translated and edited by
D. L. Ashliman
University of Pittsburgh
I first learned of the legend while I was stationed at Hahn Airforce Base, Germany. Morbach was a munitions site just outside of the villiage of Wittlich.
Supposedly Wittlich is the last town where a werewolf was killed. There is a shrine just outside of town where a candle always burns. Legend has it that if the candle ever goes out the werewolf will return.
One night a group of security policemen were on the way to their post at Morbach, when they noticed that the candle was out at the shrine, and all joked about the monster.
Later that night alarms were received from a fence-line sensor. When the security policemen investigated the call one of them saw a huge "dog-like" animal stand up on its back legs, look at him, and jump over the 7 1/2 foot chain-link fence. A military working dog was brought to the area where the creature was last seen, and the dog went nuts, not wanting anything to do with tracking the creature.
This occured around 1988.
There have always been "ghost" stories dreamed up by bored security policemen, but this is one I have heard over and over again. Thought you might find it interesting.
By using a so-called wolf strap, any person could transform himself into a werewolf. Whoever fastened such a strap around himself would turn into a wolf. If someone called out the name of a person who had turned himself into a wolf, that person would regain his human form.
In earlier times there were a great many such straps, but today, along with the wolves, they seem to have been banned to Russia.
A wolf strap was a gift from the devil. A person who possessed such a strap could not get rid of it, however much he wanted to. Anyone who accepted a wolf strap also had entered into brotherhood with the devil, surrendering body and soul to him.
If real wolves were feared in earlier times, werewolves were feared all the more. A real wolf could be shot dead or lured into a so-called wolf pit, where it would perish from hunger. However, a werewolf could not be brought down with a rifle bullet, nor would it ever fall into a wolf pit.
The reader will perhaps ask, "What is the use of running around as a werewolf?"
This was not done for no good reason. When the pantries and meat containers were empty, one would only have to fasten on the wolf strap, run off as a wolf, seek out a fat sheep that was wandering off toward the edge of the woods, creep towards it, seize it, and drag it into the woods. In the evening one could bring it home without anyone noticing. Or the werewolf would know when a peasant was going through the woods with a lot of money. He would ambush him, rob him, then run off across the field with the booty.
In earlier times, after the horses had been unhitched from a wagon or a plow, they would be driven out to a community pasture where they would be watched until morning by two herdsmen. Even colts were put out for the night. People took turns watching after them.
Now once it happened that one of the two herdsmen had a wolf strap. After both herdsmen had kept watch for several hours they got sleepy and laid their heads down. The first one, however, who had heard that his companion possessed a wolf strap, only pretended to be asleep, and the other one thought that he was indeed sleeping. He quickly fastened the strap around himself and ran off as a wolf. The other one got up and saw how his companion ran up to a colt, attacked it, and devoured it.
After this had happened, the wolf man came back and lay down to sleep. Toward morning they both awoke. The werewolf man was rolling around on the ground and groaning loudly. The other one asked him what was wrong.
He said that he had a horrible stomach ache.
To this the first one said, "The devil himself would have a stomach ache if he had eaten an entire colt at one time."
The werewolf asked him to say nothing about what had happened. He kept silent about it for a long time, but later he did tell me about it, and now I too feel free to tell about it, because both men have been dead for a long time.
In a village there lived a woman whose first name was Trine. Her husband had been dead for a long time. The woman lived in impoverished circumstances, but nonetheless, she was always able to offer fresh meat to those who visited her.
One time a male relative came to visit her, and she offered him good fresh meat.
The man said to her, "Tell me, Trine, where did you get this nice mutton?"
Trine answered, "I'll show you. Just climb up onto the roof with the ladder that is leaning against the back of the house."
The man did what Trine asked him to do. In the distance he saw a herd of sheep. Suddenly a wolf came out of the brush, ran into the midst of the sheep, and was about to run away with one of them. The shepherd saw this in time, and with his dog took off after the wolf in order to rescue the sheep. The wolf defended itself.
The man on the roof, knowing what kind of wolf it was, called out, "Trine, watch out!"
Suddenly Trine was standing there in her true form. Then the shepherd began striking out at her with renewed vigor, and Trine was scarcely able to drag herself back home.
About sixty years ago in Alt-Marrin there lived a man by the name of Gust K. He too possessed a wolf strap, with which he brought about much damage and misery. Finally the strap was taken from him, and it was to be burned. Three times the baking oven was heated up, and three times the strap was thrown into the glowing fire, but each time it jumped back out of the flames.
Nor would water damage the strap. It always returned.
However, the pastor from Fritzow finally burned it up. When Gust K. died, the pastor at Alt-Marrin could not finish the Lord's Prayer, and they called on the pastor from Fritzow. The latter said, "Away, away with it!"
