Describe someone you know to yourself. It doesn’t have to be a friend or someone you’re close to. It doesn’t even have to be someone you like. Just make the description as detailed as possible. Close your eyes if it helps, and once you feel you have a grasp on that person, go to the next paragraph.
What stood out the most about this person to you? Was it a physical feature? How the person dresses? Or was your description based on how that person makes you feel?
All too often, we judge people because of how they look. How they dress. And the list goes on. Sometimes that breeds a bias or even a prejudice that helps shape our perception of that person. To be able to read an aura, you have to cleanse yourself of that mindset.
I sometimes hear people describe others to me, and even if they like that person they may make a not-so-nice comment about their looks. That alone can hinder one’s ability. It’s all to easy to make assumptions on people, but to see what and who a person truly is, you have to look at someone from the inside.
While I don’t read auras per se, and while I don’t consider myself psychic, I think it’s safe to say I have a deep intuition on people. I can meet someone and tell if they’re going to be my best friend or worst enemy (which is a hyperbole, of course), even if they’re kind to me. Most times, I’m proven right on my instinct because of how they treat the people around them, for better or worse. I never treat them any differently because for all I know, that intuition could be wrong so I try to treat everyone as if they are a friend. The only thing that hinders me is that I want to believe everyone is good, and sometimes when someone has a dark side (which we all have, but I’m talking about the kind of dark side that overshadows the good) I can’t see it. I can feel it sometimes, and I disregard that negative feeling until I have something to go on. I normally don’t hold things against people so it takes a lot for me to say whether I found a reading to be right or not. And there are times when I can’t shake a bad feeling that lingers around a person.
But notice how I said everyone has a dark side. For most of us, it doesn’t obliterate the goodness inside. We’ve all made mistakes, and we have to forgive ourselves for our “shortcomings” and put forth that same understanding in order to accept others as they are. It’s really about putting yourself in another’s shoes, because without that, we wouldn’t be able to let grudges go, and we wouldn’t be able to have that understanding and compassion that we’re all human. Some of us hold things against others that has nothing to do with us. There is a tendency to reject those who get into drugs or alcohol, or just don’t live as “we” see “fit.” And note that there’s a difference between someone who has gotten wrapped up in something bad but is a genuinely good person, compared to people who are just—as much as I hate to say it and as rare as I find it to be—evil. Evil people, to me, have a sort of “CAUTION” label on them that you can’t see, but you can definitely feel it. It’s like a “Proceed No Further” sign, and those are the people I generally try to avoid if possible.
Then there are the negative people. They just make you feel like you don’t have a voice because every time you have something good to say about someone or something, they say something negative about it. It’s not that they’re mean or doing it intentionally (in most cases anyway). They just can’t help themselves. This energy can be felt because every time you think something is good, they knock you right down. We may not think of this as an “aura,” but think of it as energy. It’s like a battery being drained. You may not be able to see it, but you can sense the shift in your emotion. Sometimes even just being around that person can make you feel blah.
On the flip side, there are the positive people. Those are the people that may have something going on in their lives that you wouldn’t know about, but if you look on a deeper level, you might be able to sense it. Even though they may be going through something, they make you feel good just being around them, but something might feel a little “off.” You know when someone acts a little out of character and you can tell that? This is similar, except they may not act any different at all, but you just know something is wrong.
Just a couple instances. I knew someone who was a mutual friend that I’d just met one time, and after swallowing my labret ring I was desperate to get in touch with a nurse. I called my friend and asked if So&So was a nurse and sure enough, she was. I just “felt” it. Then I proceeded to ask if I was going to die for swallowing my labret ring.
The most recent one was just a few days ago. I knew this person and I still don’t know her name, but I felt good around her. I thought how great she would be at giving seminars just because she had that kind of vibe about her. I thought about how she would be able to change people’s lives just because in those brief moments when I’m near her, I feel good. Turns out, she’s a motivational speaker, amongst other things.
Something that has always bothered me is that there are people who are good, but their chemistry doesn’t connect quite right. It’s like trying to jam a puzzle piece where it doesn’t belong. That puzzle piece has its place and purpose, and without it, the whole picture won’t come together. It’s every bit as important as any other piece, but it can just make you feel fried. Maybe those people need a little patience in order to relate to them. And learning how to relate to a person who is just off-centre with your own energy is sometimes all it takes. And sometimes it just seems impossible. In those cases it’s hard because you see the good in them and like them as a person, but they might be difficult to be around just because you don’t mesh well.
In most instances we tend to take what people say as truth. When they say they’re okay, or talk about how much they do for others, it’s easy to believe them. Sometimes it’s easy to sympathise, especially when they give a sad story and sometimes you think they’re these great and wonderful Super People because, well, they pretty much tell you they are. But, people sometimes don’t say what they feel, and sometimes people stretch the truth. And some can tell such convincing stories, but when you’re in tune with people as individuals, it makes it easier to tell if they really is the kind of person they claim to be, or if those claims are fruitless. And it can also give a little insight as to whether they’re just saying everything is fine when it’s really not because they don’t want you to worry.
