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Terror Reigns in Texas

One of the many things that I was pleased to find when I moved to Texas to live twelve years ago, is that the Lone Star State has a rich history of accounts of werewolf-type beasts and mysteriously over-sized wolves on the loose. For example, in 1845, at the Devil’s River near Del Rio, south-west Texas, a boy living at San Felipe Springs reported seeing several very large wolves and a creature, with long hair covering its features and that looked very much like a young girl, attacking a herd of goats.

A hunt was quickly launched by frightened locals, and on the third day the girl was sighted again and cornered in a canyon. She was not alone, however. Rather, she was with a pack of wolves; one of which was shot after it attacked the hunters. The girl was captured and taken to a nearby ranch, where she was quickly locked within the confines of a seemingly secure room. That was not the end of the story, however.

After the sun had set, a large and marauding wolf-pack closed in on the ranch and duly surrounded it. Needless to say, the farm animals became terrified, chaos enveloped the ranch as the wolves attacked, and the girl escaped. For seven years, she remained hidden. In 1852, however, a surveying crew that was exploring a new route to El Paso caught sight of her on a sand-bar on the Rio   Grande: she was with two wolf-pups and quickly vanished, never to be seen again.


Was the girl a feral child, raised in the wild by wolves? Was she a classic shape-shifting lycanthrope or something else entirely? The passage of time has effectively ensured that the mystery of the Devil’s River Wolf-Girl remains precisely that: a mystery.

The June 2, 1888 edition of the Dallas Morning News included a notable account story with the eye-opening title of A Huge Wolf Killed, Big as a Yearling. The newspaper reported: “Frank Boshore, a farmer living near the city, killed and brought to town yesterday one of the largest gray wolves that was [sic] ever killed in this country. It was nearly as tall as a yearling calf. These animals have been a great disadvantage to the community, one man saying that he had been damaged at least $1,000 by them on sheep.”

Is it possible that perhaps some sightings and reports of werewolves were, in reality, based upon encounters with real wolves, albeit of a monstrous size? It is a theory that should not be ignored. In her book Hunting the American Werewolf, Linda Godfrey suggested that at least some of the unknown creatures seen in the forests and woods of the United States and perceived as being werewolves might actually have been surviving relics of beasts collectively known as Amphicyonidae, or “dogs of doubtful origin.”


A fierce combination of large bear and muscular dog, one such creature that fell into this category was the Amphicyon, a powerful, imposing and deadly creature that lived in the Miocene era, some twenty-three to five million years ago, after which time it became extinct. Or, perhaps it might be more correct to say that it is assumed to have become extinct.

Hunt for Phantom-Like Animal was the headline that jumped out of the pages of the January 29, 1908 edition of the Dallas Morning News. As the newspaper revealed, some sort of large animal – described variously as a giant dog or wolf – was wreaking havoc, death and destruction on a large scale throughout Waco, and had been doing so for a full month. Pigs, dogs, ducks, geese and hens were both slaughtered and eaten.

Not only that: there was talk of the beast being almost spectral-like in nature. According to the Dallas Morning News, those who had seen the wolfish entity described it as “passing like a phantom, jumping fences from one lot to another, elusive and shadowy, except where the use is made of teeth and claws.”

The newspaper added that: “The McLennan County Fox Hunters’ Association with their best hunters declare that while they have been able to capture big wolves, red and gray foxes, bob cats and catamounts, they are baffled by this peculiar beast.” Whatever the ultimate nature of the creature, it abruptly vanished into the moonlit night as mysteriously as it had first appeared.


Without doubt, one of the most intriguing reports was that of Mrs. Delburt Gregg, a resident of the East Texan town of Greggton, which can be found near Longview. It was a suitably dark and stormy night in July 1958, when Mrs. Gregg was stirred from her slumber by the sound of something scratching at the screen-window of her bedroom. For a moment or two, she was puzzled.

That is, until a bright flash of lightning lit up the room and revealed to a horrified Mrs. Gregg the image of a “huge, shaggy, wolf-like creature” that glared at her from behind the screen with “baleful, glowing, slitted [sic] eyes.” As Mrs. Gregg jumped out of bed and ran to grab a flashlight, the beast bounded into the cover of nearby bushes and was lost from sight, never to return.

The legend of the Wolf-Man of the town of Converse was an intriguing one. So the story went, in the 1960s, a classic werewolf-style beast slaughtered a young boy at the ominously named Skull’s Crossing. The boy’s father had apparently dispatched his son on his first – and, as fate would tragically have it, his last – hunting trip. Whereas the boy should have been the hunter, however, he sadly became the hunted. As the boy entered an area of dense woodland, he found himself stalked by the beast and quite naturally fled home.

