Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review: Werewolves (2011), by Zachary Graves

After having pre-ordered this title in November 2010 (along with Rosemary Ellen Guiley's upcoming book The Encyclopedia of Vampires and Werewolves, Second Edition), I waited for months for this title to be released. At first, I feared it would be late coming out, but it was released (and shipped) on Friday 5/20/2011. On Monday the 23rd, at 5:30pm, the UPS drove up my street, walked up to my front door, and handed me the package. I know this because I was sitting on the living room couch, waiting for two and a half hours.

Anyways, on to the book itself. I was half-expecting it to be full of misconceptions like the previous book Zombies: The Complete Guide to the World of the Living Dead (which was still very entertaining and informative, but also stated that Romero Zombies ate brains exclusively, which they do not). From the reading that I have done thus far, this promises to be very valuable to my research, as well as a fun way to pass the time. Half of this book is about the Werewolf in folklore and legend, while the other half focuses on Werewolves in fiction and the movies (including a few entries on serial killers with wolflike characteristics). The book includes an index, but unfortunately doesn't include a bibliography. But overall, this book is a very informative and educational work. I myself learned some things that I hadn't known previously. I would recommend it to all those who share my passion for the supernatural and the unexplained.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Dwayyo: Werewolf of the Northeast, by Rev. Robin Swope

Robin Swope, Pittsburgh Paranormal Examiner

Last year, while attending the MAP-con paranormal convention in Sharpsville PA, I was amazed by hearing stories of a group series of werewolf sightings by youths who were swimming in the Shenango Valley River in the late 1970s. For a series of months teens saw a hairy wolf like creature along the shores of the river as they tried to enjoy the recreation during their summer vacation.

I was amazed, I was unaware that there were such incidents in our neck of the Northeast. But the Northeastern United States does have its share of Lycanthrope sightings. A recent e-mail made me delve into research about one such creature sighted in nearby Maryland. A creature called the Dwayyo.

According to ‘Aubrey’, she was driving her old Subaru on Coxey Brown Road near Myersville, Maryland late in the summer of 2009 when she had an eerie feeling.  It was as if she was being watched. The road was lined with trees, she was on the outer edge of Gambrill State Park, and the forest was beginning to grow thicker. According to her, as she turned on Hawbottom Road, where her friend lived, the feeling became overwhelming. The hairs on the back of her neck rose in terror as she sensed the unseen eyes upon her. She wanted to stop the car and take her breath, she was afraid that she would veer off the road and hit a tree because she her nerves were getting so unsteady that she began to shake. But she knew that whatever was watching her, and following her was out there, and she took what little comfort she had by being safer inside her rust rotted car. Still, to prevent a wreck, she slowed down as she headed south, and that was when she saw the creature.

At first it was a blur to the right of her periphery vision. Something that was moving through the trees, a shadow that flickered as it went in and out of sight on the edge of her vision. It was a brown smear of color that popped out in contrast to the dull dark grey trees that she passed.

Whatever it was, it bobbed through the underbrush and between the trees to keep pace with her car. She thinks at the time, she was going around 25 miles per hour. She then slowed down once more to take a good look to her right, and make sure that she was not seeing things. As her car slowed to a crawl, the brown blurry smear of color seemed to bound out of the woods closer to the road. With a massive leap the hazy color became flesh as a huge dog-like animal on two legs emerged from the foliage.

The fangs, Aubrey wrote, are burned into her memory. Huge fangs from a mouth grimaced in anger and hate. She could feel the fangs as if they were ripping her skin while the creature stood there panting on the side of the road. Drool dripped from its huge mouth as she heard a loud growl, and she looked into the dark eyes. Darkness took up its entire eye, there was no white at all. It was if she was staring death and hell head on in dizzying madness.

Then it leaped, arms outstretched with claws grasping the wind. Instinctively Aubrey stepped on her gas pedal with all her might. The squeal of her tires seemed as if her car too was screaming in horror at the thing that emerged from the dark looming forest.

She did not look back. She didn’t want to know if the thing was following her. She didn’t feel the eyes upon her anymore. She was too shaken to really feel anything at all. When she made it to her friends house, she sat in the driveway shaking as she looked around to make sure the creature had not followed her there. The house was also in the woods, at the opposite side of the State Park. When she felt safe, she made a mad dash for her friend’s door, and banged on it frantically.