I can sometimes feel when someone’s going through a bad time, even friends that I only know on Facebook. I want so badly to tell them it’s going to be OK before they even bring it up, but I don’t know how well those messages would be received. It’s a bit like infringing upon someone’s privacy, and sometimes I don’t know if respecting their boundaries or telling them what I’m feeling is the best option. Usually it varies from person to person, as well as what kind of mood he or she is in, and I try to go by that. But more often than not, I wait for them to say something because I feel like I would be overstepping a personal boundary. However, when you get a sad vibe from someone and they don’t bring it up, you can still give them a little lift to their spirits without even bringing up your concern for them. There are ways to let people know that there is someone out there who is listening, and who cares.
So try it again. Close your eyes and envision the same person you thought of before. Focus on how they make you feel when you’re around them. Pay attention to what kind of person they are and what kind of image they project. Practice on looking at people as people and cast appearance to the side. It makes it a lot easier once we get past all that. And if you pay close attention to the people you know, you can even read people you’ve just met.
There are two things to remember: First of all, never hold your intuition against someone, because it may be inaccurate, and secondly, there is no room for stereotypes. It’s perfectly fine to be cautious of someone if they give you that vibe, or to automatically like someone. But remember that you may find yourself telling someone your deepest secrets because you “feel” you can trust them, or you might find yourself talking badly about someone that you get a negative feeling from. You may be right about that person, but it may be that the negative feeling was that sort of “puzzle piece” thing I talked about earlier. And trusting someone too much may also be that human desire to believe everyone is good.
For years I have tried to hone those skills, and I often read people just to see how accurate I am. I’ve actually been quite surprised at how on-the-money I have been, and the same goes for those little gut instincts that I keep to myself when I meet someone for the first time. If they’re around enough, I’m able to put it all to the test.
Even so, it’s important to keep that sense of balance when you read someone so that you won’t base a relationship completely on a reading, same as you wouldn’t want to base it on a stereotype. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone involved, including yourself.
This is another short story that I am considering featuring in the anthology, but I would love to have some feedback. Please spread it around and post, comment, repost and reblog please. And thank you in advance for the support. It is a rough draft so please don’t be too harsh about grammatical or punctuation errors, but also please don’t hesitate to draw my attention to it.
Another Time, Another Place
“Dammit, Grayson! I trusted you!” Nomie screamed, throwing his phone across the room in a fit of rage after he screamed at her for invading his privacy when she insisted upon looking through his texts. It hit the wall and she hoped she’d broken it to smithereens. She wanted to throw the computer across the room after she’d found his email open but was hoping to have a civilized talk about it first.
“It’s not what you think! Tony has been the one talking to all those girls! I don’t know why you’re going through all my stuff, anyway. I have nothing to hide!”
“Using your email? Really? And how dare you accuse me of not trusting you; I did until I saw those messages, and it’s not like I deliberately went on the computer to look at your stuff! I’ve never questioned you about your privacy before, but if you have nothing to hide then why did you make such a big deal about it when I asked for your phone PIN? How stupid do you think I am?”
“I don’t!” Grayson protested. “I don’t think you’re stupid. If Tony’s wife would have found out she would have freaked! That’s why I gave him my email info so he can use it from his house.”
Nomie’s world spun and as he spoke, she started to believe his words. He was so warm, so convincing. She knew that he would never hurt her. But that night as he held her in bed, something inside her kept her awake as he held her. She cried silently to herself as he snored in a deep sleep, cutting through her eardrums.
She wriggled out of his tight grip and went to the bathroom to wipe her face. How could he do something like that to her? He wouldn’t. She knew that in her heart. It was stupid of her to read his emails even if he’d left it open. He was right when he accused her of not trusting him after she questioned him about cheating. She looked in the mirror at her puffy-eyed reflection and scolded herself for being so silly. Then she slipped back into bed to a troubled night of sleep.
The next day while Grayson was at work, Nomie tried to forget it all but she just couldn’t focus. She sat at the computer to get some work done for her boss, the invoices she had planned to have done the day before when she ran across the email that stared her in the face, telling Tony, or Grayson, as she didn’t know what to believe, how good he was in bed. But she didn’t get past typing the date. May 10, 2015. She started crying, remembering what she’d found the morning before. She remembered that the phone had hit the wall but wasn’t sure about the damage yet. She went to where it had hit but it was gone, so she walked into the kitchen to grab a soda and found the phone on the kitchen counter. It was banged up pretty good and didn’t seem to work. Curious, she tried to turn it on—Nothing. He probably left it knowing it was a goner. Or was it?
