Wednesday, 5 February 2020

The Wulver a real cryptid “dogman”

When I think of dogmen two things spring to mind first is my friend and dogman expert Ryan Tremblay, you can catch up on his thoughts and feelings on the excellent venomous fringe podcast linked in the description.
The second is that it is an American phenomena.
This is wrong as doglike humanoids have been seen globally although in some cases they have been given different names.
In this video I will take a look at the reports of upright walking wolves in Scotland and see if we can find some answers.
Let’s take a look.

First up let’s look at the history of wolves in Scotland. Records show that the final Scottish wolf was killed by Sir Ewen Cameron, he earned this unfortunate honor when he killed the animal in 1680 at Killiecrankie, Perthshire.
Ever since that day there have been reports of surviving wolves in the wilds of Scotland.
The idea of reintroducing wolves to Scotland has been floated and in recent years the idea has gained momentum and with the publicity following the successful reintroduction of the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 people would like to see these animals once again stalking the highlands.
At present, Scottish Natural Heritage have no plans to reintroduce wolves.
So that would mean if people are seeing wolf like animals today we may need to find another explanation.
For a long time there have been Legends in Scotland of Upright Wolf-“beings”
Let’s start out with the book by folklorist Jessie Margaret Saxby “Shetland Traditional Lore” was first published in 1933. In this books the author tells of the stories of beast known as the Wulver.
The Wulver is said to take the form of a man with a wolf’s head covered in short brown fur this appearance may have many thinking werewolf but unlike a Werewolf, the Wulver was never human.
 The ancient Celts believed that the Wulver was actually an evolved from wolf - it was said to be symbolic of the in-between stage of man and wolf.
These animals made their homes in deep burrows in the side of steep hills, the animals were not aggressive until disturbed, and they would happily spend their time away from people fishing.
The Wulver could be spotted out fishing for its daily meal from a rock dubbed, ‘The Wulver’s Stane’ something that Scots still use to this day to describe a solitary rock standing out of a body water.
So by who, where, and when has seen this creature been seen?
Let’s take a look at the story told by Elliott O’Donnell.
O’Donnell met a man named Andrew Warren who told him a strange tale, it went a little like this:
“I was about fifteen years old at the time, and had for a number years been staying with my grandfather, who was an elder in the Kirk [Church] of Scotland. My grandfather had an interest in geology, and he had literally filled the home with fossils from the local pits and caves.  One morning he came home in a state of excitement, and then made me go with him to look at some ancient remains he said that he had found at the bottom of a dried-up tarn [a tarn being a lake].
“‘Look!’ he cried out, bending down and pointing at something, ‘here is a human skeleton with a wolf’s head. What do you make of it?’
 I told him that I had clue, but guessed that it must be some kind of monster. Maybe ‘It’s a werewolf’ he rejoined, ‘that’s what it is. A werewolf! This island was once overrun with satyrs and werewolves! Help me carry it to the house.’ He impatiently ordered.
“I did as he commanded to, and we placed the bones on a table in the back kitchen. That evening I was left completely alone in my grandfather’s house.
 My grandfather and the others having gone to church.
To pass the time I began reading to myself, and then, I heard a noise coming from the back area of the property, I ventured out into the kitchen, but there was no one about!
I began convincing myself that the noise was something ordinary like a mouse or birds, and I sat on the table next to the remains of the werewolf, and waited, wondering if the noises would start again.
“I sat waiting in a listless sort of way, my back bent, my elbows on my knees, looking at the floor and thinking of nothing in particular, when there came a loud knocking, a rat, tat, tat of bare knuckles on the window-pane.
I snapped my head around in direction of which the noise had come. It was then that I encountered, to my alarm, a dark hairy face looking through glass and straight at me.
I struggled to understand what I was looking at, until the shadowy head developed into a very perfectly defined wolf head which lead down to a very human looking body.
“Being in great shock, my first act was to look in every direction for a possible reflection. There was no light either without or within, other than that from the setting sun!
There was nothing in the room or outside of the window that could have created this wolf head in some bizarre illusion. I looked at the scary face and marked each of its feature intently. It was unmistakably a wolf’s face, the jaws slightly distended; the lips wreathed in a savage snarl; the look of growling hound, the teeth were sharp conical and white.
 It had eyes that almost glowed a light green; and very pointed canine ears. The expression of the face was one of rage and aggression, and to my horror it was gazing straight back at me.
This it seemed to notice, for a look of savage exultation crept into its eyes, and it raised one hand – a slender hand, like that of a female,  with the  long and curved nails of its hand it menacingly, drew the claws across the glass.
“Recalling what my grandfather had told me about evil spirits, I crossed myself; but as this had no effect, and I really feared the thing would break the window to get at me, I ran out of the kitchen and shut and locked the door, hiding in the hall till my family returned.
 My grandfather was much upset when I told him what had happened, and attributed my failure to make the spirit depart to my want of faith. Had he been there, he assured me, he would soon have got rid of it; but he nevertheless made me help him remove the bones from the kitchen, and we reinterred them in the very spot where we had found them, and where, for aught I know to the contrary, they still lie.”

This story is amazing and read like the plot of a Hollywood werewolf movie but Warren stood by the tale saying it was 100% truth.
Could this be the imagines of a young man who had been fed stories of satyrs and werewolves by his grandfather?
Was what looked at him through the window a passing stranger, and in the surprise of hearing noises and seeing something peering through the glass his imagination filled in the blanks?
What about the remains found by the grandfather, were these a hoax created by a man with a passion for fossils and a knowledge of local folklore looking to entertain himself by pranking his grandson?
One thing for sure is that the end of the story and the return of the skeleton to its original resting place, draws upon a common theme in traditional folklore and legend.
Wolfgang Schlick wrote an interesting article on the Wulver and in his conclusion raises some great points.
Schlick writes that he believes the idea of “evolution” from wolf to human that is common to the Wulver shows that wolves, not matter how ferocious they are perceived to be, have several qualities that people find admirable.
Traits of the wolf like their power, and connection with nature, and loyalty that they show in pack instincts are characteristics we as humans would like to possess.
Mankind is after all a social animal like the wolf and we long for connection to other humans, the Wulver is a midway point between animal instinct and human reason.
Schlick also proposes the idea that diseases like hypertrichosis are the cause of some of the highly documented reports of the mysterious animal. In a time of superstition and lack of knowledge someone suffering from this rare disorder may have been forced to the edges of society and became the basis for the legend.
What do think, is the Wulver a real cryptid “dogman” type entity, is it a creature of fantasy used to tell stories on long dark cold Scottish nights or do you know of another explanation?
Let me know in the comment below

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