Friday, August 18, 2017
“They must have the ring back again,” he said to the cat.
The cat answered: “The ring has been carefully locked up in the chest, where no one can get at it.”
“You must catch a mouse,” said the dog, “and the mouse must gnaw a hole in the chest and fetch out the ring. And if she does not want to, say that you will bite her to death, and you will see that she will do it.”
This advice pleased the cat, and she caught a mouse. Then she wanted to go to the house in which stood the chest, and the dog came after. They came to a broad river. And since the cat could not swim, the dog took her on his back and swam across with her. Then the cat carried the mouse to the house in which the chest stood. The mouse gnawed a hole in the chest, and fetched out the ring. The cat put the ring in her mouth and went back to the river, where the dog was waiting for her, and swam across with her. Then they started out together for home, in order to bring the lucky ring to their master and mistress. But the dog could only run along the ground; when there was a house in the way he always had to go around it. The cat, however, quickly climbed over the roof, and so she reached home long before the dog, and brought the ring to her master.
Then her master said to his wife: “What a good creature the cat is! We will always give her enough to eat and care for her as though she were our own child!”
But when the dog came home they beat him and scolded him, because he had not helped to bring home the ring again. And the cat sat by the fireplace, purred and said never a word. Then the dog grew angry at the cat, because she had robbed him of his reward, and when he saw her he chased her and tried to seize her.
And ever since that day cat and dog are enemies.
Vampires and the Doctrine of the Demon Lover by Franz Hartmann M.D. 1896
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Everyone who, for a long time, in a rational manner and without prejudice, investigates the phenomena of spiritism, will, sooner or later, meet in them some perplexing element, which cannot be explained by the theory of " departed spirits," nor by "sub-conscious" mental action, nor by "telepathy," nor by any other of the manifold theories that have been invented for the purpose of explaining these phenomena by the conscious or unconscious action of powers inherent in the constitution of man; there always comes in at a certain period a foreign element which seems to have a will, if not an intelligence of its own; such as does not naturally belong to the "medium," and which cannot be an angel, nor a "departed human spirit," but which rather seems to belong to some fool or idiot, playing pranks on the astral plane. In fact, we may say, that while upon the terrestrial plane, in our daily life, we continually are surrounded by a multitude of illusive appearances, errors, and falsehoods, each containing a kernel of truth, on the astral plane we meet with an endless array of undeniable facts and apparent truths, each of which, if closely examined, is found to be based upon a kernel of truth.
Let me explain what I mean. There is, for instance, Mr. H. B. Foulke, of Philadelphia, who receives oil-paintings that have been undoubtedly produced in an occult manner through the mediumship of Mrs. Betse; they are well executed, but they never are what they claim to be, for there is one representing the "wife of Pythagoras," who presumably never was married, another represents "Jacob Boehme in his college costume," while it is certain that Boehme was a poor shoemaker, who never went to a college; there are "Mahatma letters" that are perfectly "genuine," except in so far as they have never been written or even indicated by a Mahatma; there are innumerable tests of spirit identity, absolutely satisfactory to a superficial observer, but found to be sadly wanting in truth, when closely examined. In most instances it seems as if a host of lying spirits were assuming the true masks of known persons; the acting is often perfect, but the actor behind the mask is not what he represents himself to be, although many a deluded person, being delighted with the idea of communicating with a beloved friend or relative, is most unwilling to incur the risk of finding himself deceived. Whenever the communicating spirit represents himself in the garb of a spirit-lover or spirit-bride, human vanity becomes excited to the highest pitch, and a cure is almost impossible. Such persons regard doubts about the identity of their "spirits" as being blasphemy and heresy of the worst kind.
FORCE CENTRES WITHOUT CONSCIOUSNESS.
All these perplexing things, however, become plain if we accept the doctrine of mischievous elementals inhabiting the astral plane, of whom the occultists of the middle ages have written a great deal, whose nature H. P. Blavatsky has more clearly explained than any other writer, and who have also been referred to in Mr. Leadbeater's rehearsal of occult teachings concerning the inhabitants of the astral plane. The acceptance of that doctrine makes at once explainable many otherwise "unexplainable" facts, such as the exhibitions of superhuman strength by Miss Emma Abbott, &c, in regard to which H. P. Blavatsky says:—
"They have no forms, and in trying to describe what they are, it is better to say that they are 'centres of force,' having instinctive desires but no consciousness, as we understand it. Others, of certain elements and species, change from under a fixed law which Kabalists explain. The most solid of their bodies is ordinarily just material enough to escape perception by our physical eyesight, but not so unsubstantial but that they can be perfectly recognised by the inner or clairvoyant vision. They not only exist and can all live in ether, but can handle and direct it for the production of physical effects, in which occupation they are readily helped by the 'human elementaries' or 'shells.' More than this, they can so condense it as to make for themselves tangible bodies, which by their protean power they can cause to assume such likeness as they choose, by taking as their models the portraits they find stamped in the memory of the persons present."
And again H. P. Blavatsky says in regard to those elementals who exhibit great physical strength:— "Poruthu Madon is the 'wrestling demon,' he is the strongest of all, and whenever there are feats shown in which physical force is required, such as levitations, or taming wild animals, he will help the performer by keeping him above the soil, or will overpower a wild beast," &c.
But it is of another kind of " spirits " that I wish to speak, and which are the more dangerous as they appear under the alluring mask of "spirit-brides" and "spirit-lovers," but which are nothing else but vampires, extracting vitality from those whom they obsess, and through them, from all with whom they come into contact. These vampires are exceedingly numerous, and I have had ample opportunity to observe during a twenty years' investigation of spiritism the detrimental effects of vampirism. If, in the following pages, I do not give the exact names of the persons referred to, it is for obvious reasons; but I am willing to reveal these names confidentially to anybody, provided that it is of importance that he should be made acquainted with them.
I am not the only person to whom a great many spiritistically-inclined people are known who claim to live on most intimate terms of soul communion and even bodily intercourse with their "duals." They are always in communication with their unseen friend, and it would be useless to attempt to persuade them that they are labouring under an hallucination, and that the "spirit" is a creation of their own fancy. They feel the presence of that "spirit," they ask him questions and he answers them, they converse with him, and many instances are known in which such "spirits" have "materialized" and been seen objectively, not only by the mediums themselves, but also by other persons present. In olden times such observing elementals, if male and attached to a woman, were called "incubi," if female and attached to a man they were called "succub." The history of mediaeval witchcraft is full of accounts of their doings; neither can any intelligent reader studying that history set down all the reported cases as being lies and superstitions due to ignorance. There were as intelligent men at those times as there are now, and on the whole there was more known at those times about the occult laws of nature than is known at present, and if our modern investigators would take the trouble to study the works of Theophrastus Paracelsus, they might find many a problem already solved, over the solution of which they are vainly breaking their heads.