She plugged it into the charger and turned it on. There were signs of life in it! He’d never given her the passcode but she tried the PIN from their mutual bank account. It worked, but she wished it hadn’t. The text messages and voicemails she found were heartbreaking. She recognized a few of the girls’ names from his email account, and she knew from what was said that the messages were not intended for Tony as he’d claimed, but had to be for Grayson. The last one she read before breaking down was sent ten minutes ago. “Where r u? R we still on for lunch today?” It was from some girl named Chrissy, the girl he talked to most.
In a midst of a panic attack the size of Texas, Nomie slunk to the kitchen floor and sobbed uncontrollably, saying an unintelligible prayer that it would all go away and that things would be different. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to know about these things, but she wished he’d never betrayed her trust. She knew she had to leave him, but how could she? She hadn’t heard his side, so maybe there was an explanation like with the emails. And maybe he’d die in a horrible accident on the way home and she wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. She felt guilt at her hope for his demise.
A cold wind whooshed by her, but she was too busy to truly notice. A few minutes later, she felt a presence. There was a thing standing in her kitchen that looked like a shadow that had been burnt to a crisp, but there was something sympathetic in its blue eyes as it looked upon her. She felt a calm about this entity, as if he, or she or it, was going to make everything okay.
“I know what happened, you poor thing. And I can make it all go away.”
She was desperate but cautious as she stared at it for a moment, trying to take it all in. Maybe it was just a hallucination. “How?” she asked, drawing the word out with skeptical reservation.
“He betrayed you. I can take you back to another time, another place, before the betrayal began. I can make it so that it never happened.”
“You can take us back to before all of this even started?”
“Yes,” said the crispy creature. “But in exchange, you have to give me your soul. Fair deal?”
“What does that mean?” she asked hesitantly.
“It means you can have happiness with your beloved once again while you’re both here on Earth, but your soul will be mine for Eternity.”
Without putting any thought into anything else that the Shadow-Thing said except for “happiness with your beloved once again,” she sniffled and whispered a feeble, “Fair enough.”
“And one more thing. You won’t remember anything that happened these last few days. I wouldn’t want that interfering with your happiness. I’ll take you back to a time before the affairs began.”
“When was that?”
“Chrissy was the first. He started a friendship with her on February the fifteenth of 2013. Do you remember the day before? He took you out to a nice Valentine’s Day dinner. He even went into work earlier than he had to because he couldn’t bear being home without you. That morning, they both stopped in to get a cup of coffee at the convenience store and stood in line together. Every day after that, Chrissy stopped at the store hoping to catch him and even waited until she saw his car before she’d set foot in the store. It was around March that he started falling for her and took her up on a lunch date, and when he got away with seeing her, he started seeing the others. But I’m sure I’ve already told you more than you can handle in your delicate state. I can change all that; I can make it so that they never even cross paths.”
“That bastard!” Nomie screamed. She thought of how she and Grayson had a nice dinner and went home early since they both had to work the next day, but they made up for the early-night-in in bed. Afterwards, he spooned her and gave her small kisses along her shoulder, caressing her body gently with his fingertips as he whispered sweet words in her ear. “I love you, baby. I hope I made your Valentine’s Day as good as you’ve made mine,” he said as she drifted to sleep, still feeling his loving touch on her skin. It was so perfect. “And I’ll forget all of this?”
She sighed, desperate for relief from the pain in her mind, heart and body. “Yes.”
Suddenly everything went black. She woke up on February the Fourteenth, 2013. It was the same as it was two years ago, but she didn’t remember it. She had a sense of deja vu all day but couldn’t pinpoint exactly why. But she ignored it. She was just excited to get home from work after he’d sent her a text about how he had a special surprise for her.
That night she went to bed feeling the most love for him she’d ever known for anyone. From the Five-Star restaurant to the sex, everything was perfect as she curled up in his arms and fell asleep in a state of euphoric bliss under his touch.
The next morning she still felt that sense of deja vu, but was still high from the magic of the night before to think much of it. He sat on the bed buttoning his shirt with a sly smile, He motioned to her with a “come here” gesture and pulled her in, giving her a long, seductive kiss. “Too much of that and both of us will be late to work. If we make it in at all,” he laughed. “That would be fine by me,” she said, wishing she could just lay in bed with him all day. Then she looked at her watch. “Well I’d better get going, I think I’m going to be cutting it a bit short here.”
“All right, baby. I still have forty-five minutes, maybe an hour before I have to leave. Gonna be lonely here without you.” He gave her a sad puppy dog look and she smiled. Then he pulled her in for one final kiss before she left the room. He heard some noise from the kitchen before the front door closed and her car started up. He felt so much more love from him than ever, but couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was last night’s escapade. And he also had a strange sense of deja vu.
He was going to leave early because the night before was so wonderful with Nomie that he was missing her like crazy, but something told him not to. It was a nagging feeling in his gut that if he left early, things wouldn’t pan out the way that Fate, or possibly some other Entity, had designed it to. Instead, he passed time by sending out a few emails. He didn’t realize that he’d let time slip away and then he headed out the door, knowing he would have to speed a little to get to work in time.
