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Werewolves of Langavat


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SJMcKenzie
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Joined: 1 Nov 2008
Paranormal database wolves

Me again.

I've been onto the folk at the paranormal datbase and got the response that the Langavat tale comes from a book called Scotland's Ghosts and Appaaritions by Terence Whitaker. Unfortunately for me there does not seem to be a single copy in Australia, so I'm stuck for the time being.  

However, I've since hit on another tale that has piqued my interest for a similar reason, concerning an archaeologist who digs up the grave of a werewolf and leaves the bones in his kitchen, only to have its spirit try to get into his house during the night. He re-buries the bones the following day. 
 
This tale is listed in O'Donnell as occurring in the Hebrides, but appears on the paranormal database as being set in the Lincolnshire Carrs (rich in folklore, that place), so possibily it is part of a widespread motif, a latter-day 'travelling' tale, and it also complements several other tales of bones being found that seem part human and part wolf....

Looks like the British werewolf is essentially an undead creature. I'm reminded of Phil Rickman's The Man in the Moss, not so much in the werewolf aspect as in the idea of digging up reains out of peat-bogs that turn out to be not so very dead after all...

Anyway, see you folks soon...Happy New Year.

http://celtlore.wordpress.com/2008/12/22/elliot-odonnell-and-the-ghostly-internet-presence/

SJMcKenzie
User offline. Last seen 4 years 49 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 1 Nov 2008
OK, I have come to the end

OK, I have come to the end of the line here.

The story about Langavat werewolves is the same one as found in O'Donnell (see pages 105+). It's just that Terence Whitaker, in Scotland's Ghosts and Apparitions, has chosen to place the tale in Langavat, where as O'Donnell just said 'The Hebrides'. But the main character is called 'Warren' in both cases so it is clearly the same tale.

Darren at the paranormal database was kind enough to send me a scan of the pages in Whitaker which I have put online here in preparation to write a blog post on this subject.

As a postscript, Whitaker was not the only person to borrow the tale from O'Donnell. Much earlier, in 1926, Christopher Marlowe (not the poet) wrote a book called The Fen Lands, including exactly the same tale, but placing it in Linciolnshire. That version appears here and also on BBC Lincolnshire.

I can't find much about Marlowe's book online and it looks fairly obscure, so really I'm just guessing when I say that the tale - which is too specific to be a 'travelling tale' or a widespread archetype - has simply been borrowed by Marlowe from O'Donnell's book of fifteen years earlier, and relocated closer to home.
 
Anyway I have enough juicy werewolf stuff to start writing my tale, which will start with the idea of digging up bones and take it from there. There's going to be more than one werewolf, that is for sure.

Steve.

http://celtlore.wordpress.com

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Daniel Parkinson
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Joined: 22 Jul 2008
SJMcKenzie wrote: However,
SJMcKenzie wrote:

However, I've since hit on another tale that has piqued my interest for a similar reason, concerning an archaeologist who digs up the grave of a werewolf and leaves the bones in his kitchen, only to have its spirit try to get into his house during the night. He re-buries the bones the following day. 
 

Some of this reminds me of Neils article about the Hexham Heads and the wolf of Allandale, not exact but it seems to have reflections in the story.
www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/england/northumberland/legends/the-hexham-heads.html

SJMcKenzie
User offline. Last seen 4 years 49 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 1 Nov 2008
Thankyou.

That is awesome. I didn't know about the Hexham Heads story. It is a very similar tale.  In the werewolf tale it is clearly the skull that carries the bulk of the power.

From a literary point of view it reminds me of several M.R. James ghost stories. Find a strange ancient object, take it inside the house, and haunting ensues.

Anyway, cheers. I might see if I can find some pictures of the heads...

http://celtlore.wordpress.com

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Daniel Parkinson
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Joined: 22 Jul 2008
SJMcKenzie wrote: From a
SJMcKenzie wrote:

From a literary point of view it reminds me of several M.R. James ghost stories. Find a strange ancient object, take it inside the house, and haunting ensues.

Never did manage to track down any M.R. James stories, I had always planned to after watching the short film adaptations - I think they where shown on BBC at one time, are the books any good?

SJMcKenzie
User offline. Last seen 4 years 49 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 1 Nov 2008
...

There's plenty of stuff online. O Whistle and I'll Come To You My Lad, and Casting the Runes are the ones I had in mind. Yes they are good; not very scary, but fun in a kind of old-fashioned kitsch way. Horror is a genre that really dates, if you know what I mean.

http://celtlore.wordpress.com



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