He did not know what to make of her story. Aubrey knew he did not believe her. He had lived in the woods all his life, and had never encountered what she had seen. He assured her that it must have just been a dog, perhaps a rabid one at that. Her mind was playing tricks on her. But the young woman knew what she had seen that late summer day. It was no dog. It was something out of a horror movie come to life before her eyes. Though she told nobody what she felt it really was, she called it a werewolf. That is until after she did some research in the local college library and came up with the name that others had called it when they too saw the forest come alive. She had encountered the Dwayyo.

The Dwayyo is a large wolflike bipedal creature that has been reported primarily in West Middletown Maryland. The creature had first come to prominence in the mind of the local population after a story ran in the local paper, the Fredrick News Post in late November of 1965. Reporter George May wrote in the article, “ Mysterious Dwayyo Loose in County ” that a young man, named anonymously as ‘John Becker’ heard a strange noise in his backyard which was situated on the outskirts of Gambrill State Park. Upon going out to investigate the noise he initially saw nothing, so he headed back in. It was then that he caught site of the creature. Something was moving toward him in the dark, Becker was quoted that “It was as big as a bear, had long black hair, a bushy tail, and growled like a wolf or dog in anger.” The thing quickly moved toward him on its hind legs and began to attack him.  He fought off the creature and drove it back into the woods, later calling police to report the incident.

According to other sources, this was not the first sighting of the legendary creature.

In the 1890s, a local farmer reported seeing a doglike creature 9 feet tall at Camp Greentop near Sabillasville, Maryland.

The first mention of the name ‘Dwayyo’ comes from a sighting in 1944 from an area in Carroll County Maryland. Witnesses heard the creature make ‘frightful screams’ and there were footprints attesting to the claims of the sighting.

But it was in late 1965 and early 1966 that the creature made headlines by being sighted across the area frequently. The first was the incident reported by Mr. Becker. The Fredrick Post reported in Early December that it had received numerous calls to report sightings of the creature, so many that the initial reporter George May was issued a hunting license for the creature by the County Treasurers office and rallied a ‘call to arms’ in the December 8, 1965 article, “ Dwayyo Hunt Tonight ”.  The hunt must have been a bust, since Mr. May wrote a follow up article the next day called, “ Dwayyo Hunt Flops ”. There were also many reports of the creature being sighted in early December at the nearby University of Maryland. Later in the summer of 1966, the creature was again sighted on the outskirts of Gambrill State Park. A man only referred to as ‘Jim A.’ encountered the Dwayyo as he was heading toward a camp site. It was described as a shaggy two legged creature the size of a deer that had a triangle shapped head with pointed ears and chin. It was dark brown in color and when approached it made a horrid scream and backed away from the man. Jim described it as having an odd walk as it retreated, it’s legs, “stuck out from the side of the trunk of the body making its movements appear almost spider-like as it backed away”.

In the late fall of 1976 another sighting of the Dwayyo took place in Fredrick County near Thurmont  between Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain National Park. Two men drove off route 77 and unto a private road so they could ‘spot deer’ by their headlights in order to see how thick the native population had become before deer season. To their surprise, they did not catch a deer in their lights but instead a large animal rn across the front of their car. They described the creature as, “ at least 6 ft tall but inclined forward since it was moving quickly. Its head was fairly large and similar to the profile of a wolf. The body was covered in brown or brindle colored fur but the lower half had a striped pattern of noticeable darker and lighter banding. The forelegs (or arms) were slimmer and held out in front as it moved. The back legs were very muscled and thick similar to perhaps a kangaroo. This was not a hominoid type creature; it did not have the characteristics of an ape. It was much more similar to a wolf or ferocious dog however it was definitely moving upright and appeared to be adapted for that type of mobility. I was particularly impressed by the size and strength of the back legs, the stripes on the lower half of the body and the canine-wolf-like head. ”

It was in this same vicinity where the next sighting took place but two years later, in 1978 by two park rangers near the CunninghamFallsarea where they encountered “a large hairy creature running on two legs”.

According to local authorities there are always rumors of the creature being sighted in the State Parks surrounding FredrickCounty, but few are willing to come forward to make a formal report because they are afraid of ridicule or doubts of their sanity. Aubrey was one of those. Even though the encounter was one of the most horrifying things she had ever encountered, the fear of what others will think of her because of what she saw is even greater. She vows that the creature she saw on Hawbottom Roadwill not take any thing else from her life. “The Dwayyo has taken enough”

Thanks go to Pastor Robin Swope (the Paranormal Pastor) for graciously allowing me to borrow his article.