It was around 9:51 on the morning of February 15th that Nomie received the call that Grayson had been in a terrible accident. “Is he okay?” she asked with her heart pounding.
The officer on the other line hesitated before saying, “I’m sorry; Grayson didn’t make it.” He didn’t want to tell her that not only had his car been T-boned by a big rig, but it had pretty much crushed Grayson’s car with him in it. He had briefly rehearsed the right words to say to her before calling, but in a situation like this, he found it difficult.
A guy from the cleanup crew yelled, “We got another chunk of him over here!” as the officer grimaced at the lack of couth, hoping his voice hadn’t carried over the phone.
As the officer explained what had happened, Nomie crumpled to the floor, screaming as her co-workers ran to her to see what was wrong. her boss drove her home, promising that he would look after her car and told her to keep in touch and take a little time off if she needed to.
Grayson’s family was notified by police, which she was grateful for since she barely had the strength to relay it to her mother without choking up. Her mother called the rest of the family and ten minutes later showed up at her doorstep.
Nomie was quiet and could barely eat. She went into the corner of the living room where the computer was and noticed that Grayson hadn’t turned his computer off. Desperate to know what some of his last thoughts were, she sifted through his “sent” folder. Every message she came across mentioned her in some way, but the very last one was to his brother who was having girl troubles.
“If you ever find a girl like Nomie, don’t let her go. I hope someday you’re as lucky as I am.”
The tears began to flow in a neverending torrent. He was the most loving, caring, faithful and loyal husband any woman could ask for.
Have you gotten your copy yet, or can you handle it?
If you love horror, you shouldn’t be without this book!
M-O-M by Joslyn Corvis
Everyone has a best childhood friend. Tiffany was mine. We used to do all the typical little girl things together. Tea parties, sleepovers, and playing silly kid games.
We’d usually end up at my house. I had the feeling that her dad didn’t like having kids over. And I kinda got the feeling that he didn’t really like having Tiffany around, either. I never asked and never really saw anything for myself, but his kindness seemed forced to me. He seemed to act a bit sharp and cold toward her. I don’t think he was physically abusive, but it seemed as if she were almost afraid of him.
Inevitably, we got older and grew apart as most friends do. At the so-very mature age of twelve I started hanging out with the popular kids. I would invite Tiffany to hang out with us, but she was so awkward and just hung in the background. When I’d walk off with my new friends she’d just stand there. I told myself that it wasn’t my fault. It was hers. Why was she so weird? How was I supposed to fix that? We were at that point where we would just greet each other in passing until we stopped any sort of acknowledgement of each other at all. I don’t know about her, but I would go out of my way to look the other direction. I’m really not sure why. Maybe by that time I’d become more concerned about my own reputation.
A turning point in our relationship came during my senior year of high school. I was to graduate in December at the age of seventeen and couldn’t wait. Everyone was always asking me about jobs, college, career choices. I was enjoying the attention. And in all of my own social and academic success, I’d totally forgotten about Tiffany.
I remember it was in October, two months before graduation. Someone called me on the phone, but I didn’t recognize the shaky voice. “Is this Morgan?” asked the caller.
“Yeah, it is.” Silence on the other end. Curiosity consumed me and I listened closely, waiting for someone to say something. Seeing how the caller went quiet, I spoke. “Who’s this?”
“Tiffany. Shankley. Remember me?”
“Oh, right. Right. How have you been?” I was trying to sound genuine, but I really didn’t care. I knew perfectly well how she’d been. She started dressing in black and hanging out with those weird kids. In my mind I kept thinking of what I would tell my friends, and how we would joke that I’m lucky she didn’t call me up to lure me to her house as a human sacrifice. Then we’d all laugh.
“Been okay. How about you?”
I started to tell her about all the wonderful things that were happening in my life and what the future held in store for me. We chatted for a while and something inside me sparked. I was reminded of old times. Things had once been so great between us! What went wrong, I wondered, shamefully arriving at the answer. It was me. I went wrong with Tiffany. She wasn’t that bad, just shy. Even though we weren’t friends, I didn’t have to laugh when people made fun of her. I could hear my voice trail off as I became lost in thought. She took my pause as an opportunity to speak.
“I was just wondering if you wanted to hang out for a bit tonight. Just catch up on old times,” she asked. “I’d heard you were going to graduate soon and figured you’d be busy after that. So,” she paused, seeming unsure of what to say. “I thought it might be my last chance to get ahold of you.”
Thinking it over, I decided to go. Things seemed as if they hadn’t really changed much over the phone, so why would anything be different in person? I walked the short distance to her house. Her house was on a back street, kind of secluded, but I still knew the way.
I stood in front of her house, motionless. Since it was October, I couldn’t help but think of how appropriate the scene looked. She sat on the front stoop, dressed all in black with her elbows on her knees and her head resting in her clasped hands. She looked so pale, enhanced by the black makeup around her eyes.