When they tried to lower him into the earth, the grave opening was too small, so the pallbearers had to trample him down with their feet. For a long time afterward there was always a hole in his grave mound, but it will have closed up by now, for grass has been growing over the story of Gust K. for a long time now.
Her grandchild knew about it, and one day when the schoolmaster was talking about magic in the school, the child told about the fox strap, and the next day brought it to school.
The schoolmaster took it into his hand and unintentionally approached his head with it. Suddenly he was standing before the children, transformed into a fox. They broke out with a deafening noise. This so frightened the little schoolmaster that he jumped out the window with a single leap.
He ran to the hill that lay near the village and there built himself a den.
One day a great hunt was organized, and our fox was among those pursued by the huntsmen. A bullet hit him, and suddenly a schoolmaster was lying there before the bewildered huntsman. The bullet had struck the fox strap and ripped it apart.
In memory of this event the people of Dodow gave the name Fox Hill to the place where their schoolmaster had lived.
Werewolf legends are well known. According to them, many people possessed the power to transform themselves into wolves by putting on a wolf belt. They would then roam about at night attacking their enemies or their enemies' cattle.
In Fahrenholz in the year 1682 a number of people were accused of being able to transform themselves into wolves and were put on trial.
Only thirty years ago [in the 1840's] numerous examples of this kind of magic were related in all children's rooms, although there have been no wolves in Mecklenburg for more than one hundred years. This proves how widespread these legends formerly must have been.
Beyer, in the Meklenburgische Jahrbücher (20, 161), states that "So far as I remember, in my youth I only heard of male werewolves, never females. However, in other regions gender makes no difference."
A man possessed a wolf belt, that is, he had the ability to transform himself into a wolf (werewolf). Once the huntsmen organized a fox hunt and had placed a dead horse in the woods as bait for the foxes. The werewolf went there and was eating from the horse. The huntsmen surprised him and shot at him. He fled, and when they went to the house of the man they suspected of being a werewolf, they found him in bed with a bullet wound.
A young woman whose husband was often unexplainably absent came to the suspicion that he was a werewolf.
One day both were working in the field. The man again left his wife. Suddenly a wolf came forth from the bushes, ran toward her, grabbed her red woolen skirt with its teeth and shook her back and forth. With screams and blows from her hay fork she drove him away.
Soon afterward her husband emerged from the same bushes into which the wolf had disappeared. She told him of her frightening experience. He laughed, thereby revealing the red woolen threads from her skirt that were stuck between his teeth.
She reported him to the judge, and he was burned to death.
A woodcutter was working in the forest with his brother. The latter went away, and soon thereafter a wolf came out of the nearby bushes. The woodcutter wounded him on his right front leg with his ax, and the wolf retreated howling.
That evening when the woodcutter returned home he found his brother in bed with his right arm hidden beneath the covers. Only after repeated threats would he reveal his arm, and on it was the same wound that the woodcutter had given to the wolf.
He reported his brother, who was burned to death.
Now once it happened that a hussar from Ludwigslust was traveling through the village and just happened to enter the house of a man named Feeg. When he entered the house a flock of children stormed out of the house with a loud cry and hurried out into the yard. When he asked them about their wild behavior, they told him that except for a small boy, no one from the Feeg family was at home, and that he -- as was his custom when no one was at home -- had transformed himself into a werewolf, and that they were running away from him, because otherwise he would bite them.
Soon afterward the feared wolf appeared, but by now he had laid aside his wolf form. The hussar turned to the Feeg child and tried to learn more about the wolf game, but the child would say nothing. However, the stranger would not give up, and he finally succeeded in making the child talk.
The child told him that his grandmother had a strap, and that if he put it on he would instantly become a wolf. The hussar kindly asked the boy to make an appearance as a werewolf. At first the boy refused, but finally he agreed to do it, if the strange man would first climb into the loft, so that he would be safe from him. The hussar agreed to this, and to be sure pulled up the ladder with which he had climbed into the loft.
As soon as this had happened the boy ran into the main room, and soon came out again as a young wolf and chased away all those who standing in the entryway. After the wolf had run back into the main room and come back out as a boy, the hussar climbed down and had the Feeg child show him the magic belt, but he could not discover anything unusual about it.
Afterward the hussar went to a forester in the vicinity of Klein-Krams and told him what he had experienced in the Feeg house. Upon hearing this story, the forester, who had always been present at the great hunts near Klein-Krams, immediately thought about the werewolf who could not be wounded. He now thought that he would be able to kill the werewolf.