The original article can be found at The Pittsburgh Examiner.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Borego Phantom

The Borego Phantom is a skeletal apparition that appears to potential gold-seekers between Borego, Arizona and the foothills of the Superstition Mountains.

The Borego Phantom manifests itself as a humanoid skeleton, standing well over eight feet tall and appearing only after darkness falls. Within the Phantom’s chest is a fiery lantern that burns brightly, swinging slowly from side to side from the rib from which it hangs. Despite this, the apparition appears without warning and appears suddenly from the darkness.

In most cases, the Borego Phantom seems uninterested in mortal affairs and simply wanders past terrified onlookers. Its feet may touch the ground and kick up sand, but no footprints of any kind are ever left behind, nor can it be followed for any amount of time. But when traveling through cactus stands, over boulders, or through narrow tunnels, the Borego Phantom has exhibited incredible agility that is rare among the undead.

The Borego Phantom may be an aimless wanderer, but the irrefutable fact that it appears only to miners and prospectors indicates that the apparition may in fact have some sort of motive. The lantern in its chest and its choice of witnesses indicates that the Phantom was once a prospector who had died while searching for the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, but it is also possible that the Phantom is a “collective phantom,” created and empowered by the ghosts of the innumerable people who perished in pursuit of the Lost Dutchman.


The Borego Phantom is a spectral entity that is said to wander the desert wastelands between the Superstition Mountains and Seventeen Palms. A few years back, it is said that a gold prospector named Charley Arizona had decided to settle down for the night in an area about four miles southeast of Borego. In the early hours of the morning, Charley was suddenly awoken by something in the dark. He decided to investigate, thinking that someone had stumbled upon his camp. In the distance, he saw a faint, eerie glow, perhaps a torch. Now he thought that a lost traveler had found his campsite. As the eerie light drew closer, Charley could begin to make out a figure in the darkness. What he saw would haunt his memories for the rest of his life...

Charley stared silently in terror, unable to make even a single sound. A large, gaunt skeletal figure traveled noiselessly across the desert sands, and a bright light, like a lantern, dangled from the ghost's ribs. The figure was over eight feet tall, the light from it's ribcage casting a creepy glow in the stillness of the night. As quickly as it came, the apparition faded from sight behind some large rocks. Charley remained motionless with fear for the rest of the night, unable to sleep...

Two years later, two prospectors in the area reported a sighting of the mysterious entity whilst camping out for the night. One of the men claimed to have seen a dim light in the darkness, and was then approached by a gigantic skeletal figure with a lantern in it's chest. His companion was skeptical, and dismissed the sighting by saying that the other man only saw the glow of the fire reflecting off of the rocks. A year later, however, another man who was making his way through the Superstitions encountered the entity as well, describing it as a clumsy, stumbling skeleton of immense proportions, with a light emanating from it's chest. The man promptly recounted his experience at the Vallecito Station, where rumors of this terrifying apparition began to spread rapidly. Thus, the legend of the Borego Phantom was born. Thrill-seekers began to journey recklessly into the Superstition Mountains, hoping that they would somehow catch a glimpse of the dangling lantern and it's eerie glow that preceded the ghost's appearance. All that awaited them, however, was terror beyond measure...

One particular group of ghost hunters encountered the apparition at night when they had set up a night watch. When they saw the Phantom, one of the men fired his gun at the specter, only to have the bullet pass through it. They could only watch as the ghost stumbled and tripped awkwardly across the sands. They attempted to follow it, but eventually lost sight of it in a valley.

Most people believe that the Borego Phantom was once a prospector who searched for his fortune in a local mine, but died in the process. They believe that he is now cursed to be the guardian of the Lost Dutchman, and that he will lead anyone astray who comes even remotely close to the mine and the treasures within, but at the same time also seeking the mine himself. Others believe that the entity is only seen by miners and prospectors, or by those who have some sort of connection to the mine itself. Either way, this skeletal phantasm should be avoided until it's true nature and it's purpose is discovered. It has not been seen in recent years, but that doesn't mean that the Borego Phantom doesn't still walk the dunes...does it?


Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide to North American Hauntings: Everything You Need to Know About Encountering Over 100 Ghosts, Phantoms, and Spectral Entities. New York: Three Rivers Press. Copyright ©1998 by W. Haden Blackman.

Arnold, Neil. Monster! The A-Z of Zooform Phenomena. Great Britain: CFZ Press. Copyright ©2007 by CFZ Press.

Anza Borrego's Haunted Desert (DesertUSA)