Persons obsessed by a vampire may be very intellectual and refined, but they are always sensually inclined people, and usually given to secret vices. To a sensitive person the shake of their hands feels clammy and cadaverous. If you are for a long time in their presence you will feel exhausted; it is as if they were drawing strength from you. It is also very likely that after you leave them you will be for a few days in a very bad humour, liable to quarrel and to find fault, and not unfrequently it happens that a person having been in company of such a "medium" will feel strongly inclined to commit suicide. Many are even driven to suicide by such vampires, without knowing the source of that influence. Moreover, the abstraction of vitality does not necessarily cease upon leaving the presence of the "medium"; the connection once formed the vampire will follow you to any distance and abstract life from you. A case is known to me in which a previously healthy young lady, after visiting' such an obsessed person, experienced a continual loss of vitality, causing a waste of flesh amounting to about three pounds per week.
The vampire draws strength from its medium. For this reason such mediums usually have a voracious appetite, they sleep a great deal; but, nevertheless, they do not grow strong, but are always exhausted and unfit for fatiguing or continuous labour. They are irritable, highly emotional, ready to shed tears for insignificant reasons, loving solitude, and finding their greatest comfort in the intercourse with their duals. Being continually vampirized they in their turn unconsciously vampirize every sensitive person with whom they come into contact, and they instinctively seek out such persons and invite them to stay at their house. I know of an old lady, a vampire, who thus ruined the health of a lot of robust servant girls, whom she took into her service and made them sleep in her room. They were all in good health when they entered, but soon they began to sicken, they became emaciated and consumptive, and had to leave the service. Two of them died shortly after.
AN ELEMENTAL AIDED BY A GHOST.
A young lady at G had an admirer who asked her in marriage, but as he was a drunkard she refused and married another. Thereupon that lover shot himself, and soon after that event a vampire, assuming his form, visited her frequently at night, especially when her husband was absent. She could not see him but felt his presence in a way that could leave no room for doubt. The medical faculty did not know what to make out of that case, they called it "hysterics" and tried in vain every remedy in the pharmacopoeia, until she had at last had the spirit exorcised by a man of strong faith. In this case there is an elemental making use of, and being aided by, the elementary of the suicide.
A VAMPIRE BURNT.
A miller at D had a healthy servant boy, who, soon after entering service, began to fail. He had a ravenous appetite, but nevertheless grew daily more feeble and emaciated. Being interrogated, he at last confessed that a thing which he could not see, but which he could plainly feel, came to him every night and settled upon his stomach, drawing all the life out of him, so that he became paralyzed for the time being, and could neither move nor cry out. Thereupon the miller agreed to share the bed with that boy, and proposed to him that he should give him a certain sign when the vampire arrived. This was done, and when the sign was given the miller grasped an invisible but very tangible substance that rested upon the boy's stomach, and, although it struggled to escape, he grasped it firmly and threw it into the fire. After that the boy recovered, and there was an end of these visits. Those who, like myself, have on innumerable occasions removed "astral tumors," and thereby cured the physical tumors, will find the above neither "incredible" nor "unexplainable." Moreover, the above accounts do not refer to events of the past, but to persons still living in this country.
A VAMPIRE MARRIAGE.
A woman in this vicinity has an incubus, or, as she calls it, a "dual," with whom she lives on the most intimate terms as wife and husband. She converses with him and he makes her do the most irrational things. He has many whims, and she, being a woman of means, gratifies them. If her dual wants to go to see Italy "through her eyes," she has to go to Italy and let him enjoy the sights. She does not care for balls and theatres; but her dual wants to attend them, and so she has to go. She gives lessons to her "dual," and "educates" him in the things of this world, and commits no end of follies. At the same time her "dual" draws all her strength from her, and she has to vampirize everybody with whom she comes into contact to make up for the loss.
But how do such vampires grow, or how are they attracted? In the human system are contained all the seeds for good and for evil, and those that are cultivated grow by attracting the elements corresponding to their own nature from the astral plane, in the same way as a seed in the earth attracts its appropriate elements from the earth. The power that stimulates the seed of a plant to grow in the sunshine, the power that causes a psychic germ to develop is thought. If the sexual instinct in a person is very strong and cannot be gratified or overcome, the mind rests upon it, and the thought causes it to grow. It attracts from the astral form corresponding elemental forces, which take shape in the organism of the medium, are supplied with his own vitality and assume a form according to his own imagination. Thus the form of the elemental may be a product of the patient's fancy, but its substance is real; it is like every other creature, a manifestation of individual will and thought.
KILLED BY A VAMPIRE.
But there are also other cases of vampires, and space permits me to mention only typical ones as samples of certain classes.
In Vienna a certain lawyer became very much incensed against another lawyer on account of the loss of a lawsuit. The second lawyer, whom I will call T., was a very strong and healthy man, but at the beginning of December, 1888, he suddenly began to grow more and more feeble, day by day, nor could the doctors find out any cause for it; while he himself said he felt as if every day a portion of blood were drawn from him. During the month of December, the other lawyer, his enemy, whom I will call H., and who had previously been in feeble health, grew daily more strong, and went on a pleasure trip to Meran. On December 20th, 1888, Mr. T. died from exhaustion, after asserting that he had been vampirized by H. From that day Mr. H.'s health began to fail, and on January 1st, 1889, a telegram came from Meran announcing his death. As a matter of course, in this case the scientific proof, such as the sceptic wants, is missing, but to those present all the little details and circumstances connected with the case, and which cannot here be entered into, were sufficient to convince them that it was a case of vampirism by the living.
All such things become very easily explainable as soon as we accept as a working hypothesis the sevenfold classification of the principles of the constitution of man as taught by H. P. Blavatsky, and previously to her, although not so plainly, by Theophrastus, Paracelsus and others. A knowledge of the odic odor, "ethereal body," solves many a problem; but if we wish to explain such phenomena while we ignore all that is not already accepted by official science, we will never find our way through the mysteries presented by the "nightside of nature." Mere external observation does not go to the root of a thing, and a science that is proud of ignoring is no science at all.