“Uh, Hi,” I said. “So, what do you wanna do?”
Her face lit up. “Hi!” she squealed. “Come in!”
As she held the ratty screen door open for me, I cautiously entered, remembering how intrusive I used to feel at her house. I stepped as if I were walking on eggshells as I entered. It was almost as if she’d read my mind.
“My dad died a couple years back,” she said without emotion.
“I’m so sorry!” I stammered, wanting to ask why but holding my tongue. She just shrugged, making an, “Eh,” sound.
Her room was nothing like I’d remembered. Pentagrams and skulls. Weird stuff everywhere. Everything was black. A far cry from how I remembered it: The pink “Little Princess” bedspread and the dolls scattered on the floor.
She sat on her bed and beckoned me to sit next to her. It felt as forced as her father’s smile, but pretty soon we were chatting like crazy! She really wasn’t that different from my other friends. The ones I’d abandoned her for.
All the topics were covered—Boys, clothes, and even some gossip. We did each other’s hair and nails and when the clock struck midnight, we realized how hungry we were so we went to the kitchen. After snacking and goofing around, we passed by the clock in the hall back to her room. It was 12:30. On the dot. We sat back down on the bed and I was about to thank her for having me over, but I didn’t get the chance. She jumped up without warning and crouched by the bed, pulling something out from underneath.
“Wanna play?” she asked with a strange grin, holding a folded board game in her hand.
I think I nodded, a little nervous. I knew this wasn’t going to be Candy Land. Either way, she pushed a narrow table in front of her bedroom door, exerting minimal force, and put a black cloth on top. After strategically arranging a few black candles on top of the table, which she lit, she sat on the floor in front of me and opened the board game, revealing it to be a Ouija board.
“My mom is working until two in the morning so we’ll have plenty of time. She freaks out about this stuff, you know how moms are. Oh, one more thing!” she said, jumping up and hitting the lights. She was like a ball of energy, a side of her I hadn’t seen in years. I think I’d come to view her as nothing more than a stick in the mud.
We sat there and I followed her lead having seen a million movies with these things. I gently put my fingertips on the triangle, or whatever it was called, as she closed her eyes. “Who are you?” she asked.
Nothing happened. We focused some more. “Who are you?” she repeated. And then the triangle jittered, but only slightly. I wondered if she was moving it to scare me. But then it started to move as if it had a mind of its own. Her eyes popped open and she stared at the board as if in a trance. We said each letter together as the little window of the triangle hit upon them.
And then it stopped. We looked at each other with puzzled expressions. Suddenly there were footsteps in the hall. “Tiffany,” called her mother’s voice. I hadn’t heard it in years, but I’d never forget how pleasant her mother’s voice always sounded. “What are you doing, Tiffany?”
I didn’t have time to think rationally as I was afraid of getting caught, but why would her mom bother her in the middle of the night? The room was dark, unless she saw the glow of the candles from outside. My main concern that her mom would tell my mom, and that everyone at school would make fun of me.
There was a strong burst at the door that tipped the table over. The candles quickly caught the black fabric on fire. I saw a glimpse of her mother in the doorway which was open at least a foot. Tiffany and I glanced at each other and made a break for the window. I pushed the screen out thinking she was behind me still, but then I heard her mother’s voice. “Are you okay?” she asked.
Tiffany had run back to save her mother, trying to get through the flames to open the door. I thought her mom would have been long gone by that time, but she stood there doing nothing as Tiffany continue to battle through the fire.
“Tiffany!” I screamed. “Let’s go! Your mom has time to get out through the front door!” Neither of them answered, and Tiffany’s mom just stood there, oblivious to the smoke. Oblivious to Tiffany. I ran back and tried to drag Tiffany away. “Come on!” I yelled, choking on my words and the smoke. But she wouldn’t budge.
I ran to the window once again and looked back, but she was still trying to get to her mother. It was hopeless for me to even try. If the flames hadn’t been licking at her hands she could have just easily opened the door which would have pushed the table out of the way, but the fire was growing. I had to save myself.
I struggled to get through the window and rolled out to safety. Frantically dialing 9-1-1, I could see that the fire was starting to get bigger from the golden blaze from within. Smoke flooded through the open window and I was crying as the dispatcher asked for my location. Could she understand me, I wondered?
Screams started to fill my ears. By that time I don’t think I could even speak. I was a mess, gagging on my words as the dispatcher tried to keep me calm. I could swear I saw Tiffany twirling around in flames, but I still wonder if that horrible image was in my imagination. It’s the only way I can cope with that night, to try to erase it all from my memory. A few years have passed, and I wonder if I’ll ever forget.
And then the screams from within stopped as my own became louder. Suddenly I was being enveloped by two dark figures who pulled me away and I heard a staticy voice, but couldn’t make out what it was saying. I thrashed around in a panic and looked up, seeing a police car parked in the street, the staticy voice coming from one of their radios. I screamed that my friend and her mother were still inside, finally finding my voice. Everything after that was pretty much a blur.