His father, however, merely laughed at the seemingly tall-tale and told his son to go back into the woods and make his first kill. That would be the last time that father and son ever spoke: a search-party sent to look for the boy after he failed to return home later that night, found a monstrous werewolf leaning over his body and savagely devouring it.

As I well knew, the story was, of course, a controversial one: some researchers preferred to relegate it to the worlds of folklore, rumor and “friend-of-a-friend”-style tales of a type told around a campfire late at night. But, nevertheless, the dark legend of the Converse Werewolf continued to quietly thrive among the town’s populace to this day.

And, in view of all the above, I’m sure I’m far from being done with stalking the werewolves of Texas…

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  • Julie Arieta

    Wow, I grew up in the country, about 2 hours north of Dallas Texas and I never heard of WOUSs (Wolves of unusual size – bad Princess Bride reference) but we definitely had coyotes. They never came much bigger than a full grown Labrador but were equally devastating to our livestock and animals as described in this story.

    One year we had a drought so bad that our local coyote pack ripped the corrugated steel wall from the studs of our chicken coop and slaughtered the lot of them. The same year they took out most of the calves on our land and even two of the older cows. They never attacked people that I heard of, but grew quite fearless in the aforementioned drought conditions.

  • I_abide

    Wow they even grow coyotes big down there. Around the mid-west they get to about 40 pounds or so and regardless of individual size a pack of coyotes fears almost nothing. Except a boomstick! (I will see your Princess Bride reference and raise you an Army of Darkness).
    In regards to this article it wouldn’t be that far fetched of an idea for there to be a particular bloodline in that region that’s dominant trait was a larger than average build. Wolves aren’t small animals to begin with so something that already has their height with an extra 50 pounds would be frightening to see.
    By no means am I discounting a were-type creature, my hope is for were-bears since wolves are so five years ago, but some of these reports would suggest something more mundane along the lines of a genetic aberration.
    The glaring exception being the big hulk at the window. I would need a sheet change after that and someone would have to help get me out from under the bed after it’s all said and done.

  • “Lt. Charles Gatewood and His Apache Wars Memoir” details the story of a very large, very strange, wolf-like creature that was sighted several times (I believe once by him personally) in the vicinity of the Warm Springs and Turkey Creek Reservations, in Arizona, where he was stationed. It was supposedly a wolf that had the odd habit of standing on its hind legs and walking or hopping. The animal was eventually killed and its hide and skull taken as trophies- so it is possible if unlikely that they still exist somewhere.

  • Kelley Vernon

    Great story, and gives this native Texan some new information about the weird history of her state! I grew up in Belton in Central Texas, just over the lake from Fort Hood. We didn’t have tales of out of place wolves or rampaging werewolves, but I did have several run-ins with a phantom shadow dog during my childhood. What’s odd about that is that we also had a resident Shadow Person in the old house I grew up in. It’s only been recently that I’ve begun to wonder if the shadow dog was somehow connected to this other anomaly, or if it even may have been the Shadow Person in another guise, which is something to ponder. Keep up the good work, Nick!

  • I grew up in aquilla which is in hill county, and never saw a wolf a day in my life there. However i have seen some strange canids. They were enormous and not to mention fearless. One night a pack of five had 3 of our full grown cow pinned down in the corner of our neighbors field after they had gotten out one night. We put the spot light on them shouted, blew the horn on the truck nothing
    ng they wouldnt budge. It wasnt until my brother went back to the house and got his hunting rifle and took a shot at them that they left an reluctantly at that!. They have very long legs and range from a greyish color to a reddish brown color, I’ve even seen a black one. It made me wonder if they were red wolves, but i did some research and found that their range does not encompass this area. One time one ran out across the highway in front of me while i was driving and at first i thought a horse had ran out in front of me til i saw the pointy ears and bushy tail and it ran with different gait than a horse or deer. Anyways i’ve just been curious as to what they maybe red wolves? Coyote hybrids?

  • Ray N Georgia Almager

    I was 5 or 6 years old making it 1973 or 1974, and I know what I saw…not a wild imagination, it is something that has been inprinted in my life and can never forget…I was the only child at the time, we (Father & Mother) were visiting my grandparents on my fathers side. They lived in a small mobile home or more like an oversized travel trailer out in the country on the outskirts of Seminole Texas. We were there for awhile it was getting late outside…I want to say it was close to fall or fall cause the weather was cool outside. I was sitting on the couch and overheard my grandparents dogs barking outside, so I got up from the couch and headed to see what the dogs were barking at…looking out of a good sized window… the dogs were by the door as I looked down at them…the dogs were barking looking to the west because I remember the sun was just setting down, I looked towards the way the dogs were looking at and I observed what appeared to me to be a wolf like creature, walking on it’s hind legs, it was tall and dark but the darkness was from it walking toward the house with the sun setting behind it. I was very scared, I ran back to my farthers side and sat down and did not utter a word…because I was brought up children are seen and not heard, but at the same time I didn’t want to get spanked for telling my dad what I saw because he would have thought I was lying. I sat there trying to go to sleep quickly as if I felt it would break into the house and kill us all. With in 10 minutes of seeing that, the front door opened up and I clenched on to my dad…then I saw my uncle who was probably 12 or 13 at the time came in from outside…I just looked at him and waited for him to go to the back room so that I could ask him if he saw anything while he was outside….I learned he was just coming back from town after visiting family and didn’t see anything. I never saw this thing again but as I said It’s something I can’t forget…has anyone had a simular experince….

