I was re-reading an old book, Werwolves by Elliott O’Donnell. In it I found something that I must have missed earlier, or it didn’t mean anything to me at the time. It made me jump a bit, it’s something that ties into a theory I’ve been contemplating for some time now but haven’t really managed to make it come together as a complete thought.
By now it can’t have escaped anyone that I spend a lot of time thinking about werewolves. One of the things I find so striking about the modern werewolf sightings is that they tend to take place within very close proximity of water.
Usually there’s a river that runs nearby or in some cases werewolves have been seen disappearing below the surface of a lake, such as in an account from the book Werewolves by the Reverend Montague Summers referenced to by Dr. Karl Shuker:
“Later that same night, as the cottage lay enshrouded in a still darkness, its three alert occupants heard the soft crunching of paws upon the gravel outside, then the scratching of nails or claws against the kitchen window. And, to quote Summers, as they peered towards the sound: “…in a stale phosphorescent light they saw the hideous mask of a wolf with the eyes of a man glaring through the glass, eyes that were red with hellish rage”. They raced to the door, but their quarry had heard them, and as they opened it they could just discern a huge form racing into the lake, and disappearing from view beneath the surface.”
I was considering the possibility of water as a portal, like the way mirrors have historically been used within magical practices but I couldn’t seem to put it together. In my thought process I was considering whether the reflective surfaces of certain lakes and rivers could, possibly with the help of magic, serve as a barrier between this world and another. But something was lacking. I’ve swum in many a lake and a few rivers without encountering another world. Then I stumbled over this phrase:
“Here, amid the primitive solitude of vast pine forests, flow lycanthropous rivers”
It’s from a section of the book I mentioned at the beginning and it talks about the werewolf situation in Norway and Sweden. The term “lycanthropous river” immediately triggered a strange memory of something peculiar that happened last summer. Something I couldn’t make sense of at the time but that I wrote a post about called Absolutely nothing.
According to the book by O’Donnell lycanthopous water is said to differ from regular water in some details;
“A strange, faint odour, comparable with nothing, distinguishes lycanthropous water; there is a lurid sparkle in it, strongly suggestive of some peculiar, individual life; the noise it makes, as it rushes along, so closely resembles the muttering and whispering of human voices as to be often mistaken for them; whilst at night it sometimes utters piercing screams, and howls, and groans, in such a manner as to terrify all who pass near it. Dogs and horses, in particular, are susceptible to its influence, and they exhibit the greatest signs of terror at the mere sound of it.”
I would now like to add my piece to this puzzle: I think any fresh water can become lycanthopous water at certain times when certain conditions are met. I am yet unaware of what those conditions might be but I believe that what happened last summer was that my river had turned to lycanthropous water. I wasn’t aware of any smells, but then again I wasn’t really leaning over the water. The lighting conditions at the time were peculiar and most importantly, the river made noises, subtle sounds that I can’t properly describe and that I have never heard before or since. There was whispering, murmuring and mumbling. The atmosphere was tangibly uncomfortable, to say the least. I felt hunted to get out of there as fast as possible. Looking at the video from last year I was reminded that close to the exit of the forest, where the trail starts to turn away from the river I heard what sounded like a faint growl.
A week after this episode there was the incredibly stupid midnight expedition during which I heard two howls coming from the direction of the river.
Normally, water is water, but on rare occasions, when certain conditions are met or certain rituals performed, maybe it can turn into lycanthropous water.
Now what those conditions or rituals are I have no idea…