At the next hunt he said to his friends, as he rammed a bullet of inherited silver into the barrel of his rifle, "Today the werewolf will not escape from me!" His companions looked at him in amazement, but he said nothing further.
The hunt soon began, and it did not take long before the wolf showed himself once again. Many of the huntsmen shot at him, but he remained unwounded. Finally he approached the forester, who brought him to the ground. Everyone could see that the wolf was wounded, but soon he jumped up again and ran into the village. The huntsmen followed him, but the werewolf outran them and disappeared into the Feeg farmyard.
In their search, the huntsmen came into the house, where they found the wolf in the grandmother's bed. They recognized it from the tail that was sticking out from under the covers.
The werewolf was no one other than Feeg's grandmother. In her pain she had forgotten to take off the strap, and thus she herself revealed the secret.
The farmer knew that a neighbor of his had the reputation of being a sorcerer, and just as the wolf was about to grab his horse by the neck, he called out: "Irnst Jacobs, is that you? Let me say something to you. Irnst Jacobs, listen to me, Irnst Jacobs!" And as he spoke the name the third time, his neighbor stood there before him, begging him to high heaven not to reveal him.
The farmer let him go. It had been the neighbor who had taken on the form of a werewolf.
This frightened the woman, who turned herself back into her human form. But even as the man approached her, long red hair was still hanging from her neck and breast, and her eyes were still glowing like wolf's eyes.
Truly translated out of the high Dutch, according to the copy printed in Collin, brought over into England by George Bores ordinary post, the 11th day of this present month of June 1590, who did both see and hear the same.
A most true discourse,
declaring the life and death of one
Stubbe Peeter, being a most
In the reading of this story, therefore I do first request reformation of opinion, next patience to peruse it, because it is published for example's sake, and lastly to censure thereof as reason and wisdom doth think convenient, considering the subtlety that Satan useth to work the soul's destruction, and the great matters which the accursed practice of sorcery doth effect, the fruits whereof is death and destruction for ever, and yet in all ages practiced by the reprobate and wicked of the earth, some in one sort and some in another even as the Devil giveth promise to perform. But of all other that ever lived, none was comparable unto this Hell hound, whose tyranny and cruelty did well declare he was of his father the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning, whose life and death and most bloody practices the discourse doth make just report.
In the towns of Cperadt and Bedbur near Collin in high Germany, there was continually brought up and nourished one Stubbe Peeter, who from his youth was greatly inclined to evil and the practicing of wicked arts even from twelve years of age till twenty, and so forwards till his dying day, insomuch that surfeiting in the damnable desire of magic, necromancy, and sorcery, acquainting himself with many infernal spirits and fiends, insomuch tat forgetting the God that made him, and that Savior that shed his blood man man's redemption: In the end, careless of salvation gave both soul and body to the Devil for ever, for small carnal pleasure in this life, that he might be famous and spoken of on earth, though he lost heaven thereby.
The Devil, who hath a ready ear to listen to the lewd motions of cursed men, promised to give him whatsoever his heart desired during his mortal life: whereupon this vile wretch neither desired riches nor promotion, nor was his fancy satisfied with any external or outward pleasure, but having a tyrannous heart and a most cruel bloody mind, requested that at his pleasure he might work his malice on men, women, and children, in the shape of some beast, whereby he might live without dread or danger of life, and unknown to be the executor of any bloody enterprise which he meant to commit.
The Devil, who saw him a fit instrument to perform mischief as a wicked fiend pleased with the desire of wrong and destruction, gave unto him a girdle which, being put around him, he was straight transformed into the likeness of a greedy, devouring wolf, strong and mighty, with eyes great and large, which in the night sparkled like unto brands of fire, a mouth great and wide, with most sharp and cruel teeth, a huge body and mighty paws. And no sooner should he put off the same girdle, but presently he should appear in his former shape, according to the proportion of a man, as if he had never been changed.
Stubbe Peeter herewith was exceedingly well pleased, and the shape fitted his fancy and agreed best with his nature, being inclined to blood and cruelty. Therefore, satisfied with this strange and devilish gift, for that it was not troublesome nor great in carriage, but that it might be hidden in a small room, he proceeded to the execution of sundry most heinous and vile murders; for if any person displeased him, he would incontinent thirst for revenge, and no sooner should they or any of theirs walk abroad in the fields or about the city, but in the shape of a wolf he would presently encounter them, and never rest till he had plucked out their throats and tear their joints asunder. And after he had gotten a taste hereof, he took such pleasure and delight in shedding of blood, that he would night and day walk the fields and work extreme cruelties. And sundry times he would go through the streets of Collin, Bedbur, and Cperadt, in comely habit, and very civilly, as one well known to all the inhabitants thereabout, and oftentimes was he saluted of those whose friends and children he had butchered, though nothing suspected for the same. In these places, I say, he would walk up and down, and if he could spy either maid, wife, or child that his eyes liked or his heart lusted after, he would wait their issuing out of the city or town. If he could by any means get them alone, he would in the fields ravish them, and after in his wolfish likeness cruelly murder them.
