Jan 15, 2022 I Brent Swancer

Tales of Werewolves at England’s Mysterious Wold Newton Triangle

Lying out in East Yorkshire, England, is a land of gentle rolling hills and picturesque valleys dotted with rustic, quaint cottages. It is a postcard-perfect snapshot of a quiet, magical English countryside, the sort of place that invites leisurely strolls and quiet days. Yet, this expanse of countryside has a dark undercurrent running beneath the surface that would not seem to be apparent from appearances alone, and these peaceful valleys and hills hold one of the highest concentrations of legends, myths, and tales of monsters and the supernatural in the world. Welcome to the Wold Newton Triangle, one of weirdest places you are likely to find in England.

The Wold Newton Triangle is generally defined as being an area roughly centered around the village of Wold Newton, its eastern side bordered by the North Sea, going along the A165 from Ghristhorpe to Bridlington Bay, the southern side running parallel to the old Woldgate Roman road from Bridlington to Stamford Bridge and York, and the whole of it following the path of the B1249 road across N E England’s Yorkshire Wolds from Driffield in the south, then down Staxton Hill and on into the Vale of Pickering. The region is steeped in stories of all manner of strangeness, covering ghosts, fairies and other supernatural beings, witches, as well as legends of dragons and vampires stalking the landscape and tales of magic and sacred rituals. The place is a smorgasbord of numerous legends and myths, infused with myth, magic, mysticism, and mystery, and chief among these are all of the damn monsters that seem to be running around, and ranking high among the creatures long said to inhabit the region are werewolves.   

The region has long been said to be a haunt for werewolves, with those in medieval times believing that packs of wolves would dig up bodies from graves and turn them into werewolves. The people of the area long cowered in their homes at night hiding from the werewolf threat, and although this seems like it must surely be pure superstition and myth, there have been sightings of werewolves in and around the Wold Newton Triangle right up into more modern times. One of the most well-known was a scary encounter that a lorry driver had one evening while making his way along the B1249 road in the 1960s. According to the report, he noticed in the darkness a pair of glowing red eyes, and when he slowed down to see what it was, a “wolf-like creature” allegedly rushed his vehicle and slammed right into his windscreen, breaking the glass and apparently trying to attack him. Luckily he was able to speed away in time and knock the beast off. In August 2016 motorist Jemma Waller, 24, was driving along the same road when she saw a creature “like a big dog, probably bigger than my car, but it had a human face.”

Werewolf sightings have been common over the years in East Yorkshire, and these reports are very similar to other sightings of another werewolf type entity, this time from a place called Barmston Drain, a water channel built in 1798 to dry out salt marshes that meanders through an abandoned industrial area outside the center of Hull, in East Yorkshire. In 2016 there would be numerous sightings of an 8-foot tall creature described as being half-man and half-wolf and with glowing red eyes. One report came from a witness who said of it:   

It was stood upright one moment. The next it was down on all fours running like a dog. I was terrified. It bounded along on all fours, then stopped and reared up on to its back legs, before running down the embankment towards the water. It vaulted 30ft over to the other side and vanished up the embankment and over a wall into some allotments. It both ran on all two legs and on all fours, as if with the qualities of both human and wolf.

Hull historian Mike Covell has documented many accounts of apparent werewolves in the area, and has shared some of reports he has gathered, saying:   

I get a lot of odd sightings and reports and try to research as many as possible. These might be ghost sightings, UFO reports, sea serpent sightings, but the latest one was possibly the strangest yet. I was asked to research a werewolf sighting by a couple who had seen something that was tall and hairy, and was eating a German Shepherd dog by the side of the drain. They stopped to get a closer look and witnessed it jump 8ft over a fence, vanishing into the night, still carrying its prey. Another woman described seeing something "half-man, half-dog", along the drain. She was terrified, and her dog, which she was walking at the time, began shaking and would not go any further. I had one witness claim they saw a huge dog which stood up, jumped over a fence and then ran off with a cattle animal. Then his friend came forward stating he had seen a huge dog in the same area. A woman claimed she heard a strange howl. A former military guy with an undisclosed area on the moors stated that few years back with a routine team in the middle of the night they had the sense of being watched by something. Also there have been claims made by people around the moors stating that they have either seen or heard strange howls, growls. I have walked the drain a couple of times armed with recording equipment, during both day and night, but it's not the kind of thing you can openly ask people to participate in – 'would you like to come looking for werewolves with me?' Even I think it sounds crazy. No one really knows what to do. You can hardly pop down the local council office or police station and say you’d like to report a werewolf. But everyone who has reported sightings have been really down-to-earth people who are shaken by their ordeal. 

This seems to fit in with the legends of a similar beast called Old Stinker, said to be a hulking hairy brute with glowing red eyes, who was so called because he had bad breath, that would run after cars passing through the same general region. Charles Christian, author of A Travel Guide To Yorkshire’s Weird Wolds, has said of this legend:   

There is the legend of a werewolf called Old Stinker – a great hairy beast with red eyes, who was so called because he had bad breath. When I was a child, I remember someone saying they would not drive along the road from Flixton to Bridlington after dark because of those fears. When people would glimpse what they thought was the rear lights of a car in front, it would instead reveal itself to be the red eyes of a wolf. Old Stinker was said to be operating on the other side of the Yorkshire Wolds, but it would be no distance at all for a large animal to get to Hull. When you get multiple sightings combined with a tradition of stories going back centuries it is hard to ignore the possibility something might be there.  

Where do these tales come from? That particular part of the country was once infested with wolves, and there were bounties offered for them up until the 18th century, indeed it was one of the last parts of England to have wild wolves, so this may have contributed to stories of werewolves, but what of the modern day sightings? What is going on here? Why should this one region attract so many strange tales to it and just why are there so many werewolves running around here? It seems fairly certain that this couldn't be misidentifications of surviving wolves, as the animals have been fully extinct in England for centuries, and although it is remote, the thought of some undiscovered canid cryptic seems unlikely. There has been talk that the area could lie at some convergence of what are called ley lines, or basically veins of energy coursing through the earth, and perhaps this could be a thin spot between dimensions. Could these cases possibly be instances of something seeping through, some sort of inter dimensional interlopers? Or is it all just myth and legends that have gotten out of hand? Whatever the case may be, East Yorkshire, and the Wold Newton Triangle in particular, have become ground zero for all manner of high strangeness that we may never truly understand.

Brent Swancer
Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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