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 plane 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. Let's take a look at a few examples.
In April 2016, a very strange story surfaced out of the north of England. And to the extent that not just the local media, but the national media, too, were busy chasing down the strange and sinister story of what has become known as the "Werewolf of Hull," reportedly an eight-foot-tall, hair-covered monster. The case was, however, notable for the fact that several of the witnesses claimed the beast shape-shifted from a terrible, foul monster into the form of a black-cloaked old witch.
Most of the reports surfaced in and around the vicinity of what is called the Beverley and Barmston Drain, a land drainage operation, the origins of which date back to the latter part of the 1800s. A tunnel that carries the drain can be found below an old bridge on Beverley Beck, a canal in East Riding, Yorkshire, England—a location where a number of the encounters with the hair-covered thing have taken place.
So, what might the creature have been? The UK's media picked up—and picked up quickly and widely—on a local legend of an abominable beast known as "Old Stinker." It's a terrifying half-human/half-animal thing that has a long history in the area, a history that dates back centuries. So the story goes, the name came from the legend that the creature allegedly suffered from severely bad breath! And its physical appearance was said to have been no better either: it was covered in hair, and had piercing and glowing red eyes. On top of that, it regularly devoured the corpses of the recently deceased.
And that's just the start of things: the Men in Black who terrorize UFO witnesses have been seen to morph into the forms of blazing-eyed, black dogs. The legendary Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia has been described variously as a winged humanoid, as giant bat-like animal, and as a huge bird. Clearly, the beast is able to take on multiple guises. Bigfoot witnesses tell of the creatures changing into bright balls of light. The legendary creatures of Loch Ness are said to have the ability to take on the forms of beautiful women and large black horses.
If you think that shapeshifters are merely the things of folklore, mythology and legend, it's time to think again. Shapeshifters are here, there, and everywhere—and in multiple, monstrous forms, too...
Nick Redfern is the author of more than thirty books on UFOs, Bigfoot, and cryptozoology, including Nessie, Shapeshifters, and Chupacabra Road Trip. He has appeared on more than seventy television shows, including the SyFy ...