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The facts behind werewolf sightings

Werewolves belong to Germanic mythology, and sightings in Europe have decreased with the decline of pagan belief over the last few centuries. There has been a spate of sightings mainly in the USA (generally in dark and confused conditions) for which there have been some explanations. This article discusses the phenomenon of werewolf sightings.

Creatures of myth

The werewolf Werewolf myths are common in German mythology, but werewolves were always seen as creatures belonging to the magical/spirit world rather than the material world. Ginzberg, writing in Ecstasies, tells of an old man who claimed his spirit went on shamanic night flights to fight werewolves. Few ever thought of werewolves as having abodes in this world. America In recent years, a spate of sightings in America has happened. Mrs Gregg of Texas tells of how a large slavering wolf was clawing at her window. It disappeared into bushes and later, a tall man walked away. This is more likely to be a man with a nasty hound than a real werewolf. Several sightings in Ohio and Wisconsin have involved motorists being attacked by a tall creature with deformed features that resembled a wolf. These are the Wisconsin and Ohio werewolves.

Explanations

What is the explanation? Are there real werewolves? Some scientists suggest that the large creature might be a person with porphyria, a deforming disease that can produce sympoms of madness, [e.g. King George the Third.] An apparently bipedal creature cannot be a dog. It may be better to link these stories to the Bigfoot legend rather than to werewolves, although the existence of an apelike creature is in itself a matter of disagreement among scientists, most of whom disbelieve in it.
Distortion and memory There is a problem with perception and memory, especially in low light. We do not see clearly and our minds sometimes add detail. Fear is major distorting factor, and memory often magnifies and distorts memories. It is likely that these attacks can be explained without werewolves.In the case of the New Mexico werewolf, a boy shot at a creature which fell for a moment, but did not bleed. He believed it to be supernatural, but this can be explained by his bullet merely grazing the animal. However, the case of the Hexham heads cannot be explained in this way. Two Celtic stone heads found in a garden are said to have been the cause of the paranormal appearance of a shadowy, wolf-headed figure, which appeared for a few moments and then disappeared. These heads are now unavailable and the phenomenon has ceased. There is no scientific explanation for this paranormal phenomenon, other than hallucination or a trick of light.

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