Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Review for Real Wolfmen

Title: Real Wolfmen--True Encounters in Modern America
Author: Linda S. Godfrey
Published in August 2012 by Tarcher
Amazon Info

I don't read nearly enough in the field of cryptozoology, so when I got a $5 off promo code for The Book Outlet, I took the plunge and picked this title up for free!  Written by the prolific author and prominent Coast to Coast guest, Linda S. Godfrey, Real Wolfmen was an awesome book that I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the field of the bizarre.

If you're hoping this is a book about werewolves, you might be disappointed.  Rather, its a collection of stories recounting various sightings of dogmen....strange canid creatures that have a tendency to walk on two legs, communicate telepathically, and appear and disappear at will in some cases.  Individual reports are scrutinized, and Godfrey takes all steps required to fully interview witnesses to the best of her ability and offer up plausible natural causes for the sightings.  When applicable, she even recounts her own field work, as she visits the sites for herself and interviews the original witness in person.

Sprinkled throughout the chapters are interesting bits of folklore, including a healthy dose on what we tend to normally think of as werewolves, but also information on other cultural, historic, and scientific factors that play a role in the larger wolfman mythos.  For those interested, there's definitely a good primer on the Skin Walker legends.  It's a wonderfully entertaining, yet educational read and despite the somewhat controversial, fringe subject matter, Godfrey does an excellent job of reporting the incidents told to her and the facts involved in an extremely objective and open-minded manner.  Basically, the conclusion is that we have no idea what these wolfmen are or where they came from, although theories do abound, from interdimensional or extraterrestrial beings to simply regular timber wolves adapting certain traits to survive.

The majority of the stories came out of Wisconsin, Michigan, and surrounding areas, and although there's a few from Ohio and Kentucky added in, West Virginia residents might be disappointed to hear that no Mountain State stories made the cut into the book.  This is somewhat perplexing to me.  It's true that I've only heard of ONE wolfman story from West Virginia, but technically, we should have plenty!  According to the author, nearly all of the areas where these creatures were sighted shared very similar traits:  they were near water, they were near the wilderness, offering plenty places for food and to hide, and they were near sacred Native American sites, especially burial mounds.  Given that alone, West Virginia should be crawling with wolfman stories!  But, I guess since we claim Mothman, Sheepsquatch, and the Braxton County Monster (just to name a few!) it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the crypto-community if we were known for our wolfmen as well.

But, this is definitely a topic that interests me greatly, and I'd love to hear from YOU!  Do you have a wolfman story to tell?  Let me know in the comments below!

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