Yea, often it came to pass that as he walked abroad in the fields, if he chanced to spy a company of maidens playing together or else a milking their kine, in his wolfish shape he would incontinent run among them, and while the rest escaped by flight, he would be sure to lay hold of one, and after his filthy lust fulfilled, he would murder her presently. Beside, if he had liked or known any of them, look who he had a mind unto, her he would pursue, whether she were before or behind, and take her from the rest, for such was his swiftness of foot while he continued a wolf that he would outrun the swiftest greyhound in that country; and so much he had practiced this wickedness that the whole province was feared by the cruelty of this bloody and devouring wolf.
Thus continuing his devilish and damnable deeds within the compass of a few years, he had murdered thirteen young children, and two goodly young women big with child, tearing the children out of their wombs, in most bloody and savage sort, and after ate their hearts panting hot and raw, which he accounted dainty morsels and best agreeing to his appetite.
Moreover, he used many times to kill lambs and kids and such like beasts, feeding on the same most usually raw and bloody, as if he had been a natural wolf indeed, so that all men mistrusted nothing less than this his devilish sorcery.
He had at that time living a fair young damsel to his daughter, after whom he also lusted must unnaturally, and cruelly committed most wicked incest with her, a most gross and vile sin, far surmounting adultery or fornication, though the least of the three doth drive the soul into hell fire, except hearty repentance, and the great mercy of God. This daughter of his he begot when he was not altogether so wickedly given, who was called by the name of Stubbe Beell, whose beauty and good grace was such as deserved commendations of all those that knew her. And such was his inordinate lust and filthy desire toward her, that he begat a child by her, daily using her as his concubine; but as an insatiate and filthy beast, given over to work evil, with greediness he also lay by his own sister, frequenting her company long time, even according as the wickedness of his heart led him.
Moreover, being on a time sent for to a gossip of his there to make merry and good cheer, ere he thence departed he so won the woman by his fair and flattering speech, and so much prevailed, that ere he departed the house, he lay by her, and ever after had her company at his command. This woman had to name Katherine Trompin, a woman of tall and comely stature of exceeding good favor and one that was well esteemed among her neighbors. But his lewd and inordinate lust being not satisfied with the company of many concubines, nor his wicked fancy contented with the beauty of any woman, at length the Devil sent unto him a wicked spirit in the similitude and likeness of a woman, so fair of face and comely of personage, that she resembled rather some heavenly Helfin than any mortal creature, so far her beauty exceeded the choicest sort of women; and with her, as with his heart's delight, he kept company the space of seven years, though in the end she proved and was found indeed no other than a she-Devil.
Notwithstanding, this lewd sin of lechery did not any thing assuage his cruel and bloody mind, but continuing an insatiable bloodsucker, so great was the joy he took therein, that he accounted no day spent in pleasure wherein he had not shed some blood, not respecting so much who he did murder, as how to murder and destroy them, as the matter ensuing doth manifest, which may stand for a special note of a cruel and hard heart. For, having a proper youth to his son, begotten in the flower and strength of his age, the first fruit of his body, in whom he took such joy that he did commonly call him his heart's ease, yet so far his delight in murder exceeded the joy he took in his son, that thirsting after his blood, on a time he enticed him into the fields, and from thence into a forest hard by, where, making excuse to stay about the necessaries of nature, while the young man went forward, incontinent in the shape and likeness of a wolf he encountered his own son and there most cruelly slew him, which done, he presently ate the brains out of his head as a most savory and dainty delicious mean to staunch his greedy appetite: the most monstrous act that ever man heard of, for never was known a wretch from nature so far degenerate.
Long time he continued his vile and villainous life, sometime in the likeness of a wolf, sometime in the habit of a man, sometime in the towns and cities, and sometimes in the woods and thickets to them adjoining, whereas the Dutch copy maketh mention, he on a time met with two men and one woman, whom he greatly desired to murder, and the better to bring his devilish purpose to effect, doubting by them to be overmatched and knowing one of them by name, he used this policy to bring them to their end. In subtle sort he conveyed himself far before them in their way and craftily couched out of the sight; but as soon as they approached near the place where he lay, he called one of them by his name. The party, hearing himself called once or twice by his name, supposing it was some familiar friend that in jesting sort stood out of his sight, went from his company toward the place from whence the voice proceeded, of purpose to see who it was; but he was no sooner entered within the danger of this transformed man, but incontinent he was murdered in the place; the rest of his company staying for him, expecting still his return, but finding his stay over long, the other man left the woman and went to look him, by which means the second man was also murdered. The woman then seeing neither of both return again, in heart suspected that some evil had fallen upon them, and therefore, with all the power she had, she sought to save herself by flight, though it nothing prevailed, for, good soul, she was also soon overtaken by this light-footed wolf, whom, when he had first deflowered, he after most cruelly murdered. The men were after found mangled in the wood, but the woman's body was never after seen, for she the caitiff had most ravenously devoured, whose flesh he esteemed both sweet and dainty in taste.