THE VAMPIRE OF THE GRAVE.
But there are also vampires of the grave. They used to be known by the name of "ghouls." H. P. Blavatsky calls such a being the "Shudala Madan," and says that, "he delights where crime and murder were committed, near burial places and places of execution." It may be this demon elemental that sucks the vitality of living people and feeds the corpse in the grave to which he is attached, thus keeping up an appearance of life in the corpse. This is rather a disgusting subject, but, for all that, this does not prevent the facts being true. This vampirism of the grave became, at one time, of such an epidemic character, and so many people became victims of it, that it was made the subject of an official investigation by the authorities in Kisolova, in Hungary, also in Meduegga, in Servia, and at other places, on which occasion the most horrible details were brought to light. Those interested in such things may find ample material for investigation in Professor Maximilian Perty's book Mystiche Erscheinungen in der Natur. Some such cases are also described in H. P. Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled.
Elementals are semi-intelligent forces of nature, which may become personified in man, and a person obsessed by such an elemental is himself, to a certain extent, that elemental personified. The elemental having originally no individual life of its own, in becoming individualized in man, absorbs from him life, and is endowed by him with his own consciousness. In this way another centre of consciousness, besides his own, is called into existence in a person, and thus may arise many of the perplexing cases of double consciousness which have not yet been satisfactorily explained, and which never will be fully understood as long as we leave out of consideration one of the prominent factors in the production of physical phenomena, namely, the elemental spirits of nature.
The proper place to study the nature of obsessing spirits would be within the precincts of insane asylums, and if their nature were known a most important factor would be added for the treatment of insanity. At present the principal cause of insanity is ignored by medical science, and thus medical science deprives itself of some of the means of accomplishing the object of its existence.
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Thursday, August 17, 2017
AMERICAN SUPERSTITIONS, article in the Literary Digest 1895
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AMERICAN folklore is generally understood to be in its in fancy as yet. We have not had the time and opportunity to develop a robust body of native superstitions, altho it appears that here and there, owing to special circumstances. the germs of well-defined superstitions may be found. Apologizing to the world for our backwardness in this respect, Mr. D. B. Fitzgerald, writing in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (August), indicates the localities in which American superstitions are being evolved. In the mountains of West Virginia, in the rural districts of Kentucky and Tennessee, in the narrow peninsula separating the Chesapeake Bay from the ocean which is the joint property of Maryland and Virginia, and in a few other districts, something has been done to redeem the United States from the accusation of living without superstitions. Of Kentucky's contribution Mr. Fitzgerald writes:
“Naturally, and yet worthy of remark in passing, the tales of Kentucky deal almost exclusively with horses, spectral or otherwise. The residents of Jessamine County conduct the visitor to a bit of woodland intersected by a much-traveled road, about which he discovers no remarkable features until informed that no horse, however old or decrepit, unless blind or hoodwinked, ever passes through that remnant of forest without running away with driver or rider. The mystery has long ago been given up as unsolvable, but the fact remains; and it is quite curious to see sturdy old farmers alight and blindfold their horses at the edge of this haunted timber.
“There is also a great swamp in the eastern part of the State which is the residence of an immense but fleet-footed phantom stallion, which seen in daylight is coal-black, but encountered on the highway at night is white as the proverbial driven snow.
"The most remarkable story emanating from the regenerated ‘dark and bloody ground’ is that which relates that a race, in the vicinity of Lexington, was once run by a ghostly horse and jockey. There were twelve entries and starters, but as the horses were going down the back~stretch the judges and the spectators in the stand counted thirteen contestants, the odd horse being a black, three-year-old filly, ridden by a diminutive negro, which forged rapidly to the front and came in first at the finish, mysteriously disappearing among the horses as they were pulled up in the turn."
The center of activity in the superstition industry is, however, to be found in the Maryland-Virginia district above referred to. Its eastern shore is quite fertile in weird tales, goblin adventures, and miscellaneous ghost stories. The territory is well adapted to the production of superstition, for its people have for three hundred years lived in ignorance and poverty on the borders of great cypress swamps and in pine forests. We quote from the account of Mr. Fitzgerald:
“The highways seem to have become favorite resorts for eastern-shore ghosts. We have many times heard the story of the invisible horseman, who dashes along the road at a mad gallop, and who makes his presence known by a shout and the beating of the hoofs of his horse. Occasionally riding out in state, he drives a team, and then the rattling of wheels and the crack of whip are accompaniments of his passage. The whites regard this phantom simply as an eccentric freak of the spirits, tho the negroes profess to see in it a more particular and ominous significance. In one locality—this was on the banks of the Susquehanna River—our attention was directed to a roadside quarry, and we were requested to notice upon the face of the rock at the back of the excavation the outline of a huge door. Having assented to the fact that certain cracks and streaks upon the surface of the rock did present something of this appearance, we were seriously informed that this was the door behind which the invisible horseman stabled his phantom steeds, and that at a certain hour of the night, moved by unseen hands, it swung open for his exit.
“Other specters of the highway are 'The Blacksmith,' a name which has no appropriateness further than that it is used to describe a ghost armed with a heavy hammer; ‘Loblolly William,’ whose supernatural pretensions are based upon the fact that when encountered upon a hard and dusty road his footsteps are those of one walking through deep and soft mud; ‘Miss Phoebe,’ who has appeared only once since the war, and whose present existence is, therefore, somewhat problematical; and to these the negroes, who have no individual names for particular ghosts, add the terrific specter which they call 'the man with the iron face.'"
Owing to the loss of hundreds of oyster sloops in the great bay, a number of oyster superstitions have sprung up. Chief of them is that of the "oyster lights," which appear on the surface of the water and proceed from lanterns on the masts of phantom ships. They are said to be observed in the hour preceding a storm. The writer continues:
“In the same class we must place the black schooner which sails up and down the Chesapeake. making signals of distress, but which, when approached by a boat, sinks swiftly and silently beneath the waves. An old steam-boatman on the bay informed us that this ill-fated vessel always flies the English flag, the inference being that she belonged to the British fleet which ascended the Chesapeake during the war of 1812, and which, after meeting with a stout resistance, captured and burned the town of Havre de Grace, at the head of the bay. It seems, however, that the same schooner occasionally appears on the ocean side of the peninsula. where she flies a black flag, the residents of the beach believing that the phantom craft was originally one of those under the command of the pirate Blackbeard, and that her ghostly crew is engaged in a repeated but fruitless attempt to regain possession of the gold which this famous marauder is supposed to have buried in the vicinity of Green Run Beach. It is said that the schooner when seen is always headed directly in toward the land, and that when she reaches the outer line of breakers her bow plunges beneath the waves and she disappears."
