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The Lair of the Beasts: Wolves & Wolf-Men
A Howling Good Time
By Nick Redfern
November 08, 2008
Howls of Imagination: Wolves of England, written by Dr. Paul Williams.
© Heart of Albion
In the write-up to their book Howls of Imagination: Wolves of England, written by Dr. Paul Williams, Heart of Albion books note the following:
"Wolves have been despised and persecuted by humans for centuries. They were eradicated completely in England by about 1509 and in Scotland and Ireland in the mid-eighteenth century. Yet superstitions and folklore continue to fuel a fear of wolves in modern day Britain – even though many of these popular beliefs are inaccurate."
The publisher continues:
"In Howls of Imagination Dr Paul Williams describes how these beliefs have arisen, and contrasts them with known information about wolves – and the relatively rare number of wolf attacks on humans.
"Why did Christian allegories give wolves a 'bad press'? How did popular literature breed a hybrid-lore by mixing legends about real wolves with myths about werewolves? Have children really been reared by wolves? And, above all, should we afraid of 'the big bad wolf' or simply consign such ideas to the scrap bin of erroneous stereotypes?"
And, in conclusion, Heart of Albion state:
"Howls of Imagination reveals how folklore and myth can create and sustain misleading ideas while simultaneously offering a more factual understanding of this iconic animal of the wilderness."
Well, I can state with absolute certainty that in my time as an author and book-reviewer, I have read some of the most overblown rubbish put out by publishers trying to sell and hype their books to the public and the book-reviewing media.
But in this case, I'm very pleased to say, Heart of Albion's words are richly deserved and right on target. Howls of Imagination is a superb study of the fact, the fiction, the legend, and the mythology surrounding those most mysterious of creatures: wolves and werewolves.
If you are in any way interested in - or fascinated by - British folklore, history and mysterious tales, this is a book that you are most definitely not going to want to miss.
Howls of Imagination addresses issues such as the number of attacks on people that have actually been proven to have been caused by wolves - rather than attacks that have been presumed to have been caused by wolves. You may be surprised by the truth of the matter.
The book also takes the reader on an enchanting journey into Medieval England, to ancient forests, to the early years of organized wolf-hunts, and the sad - and perhaps inevitable - demise of this majestic beast and its disappearance from the wilds of the nation in the year of...well, that's a matter of debate.
Indeed, the author has some intriguing stories to relate concerning how long the wild wolf may actually have secretly survived for in the British Isles. Notably, Paul Williams relates in the pages of his book the story of one Irene Carruthers, who reported seeing two grey wolves in her garden in the village of Eaglesfield in October 2003, no less.
Perhaps, I have to wonder, having now read the book, if the wolf never really became extinct in Britain, after all. Maybe it just retreated ever-further into the secret shadows and the thick woods that dominate much of the country.
And, of course, no book on the history, mythology and legend of the wolf in England would be complete without a generous helping of tales concerning werewolves.
Lycanthropy, werewolves in fiction, links between hairy wolf-men and witchcraft, and much more of a savage and monstrous nature all surface within the pages of Howls of Imagination - as do stories of so-called Feral Children, said to have been raised in the wild by wolves. And, again, the author's findings and conclusions on this latter issue may surprise you.
The book concludes with a thoughtful look at the issue of whether or not - and, if so, to what extent, how, and where - wolves should be reintroduced to the wilds of the British Isles.
Howls of Imagination was probably one of my most enjoyable reads in a long time; and I can say for certain that in this concise-yet-packed 92-page book, the author has revealed a wealth of hidden knowledge on this majestic beast and its monstrous cousin the werewolf, dispelled some myths, answered a lot of questions, and offered a rich body of data that is diverse, eye-opening, mysterious and magical in equal measures.
Readers should note that Howls of Imagination is only available direct from Britain; and therefore if you wish to purchase a copy, I recommend that you contact the publisher Bob Trubshaw for shipping rates, payment methods, etc. at email@example.com
Nick Redfern is a full-time monster-hunter and the author of four books on the subject: Three Men Seeking Monsters; Memoirs of a Monster Hunter; Man-Monkey; and his new book: There’s something in the Woods.