Thus this damnable Stubbe Peeter lived the term of five and twenty years, unsuspected to be author of so many cruel and unnatural murders, in which time he had destroyed and spoiled an unknown number of men, women, and children, sheep, lambs, and goats, and other cattle; for, when he could not through the wariness of people draw men, women, or children in his danger, then, like a cruel and tyrannous beast, he would work his cruelty on brute beasts in most savage sort, and did act more mischief and cruelty than would be credible, although high Germany hath been forced to taste the truth thereof.
By which means the inhabitants of Collin, Bedbur, and Cperadt, seeing themselves so grievously endangered, plagued, and molested by this greedy and cruel wolf, who wrought continual harm and mischief, insomuch that few or none durst travel to or from those places without good provision of defense, and all for fear of this devouring and fierce wolf, for oftentimes the inhabitants found the arms and legs of dead men, women, and children scattered up and down the fields, to their great grief and vexation of heart, knowing the same to be done by that strange and cruel wolf, whom by no means they could take or overcome, so that if any man or woman missed their child, they were out of hope ever to see it again alive, mistrusting straight that the wolf had destroyed it.
And here is to be noted a most strange thing which setteth forth the great power and merciful providence of God to the comfort of each Christian heart. There were not long ago certain small children playing in a meadow together hard by the town, where also some store of kine were feeding, many of them having young calves sucking upon them. And suddenly among these children comes this vile wolf running and caught a pretty fine girl by the collar, with intent to pull out her throat; but such was the will of God, that the wolf could not pierce the collar of the child's coat, being high and very well stiffened and close clasped about her neck; and therewithal the sudden great cry of the rest of the children which escaped so amazed the cattle feeding by, that being fearful to be robbed of their young, they altogether came running against the wolf with such force that he was presently compelled to let go his hold and to run away to escape the danger of their horns; by which means the child was preserved from death, and, God be thanked, remains living at this day.
An that this thing is true, Master Tice Artine, a brewer dwelling at Puddlewharfe in London, being a man of that country born, and one of good reputation and account, is able to justify, who is near kinsman to this child, and hath from thence twice received letters concerning the same; and for that the first letter did rather drive him into wondering at the act then yielding credit thereunto, he had shortly after, at request of his writing, another letter sent him, whereby he was more fully satisfied; and divers other persons of great credit in London hath in like sort received letters from their friends to the like effect.
Likewise in the town of Germany aforesaid continual prayer was used unto God that it would please Him to deliver them from the danger of this greedy wolf.
And, although they had practiced all the means that men could devise to take this ravenous beast, yet until the Lord had determined his fall, they could not in any wise prevail: notwithstanding, they daily continued their purpose, and daily sought to entrap him, and for that intent continually maintained great mastiffs and dogs of much strength to hunt and chase the beast. In the end, it pleased God, as they were in readiness and provided to meet with him, that they should espy him in his wolfish likeness at what time they beset him round about, and most circumspectly set their dogs upon him, in such sort that there was no means of escape, at which advantage they never could get him before; but as the Lord delivered Goliath into the hands of David, so was this wolf brought in danger of these men, who seeing, as I said before, no way to escape the imminent danger, being hardly pursued at the heels, presently slipped his girdle from about him, whereby the shape of a wolf clean avoided, and he appeared presently in his true shape and likeness, having in his hand a staff as one walking toward the city. But the hunters, whose eyes were steadfastly bent upon the beast, and seeing him in the same place metamorphosed contrary to their expectation, it wrought a wonderful amazement to their minds; and, had it not been that they knew the man so soon as they saw him, they had surely taken the same to have been some Devil in a man's likeness; but for as much as they knew him to be an ancient dweller in the town, they came unto him, and talking with him, they brought him by communication home to his own house, and finding him to be the man indeed, and no delusion or fantastical motion, they had him incontinent before the magistrates to be examined.