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The Mystery of the Red Wolf of Maine, By Allen French 1901
THE age of myths is still with us; even I have assisted at the development of a legend. Here is its truth, which is as interesting, if not so strange, as its fiction.
I found myself once restless at our winter hunting lodge. Its pleasures seemed exhausted; I had tramped the region through. "Alaric," I said one evening to my guide, "I want to see the falls of the East Branch in winter. Let's go to Colgate's camp."
"Well," said Alaric. Of course, my wish was his. We got out the map and studied it. Alaric was singularly dense; he saw no easy way to go; he was vague on the country to be crossed; he had no definite idea as to directions and distances.
"Why," I finally cried, "you've crossed that country twenty times."
"But the snow," he objected.
"We'll spend one night at Raymond's on the way," I said. "That makes two easy trips of seven miles."
Alaric shrugged his shoulders. "All right," he replied, in his usual formula. "Suit yourself. I'll do just as you say."
A suspicion entered my mind. I tried an experiment. "Very well, then," I said, "we'll start to-morrow early; and if we find it hard work getting over the ridge of Traveller, we can turn aside a little from the path, and spend one night in Wood's old empty camp."
"No, sir!" said Alaric promptly. "I'll not sleep on Traveller Mountain in winter. Nothing will make me sleep in that camp again!"
"Again?" I asked. He had given himself into my hands. "I've got you now," I said. "I wonder why I never thought of you before? I've been on the trail of the Red Wolf for two years, and no one was able to tell me the truth about him. Alaric, were you in Wood's camp that winter?"
"Yes," he said unwillingly.
"So all the men are not dead?"
"That's only a story," he said uncomfortably. "I'm alive, Bob Moran's alive, Easby's alive, Lewis is alive. Lots of us are alive," he finished defiantly.
"Well, tell me the story," I said; and seeing no way out of it, he began.
It seems that in that winter in the eighties there were twenty-two men in Wood's lumber camp, up on the side of Traveller Mountain. It was much the usual crowd, as Alaric recollects it. Some few were from the city, broken-down men turning in desperation to primitive life; but most of them were true backwoodsmen, and of these about one-half were Anglo-Saxon-Yankees or Provincemen-and the remainder French Canadians. Wood was a fair man and treated his crew well; they responded in kind and did good work. Before the snow was very deep he had many thousand feet of lumber stacked in his yards on the mountain side.
It was not until the middle of the winter that the camp had its first accident. There was something peculiar about it, noted even at the time. A gang of choppers were returning at evening along their path, when one of the men declared he saw a fox looking at them from among some bushes. The others were not interested, and went on, but he stopped to investigate. A half hour later, at the camp, he was missed, and men went with lanterns to find him. He was lying at the foot of a tree, a rotten branch from which had fallen and stunned him. Men declared later that had Alaric, the best hunter of the camp, searched then, he would have found in the snow the tracks, not of a fox, but of a wolf. The injured man was too badly hurt to work more, and he went home on the next team that started for the settlements. That evening appeared in camp, from no one knew where, the man of the story.
The meal had been finished, the horses fed; cook, boss and teamsters had finished their evening's work. The evening circle had just been formed, to listen to a story. Steps were heard outside on the frozen snow, and the men waited. The steps approached the threshold; the door was pushed open, and a man entered the cabin. He was tall and gaunt; his face was lean, his jaws were long; his clothes hung loosely. He entered with a slouch. As he came into the light, the men noticed the red mustache, short, bristling chestnut hair, and the red fell that covered his hands. There was in his gait and bearing a suggestion of suppleness and strength, and Alaric says he noted at the moment the man's hardiness. On one of the coldest nights of the year he wore neither mackinaw coat nor mittens.
The man gave no account of himself. He had heard, he merely said, that the crew had lost a man; he wished to ask for the place. Wood, glad of the substitute, presently engaged him. Would he have food? He needed none. Then he might stow his belongings where the injured man had slept among the rest, and fall into the circle.
The man hesitated, and looked about the cabin. As usual, the crew slept in two large bunks, one placed above the other. But it happened that Wood, originally intending to have a larger crew, had bestowed some single bunks about the camp. One of these, never occupied, was above the entrance, a narrow shelf projecting into the room, reached by pegs driven into the wall. The man's eye fell upon it, and it seemed to please him. "If you don't mind," he said, in his hoarse, mongrel French, "I'll sleep there." There was no objection, so he clambered up and placed in the bunk his small pack of valuables. Then he came down and sat by the stove, to dry the snow that melted on his clothes.
Now the wit of the camp was a man of mark. He was a jolly little Yankee by the name of Dole, with an eye for characteristics as keen as his own axe. While the men were eyeing the stranger, Dole made a place beside himself on the bench. "Will the gentleman," he said, "will the Red Wolf take a seat with the rest of us?"
A laugh ran round the circle at the aptness of the name. The crew had disliked the man upon sight; his voice was harsh and disagreeable, his expression snarling and repellent. But the laugh ceased at once as the man turned upon Dole with the growl of a beast.
"Call no names," he said angrily, "to a man as good as yourself."
Dole answered good naturedly. "Sure," he said, "I beg your pardon."
The incident passed off, but the impression remained. The name also remained; it was too fit to be discarded. Though whenever they addressed him the crew used the man's name, Lemont, by themselves they called him the Red Wolf, or, in French, Le Loup Rouge. The man fell, in his own way, into the habits of the camp. The crew soon found him solitary and morose, eating little, saying little, working hard. He always went to work alone, either before or behind the others in the totepath. His chopping gang got little from him. He worked independently, neither asking nor readily giving assistance. In the camp at night he sat solitary by the stove, outside the story-telling circle. He appeared unwilling to attract attention to himself. Of course this acted exactly as he had not wished; the others watched him. Much information circulates about him-his ways of sitting, of walking, of working. I have gathered much that appears true, unimportant details, trifling anecdotes that combine to give the impression of Lemont's wolfish peculiarities, his rasping voice, rapid, supple walk, long teeth and constant watchfulness. But it does not appear from any account that at the first he was regarded by the men as extraordinary. Perhaps he was a criminal; well, who cared? Fugitives from justice are frequent in the woods. But at the end of four days, on the return from the settlement of the teamster who had carried out the wounded man, the first mystery appeared.
