr. Weatherly seems to have left most of his magical/shamanic credentials at the door while writing this book. I will not, however, give the book a negative review simply because it did not meet my standards for magical theorization.

My personal feelings aside, Strange Intruders is an interesting book that covers a wide range of paranormal topics of the “things that go bump in the night” variety ranging from the djinn to Grinning Men to psychic vampires. I am not quite clear on why the author chose the topics that he did but he presents interesting facts, history and case studies related to all his chapters.

Mr. Weatherly writes in a personable and engaging style and, unlike some writers, he does not belabor his points. His writing is smooth and concise but I did find myself wishing for a little more substance as he went along. This work was obviously intended as a summary of a wide range of topics, and it accomplishes that goal admirably, but I would have loved to hear more about some of the topics. I know, for example, that Mr. Weatherly has written on the Black Eyed Children (a topic in this book). I think it would be quite possible to write a book about any of the topics included in Strange Intruders. Perhaps that is the writer’s intention but, for a paranormal geek such as myself, each chapter of the book was something of a tease. I constantly found myself wanting more and that may have been the author’s intention.

For those of you that are research oriented, the book has a nice bibliography that will provide beginning sources for many of the topics covered in the chapters. I am sure that I will be making use of that book list at some point, since it is obvious that Mr. Weatherly actually does some research for his books rather than simply relying on the Internet and popular sources.

While I was disappointed that Mr. Weatherly did not seem to bring his magical and energetic explorations of these topics into the mix, except peripherally, I did find his presentation of theories about the various entities to be even handed and not aligned to just one point of view. I would have been happier to hear him say, “In my experience, X . . . but others have theorized Y”; however, I do not know what editorial or personal limitations he might be working under.

In all, I recommend Strange Intruders. For those with little to no background in the paranormal, the book provides an interesting overview of a number of phenomenon that scare people on a fairly regular basis. For the more experienced paranormalist, the book introduces topics that might not be familiar to the reader or, if they are, will certainly provide some new information on those topics. Mr. Weatherly has done a nice job of putting together a compendium of things that go bump in the night without writing a boring dictionary. I hope that he continues his research and brings us more in-depth coverage of some of these topics.