Lair of the Beasts: A Werewolf of the Woods (Mania.com)
Date: Saturday, September 29, 2012
It all began in April 2007, when a well-respected group of paranormal investigators – the West Midlands Ghost Club – traveled out to the Cannock Chase woods of Staffordshire, England to investigate newly-surfaced reports of what witnesses described as a large, hairy creature very much resembling a wolf.
But, there was something extremely weird about this particular wolf: as well as walking like any normal wolf might, this one had the amazing and uncanny ability to rear up onto its hind limbs, which it invariably did when anyone had the distinct misfortune to cross its malevolent path.
One of those whose encounter caught the attention of one of the club’s investigators, Nick Duffy, was a mailman who was riding past the cemetery on a motorbike when he became spellbound by the sight of what, at first, he assumed was a large, wild wolf on the loose.
This would be extraordinary enough in itself, as the wild wolf is generally acknowledged as having become extinct in the British Isles centuries ago. That the creature was no mere normal wolf, however, became very obvious to the shocked man when it caught his eye, raised itself upwards on its back legs, and bounded away into the countless trees that envelop the cemetery.
The next witness to come forward to Nick Duffy and his colleagues was a local scout-leader who was walking around the cemetery when he experienced something profoundly similar. Quite understandably not wanting to speak out on the record, Duffy’s source, too, initially assumed that the creature he saw lurking among the graves was a wolf - or possibly even a large dog, such as a Husky. It was neither.
On realizing that the animal was large and seemingly running wild, the man slowly and carefully retreated to the safety of his car and slammed the door, at which point, on hearing the noise, the beast rose up on its back legs - to an incredible height of around seven-feet, no less - and raced off into the heart of the woods. The shocking encounter was over. The controversy, however, was just getting started.
The local newspaper, the Chase Post, soon got in on the action and began publishing reports suggesting the werewolf secretly made its lair deep amid the many natural caverns and winding, old, man-made mines and shafts that exist deep below the surface of the Cannock Chase.
The beast, some speculated, possibly had a point of entrance and exit somewhere close to the cemetery – something which hardly generated much cheer in those that lived nearby. And that the sightings of the monstrous thing coincided with the mysterious disappearance of a sizeable number of pet dogs in the area, and that several deer had been found horribly mutilated and with significant organs torn out and flesh viciously removed too, only served to increase the escalating anxiety over the presence of the monster of the cemetery.
As the sightings of the werewolf continued, and the dog disappearances duly escalated, so did the controversy. Views were expressed that while a wolf could, in theory at least, make a home for itself on the Cannock Chase, in this case there were a couple of problems.
First, there was the not insignificant fact that wolves should not have been running wild anywhere in Britain during the first decade of the 21st Century. Plus, wolves are very much pack-animals. But, the werewolf of the German cemetery seemed to be an overwhelmingly solitary beast.
Plus, there was that troubling issue of the beast seen running on two legs as well as four. Thus, with the witnesses steadfastly standing by their claims and assertions, the mystery remained.
Or, it’s correct to say it remained until the late summer of 2007, when the werewolf, if that is what it really was, vanished either into the ether, some dark and mysterious realm of paranormal origins, or those shadowy tunnels beneath the old woods.
Nick Redfern’s new book, The World’s Weirdest Places, is available now.