It is two days' travel from Wood's camp to Patten. The night is spent at the East Branch House, a long day's journey distant. The teamster declared that neither had he met Lemont on the road, nor any one else. Where, then, had Lemont received the news that the camp lacked a man? Had he learned it at the East Branch House in the evening, nothing but the wings of the wind could have brought him to the camp so quickly. But the teamster further declared that Lemont had not been there. The men reasoned on the question by themselves, and found no answer. No one ventured to ask the man himself.
Here first appears the mark of the beast, where-from the lovers of weirdness begin to weave their tale. Alaric admits that from that moment the men began to whisper of the loup-garou, the werewolf. How else could this matter be explained? Did it not stand to reason that the injured axeman was decoyed by his fox- undoubtedly a wolf-under the dangerous branch that fell at the right instant? Then it would be easily possible for the animal, skulking around the camp, to make sure of the man's departure. Finally, of course, would the magic man-beast assume his human form and seek a place in the camp.
The story began in joke, and seemed to end as such. No one was serious about it; it was merely one of the caprices of the Frenchmen, ever ready with their tales of witchcraft. The discussion died down, and remained as a careless memory, to be spoken of only from time to time. The camp life went on without incident for a number of weeks. Lemont went steadily about his work, silent and enduring. The winter advanced; little by little the snow grew deep; the weather was equable and not severe. No further accident occurred, and every one was good natured. Dole, in fact, for a second time, grew too much so.
He took it into his head to joke about the werewolf story. Now, Anglo-Saxons are comparatively ignorant of that body of tradition, which more than elsewhere exists among the French. To begin with, the English belief in witchcraft is much weakened, while in France it is still strong. In the British Isles the folk tales of werewolves are vague compared with the vivid stories of the French peasantry. The Yankee is at a still greater remove. Dole did not conceive that any one could take the story in earnest. He knew nothing of the malevolence and cruelty, the nameless black aspersions, cast by the word. When it finally came into his mind to take up the story, he thought it a joke to drive it home, and for several days pretended, in rough pantomime, to shudder at the sight of the Red Wolf. Lemont did not appear to understand. Then Dole allowed his wit to run away with him.
"Now, gentlemen," said he suddenly one evening, to the circle, after his jokes had set the whole camp roaring with laughter, "the next number on our program is a performance by our French friend, Mr. Lemont, in the corner. Gentlemen, Mr. Lemont is our lightning change artist. He will give us an example of how he can change from a man to a wolf, and all in the space of five seconds."
The camp was instantly sober. Some of the Frenchmen started to their feet, in apprehension at the deadly insult. Lemont himself leaped up, half crouched as for a spring, and for a moment gnashed upon Dole with fury. His passion was terrible; it seemed as if in the next instant he would attack; and men prepared to throw themselves between. Their presence restrained him; Lemont controlled himself; but his anger was too great for immediate quiet. He seized his hat and went to the door. There he turned back and gave his warning. "Dole," he said threateningly; "Dole, you wait!" Then he went out, leaving the crew feeling as if that half-minute had set them all face to face with murder.
Dole was soundly lectured by Wood, and by half of the Frenchmen present. In the morning he made a clumsy, good-humored apology to Lemont. The man received it sullenly, yet with some faint show of satisfaction. Wood and his Yankees declared that the incident was closed; that the man's manner would not allow him to be more gracious. But none of the Frenchmen believed that the matter was finished; the insult was too deep, the shame too public. Some of them even advised Dole to leave the camp. He would not, and his countrymen seconded him; they laughed at the idea. Nevertheless, a few days were sufficient to show that Lemont was entirely changed, and to disturb the camp by the feeling of impending danger.
Lemont began to watch Dole. Twenty times a day the Yankee turned to see the little inflamed eyes fixed on his face. The Wolf used no threats, even no words. Returning at night from his work, his first act would be to seek out Dole, and thence to bedtime watch him. In the morning, and at the noon meal in the woods, it was the same. The scrutiny was constant, beast-like. Under it Dole grew uneasy. It made him feel queer, he said. The other lumbermen became apprehensive of a foul attack. But at that Dole laughed. "I am strong enough to manage him," he averred.
The expectation of trouble increased when the Wolf changed his evening habit of sitting in the corner. The better to see Dole, he used to mount to his bed above the door, and remain with his head above the edge, watching. A glance from below would show the bristling hair, bared teeth and unwinking eyes. The spectacle was uncanny, and worked upon the men; no one cared to sit with his back to that unpleasant, threatening mask. As soon as Lemont's habit was once settled, the circle also habitually opened outward, that the men might feel the freer. Even then all were nervously conscious of the Wolf's presence. It grew to be a relief when at bedtime all the lights but one were put out. That light was shaded, and the head could no longer be seen.
At last came the end. One night, after midnight, the sleeping camp was aroused by a hideous scream. It was like the alarm of an Indian attack. Men sprang up, shouted, ran into one another, fell, and were bruised. It was black dark; the last light was out. Nearly a minute elapsed while the men were in confusion; and twice again, there in their midst, the dreadful scream was repeated; then, listening, all heard groans and horrid gaspings. Alaric, coming to his senses, groped his way to the night lamp, still warm, and lighted it. All saw, lying on the floor in the middle of the cabin, Dole dragged from his bed, with the Red Wolf throttling him to death. While all gazed for a moment, the Wolf looked around snarling at the light, but kept his place on his victim's breast. At last they rushed at him, but he leaped up, snatched the door open, and fled.
Pursuit was instant, but useless; Lemont disappeared in the night. By daylight Alaric followed his track for miles in the snow; but the evidences of speed and endurance were astonishing. Notice was sent to the sheriff, who came, examined, and did nothing. Dole's body was sent to his home, the sheriff went away, and the camp settled again into its ordinary life. On the fourth night after the tragedy the men sat down to their old-time story-telling circle. One of the men spoke the thought that was in his mind.
"Dole is dead," he said, "and we're all sorry. But isn't it a good thing not to have the Wolf watching us every minute from his bunk?"