Thus being apprehended, he was shortly after put to the rack in the town of Bedbur, but fearing the torture, he voluntarily confessed his whole life, and made known the villainies which he had committed for the space of 25 years; also he confessed how by sorcery he procured of the Devil a girdle, which being put on, he forthwith became a wolf, which girdle at his apprehension he confessed he cast it off in a certain valley and there left it, which, when the magistrates heard, they sent to the valley for it, but at their coming found nothing at all, for it may be supposed that it was gone to the Devil from whence it came, so that it was not to be found. For the Devil having brought the wretch to all the shame he could, left him to endure the torments which his deeds deserved.
After he had some space been imprisoned, the magistrates found out through due examination of the matter, that his daughter Stubbe Beell and his gossip Katherine Trompin were both accessory to divers murders committed, who for the same as also for their lewd life otherwise committed, was arraigned, and with Stubbe Peeter condemned, and their several judgments pronounced the 28 of October 1589, in this manner, that is to say: Stubbe Peeter as principal malefactor, was judged first to have his body laid on a wheel, and with red hot burning pincers in ten several places to have the flesh pulled off from the bones, after that, his legs and arms to be broken with a wooden ax or hatchet, afterward to have his head struck from his body, then to have his carcass burned to ashes.
Also his daughter and his gossip were judged to be burned quick to ashes, the same time and day with the carcass of the aforesaid Stubbe Peeter. And on the 31st of the same month, they suffered death accordingly in the town of Bedbur in the presence of many peers and princes of Germany.
This, Gentle Reader, have I set down the true discourse of this wicked man Stub Peeter, which I desire to be a warning to all sorcerers and witches, which unlawfully follow their own devilish imagination to the utter ruin and destruction of their souls eternally, from which wicked and damnable practice, I beseech God keep all good men, and from the cruelty of their wicked hearts. Amen
After the execution, there was by the advice of the magistrates of the
town of Bedbur a high pole set up and strongly framed, which first went
through the wheel whereon he was broken, whereunto also it was fastened;
after that a little above the wheel the likeness of a wolf was framed in
wood, to show unto all men the shape wherein he executed those cruelties.
Over that on the top of the stake the sorcerer's head itself was set up,
and round about the wheel there hung as it were sixteen pieces of wood
about a yard in length with represented the sixteen persons that was
perfectly known to be murdered by him. And the same ordained to stand
Witnesses that this is true:
With divers others that have seen the same.
The third workman, however, tied a wolf strap around his waist and crept up to a herd of horses that was grazing there. The best foal was just right for him. He grabbed it and killed it. The remaining horses and the herder ran off. The other harvesters saw what had happened, but they wisely pretended to be asleep, for they were frightened and horrified.
After the werewolf had satisfied his hunger, he took off the strap, came back, and lay down to rest. Their food soon arrived: a large pot full of porridge and for each man six boiled eggs plus some bread and salt. As the two harvesters were helping themselves with their wooden spoons, the werewolf said, "Earlier I was terribly hungry, but for some reason I don't feel like eating now." The two others said nothing.
The one harvester complained the entire afternoon about cramps and a stomach ache, and often went to the brook to quench his burning thirst. The two others said nothing. That evening, as they were on their way home, he said once again that he had never felt so stuffed, to which one of the harvesters replied that it could happen to anyone.
When they arrived at the town gate, and he was still complaining, the other workman said, "A person who eats an entire foal should not be surprised to feel stuffed and have stomach cramps. To that he replied, "If you had said that earlier, you would not now be walking home on your own legs." He then threw his scythe away, tied the strap around his waist, turned into a wolf, and was never again seen in that place.
A soldier related the following story, which is said to have happened to his grandfather. The latter, the grandfather, had gone into the forest to cut wood with a kinsman and a third man. People suspected that there was something not quite right about this third man, although no one could say exactly what it was.
The three finished their work and were tired, whereupon the third man suggested that they sleep a little. And that is what they did. They all laid down on the ground, but the grandfather only pretended to sleep, keeping his eyes open a crack. The third man looked around to see if the others were asleep, and when he believed this to be so, he took off his belt (or, as others tell the story, put on a belt) and turned into a wolf.
However, such a werewolf does not look exactly like a natural wolf, but somewhat different.
Then he ran to a nearby meadow where a young foal was grazing, attacked it, and ate it, including skin and hair. Afterward he returned, put his belt back on (or took it off), and laid down, as before, in human form.
A little later they all got up together and made their way toward home. Just as they reached the town gate, the third man complained that he had a stomachache. The grandfather secretly whispered in his ear: "That I can well believe, for someone who has a horse, complete with skin and hair, in his belly."
The third man replied: "If you had said that to me in the forest, you would not be saying it to me now."
