On Monday, January 17, the Full Wolf Moon will rise at 4:13 pm and cast its lupine light across New England. Get out there and howl, folks! We're supposed to have a lot of rain here in Boston, so the moon may not be visible, but it will still be up in the sky even if you can't see it.
In honor of the Wolf Moon, here is a story about a possible werewolf I found on Phantoms and Monsters. Phantoms and Monsters is a great site if you enjoy reading about paranormal encounters - check it out if you like weird tales.
The story goes something like this. In the spring of 2006, a group of friends from Natick decided to go camping. Rather than drive up to New Hampshire or out to western Massachusetts, they decided to camp closer to home. They chose a patch of woods behind some apartment buildings near an old, abandoned factory.
|Oliver Reed in The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)|
My first thought on reading this was, "That's probably not an official camp site." My second thought was, "Camping near an abandoned factory sounds like it would be spooky." My second thought was definitely correct.
The person who submitted the story wrote:
Now before I go further I must say that my area has experienced very weird sounds. Although in my opinion, they are very un-wolf like. They sound like a woman screaming crossed with long dog barks. A very indescribable and terrible sound. They come from various directions, though usually from the apartment area. (Phantoms and Monsters)
Coyotes? Maybe, or maybe not. But strange sounds in the woods just add to the spooky vibe.
The friends set up their tents and settled in for the night. After everyone had fallen asleep, one of the campers left her tent to urinate. She felt like she was being watched, though, so she woke up her boyfriend and asked him to come with her. He also felt they were being watched as they stepped away from the tents.
As he stood watch, the boyfriend saw something moving through the trees away from the tents. It was tall, grey, and covered in fur:
He could see it through the brush... a large (approximately 6.5-7 foot in height) man-shaped figure, covered in grayish fur, sporting wolf-like features and a bushy tail swaying behind it. He was shocked and ran into the tent, leaving his girlfriend who came running in a moment later, after hearing the rustling of the creature.
They spent the rest of the night awake in their tent, occasionally hearing strange cries in the woods. They and the other campers quickly left the woods once the morning came.
That's the end of the story. Like most monster stories, it's pretty simple. People see monster, people freak out, monster leaves. It's as if the monster just wants to be seen and acknowledged. Maybe the monster just wants to remind us that there are still weird things lurking out there in the world, even in a patch of woods near an abandoned factory.
An abandoned factory in the woods behind some apartments sounds like a liminal space to me. A liminal space is someplace that isn't quite one thing or another, a zone between one place and another. Liminal spaces are thresholds.
It makes sense that the campers would see a werewolf in a liminal space. A werewolf is part human and part animal. It's both these things, and yet neither. The campsite was forested but formerly industrial, it was suburban and yet wild. It's the type of place where teenagers go to do forbidden things, and where campers would see uncanny creatures. It makes sense.
Did they really see a werewolf? I can hear some of you asking that question. I am a little skeptical that there are large, physical monsters roaming around our woods. (Of course, I don't go into the woods late at night!) I don't think that means the campers made this story up, though. There are lots of middle positions between hardcore skepticism and total belief. Maybe the campers inadvertently conjured up something from deep inside their psyches, or maybe they glimpsed the spirit of that land, what the ancient Romans would call a genius loci.
Happy Wolf Moon everyone!