As readers of Mysterious Universe will know, one of the things that particularly fascinates me is the matter of werewolves. Not in mythology. Not in folklore. And not in the movies. We're talking about werewolves in...reality. Of course, most people scoff at such a fantastic scenario. But, the fact is that there is an undeniably huge body of data on record that suggests these things do exist. Check out the excellent, published work of Linda Godfrey and you'll see what I mean.
Now, when I talk about werewolves, I'm most definitely not referring to people who literally shape-shift from human to wolf, sprout hair and fangs, and then change back again. I'm talking about creatures that appear to be wolves of some kind, but that have the ability to walk on their back legs - as in upright form, and not unlike us. Could it really be the case that an unrecognized type of bipedal wolf calls the United States its home?
Many would say "no!" Indeed, I can practically see eyes rolling and heads shaking as I write these very words. But, bear with me, as I want to highlight for you a strange and almost unique creature that once roamed much of Australia and Tasmania: the thylacine. Officially, it's now extinct and has been since the 1930s. But, try telling that to the numerous people who have seen thylacines post-1930s. This brings us to the matter of Australian authorities.
The Australian Government says of the thylacine: “Although commonly called the Tasmanian Tiger or Tasmanian Wolf, the thylacine has more in common with its marsupial cousin the Tasmanian Devil. With a head like a wolf, striped body like a tiger and backward facing pouch like a wombat, the thylacine was as unbelievable as the platypus which had caused disbelief and uproar in Europe when it was first described."
And, now, we come to the most important quote: “The thylacine was said to have an awkward way of moving, trotting stiffly and not moving particularly quickly. They walked on their toes like a dog but could also move in a more unusual way - a bipedal hop. The animal would stand upright with its front legs in the air, resting its hind legs on the ground and using its tail as a support, exactly the way a kangaroo does. Thylacines had been known to hop for short distances in this position.”
Consider carefully - in fact, very carefully - those words. The thylacine had "a head like a wolf," could "stand upright with its front legs in the air," and could move in a "bipedal hop." Now, I am not proposing that there is a relic population of thylacines roaming around the wilder parts of the United States - and, quite often, the not so wild parts, too. But, I am suggesting - given what we know about the extraordinary movements and abilities of the thylacine - that we give some consideration to something both highly remarkable and deeply controversial.
What if, in the United States, there is something similar to the thylacine, something unknown? But, what if it is far more wolf-like, a great deal bigger and bulkier, and downright hostile and dangerous? And what if it, too - just like the thylacine - has the ability to raise itself up onto its hind limbs, to hop for short distances, and, in the process, scare the living you-know-what out of those unfortunate enough to cross paths with it? Anyone, should they encounter such a theoretical beast, would be forgiven for thinking they had just had a run-in with a real-life werewolf.
Does this theory lay to rest all of the controversies surrounding werewolves in the United States? No, it definitely does not. But, given what we know from Australia - and from no less a source than the Australian Government - the idea that there just might be packs of huge, infernal wolves prowling around the forests of the United States, and which hunt on both two legs and four, doesn't sound so unlikely, after all. It does, however, sound downright menacing!
Werewolves may not be literal shape-shifters that surface when the moon is full. But they just might be something which, in some ways, is even more incredible.