A woman had taken on the form of a werewolf and had attacked the herd of a shepherd, whom she hated, causing great damage. However, the shepherd wounded the wolf in the hip with an ax blow, and it crawled into the brush. The shepherd followed, thinking that he could finish it off, but there he found a woman using a piece of cloth torn from her dress to stop the blood gushing from a wound.
At Lüttich in the year 1610 two sorcerers were executed because they had turned themselves into werewolves and had killed many children. With them they had a boy of twelve years whom the devil turned into a raven whenever they were tearing apart and eating their prey.
A long, long time ago a stranger sojourned near the Brandsleber Forest, which belonged to the Hackel and the Harz districts. No one knew who he was, nor where he came from. Known everywhere by the name "the Old Man," he would often show up without notice in the villages and offer his services, which he performed to the satisfaction of the country people. He was most often engaged to herd sheep.
It happened that a cute spotted lamb was born in a herd belonging to a shepherd named Melle from Neindorf. The stranger asked the shepherd repeatedly and fervently to give it to him, but the shepherd refused.
On shearing day Melle engaged the Old Man to help out. When he returned he found everything in order; all the work had been done, but neither the Old Man nor the spotted lamb were there. For a long time no one heard anything about the Old Man.
Finally one day he unexpectedly appeared before Melle, who was grazing his sheep in the Katten Valley. He called out sneeringly: "Good day, Melle, your spotted lamb sends his greetings!"
Angered, the shepherd grabbed his crook in order to avenge himself. Then suddenly the stranger changed shape and sprang at him as a werewolf. The shepherd took fright, but his dogs attacked the wolf with fury. The wolf fled. Pursued, it ran through forest and valley until it reached the vicinity of Eggenstedt. Here the dogs surrounded him. The shepherd called out: "Now you will die!" Then the Old Man, again in human form, begged to be spared, offering to do anything. But the shepherd furiously attacked him with his stick, when suddenly a sprouting thorn bush stood before him. But the vengeful shepherd did not spare him, hacking away at the branches instead. The stranger once again turned himself into a human and begged for his life. But hard-hearted Melle remained unmoved. Then the stranger attempted to make his escape as a werewolf, but a blow from Melle brought him dead to the earth. A rocky cliff marks the spot where he fell and was buried, and will be named after him for all eternity.
As soon as they begin to follow him, it appears as though they lose their former shape and turn into wolves. Several thousand of them come together. Their leader, with the iron whip in his hand, leads the way. When they have been led into a field, they cruelly attack the cattle, ripping every animal to pieces that they can catch, thus doing great damage. However, they are not able to harm humans.
When they come to a body of water, their leader strikes at it with his switch or whip, and it divides, allowing them to cross over with dry feet. After twelve days have passed, they abandon their werewolf form and become humans once again.
Following his custom, the werewolf appeared again that night. But as he was approaching the enclosure, he immediately sensed that this time the shepherd might do him in. Therefore he quickly turned himself into a human, walked up to the shepherd, and said to him in a familiar tone, "You don't have to shoot me dead!" That so unsettled the shepherd that he lowered his gun, which he had been aiming at the intruder.
The werewolf never again dared to steel sheep from the Jarnitz enclosures.
There were formerly werewolves. One could transform oneself into a werewolf by putting on a belt. A servant understood how to do this, and while the others were asleep at noontime he ate an entire foal. One of the men just pretended to be asleep and observed everything. From Glane near Iburg.
If you throw a piece of iron or steel over a hare that is a transformed human, or over a werewolf, then the human will immediately appear before you completely naked. They call that "making blank" the witch, the wolf, and so forth. The werewolf's pelt bursts crosswise at its forehead, and the naked human emerges from this opening.
Late one evening two peasants were returning home from a mill not far from Rinteln. Each was carrying a sack of flour. A böxenwolf confronted one of them. He immediately called out for help to his companion, who threw down his sack and attacked the böxenwolf so furiously with his stick, that the böxenwolf turned and fled.
The next day they went to another peasant. They had long suspected him, because was rich, but no one knew the source of his wealth. He was lying in bed, deathly ill. He had the surgeon come and bind his wounds. Thus they discovered who had been the böxenwolf.
When the people in the room saw what had happened they ran quickly and brought back the father. He arrived barely in time and undid the strap before the boy could do any damage. Afterward the boy said that as soon as he put the belt on, he become so terribly hungry that he would have torn anything apart that might have gotten in his way.
After the woman had been away for a while, a wolf swam across the Swina and approached the harvesters. The man threw his hat at it, which the beast immediately ripped into small pieces. Meanwhile one of the workers crept up to the wolf with a pitchfork and stabbed it to death from behind. Instantly it was transformed. They were all astounded to see that it was the farmer's wife that the worker had killed.
