Shapeshifting, for most people, provokes imagery of nothing more than centuries-old tales of savage, murderous werewolves and of big-bucks movies, such as An American Werewolf in London, Underworld, Dog Soldiers, and The Wolfman. That is not the case, however. As incredible as it may seem, shapeshifters are not merely the stuff of Hollywood and urban tales of a friend-of-a-friend variety. Rather, they are all too menacingly real. And, they are not all of the man-turns-into-wolf variety, either. Quite the opposite, actually: shapeshifters come in all kinds and sizes and have done so for countless millennia. While the traditional image of the werewolf is, without a doubt, the first thing that springs to mind when a discussion of shapeshifters takes place, the truth of the matter is that there is a veritable menagerie of such infernal things in our midst. Were-cats, were-tigers, were-hyenas, and were-coyotes are also near the top of the monstrous list. Then, there are the ancient beliefs that those who died violent deaths – or those who were, themselves, murderers – were often destined to return to our plain of existence in the forms of hideous beasts, including wild and savage ape-like animals, fearsome black dogs with glowing and blazing red eyes, and mermaid-like things. There are also beings from other worlds: aliens, extraterrestrials, and Men in Black.
Even the legendary monsters of Loch Ness, Scotland, are believed – in certain monster-hunting quarters – to be paranormal beasts that have the ability to alter their appearances at will. As are legendary vampires, who, the old legends suggest, can transform into the likes of bats and wolves. Collectively, all of these "things" amount to an absolute army of otherworldly creatures, and half-human monsters that have plagued and tormented us since the dawning of civilization. And, they show zero signs of slowing down anytime soon. The things you thought were only fit for campfire tales, late-night stories intended to thrill little children, and entertaining monster-movies, are, in actuality, creatures of the real world. Of our world. Shapeshifters are everywhere: they lurk in the shadows, in the deep woods and expansive forests, in dark and dank caves, and in the murky waters of our lakes and rivers. Maybe even, after sunset, in the recesses of your very own backyard, patiently waiting to pounce. And many of them like nothing better than to terrorize and torment us, the human race. And, today, I'm going to share with you a case that really stands out int the shapeshifting category.
Pauline Fry, who I interviewed in 2013, had a very strange encounter with a Man in Black back in October 1973, when she was living in Pasadena, California. It’s notable, and probably relevant, for me to reveal that a major UFO wave was going on at that time, and all across the United States. While hiking in the California hills one Sunday morning, Pauline encountered a classic, silver-colored flying saucer-style UFO which, at first, at least, was high in the sky. Suddenly, it dropped to around fifty or sixty above her, hanging there in an odd, wobbling fashion. Amazed, Pauline could only stare as the silent craft bobbed around – like a boat on churning waters – and then shot away at high speed. Pauline raced home and excitedly told her family of what had just taken place. They, apparently, weren’t the only ones who knew what had occurred on the fateful morning in 1973. Three days later, and after sunset, Pauline had a visitor. Not a welcome one, I should stress. It was a Man in Black, a skinny – almost emaciated – old man, dressed in a shabby black suit, looking pale and ill, and wearing an old, 1950s-style fedora hat.
Pauline said that she felt her mind was briefly enslaved, as the MIB near-hypnotically asked her to invite him into her home. In a slight daze, and to her eternal cost, she did exactly that. She retreated to the couch, stumbling slightly and feeling ice-cold. The old man followed her, and stood in the living-room, looming over her, as he warned her – in no uncertain terms – never to discuss her close encounter again. Ever. The MIB then turned around and headed to the door. At that exact same moment, Pauline felt her mental faculties return to normal and she raced after him, just as he exited the door and closed it behind him. Pauline threw the door open wide, only to find the old Man in Black gone. In his place, however, was something else: it was a large, black dog with bright red eyes. It snapped and snarled in Pauline’s direction and in what was clearly a deeply malevolent, dangerous fashion.
She stared in horror as the glowing-eyed monster prowled around the yard, clearly intent on adding to the malevolent atmosphere that was already firmly in place. Suddenly, and as if out of nowhere, a large, black Cadillac – that looked decades-old in design – appeared and screeched to a halt outside of Pauline's home. It should be noted, here, that the MIB almost always drive such cars of that particular type, age and color. Pauline watched, shocked and scared, as the back door on the driver's-side opened and the fiendish black hound bounded across the front yard and leapt into the back of the Cadillac, which shot away at high speed! Today, Pauline – now a grandmother and someone who is fairly comfortable about sharing her bizarre experience – is of a firm opinion that the aged MIB and the red-eyed beast were one and the same: A Dangerous Shapeshifter.