There was a general assent, and all eyes turned naturally to the shelf above the door. Then they started up in fright; for the lolling head was there, glaring down upon them. There was immediate confusion. Some ran into the cook-room, crying that the loup-garou was among them. A few stood their ground, but feared to act. Before they could collect themselves, the tall, lean figure swung itself to the floor, stood a moment, holding in its hand the small bundle of valuables for which it had come, then a second time ran out into the night. No one pursued it.
At this point of the story enter contradictions which are difficult to reconcile. Alaric, with great earnestness, has protested that it was Lemont himself, and nothing else, that he saw in the bunk; further, he gives it as his opinion that no one further, man or beast, slept in the bunk while he was in the camp. But the popular version runs that it was a wolf's head which the men saw, and a great, gaunt wolf which leaped to the floor and ran away. Those who tell this also tell that on succeeding nights, by whatever mysterious means he came and went, the wolf, close hidden, slept in the bunk, and the men heard his breathing, but dared not disturb him. All agree, however, that from that time appeared around the camp the tracks of a wolf, which when it was seen, proved to be a great, thin, red beast. The men declared that it was the Red Wolf himself.
That was the end of Wood's winter. A week more put the men in a panic. The wolf grew bolder and came closer; men feared to work alone. At last one declared that he had turned from his work just in time to see it crouching to attack him, and had only frightened it away with his axe. Wood sent Alaric out with his rifle. He could not find the wolf. Then the men rose in a body and said that they must go. Nothing could stop them; they went. They spread in the settlements the story of the wolf, and Wood could procure no more workmen. His winter's work was lost, and much money.
Alaric had got so far in his story, appeared about to go on, hesitated, and stopped. "That's all," he said.
"Oh, come, now!" I protested.
"What do you want?" he asked.
"Well, what became of Wood?"
"Well," he said, "I'm not so sure of the truth about Wood, myself. He tried to get men to go with him to get his lumber down to the river for the main drive. About a dozen men went with him, green men or roughs from the city. The men came back in a week; but Wood wasn't with them. They said they'd seen the wolf. They said that while the camp was empty he'd been sleeping in the bunk Over the door. And Wood, they said, disappeared. That's all I know. Perhaps some of them killed him themselves, for the money he had."
"And the other men?" I asked.
"The cook," said Alaric desperately, as if meaning to finish an unpleasant matter, "joined Colgate's drive, and was drowned in the Hulling Machine. Four men went up the Wissatacook to join Raymond, and were lost in a snowstorm. Joe Bass was drowned in Pleasant River. Haskins was killed in the jam at Grindstone. All this happened before the spring was finished."
"And so," I said, "the story went around that every one was to die that was with Wood that winter?"
"Yes, and die quick," said Alaric. "More men died in the fall. That made twelve men. My! I thought I'd have to go, too. But I haven't, so far."
"And the wolf?" I asked.
"Some hunting parties were on Traveller that summer," said Alaric. "They saw nothing of him. A party went up in the fall to hunt moose, and while they were there it snowed. That night the wolf walked right into their camp yard, then went away and howled for hours. Next day, they quit. Every winter, after the first snow, he comes. No one will lumber again on the Traveller. Wood's logs lie there still."
"Nevertheless," I said, "if we don't stay till dark, you'll cross the ridge with me?"
"Yes," said Alaric.
"All right," I answered. “To-morrow we'll start."
"And so," I said to Alaric, as on the second day of our journey we sat eating our luncheon, "here we are on Traveller. Where's your wolf?"
"Perhaps," said Alaric, "you don't believe there's any such a thing!"
"Why should I?" I asked.
"Look about," said Alaric, "and tell me what you see."
We were in a clearing on the ridge. fringed with great trees almost meeting above us. At two points, where the path entered and left, the openings in the trees showed us the surrounding country with its miles of forest. Behind us was "the mountain," Katahdin, snow capped. In front, in the flat land, appeared the white circle that marked frozen Bowlin, surrounded by green trees. Black-green were the pines and spruces in the distance, as if it were still summer. Within the clearing, where I knew Alaric wished me to look, I saw nothing of importance.
"What do you mean?" I asked of him.
"What," he asked, "is this big heap of snow behind us?"
"Why," I cried, as I looked and saw the ends of tree trunks sticking from the snow, "it's a yard!"
"It's one of Wood's," said Alaric. "I helped to cut those logs myself. Now tell me. It is fifteen years since those trees were cut. Why have no more grown here?"
I looked again at the little space once cut and trampled clear by men and horses. "I suppose," I said, intending to be witty, "that the Red Wolf comes and pulls up the things that start to grow."
"Exactly," said Alaric soberly.
Now I noticed that through the clearing ran a path, crossing our line of march. It was narrow, but like the track of many deer. "See," I said to Alaric, "there must be good hunting here."
Alaric grunted. "There are no deer or caribou now on Traveller in winter. That's his path," he said.
Our meal was finished, and I went and examined the path. My gun I left with Alaric. This was no deer track surely, for I saw no mark of sharp hoofs. The many blurred impressions were of padded feet; and presently I found one clear print, like a St. Bernard's. I looked along the straight line as it disappeared among the trees.
"That's one of our tote-paths," called Alaric. "See if he's not kept it clear."
I began to be impressed. The path ran like a tunnel through the woods; like the yard, nothing had grown within it. A little light fell on it in one place; and suddenly, as I looked and wondered, through the sunbeams came an animal, trotting toward me.
I felt at the little axe in my belt, but drew instead my revolver. The animal was again in the shade, an indistinct form, coming steadily onward. Then, like a deer unalarmed, it came into the clearing, stopped, and looked at me-the Red Wolf!
The sun fell on him; I saw him clearly, perhaps at twenty yards. A memorable sight, a wolf in Maine! He was as the story describes him, red and gaunt and tall. The hair was thin and mangy; the eyes were small and bloodshot. His body was all bone and wire; his head was malice and cunning, with something of force. He looked at me with wicked eye, while I fingered my revolver, intending no slow aim, but a snap shot. A forty-four bullet, I thought, would trouble him.
But there came a roar from Alaric's gun, and the snow spurted up before the animal's feet in a long furrow. The beast whirled to run, and, startled, I missed him when I fired. He disappeared in a spruce thicket, and for a moment Alaric and I remained, like warships shelling the bushes. Then we followed a little way on his track. We had not touched him, and in silence we returned and took up our packs. We were half a mile on our road before Alaric spoke. Then he cast at me a rueful glance over his shoulder.
