Post by Graveyardbride on Nov 13, 2017 0:12:50 GMT -5
The Converse Werewolf
Today, the majority of Americans don’t even know when the moon reaches its full phase and for the few who do, it means little. But to those in the “monster” business, the full moon is significant and their thoughts wander to lycanthropy, i.e., werewolves. While generally perceived as nothing more than the fictional creatures of fairytales and horror movies, there are modern accounts of werewolves in several states, one of the most notable being Wisconsin’s Beast of Bray Road, a wolf-like monster that stalks forests and cornfields walking upright like a man.
Of course there were werewolf outbreaks in France in centuries past, but werewolves in the United States are few and far between and it would come as a shock to most residents of San Antonio, Texas, if they were told the nearby city of Converse, just 15 miles to the northeast, was once stalked by a bloodthirsty man-beast with the characteristics of a wolf. Admittedly, the bustling city of approximately 20,000 isn’t what one would call “werewolf territory,” but not so long ago, the landscape, now brimming with houses and business establishments, was nothing more than arid scrubland. Such lonesome country often holds secrets and the site that is now Converse is no exception. Here’s the story of the Converse werewolf as told by Texas cryptid hunter and author Michael Mayes:
“In the mid to late 1800s, a rugged rancher, who had grown up in true pioneer fashion, settled on a plot of land near what is now Converse. Some versions of the tale suggest he was a combat veteran who relocated to Texas to put the horrors of the Civil War behind him.
“Whatever his past, the man had a son who was something of a disappointment. The lad was frail and bookish and preferred studying to wrangling cattle and hunting. This frustrated the rancher no end and he was determined to make a man out of the boy. Accordingly, he sent his son out hunting, hoping the lad would take a liking to the sport and after making his first kill, come to prefer the more masculine activity to reading and studying. He handed the boy a long rifle and instructed him to go hunt down and shoot a deer. The family needed meat, he said as he directed his offspring to a heavily-wooded area along the creek called Skull Crossing. The boy was reluctant at first and resisted, but one way or another, he was finally coerced into going. His father watched with high hopes as his son trekked off toward the woods.
“Unfortunately, the rancher was in for another disappointment for his son returned hours later empty-handed. When chastised for coming home without any game, the boy claimed he left the woods after spotting a monster resembling a werewolf which frightened him. His father dismissed the story as hogwash and cajoled the boy into returning to the woods, ordering him to come home with a deer. Trembling and fearful, the lad reluctantly trudged back to the ominously-named location. As the rancher watched the boy walk toward the creek, he didn’t realize it would be the last time he would see his son alive.
“Hours passed and it was getting dark when the man began to worry and had second thoughts about having sent his inexperienced son into the woods alone. While he hoped the reason the boy hadn’t returned was because he had made a kill, he had a sinking feeling deep in his gut that something was wrong.
“Deciding against waiting any longer, the rancher rounded up some neighbors and led them toward the wooded area near Skull Crossing. What they discovered upon arrival is the stuff of nightmares. The search party came upon a monstrous, hirsute creature hunched over the rancher’s son ravenously devouring the corpse. The men got off a few shots before the monster bounded off at lightning speed. The “werewolf,” as it was dubbed, was described as 8- to 9-feet tall on its hind legs and covered in dark hair or fur. Members of the search party were convinced it was some sort of unholy combination of a wolf and man.
“The rancher was understandably devastated by the death of his son and blamed himself for not believing the boy’s story and sending him to his doom by forcing him to return to Skull Crossing.
“In some versions of the tale, the rancher died shortly thereafter. In others he became reclusive, refused to eat and wasted away. Still others have him committing suicide by setting fire to his home and burning to death inside it. Whatever happened, it was a sorrowful end.
“The story of the Converse Werewolf is slowly fading away. Did a young boy really die? Did a grief-stricken and guilt-ridden father join his son in death soon after? The truth is buried along with the early residents of Bexar County and perhaps it’s best for all concerned that it remain buried, too.”
Sources: David Elder, KSAT, October 24, 2017, and Ken Gerhard, The San Antonio Current, April 9, 2012.