The Werewolf of Dogdyke (18151864)
~ Legends of the Fenland People ~
As told by Christopher Marlowe M.A., author of "The Fen Country", 1926
Another extraordinary story of transformation was told by a young man who lived in Langrick Fen, not far from Dogdyke. He was an ardent archaeologist and one day while digging in the peat discovered some ancient remains. Among them was what looked like a human skeleton with a wolf's head. Carrying the object into his cottage he placed it on a table and examined it carefully. But he could make nothing of it and concluded that it must have been some monstrosity, such as showmen bring out at fairs to excite the interest of the crowd.
That night, however, he found himself unable to sleep, and fancying he heard a noise in the back premises, got up to investigate. Suddenly he heard a sharp rat-tat on the window pane and looking round perceived a dark object looking at him. This speedily resolved itself into the form of a human being with a wolf's head. Every feature was distinctly marked and there was no possibility of reflection, since no light was visible anywhere. As the young man stood transfixed with horror, the creature gave a snarl of savage exultation and raised its arm to dash in the glass, whereupon he recovered the power of movement and fled into the kitchen. A crash sounded behind him and he wasted no time in locking and barring the door and erecting a barricade of furniture against it. There he waited all night in a cold sweat, while the stealthy pad-pad of feet sounded without. At last the first streaks of dawn told him that his long vigil was over and as the light grew stronger he ventured to unbar and open the door.
Nothing was visible of the ghostly visitor, but the table, whereon he had placed the skeleton was overturned and the window of the room was shivered into fragments. Hastily collecting the remains of the uncanny being, which lay scattered all over the floor, he buried them again in the same place, where he had found them and covered them over with several layers of peat. Nor was he again disturbed, though for many years afterwards, he would describe with vivid gesture his peculiar adventure with the supernatural.
The late Ray Cowell discovered and sent me this story, which would have taken place here in the Fen. Perhaps in this very cottage!
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