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.