In the vicinity of Wolfhagen there was a well-to-do woman of good parentage who almost every night would leave her house and roam the fields as a werewolf. Once a shepherd bravely approached the werewolf, as it crept into an alder thicket, its appetite sated. The shepherd, who had long pursued the werewolf, hoped to capture it. He threw his pocketknife over its head and neck, and immediately the woman was standing naked there before him. She implored him to have mercy with her and to not tell the story to anyone. The shepherd was highly surprised to see the well known woman before him, and he promised to keep the event a secret. Nonetheless, within a few days everyone knew about it.
A young farm hand wanted to discover the woman's trick, so one day he hid himself in the hayloft instead of going to church with the rest of the household. Suddenly he noticed how the woman pulled out a wolf strap and put it around herself. She immediately became a wolf, ran out into the field, and soon came back with a sheep.
"If she can get meat that easily," thought the boy, "then she can be more generous with us. As the woman put meat into the pot, she sighed and said, as was her custom, "Oh, dear God, if only I were with you!"
The boy, pretending to be God, answered, "You'll not come to me for all eternity."
"Why not, dear God?"
"Because you put too little into the pot for your people."
"Then I'll do better."
"Yes, that's my advice to you."
From now on she put a much larger piece of meat into the pot. But the boy could not remain silent, and in the village he talked about what had happened. When on a Sunday morning the woman again turned herself into a wolf, the people were on guard. However, no bullet could harm her until they finally loaded a flintlock with a silver bullet. From that time to the end of her life the woman had an open wound that no doctor could heal. She never again showed herself as a werewolf.
In a valley in the Fichtel Mountains a shepherd tended his flock in a green meadow. Several times it happened that after driving his herd home he discovered that one of the animals was missing. All searching was in vain. They were lost and they remained lost.
Watching more carefully, he saw a large wolf creep out of the forest thicket and seize a lamb. Angrily he chased after him, but the enemy was too fleet. Before he could do anything about it, the wolf had disappeared with the lamb. The next time he took an expert marksman with him. The wolf approached, but the marksman's bullets bounced off him. Then it occurred to the hunter to load his weapon with the dried pith from an elder bush. The next day he got off a shot, and the robber ran howling into the woods.
The next morning the shepherd met an old neighbor woman with whom he was not on the best of terms. Noticing that she was limping, he asked her: "Neighbor, what is wrong with your leg? It does not want to go along with you."
"What business is it of yours?" she answered, hurrying away.
The shepherd took note of this. This woman had long been suspected of practicing evil magic. People claimed to have seen her on the Heuberg in Swabia, the Köterberg, and also on the Hui near Halberstadt.
He reported her. She was arrested, interrogated, and flogged with rod of alder wood, with which others suspected of magic, but who had denied the charges, had been punished. She was then locked up in chains. But suddenly the woman disappeared from the prison, and no one knew where she had gone.
Some time later the poor, unsuspecting shepherd saw the hated wolf break out of the forest once again. However, this time it had not come to attack his herd, but the shepherd himself. There was a furious struggle. The shepherd gathered all of his strength together against the teeth and claws of the ferocious beast. It would have been his death if a hunter had not come by in the knick of time. In vain he fired a shot at the wolf, and then struck it down with his knife. The instant that blood began to flow from the wolf's side, the old woman from the village appeared in the field before them, writhing and twisting terribly. They finished killing her and buried her twenty feet beneath the earth.
At the place where they buried the woman they erected a large stone cross, which they named the "Wolf Stone" in memory of these events. It was never peaceful and orderly in the vicinity of the stone. The Malicious Messenger (der Tückebote) or the Burning Man (der brennende Mann), in the language of the people, still goes about his dangerous business here.
The belief in werewolves is common throughout all of Pomerania. One can transform oneself into a werewolf by girding oneself with a strap that has been cut from the back of a man who has been hanged. Werewolves are especially fond of attacking horses. In the village of Bork not far from Stargard for a long time a man made his entire living by walking around the horse pasture in the village every night and whispering mysterious words by which he protected the horses against werewolves and other wolves, and this in spite of the fact that wolves had long not been seen in that region.
He had a strip of leather made from wolf skin which still had its hair. Whenever he tied it around his body, he turned into a wolf. Then he had such extraordinary strength that he could pull an entire load of hay by himself or grab a whole ox in his mouth and carry it away.
In this state he had the nature of a wolf. He strangled cattle and even ate humans. He once pursued one of his neighbors, who narrowly escaped from him. But however furious he became, he did spare his wife. She knew a magic charm that brought him under control, a charm that he himself had taught her. Then she would take off the leather strip, and he would become a reasonable human once again.