The fire was finally out. It was all over. I sat in a daze of silent shock wrapped in a blanket as a firefighter came to tell me what I already knew. I didn’t cry. At least not then. I was too numb. They asked me repeatedly about Tiffany’s mother being inside and I kept telling them I was sure of it, though not in so many words. It was still hard to talk.
I thought the police had come in response to my call, but as I later found out, they were there to talk to Tiffany. Her mother had left work early that night, and some time around midnight while on her way home, she had been killed in a car accident.
Shapeshifting is generally associated with Native American culture and legend, but I can’t say for certain whether or not it is regarded as truth among Native Americans themselves. However, it has become a sort of mainstream interest with paranormal and occult enthusiasts, with books and websites that explain how to shapeshift and documented sightings of shapeshifters. The idea behind shapeshifting is that one can become just about anything they want, whether it’s an animal, a tree, or a chair!
There are so many stories of werecreatures. Werecreatures are generally large bipedal canines or felines, but I’m sure there are others. Maybe there are werehorses, werebutterflies, and weredolphins. Who knows! It might seem a ridiculous stretch, but to someone who believes in werewolves, anything is possible!
The main difference, to my understanding, between shapeshifters and werecreatures is that a shapeshifter does not only have the ability to choose what they want to become and can will it at any time, but that they take on the appearance of your average every-day housecat, or maybe a common raven. And no one is the wiser. With a werecreature, legends usually state that the transformation is usually out of the person’s control, and they do not appear as a normal animal, but something larger and monstrous.
( THIS JUST IN! My friend, Audrey, who is quite the werewolf expert, enlightened me a bit more upon these creatures. I had her read this because if you need to know something about werewolves, she’s the one to go to. I was so intent upon the story rather than the legend, I failed to mention one of the more interesting takes! But it’s okay, because Audrey was there to remind me. She responded: “In many cultures, the were can also shift at will. Like European legend of a man who puts on the pelt of a wolf, or wears it like a belt can take on the form. Then take it off again when he doesn’t want it anymore. Or even in old Norse Mythology, those who follow Fenris were given the ability to take on the form of his children at will. =)” If you’re interested in reading some of Audrey’s inspirational writings, you can find it here:
But werewolves, my friend…Werewolves are a whole ‘nother story!
I am not talking about lyncanthropy, where a person believes themself to be a wolf and sometimes possesses super-human strength during a full moon while staying in human form. People suffering from lycanthropy actually visualise themselves in the form of a wolf, and bite and claw at people, and when they are locked in a room they sometimes tear at the walls or doors at an attempt to escape. Some even act on their desires of bloodlust, whether it is upon small animals, raw meat, or even people. It has been noted by some that people with this affliction actually show more agility and coordination when they are walking on all fours than they do when they are walking upright. Although lycanthropy is an interesting topic, my motive in this article is to give a little background on your Everyday-All-American Blood-Thirsty Werewolf!
Generally speaking, werewolves are regular people who turn into wolves when the full moon rises. There are many theories on why someone is cursed to dwell among the damned. Gypsy spells. A bite from another werewolf. A pact with the Devil. Yes, there are some who become a werewolf by choice. Their history is rich, dating back centuries ago and from what I’ve read, seems to have started in Europe, though there are werebeings in so many cultures from all over the world. So, technically, our “American” werewolf is actually a mixture of legends and myths (and perhaps some truth) of the European werewolf, along with the eclectic mixture of cultures that we find here in the U.S.
But, as a true-blooded Texan, and I wanted to write about some down-home werewolf stories. I turned up a couple of creepy tales, along with a very special story which was told to me firsthand! So, read on…if you’re not easily scared. Mrs. Gregg of Greggton, Texas, had a brush with a strange creature in the late 1950’s. Her husband was away on business, so she was alone that night. There was a storm rolling in, so she decided to push her bed closer to the open window to enjoy the cool fresh air. She drifted off to sleep, and shortly thereafter was awakened by the sound of something clawing at the window screen. There was a sudden crash of lightening, and that’s when she caught a glimpse of a large creature with the face of a wolf. She described him as “huge” and “shaggy”, and his eyes, she said, were “baleful”, “glowing” and “slitted”. She grabbed a flashlight and watched the thing run into a cluster of bushes, waiting for it to run out from the shrubbery so that she could get a better view of it. She fully expected to see the monster pop out, but instead, she saw an “extremely tall man” walking quickly toward the road before the black night swallowed his form.
