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Tale of Alleged Lycanthropy in West Virginia

Posted on July 9, 2010

Although this did not happen to me directly, it is an account that has been talked about on my mother’s side of the family for years. My grandmother had told this to my mother and my mother likewise passed it down to me. I would have normally dismissed such a tale as merely a family fable passed on from generation to generation as many families do. However, all the other myths familiar to my family are recognized as just that. This story was received a very different treatment, my grandmother was always embarrassed to talk about it for fear of being suspected a lunatic or simply ridiculed for what others might presume to be feeble mindedness for believing such superstitions. My grandmother was actually angry at my mom for telling me the story that goes as such:

My great grandfather lived in rural West Virginia, he had originally lived in DC his whole life but decided to spend his autumn years surrounded by scenic beauty. When he moved there, for a long time he was able to enjoy the very aspects of West Virginia that he had sought. However, it came to his attention that his neighbors being almost all farmers had discovered a lot of there livestock had either missing or horribly mangled, at first they took it to be a predator as there are many of those in the mountains of West Virginia. He also noticed that around the same time this happened a stranger had moved in around his area. Since he lived in such a rural area neighbors were few owning a lot of land and he knew all of them just as they all knew him.

Everyone noticed the arrival of this eccentric woman stranger. She spoke and otherwise associated with nobody and was always seen wearing the same clothes everyday. Nobody could see this predator responsible for the disappearance of the locals livestock. After a while people started to go missing but unlike the livestock no mangled remains were found anywhere near the victims’ homes.

My great grandfather decided that perhaps there might be a connection between the eccentric stranger and the missing people and animals. He gathered some of the women’s silver jewelry and melted them down too cast silver bullets and one night he and some of the men of this area decided to accompany him to stake out this strange woman’s house. No one saw the woman. But oddly enough they did see what they assume to be the culprit of all the missing people and animals, a large cat. My great grandfather said he thought it was a panther or a mountain lion. He shot it several times and… (now this is where the story gets stranger until to the end) a bunch of what appeared to be smoke, although my great grandfather said to him it seemed more like mist, started flooding out of the panthers wounds, so much spilled out in fact, the strange beast became completely obscured, the smoke/mist and was thus imperceptible. Of course, my great grandfather and his companions were utterly aghast and decided to wait to see what if anything was going on underneath that blanket of mist/smoke.

Finally, when the smoke cleared they did see something that wasn’t the large cat or human it was the clothes of the eccentric lady lying where a dead panther/mountain lion should have been. They recognized the clothes instantly because of the frequency in which she wore them.

I know this sounds really odd and like one big family fable but all I can say is I know my mom and my grandmother and they are not crazy, liars, or drug abusers. I also know that when my grandmother is reluctant to disclose information for reasons of pride, that very information is invariably true. True, I did not see any of this myself nor did my source.

Sent in by Indrid Cold, Copyright 2010

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Tags: Cats, Lycanthropy, West Virginia

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13 Responses to “Tale of Alleged Lycanthropy in West Virginia”
  1. goththom says:

    I’ve seen a lot of weird things in my life. Enough to know you can’t rule things like that out. Kinda makes me think of the Native American skin walker legends.

    • Pat says:

      Very good point… I hadn’t thought of that but it does sound very similar!

    • sydney says:

      i know wat you mean, because i watched native American skinwalker on lost tapes. to tell you the truth…i was clutching the covers and it nearly made me jump out of my skin. lol…i don’t want to watch that again…

  2. otto says:

    Thank you for the story..

    I believe your story and this is not the first time i have heard of happenings like this..

  3. Pat says:

    All I can say is this is soo eerie and scary and really makes you wonder what is really out there when you play with witchcraft etc…. I do believe you which is what makes this even creepier….I can see why your Great Grandfather wanted to keep this story under wraps but people must be adv that there are MANY things we don’t/can’t understand that DO happen…. this story really gave me the creeps… thanks for sharing!

  4. AnNa says:

    what i got out of the story is the lady was the animal.am i right or wrong?i read it a couple of times and that what it sounds like to me.

  5. trolldoll says:

    very strange indeed!!

  6. kmlgm says:

    I knew your name was familiar Ingrid Cold from the movie mothman!

  7. Liz says:

    My family is from Shinnston, WV. There is something about the area- I’m not sure if it’s the mountains, which hold some quartz and other minerals or what- but the state holds a lot of paranormal activity. I would say if you want to see a ghost, go to WV. I believe your story. A lot of strange things happen. I don’t know if the poverty of many people in the state, the tragic deaths of coal miners and other workers over the years, the Native American lives and deaths or whatever also contribute to this. I believe they do. It’s a beautiful state in many places, but definitely riddled with paranormal activity, witches, etc.

  8. Lobster says:

    Well this story was completely made up

  9. Tuffy Magee says:

    I have heard this story before. It is an old folk tale. It also was a Twight Zone episode. It could be based on a real happening, I’m just sayin’. How did they get her jewelry? I live in West Virginia too on the Maryland border in the areas where there was a lot of Civil War battles — there is a lot of spirit activity!

    • GirlRacer says:

      They didn’t get her jewellery. They gathered up women’s (presumably their wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and aunts) jewellery.

  10. AJ says:

    I just recently came across this article while doing research on local legends/folklore, and I have to say that I’m not surprised. This is not the first case of such an instance that I’ve come across.

    Like a few other individuals that posted I too am from West Virginia, and I must say that there does seem to be a fairly large amount of paranormal/spirit activity in this state. Everyone in my family, including myself, have seen spirits, had premonitions, etc. I personally believe that the states history of tragedy has a lot to do with its paranormal activity.

    I believe your story. I think it possible that such an incident happened. However, I don’t believe it to be Witchcraft, as some have remarked. I myself am a Witch and I’ve never been able to turn into a panther-like creature. That being said, the harm of animals and other human beings is against our belief system, as we believe in harm to none or at least my teachings have stated as much.

    I would also like to point out that this can’t really be called Lycanthropy, as the creature was a cat not a wolf.

    I do suppose that it could have been a from of skin walking. Sadly we’ll never know, as we were not present to witness or investigate the case. We can only speculate as to what may have transpired.

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