"I'm sorry," he said.
"You'd better be," I answered.
"Jest the same," he said in another minute, "now you know there's a wolf."
I made no reply, and we went on in silence until we reached the East Branch, and, skirting it a hundred yards northward, saw Colgate's camp across the ice. We crossed the frozen river, where the marks of feet were all on the western side. No print in the snow was a dozen feet from Colgate's bank. As we stood for a minute to mark the fact, Colgate himself came out of the cabin and hastened to greet us. We both knew him.
"There," he cried, "I wish every man in my crew were here to see somebody brave enough to travel on the other side of the river. Did you come up the Telos road?"
"No," I answered, "over Traveller."
"Good!" he exclaimed. "You won't tell me that you have seen the Wolf?"
"At twenty paces, but we missed him."
"Good again," cried Colgate, "even that you saw him. Come in to camp, come in. Stay as long as you please, free. You will cure some of the nonsense of my men. Here is Alaric of Wood's crew, not dead yet, and both of you have seen the wolf, and live."
"Is the camp upset?" I asked.
Colgate sobered. "Seriously," he answered, "it is. I am losing my men. I am almost afraid that the crew will go back on me as Wood's did. Every night, beginning at nine, that animal howls for half an hour just within the woods across the river. The men are frightened. They're afraid that he'll come across here soon."
Now, according to belief, the watercourses which bound the territory of Traveller were supposed to be the limits of the wanderings of the wolf. Big Spring Brook on the south, therefore, and the East Branch on the east kept him from Colgate's camp. Colgate's understanding with his men had been that he was not to send them across the river except south of the brook, where his tote-road crossed to join the Telos. The men were thus safe from any ghostly violence, and for a time had worked with confidence. But now the nightly patrol of the wolf, just within the bushes opposite the camp, was breaking through their fortitude. Some had already left, and Colgate was expecting a complete desertion. He hinted presently that he would be glad if we could give him help. What could we do?-Trap-trap the wolf? Alaric looked doubtful.
I saw that evening a demoralized camp. The men, quite unconvinced by Alaric's presence, or by our seeing the wolf unharmed, wagged their heads and told us to wait for death. There was no story telling, no singing, no joking; the men waited for nine o'clock. One of them sat with his watch in his hand. "Wet set our watches by him now," he said. As the minute approached, Colgate and Alaric and I went out upon the river bank and stood there.
"Nine o'clock," said Colgate. "Listen!"
From miles away, it seemed, came floating the long, sad cry. Alaric started and looked up the quiet mountain side. The howl came again. Alaric turned to Colgate.
"He's in Wood's camp?"
Colgate shrugged his shoulders, putting away his watch. "They say so. Now he's coming."
We listened. The next cry was nearer, and the next. I heard with great interest the cry of the wolf, famed through centuries. There, by the wild river, in the cold night, it seemed a voice of primitive nature, mysterious, boding. I did not wonder that the men in the cabin were afraid. Nearer it came, again and again. Then there was silence for perhaps three minutes. I looked at Colgate.
"Is this all?"
He was about to answer when from just across the narrow river the cry burst forth. I caught my breath, and Alaric his. Colgate was sympathetic. "It is scary," he said; and then, while again and again the howl was repeated, I felt as if every evil were promised to the doomed camp.
"This is overpowering," I said at last. "If I were chopping for you, I wouldn't wait for a second night. Shall I get my gun and shoot?"
"At random?" answered Colgate.
We went back into the cabin and waited. The howling lasted in all about half an hour; I did not time it. Relief settled upon us when it was over. The men rose and walked about, as if to limber stiffened joints. Then they went wearily to rest, their courage, although near its end, still good for a little while. But in the morning it snapped suddenly; and I was the cause.
"Come, Alaric," I said to him while we were waiting for breakfast, being ready before the frowzy heroes of the axe, "let's step across and see his tracks. It's day, you know."
He followed, but as we went we noticed that the men were congregated to watch us at the cabin door. When we returned, having found only marks to show where the wolf walked up and down, or squatted as he howled, the camp was in revolution.
"You did it," said Colgate to me. "I don't blame you; all they want is an excuse. They say that since you have gone over there just for nothing, the wolf will surely come over here. I'd pay big wages if they'd stay, but they're going out to-day, every one of them."
And, in fact, looking like men released, the men were packing their belongings. I had a thought of Columbus and his men as I stood upon a bench and delivered my forlornly boastful appeal. As if, I urged, there could be any chance for the wolf to cross the river when it was known that he had never yet dared to do so! People had been in his territory before, and would go again. Let the men work a week more, at double wages, and Alaric and I would bury the creature so deep that he would never rise again to trouble any one.
As I made the offer, I looked over the heads of the crew to Alaric at the door, and caught his eye. Unknown as I was among the men, my promise went for nothing; it was to Alaric, their own comrade, that they turned for confirmation. Colgate's fortunes hung on my guide's decision. As I hoped, the hunter and lover of adventure in him were too strong for superstition, and while they all waited for his word he squared his chest and nodded to me confidently. It was not in his nature to forbear from swaggering a little, but the swagger finished the matter. The men were satisfied.
Oh! the weary hunting of that week! Colgate had several heavy traps; we sent out for more and got them quickly. Day after day, loaded with iron, we tramped in the snow and laid traps in the wolf-paths. Day, after day, carefully watching our back track, we hoped in vain for a shot at the wolf. For he followed us carefully, and scratched up each trap within three hours after it was first put down. Deadfalls were as useless; he sprung them by a paw inserted into the coop from behind. His cunning was prodigious; he outwitted us completely. With resolute patience, we set out day after day, only to find on each morrow that our work was in vain. Our position was uncomfortable in the camp itself; Colgate grew more and more unhappy, the men more frightened and unmanageable. But the wolf himself was the worst. Each night as he came to howl we thought we could read more triumph in his voice. Therefore on the sixth night, when the first howl came to our ears, every feeling gave way to the shame of our impotence. Alaric and I went out on the river bank and took what savage pleasure we could in wishing evil to the wolf. We listened to the end of his howling, then strained our ears to catch the sound of his retreat; but we could not.
"He's gone to his bunk," said Alaric sullenly. "He'll sleep better than we, I'm sure." The moon shone full on his discontented countenance.
"I wish we were there to meet him," I answered. Then we both. started and looked at one another. The idea had come. But Alaric hastily turned away to escape my eye.