One of my favourite werewolf stories takes place in Lawton, Texas. In 1970, there was an outbreak of sightings over the course of three days, and calls were flooding into the police department left and right! One man had a heart attack when he looked out his window and saw a beast having a drink from his fish pond. A group of soldiers stationed in the area also saw the monster. There was another man who looked out of his apartment window and saw it leaning against a railing. I don’t know what railing he was leaning against, but everything I’ve read on the Lawton werewolf says that he was leaning against a railing, so that’s all I know. Anyway, he thought it was someone in costume until the beast jumped nearly twenty feet to the ground and ran away with the gait of a monkey! The part that I find most amusing about this story is that the wolf-man was wearing pants that were a few sizes too small for him. In most real life werewolf stories I’ve heard, the werewolves are just gallivanting around in the buff! I think the clothes gives the creature a more humanistic quality than some of the other tales I’ve heard.
Now, I cannot leave out the Converse Werewolf! I live fairly close to Converse, so this story hits home and makes me wonder what might have become of the creature. In the 1800’s, a farmer sent his son out to kill a deer and bring it home for supper. The boy, aged fifteen, set out to do just that. It was two or three days before he came home, and so the farmer went out to find him. He heard a sound and set off in that direction with a ray of hope, but what he found was an eight-foot-tall creature hovering over the young man. The poor boy had been eaten, and when the farmer approached, the animal disappeared into the woods. It was said that the man became very depressed and died because he couldn’t cope with what had happened, and quite possibly felt as if he was to blame for his son’s death.
I have heard about the Cleo Face, but I don’t know what to make of it because I haven’t been able to turn up a lot of information about it. N.Q. Patterson was one of the early residents of Kimble County and had an interesting background. He carved gravestones for a living, and during a bout with tuberculosis, he spent a lot of time carving things on the rocks that lined Bear Creek which ran along his property. I would love to view an image of the Cleo Face, but there’s very little info that I can find on this particular case as it is. Time had made it harder to discern the image, so I wonder if it’s visible now since it was carved near the turn of the twentieth century, or if anyone had taken pictures of it. The face could have been that of a bear, but it was rumoured that it was actually the face of a werewolf. Who knows? But if anyone is interested in finding out about the image, maybe we should plan a roadtrip to the little ghost town of Cleo! I would love to stop at little diners and gift shops along the way and collect stories about the local legend.
And here is my final short, the reason for my delay in getting this piece done. I wanted to make sure I got down the important details to this one, and I was finally able to sit down with Joe and my laptop and ask the questions I needed to know.
This happened in Devine, Texas in 1963, around midnight and about a week before Christmas. It was a moonlit country night. Joe, a teenager at the time, was taking shortcuts through fields after watching a picture show. As he made his way home, he came upon a large German Shepard, larger than any he’d ever seen. At first all he could see was a pair of glowing orange eyes, perhaps a reflection from the moonlight? Thinking the dog was friendly, he leaned over and put his hand out. “Here, boy!” But then the dog started growling, slowly making its way toward Joe. He thought at first that the dog must have been rabid; living in the country, it is not rare. And that’s when he ran, two miles back toward the highway that he had just come from. The dog was nowhere in sight, and it was late and he wanted to go home. So, he walked back toward a creek. It was about a mile from his home, but there was a lot of brush and it was hard to see, so he made a detour toward a trailer where his friends lived, right next door to their parents’ house. There was still no sign of the dog, and he was going to go through the corral to get to the trailer where his friends lived. He looked around, and was right about to go through the gate, when in the blink of an eye, there was the dog on the other side of the gate! It was as if it was waiting for him. It seemed nearly impossible! It was clear that this was no ordinary animal. There was a large post, about ten feet tall, six feet around, where they would tie the cows to milk them. He climbed the post to safety, even though it was smooth and took some effort, and sat at the top. Again, there was no sign of the dog. When he thought it was safe, he climbed back down, went through the gate and toward the trailer. He knocked, but his friends weren’t home. Luckily, the door was usually unlocked. But the dog was still lurking outside. Joe was in the living room, in complete darkness, and the dog started to pound and scratch against the walls of the trailer. “BANG-BANG-Scraaaaaaaatch…BANG-BANG-Scraaaaaaaatch…” No matter where he went in the pitch-black trailer to find safety, it was right outside. BANG-BANG-Scraaaaaaaatch….
The dog pounded hard, rhythmically, and clawed on the outside of whichever room he tried to seek refuge in. Somehow, it knew which room Joe was in. So, Joe began to pray. Soon he heard another dog. He was sure it was the family dog, a little collie they called Lassie. He heard the two dogs fighting, and then he heard one of the dogs give a few final whimpers of defeat. There was no doubt about it. One of the dogs had been killed, and he was sure it was that little collie. It didn’t stand a chance against the German Shepard. After that, Joe passed out from fear and exhaustion.
The next morning, he went outside and his friend’s mother was tending to her garden. She was shocked to see someone come out of the trailer since her sons were working with their dad at the cotton gin. He told her what had happened, and she didn’t say a word. There was no air conditioning in her house, and her window was open and had been all night. She didn’t hear the dog fight, and here’s the kicker: It was right near her open window. There were no traces of the battle, and Joe was sure he would have found blood or even the ragged body of the collie, because it was a very vicious fight. But then, Lassie trotted right by, as if everything was fine, and without a single scratch on her! Interestingly enough, it was thought that some people on the property engaged in white magick. Was this dog a normal dog? A demon? Or some sort of shapeshifter?
