The Werewolf Girl of Georgia
I chanced upon this legend via the trusty old Internet. Despite living only a state away, and despite a lifelong fascination for werewolves and other monsters, and despite being a voracious reader focusing heavily on said subject matter, I’d never before heard of the Werewolf Girl of Georgia. Have you?
Upfront, I should tell you that local historians have found no evidence to support the allegation that the young woman in question was a werewolf. It has been suggested that the entire thing was fabricated by a local writer compiling a collection of area ghost stories. Even the photograph supposedly depicting the werewolf in question, Miss Emily Isabella Burt, may or may not be genuine. It is a genuine photograph, that is to say, from the period in question, but it may not be a photograph of Miss Burt. Got it? In short, lacking any evidence of any sort, really, all we are left with is the legend. Let us examine that, then.
After the death of Emily’s father, her mother shipped her off to boarding school in Europe. It was while away that Emily somehow contracted lycanthropy. She returned home sickly and distant, often staring off into space, and was prone to sleepwalking. This coincided with a rash of predation on livestock. The killing of the animals was blamed on a wolf. The locals formed a posse to hunt down the beast, after consulting an old man, an immigrant from Eastern Europe, who advised them to melt down anything silver they could get hold of and fashion the liquid metal into bullets, because what they had on their hands was not a regular wolf but a werewolf. One night, the townspeople shot the werewolf, but it escaped. Emily’s mother later found her suffering from a bullet wound. She sent Emily off to Paris, presumably to seek treatment for her condition, and this marked the end of the livestock killing. Emily Isabella Burt returned to Georgia, cured, and became a respected member of the community. She died in 1911 at the age of 70. This last bit is established fact. What about the rest of it? All we can do is try to connect the dots.
Here’s my best guess as to how it played out. I suspect that Emily Isabella did return from a semester in Europe sick with some malady, and this corresponded to a rash of attacks on local livestock. When Isabella again left the country, for whatever reason–either to seek treatment or for some unrelated purpose–the killing of the livestock coincidentally came to an end. This led some of the locals to view the two things as connected. That’s how the story got started.
Ms. Burt’s grave is located on private property at an undisclosed location in rural Georgia. Once the weather gets a little warmer, I will be visiting the site. I have been in contact with a nice lady named Denise with the Southeastern Institute of Paranormal Research who put me in touch with the owner of the property where Ms. Burt’s grave is located, as well as sending me some of Ms. Burt’s private papers. I will continue to investigate this affair thoroughly, so you can bet you’ll be hearing more about it in the weeks and months to come.
I will leave you with one delicious little tidbit, however: Where did this all supposedly happen? Why, in rural Talbot County, Georgia. TALBOT County.
You can’t make this stuff up, friends. Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Sometimes it is also poetically perfect.