Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pennsylvania Wolf Child

There's a wealth of werewolf folklore in Pennsylvania, much of it obviously influenced by the large number of European settlers that populated the region during the early colonial days.  German and Dutch influence was very heavy and long standing traditions from the old world became firmly planted in the new.  Has a result, early documents and reports often make note of strange encounters and occurrences that relate to magic and strange creatures.  Some believed that a person could be born cursed or destined to become wild.

Here's an interesting piece relating to werewolves and the birth of an unusual child that apparently turned feral.  According to an old folklore journal:

"In the Lingle Valley, between Centre and Mifflin Counties, in the log cabin where Edgar Allan Poe is said to have spent a night on his hunt for a legacy in the Poe Valley, in 1838, a boy child was born who developed long hairs between his fingers and on the sides of his feet.  "He will do no good; he will become a garol," said his great-grandmother.  When he was eight years old he began running away, becoming restless on nights when the wolves were out.  He was usually found near the wolves' hairy beds, but one time he could not be located.  Quietly all of the family uttered a silent prayer at his complete disappearance."

In modern times, science has discovered a genetic mutation, the so called "werewolf syndrome," that explains excessive hair growth on the body.  Such a mutation is extremely rare however with only a 100 cases being documented worldwide.

Of note in the above report is that the family does not report the child growing hair all over the body, only long hair on his fingers and feet.  Additionally, any medical condition would not explain his propensity to keep running away and hiding with wolves.

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