Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wolfman - media hype?

It seems much of the Wolfman story is the result of media exaggeration. When I am back in Wales properly I will have to investigate I think. One aspect of the case which is intriguing is the use of a Police helicopter... it seems like a big waste of resources for the actual basis of what the case involved.

Police dismiss 'wolfman hunted' reports

WalesOnline - ‎Apr 30, 2009‎

Police dismissed reports today that they were hunting a “wolfman” vagrant over a mini-crimewave as just another “shaggy dog story.”

Sightings of a wildman living rough in woodland near Ammanford, were no more than “rumour”, an officer said. Police knowledge of the apparently elusive individual does not even extend to confirmation that he has a beard.

Initial reports of the “wolfman” first appeared in the Ammanford-based South Wales Guardian weekly newspaper last month.

It pinpointed woodland near the hamlet of Pantyffynnon as the area where a vagrant, dubbed the “wolfman” by local children, was living rough.

Residents were also reported as holding him responsible for a spate of doorstep milk disappearances and thefts from cars. The paper has carried several interviews with local officer Sergeant Charles Gabe who confirmed the police did want to speak to him.

“We think he catches rabbits and eats berries or whatever else he can get his hands on,” he told the newspaper.

He also said the Dyfed Powys Police helicopter, using heat-seeking equipment, had been used to locate him without success on one occasion.

He told the newspaper: “But we’re not talking a one-man crimewave here. While I don’t wish to minimise what’s been happening there are more serious things happening in and around Ammanford.”

That viewpoint was echoed today by a colleague after the story of a “wolfman” hunt was picked up by at least one national newspaper.

“There is no on-going police operation to search for someone that local children have apparently dubbed the ’wolfman,”’ an Ammanford officer said today.

“We have had a couple of incidents, going back 12 months, where someone’s fridge freezer was opened and food taken out. Whether it was this person or kids has never been proven. If he is ever found he will be spoken with in connection with this incident but there is certainly no crime wave.”

He added: “There is a rumour of a tramp or vagrant living somewhere in the community, and a den he apparently lived in has been found with some remains of food.

“Situations like this with people living on the periphery of a community do occur from time to time.

“He may or may not have a beard but as for being a wolfman, that’s just a shaggy dog story.


Wolfman in Ammanford

A few people have sent me links on this rumour

Local beat Sergeant Charles Gabe said the wolfman has been living in the wild between the villages of Pantyffynnon and Penybanc for up for FOUR years — but only turned to crime in the last couple.

He said he appeared to live largely off the land in makeshift hides and added: "He appears to be quite self-sufficient. He is very rarely seen.

The best account is from the bastion of weirdness:

The Telegraph also weighs in:
'Wolfman' survives wild in woods for two years

Wolfman behind mini crimewave who lives on rabbits and berries in woods

Daily Mail - ‎Apr 29, 2009‎

It adds the info that he lives semi- underground.

"Some locals believe 'The Wolfman' - said to be in his 30s and to look 'dishevelled' - also hides in holes in the ground."

'The Wolfman' lives in the woodland on an area of reclaimed coal slagheaps known locally as 'The Tips'.

It seems to me what we have here is a local hermit or tramp transformed by media magic into the Lon Chaney jnr style Wolfman. Of course film buffs will remember that the original 1941 Universal Wolfman seen below was Welsh, specifically the American hero named Talbot returns to his roots in Cardiff where he encounters a werewolf, a gypsy Werewolf to be precise.
The Wolf Man (1941 film)
Sadly the upcoming remake is no longer set in Wales though it does feature Anthony Hopkins.

The Wolfman aspect of the story is presuambly just local folklore what is more interesting though is the comparison to old tales of Celtic hermits and the Wildman of medieval times. The Amman valley area is rather interesting so I think a look round at some point would be good though I don't think I need bother with silver bullets.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gwiber - Flying Vipers

Oll Lewsis from the CFZ is a font of information on Welsh cryptozoology. He did an excellent blog post a while back on one of the weirdest of all Welsh cryptids the Gwiber, specifically a sub species the flying snakes or dragonets of South Glamorgan. Gwibers are reported all over Wales in folklore but it was in Penllyn they are reported more recently in Marie Trevelyn's ‘Folklore and Folkstories of Wales’ from 1909:

“The woods around Penllyne Castle, Glamorgan, had the reputation of being frequented by winged serpents, and these were the terror of old and young alike. An aged inhabitant of Penllyne, who died a few years ago, said that in his boyhood the winged serpents were described as very beautiful. They were coiled when in repose, and "looked as though they were covered with jewels of all sorts. Some of them had crests sparkling with all the colours of the rainbow." When disturbed, they glided swiftly, "sparkling all over," to their hiding places. When angry, they "flew over people's heads, with outspread wings bright and sometimes with eyes, too, like the feathers in a peacock's tail." He said it was "no old story," invented to "frighten children," but a real fact. His father and uncles had killed some of them, for they were "as bad as foxes for poultry." This old man attributed the extinction of winged serpents to the fact that they were "terrors in the farmyards and coverts.”

I once went for a look round the area but found no sign of the elusive beasts. The description if them sounded very much like the fire lizards in Anne Macffrey's Dragon rider books I have always thought.

Oll goes into some depth on the mystery in his post and he did attempt some interviews. His conclusion the creatures as reported are unlikely to exist.

OLL LEWIS: Penllyn Is In My Ears And In My Eyes

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Meat Eating Squirrels in Wales?

Fascinating blog post from a while back from Richard Holland which features a Welsh wild cat and more strangely a carnivorous squirrel.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Giant Eels?

I did a guest blog at the CFZ's excellent online blog. It is on mysterious eels:

Giant Eels