"Alaric," I said.
"I know," he answered. But I don't want to. "That camp--in the night!"
"By Jove," I cried, "if you won't, I'll go alone!"
He turned again reluctantly. "Then I must go," he said.
We laid our plans before we went to sleep. The last day came, and we started out on our previous day's track as if to examine all our traps. But snow was falling heavily, and when we found the first trap sprung we did not even set it again, but turned back. Our ideas were fixed; the night was our time, not the day. Once or twice Alaric looked back on our track, and before we reached the river we waited twenty minutes behind trees for a pursuer. But it was useless, and we went back to the empty camp.
The cook looked in on us once as we loitered at the forge, which we found pleasanter than the men's cabin. We were idling with the tools. "Making silver bullets, eh?" he said. "Don't want us to know?" Alaric answered with a piece of wood, but the incident has become fixed in the later legend.
We passed the day wandering in and out among the buildings, talking little, sharpening hunting knives or cleaning and re-cleaning arms. Supper came at last, with its crowd of weary men from the woods. Colgate greeted us hopelessly; the men, at the approach of security, ironically. Little conversation passed at the meal; but when soon afterwards we began our final preparations, they watched us with much interest, and asked many questions. We answered them nothing, but with blankets for the cold, and carrying every deadly weapon in our equipment, started in the lessening storm a little before eight.
We went southward to Big Spring Brook, crossed to the gravel beds, and struck into the woods. There was little climbing at first, but much scrambling along the burnt land south of the brook. In the dark the work was severe, and for a while so slow that I despaired of results. But the snow gradually ceased falling, the clouds broke, and the moon allowed us to make more rapid progress. We crossed the brook into the wolf's territory and climbed diagonally upwards towards the ridge above Wood's camp. An hour passed as we climbed steadily, and it approached nine.
"Are we near it yet?" I whispered Alaric.
"Not far," he answered, and climbed on. The woods grew thin around us, and I could see off over the landscape. Alaric ceased climbing and led me along the mountain side, then unexpectedly upon a shelf of rock whence we looked down upon a miniature camp, two hundred feet below.
It lay as if at our feet, little buildings partly ruined and fallen in. I saw the hovels for the horses, the blacksmith's shed, the storehouse and, biggest of all, the cabin with its cook-room. Here and there roofs yawned or sides sagged. That was Wood's camp. Far below wound the white ribbon of the East Branch. The scene was beautiful, but not to be dwelt upon, for as we gazed cautiously from the ledge, Alaric pointed. A dark figure emerged from the door of the main cabin, and stood in front of it. Clearly I saw the wolf raise its head and heard the first howl. Then it dropped its head and trotted into the bushes, going toward the river.
Slipping and sliding recklessly, we started for the camp. By the side of the ledge the mountain was steep; but we travelled the faster. Soon we got on to more level ground, and found roads,-old roads, but still clear. Alaric did not follow them, but sought the thickets, where the branches tilted the snow down our necks. From time to time we paused to listen to the distant howl that assured us of success, then again eagerly plunged onward. At the end of ten minutes I saw through the trees ahead of us the buildings of the clearing, and then soon we were at its edge, peering at its snow-clad ruins. From below came the faint howl; the wolf was far away.
We were close to the entrance of the main cabin. Alaric drew me back; we circled, and crept among bushes until we were at the cookroom that joined the cabin at its rear. Its roof was low. Alaric mounted it from a stump, and I followed. We crawled along its shaking edge, and under the eaves of the main cabin found a crevice big enough to enter. Following him, I dropped into the dusky space, where moonbeams streaked the floor with light. We were in the upper of the two main bunks, opposite the door. It was full of drifted snow; but Alaric pushed aside with his feet the branches and poles that formed its bottom, and we slipped into the lower bunk, where no snow had entered and where deep shadow enfolded us completely. With our blankets half about us, but with arms free and rifles ready, we settled ourselves and waited. Alaric said, "Don't fire till I say!" and then left me in silence to study my surroundings.
This was the camp of the story. There was the stove where descriptions place it, now rusty and fallen down. There were the tables and benches; there the slung poles for drying clothes; there the boss's bunk. But there, most of all, was the bunk above the door, a shelf with boards around it; and to the lowest of the pegs that served as ladder led in the snow the tracks of the wolf. A broad moonbeam fell on the very space which he must cross. We should have light to shoot. Faint and far away the howling continued for a little while, then stopped. We listened; it was really finished.
"Will he come straight back?" I asked, "or will he hunt?"
"Wait," said Alaric. "Wait till midnight, if we must."
Minutes, then quarter-hours, passed. An hour, at last, we had been there, still on the alert, when Alaric touched me. It was coming. I heard a snuffling in the air without, a shadow fell across the path by the threshold, and then the wolf appeared in the doorway.
The moon had changed position, yet there was still light which he must cross. A moment's excitement seized me, but passed. The wolf was a poor mark; he turned and looked back at his track, and we waited. Then he stepped in slowly, walked full in the light, deliberately yawned-was ever anything less ghostly?-and stood lazily at the foot of the ladder.
"Ready!" whispered Alaric. The wolf heard imperfectly, and stood fixed to listen. I sighted behind his shoulder. "Fire!"-and my muscles met the recoil of the gun. Through the light smoke I saw the beast leap straight upward and fall. I filled my barrel with a second's motion, but nothing more was needed. Pierced twice through from side to side, the lonely creature was dead.
It is curious to think of the coincidences by which the story of the wolf became so closely woven with that of Lemont the murderer. Its appearance immediately upon his disappearance, its choice of Wood's camp and even Lemont's own bunk for a lair, its strange physique, habits and intelligence have combined with the peculiarities of Lemont and identified the two in the minds of lumbermen. For Maine, be it understood, accepts the legend absolutely. I heard last winter, in a logging camp, the story of the Red Wolf told to a shuddering crew. Myself, modestly unknown, I learned how "Alaric Rousseau, a-guidin' of a feller from New York" -alas that Boston has already lost her proper credit-hunted the weird beast on the mountain side, and finally shot it with silver bullets. The supernatural details of the affair, especially the description of how the werewolf took again at death its human form, disturbed my own sleep. Should the Society for Psychical Research ever take the story up, they will find in the woods of Maine plenty of men to swear to every incident. For myself, I acknowledge in the matter something approaching mystery, but in the interest of truth I write my version here.