  • random tx boy

    in 2000 was hunting white tail in star county tx on a small 500 acre ranch. My grandpa was across the st at a 1000 acre ranch. i had scene dear and pig run away from the brush 3000 ft from me..i was along the game fence. the fence was about 8 or 10 ft tall, it had a very fine type of imported dirt so our fams could trace the game that travelled from one ranch to the next. Millions of dollars were spent on the ranch and imported game, so it was necessary. i jumped into the top and doorless k5 blazer we kept at the ranch and put my rifle up on 1 of the holders. . when i looked up to see if the animals were still runnin out, i noticed what at 1st appeared to be a nilgai.. when i looked up it was standing on stoodabout 12 ft tall. and turned 90 degrees and looked right at me. i put the rifle down and stared in fear. my eyes focused in on it as i thought it would be the last thing i would ever see. i was soo scared i was ready to engage in combat and prepared to die. i pumped the shotgun and cocked a 92fs. i said ” i love you mother, dont forget me” hoping it would somehow reach her..i turned the key and slammed on the pedal pinning it to the floor. i thought if i dont ram it and unload as fast as i can, its gonna run up and take my froze for a few seconds.. as i got closer to it. i could see its fur. it had short black shiny furr. like that of a pittbulll. massive shoulders bout 4 feet wide. i shoved the 9 between the seats and prepared for impact. so i could grab it and umload as soon as i hit it.. wby the time i was about 700 ft away it tuned and leaped over the fence ..i was so scared i didnt bother to stop and look. i kept it flored untill i had to slow down cause of large was a straight shit to the entrance of the ranch untill then.i grabbed my mosberg jmped out and unloaded 3 or 4 into no where. thinking tt would have followed me or somehow appear behind me. realizing it didnt i unlocked the massive fence and drove across the street unlocking the othe game fence and drove as fast s i could to my granpas blind. firing some warning shots in the air witrh my 9. in fear..when i got there he asked what happend.. i told him i left the gates open. he got upset and said we had to go back to cloes them. i told him i had to use the rr and that i ate something real bad.. when i ran into the cabin and grabbed a saw fully auto 45 h&k with 4, 30rd clips and a 357 python. my grandpa was jst pulling out and i yelled and got in w him. he looked at me like i was crzy and asked what i was i was doing w em and said “put that back” , i said no You might die without em.. i hopped in , loaded up and took of the safety and threw em into 3 rd burst..loaded slugs into the shotgun and told him what happend.he laughed, called me, “Chicken sh**” and said it was a huge neilgai or elk..when we got back we went to the point where it stood. it left no tracks and jumped over 20 ft ina single leap..clearing the fine tracking grains.. he wanted to get off and search for tracks but i asked him to. my familly is not like many 1st grade i got 92fs and bobcat for my bday. as well as stret sweeper and a intratec 9mm and 22 cal version as well. i had been in 2 firefights by 12 and death was no stranger to me. I use to leave school for weeks at a time to hunt and fish, sincc i was a lil advanced. i got accepted to college in 7th grade. i knw wrong frm right and blue from black. that was thw last time i went to the ranch. everytime my grandpa would go id pack a machine gun or 2 for him. we didnt leave weapoms over there casue illegals would break into the cabins and houses over there in search for water and food. im 28 now.and always wondered if anyone else had heard or seen 1. im glad to see im not alone. im a scientist and i work in a lab governed uder the Us Nuclear regulatory commison. going tht way in life i never wanted to mention what i had sen that day. ima lil drunk and it took me alot of jwalker blue to find the courage to type this., so plz excuse my gramatical errors.. so yeah this is my story and whether You believe it or not, it happened.. If your ever there or on anwoods, Do yourself a favor and pack heavy. thnx You for reading and be safe, i also was raised the same way. In my fam we would get nent over with a wet leather belt for lying…as You could imagine it only took a lil white one to learn that we didnt lie ior steal n our fam…. You arent alone my friend. i will never forget that fear.and the pounding of my heart.