#OCCULTOBER: “Werewolf Hunter” (Ghost Hunting Tales of Indiana & Beyond)

I was thinking about the various paranormal adventures I’ve been blessed to take part in over the decades I’ve been at this. While Indiana has always, and will continue to be my primary concern and interest, especially the hinterlands of my own backyard, I have been fortunate to investigate some rather intriguing places beyond these Hoosier boundaries.

One of the strangest adventures took me to Arkansas back in 1993. A number of “Dogman” sightings in the Razorback State caught the attention of my friend “Poor Tom”. I packed my bags and headed South to spend a handful of days helping him investigate. He was something of a backwoods sort, a bushcrafter with a fair amount of Navajo blood in him, so after interviewing a couple of eyewitnesses we headed out into the wilderness on a two week hike through the Ozarks.

The idea of the “Dogman” had taken firm hold in that era, but mostly in Michigan. I’d never heard of Dogmen that far south. Arkansas was “Boggy Creek” Monster territory. Both the Dogman and Boggy Creek Monster were said to be roughly seven feet tall and covered with hair, and this description held in our interviews, but the people we talked with were confident this creature had a wolf’s head sitting atop a bipedal humanoid frame.

Tom was full-on convinced it was a skinwalker. In Navajo culture, a skinwalker was a witch who could take on the form of an animal— most often that of a wolf. I tried to explain to him that a Dogman and a Skinwalker were far removed from one another, but he was locked in. I was in the Sasquatch (or Sasquatch-adjacent) camp myself, but the idea of stalking a skinwalker through the rugged, mountainous terrain of my ancestors had quite the appeal to me. I was not yet 30 and being able to put “werewolf hunter” on my resume was all the coaxing I needed.

Needless to say, we didn’t catch sight of any sort of Dogman, Skinwalker, or Wildman of the Woods. We did, however, enjoy a fascinating adventure — camping and hiking in an amazingly beautiful (but humid and bug infested) part of the country, smoking both legal and illegal substances, and, on one magical moonlit night, consuming a bit of Psilocybin. We did run across wolf tracks, or, more likely, the tracks of a pack of wolf-dog hybrids. But that was as close as we got, although we did commune with ancient spirits there in those misty mountains.

It’s the journey that makes the adventure. Part of my love of “ghost hunting” lies in my fascination with history, architecture, abandoned places, and isolated woodlands. If a place turns out to not be haunted, or to be quiet, on an investigation, I’ve still had an experience I treasure.

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