Halloween is almost upon us. Soon there will be little spidermans, princesses, and a variety of monsters knocking on my door looking for whatever treat I decide to offer this year. Halloween is also the time for scary movies and stories. Like most Boy Scouts, the boys of Troop 68 love to hear a good horror or ghost story while sitting around the campfire. The story of the wolfen has been a troop favorite for nearly twenty years.
I began telling the Scouts about the wolfen soon after I read the novel by Whitley Streiber. I did not tell the tale like a typical campfire story. No, I told it more as a warning of a newly discovered creature that all campers need to be made aware of while camping in the wilderness. The story is usually told when new campers are attending the camping trip.
The story may begin with a warning about storing food in the tents overnight. I talk about the local animal pests, the skunks, raccoons, chipmunks, bears, and coyotes. Then I begin the description of a new animal that has been discovered within the last few years. When I notice the Scout’s flame-lit faces watching my every move then I know they will be listening to every word.
I tell the campers that at first appearance this creature looks like a large wolf. But if you get close enough to get a good look at its face, and hopefully you never will get that close, you will discover one of the ugliest animal faces that you will ever see. It will be a face to haunt your dreams for years to come.
I explain that this creature is as fast as a cheetah, can track scents better then a bloodhound, has acute hearing that rivals any other animal, and can see heat radiation, thus being able to see in the dark of dark. Instead of paws simular to a dog or wolf, this creature has longer digits that end in razor sharp claws. The powerful jaws latches onto its prey’s throat so quickly, and the claws kill so rapidly, that the scream of its prey is literally torn from its throat. This creature is nature’s best killing machine. (Of course, sitting around the campfire I will go into more detail then I will as I write this article.)
The most important and dangerous characteristic of this creature is its ability to to think and rationalize. It is intelligent. It can and does learn. It has a form of communication through which it can “speak” with others from its pack. It has been theorized that this creature know as the wolfen is the basis for the legend of the werewolf.
Of course, after I tell the campers about all these abilities of the wolfen, I end by telling them the most important thing of all, the one thing that will protect them as they go to bed, the one thing that will keep them from being attacked this night or any other. That is that they must realize that the wolfen is… a fictional story. They do not exist. They are not real. They are creatures from a fictional novel.
At least, I do not think they are real. I hope they are not real. (Insert nervous laughter and the howl of a distant wolf.)