On a sidenote, someone who lived in the vicinity had problems with the radio and television coming on in the dead of night, all by itself. There were other strange things, like disembodied voices speaking in Spanish in a little barn. When they looked through the windows, they could see shadowy people, but when they opened the door, there was nobody there. When walking the empty fields at night, people would hear someone walking next to them…in shackles! They could hear the chains as clear as a bell, and when they would stop, the sounds would stop. Most people refused to go out by themselves at night! But those stories are on a whole ‘nother topic completely!
I can’t help think of the bazillions of possibilities that could explain any given one of these stories. Myth. Local legend. Hoaxes. Pranks. Undiscovered or misidentified creatures. Delusions. Vivid imagination. Or, could it be, that there are things out there that exist beyond our knowledge? Something unexplainable? Something terrifying? Something evil.
Ask yourself what you honestly believe. In the daytime, it’s easy to identify such tales nothing more than campfire stories to give a thrill of frightful fun. But when you close your eyes to drift off to Dreamland, or when you’re walking on a path dimly illumed by the moonlight, and suddenly you visualise a pair of glowing “orange” or “baleful slitted” eyes staring at you unblinking, you just may think a little differently.
My dad was always telling me about this music box that, every now and again, would go off all by itself. It wasn’t a real Hummel, but an imitation that to the untrained eye looked quite similar to the real deal. Yeah, right. Suuuuuuure, I thought to myself. I knew of the music box. It was one my mom had for years and years. If it was going off all on its own, why didn’t I ever hear it? Even in the middle of the night when I was sound asleep, why didn’t the thing ever wake me up?
One day he was talking about it, and curiosity got the better of me. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in this stuff. We’ve had all sorts of weird and unexplainable things happen here. For instance, one day as my parents were sitting at the kitchen table, a magnet flew from the fridge and landed right in front of them, and there’s no logic as to how the thing could have achieved such an angle and such a distance without any help. And one time my brother (who would probably say he was making a sandwich at the time), along with my dad, saw me flash by them. But it wasn’t me. Anyway, I guess I just wondered why I had never experienced anything with the Hummel, and maybe I felt a bit left out.
While my dad was at work one day, I went to their room, picked up the music box, and I wound it up. I wound it pretty good, but the gears inside (which you could see when you held the hinged lid up) didn’t move. Okay, the stupid thing is broken. The gears weren’t moving. It must have been some other sound he was hearing. I don’t know, maybe the Ice Cream Man was making his (or her) rounds in the middle of the night and he was hearing the music from the Ice Cream Truck. Maybe it was some alarm on some new-fangled machine that we’d just gotten and neglected to read the instructions to. Who knows? But there was no possible way it coulda been the music box.
Now let’s fast-forward. It’s a few days later, maybe two or three, and my dad’s at work. I’m in my room. I hear a happy little song. It was like little chimes going off in a melodic tune. “Hmmm,” thought I, wondering where it was coming from. Now, I would have thought it was a cell phone, but at that time, my mom’s cell had a ring like a regular phone. It is significant to point such things out today because the first question asked by our modern youth would be, “Could it have been your cell?” I didn’t even have a cell phone at that time. Oh, and by the way, I’ve noticed the majority of teens and pre-teens have cell phones, but it wasn’t like that then. I didn’t have one, but the majority of my peers were still using landlines like I was, so it wasn’t unusual.
Back to the story. Suddenly, I thought of that music box!I took off like a bolt of lightning to my parents’ room which was just across the hall, but I didn’t want to miss out! I still heard the music playing. I stared at the music box, which was playing at a normal speed. I picked it up and held it in my palm, careful not to jostle it too much. I sloooowwwwwly lifted the lid so I could watch the gears. And as I lifted the lid, the music slowed, chimed the last few notes, and stopped before I could even get a glimpse of the gears to see if they were moving.
I figured that when I wound it up, maybe the gears didn’t move because the pin was down, holding them in place. But if memory serves, I tried moving the pin and tried a few things before giving up on it the few days before. However, maybe that’s the way this music box worked. I don’t know. There are lots of reasons the gears may not have budged. And maybe, even though it took a couple of days, maybe there was some vibration that jiggled the table and in turn the music box, setting the gears in motion. That, I can explain. But for ever logical reason I come up with, I find myself asking more questions.The thing just didn’t seem to work at all, so how did it manage? Why would it take so long for the box to go off on its own? Why would it go off in the middle of the night if no one was messing with it the other times? And the music box was just one weird thing that happened, so how could I ever explain all of the others?
While most instances with the Hummel were random and unprovoked, I think my interest in it may have sparked something. Since I had been playing around with it, trying to see what made it tick so to speak, whatever entity that made it work knew just how to get my attention.