Werewolves

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
The "Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena" series for young adults is written from the perspective that, although occult phenomena cannot be explained or proved, they do exist. Starting with a Foreword by "one of the foremost authorities on the paranormal," this volume relates anecdotes about various sightings of shaggy bipedal creatures that always manage to disappear before the terrified viewers can snap a picture, accompanied by amateurish drawings of werewolves. Some chapters offer folktales from several countries, an account of children supposedly raised by wolves, stories about humans afflicted with hairy bodies, and the story of a deformed dog that learned to walk on its hind legs. The neurological effects of ergot (a fungus on rye) are explained as a possible cause of werewolf sightings, medieval and modern. Godfrey also associates Indian effigy mounds in Wisconsin, said to be unique, with sightings there. (A huge serpent-shaped mound exists in Ohio, though it has never been linked to werewolves.) Skeptics may enjoy the chapter on werewolf hoaxes, but the most interesting section catalogs famous werewolf media, including The Wolf Man (1941) with Lon Chaney, Jr. and wolf men in video games, comics, and manga. What are teens to make of all this? Godfrey urges them to hunt for the beasts, whether by Internet or in the field. He even includes a list of gear for trackers. So far, as the author admits, no "confirmed photo of a real-life werewolf" has turned up. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
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