It is all too easy to dismiss the numerous eyewitness accounts from ages past of the thing we in our modern parlance refer to as “werewolf,” no matter how credible those accounts might otherwise be. If the people of past centuries (and millennia, for in truth accounts detailing werewolf-like creatures are far older than human civilization) had written chronicles of encounters with “monsters” we now know to exist or to have once existed—if they were to describe encounters with wooly mammoths, for example—we would afford those accounts full credibility. Is it reasonable, then, to discount them because they describe a being, a creature which does not currently exist in our world and has left us no evidence of its prior existence? Might such a creature not have existed at some earlier time? If Herodotus is regarded as the “Father of History” and his words are accepted by modern scholars as accurate and true in all other situations, are we to so readily dismiss his accounts of his having seen, with his own eyes, “flying serpents” in Arabia? Did Herodotus choose to become a liar on this one occasion? Is that plausible? Is it any more fantastical to believe that a werewolf exists than a “flying serpent?”
Ah, but there would remain some evidence, the doubter will say. True enough, we will allow, but what exactly constitutes evidence? Must it be physical in nature? I daresay, if all the written accounts were taken to trial, admitted into evidence in a courtroom, the preponderance is more than sufficient to achieve a verdict in favor of the werewolf’s existence. If enough people over a long enough period of time and spread throughout a wide enough geographical area all swear to have seen such a particular thing, are willing to swear under oath that they have seen it (and we must remember such an attestation would have meant more, and carried far more gravitas in the event of falsifying information, for them than it would mean for us in our present day, as it constituted to them a spiritual even more than a legal matter), can we so easily dismiss it as a fairy tale, superstition, or a case of misidentification? Were all those witnesses lying? Did they all see bears and construe them to be werewolves? As for all the reported attacks, were they all just regular wolves gone rabid? Was rabies ever so prevalent?
The mere universality of the werewolf “myth” argues for its veracity.
If we accept, then, the supposition that such creatures did at one time exist, we are left with a few overriding questions: What became of them? Where did they go? Why do they not exist still in our world?
(Granted there are contemporary accounts. Such bestial creatures are still being reported today, and not always in the poorest, less developed parts of the world, as one might expect. Make no mistakes; there are new, credible “First World” sightings reported every year. However, if the werewolf does still exist in our present age, we can at least all agree that such creatures represent anomalies. They are far from numerous today, far from prevalent. Why is that?)
If the Confessions manuscript you have just read is genuine, and I believe that it is, then we have our answer. There are no more werewolves in our world because Saint Christopher did away with them. That the bestial nature may still assert itself in isolated cases (such as the well publicized “Michigan Dogman” or the “Bray Road Beast” of Wisconsin, to name but two of our contemporary American Cynocephali) and still resides in the black recesses of subconscious human nature, unable to break free in most cases to achieve its true form, but nevertheless bearing an influence on our behavior, in no way diminishes the accomplishment of Christopher in rendering the beasts among us, in physicality if not completely in essence, toothless. On the contrary, Christopher provides for us the finest example of how we ought to deal with our own inner wolves.
By opposing them, we have the power to conquer, and banish, them. We must do this for our own psychological health, and communally to safeguard our continuance as a species. Christopher’s example shows us that, yes, it can be done.
It is my hope that the publication of the Confessions will vouchsafe that Christopher receives the overdue credit he deserves for the service he has rendered to the human race.
In closing, then, I will leave you with my own paraphrased version of a traditional prayer to Saint Christopher. I hope you will accept it in the spirit in which it is intended.
O Saint Christopher:
Be with us as we travel;
Guard us on the darkened paths;
For we know that beasts dwell beneath the branches,
Their eyes ever upon us.
Let your eyes also keep watch over us,
And where you conquered,
Lend us strength also to conquer,
That we need never fear gnashing teeth or rending claw,
Nor the rise of moon
Or darkened night.