Werewolf Serial Killers and the Lycanthropic Criminal Mind

In the modern era, it seems as though romance has permeated the entire monster world, and everything monstrous and horrifying, is now viewed through rose-tinted glasses. For once, let’s shed some of the obsession to know and understand, to let in the love. Some things are evil, and nasty, –saying “it’s not their fault” is just another way to shift blame. As it happens, there are a group of werewolves who can easily fall into this group; you won’t find them in any movies. A few currently reside in our nation’s most austere accommodations: the federal prison system. Don’t worry; you won’t find yourself falling for any of these men:

Jack Owen Spillman III – Spillman is the most recent case; taking place in 1995. Referred to himself as a werewolf to his cellmate, because loved to stalk his prey. He raped and sexually mutilated two female children, and one woman, killing them all. He regretted not being able to store his victims in a cave.

Jean Grenier – One of the oldest cases, he was only 13, and he confessed that he was a wolf, and had been since he was ten years old. The ‘Monsieur de la Forest’ gave him a potion and a fur to transform him, –when captured, he confessed, and also that he’d been eating dogs, infants, and little girls from the nearby village.

Joseph Vacher – Also French, arrested near the turn of the 20th century, he claimed that after being bitten by a rabid dog, his blood had been poisoned and that is what drove him to commit several frenzied murders, during many, he confessed, he drank the victims’ blood. During his murder spree in France, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published in England.

Anonymous Cases

What may be even more disturbing, are the anonymous cases of psychotic lycanthropy within both Canadian and American medical journals in the 70s, –they don’t give names, just initials:

Mr. H., 21 – After mixing a cocktail of LSD and strychnine, he believed he was a werewolf, and found himself resisting an urge to mutilate rabbits. He claimed he had actually seen his own transformation, and spoke to Satan. After being tested, he was evaluated as being in a state of toxic psychosis, and treated with anti-psychotic medication. After a short period of treatment, he disappeared.

Mr. W., 37 – Acted out in cliche werewolf behavior; just as in films, books, he claimed he was a werewolf, howling at the full moon, and growing out his hair, then crawling into and sleeping in bizarre places outside. After a brain biopsy, it was discovered that cerebral tissues were deteriorating; though he responded to medication, his intelligence retrogressed to a younger age than before developing the lycanthropic psychosis.

Another example of lycanthropic behavior is that of Bill Ramsey, in 1983, –and it may also stand as either one of the greatest medical hoaxes of all time, or a true testament to the power of suggestion on the mind. Bill Ramsey experienced savage seizures since childhood, during which he snapped, growled, and bit, –over the years he had convinced himself that he was a wolf. Eventually, two ‘demonologists’ Ed and Loraine Warren, famous for their involvement in the Amityville Horror case, came to the rescue. They concluded that Ramsey was possessed by a ‘werewolf demon’, and though Ramsey was skeptical, after enduring an exorcism, he felt it leaving his body, and never suffered from the psychosis again.

The Medieval Werewolf

Serial bestial murders were long associated with werewolves, and in medieval Europe, during the 16th century, they were rather commonplace. Sexual mutilation, savage dismemberment of the victim, and even evidence that the victim had been cannibalized, –all this pointed to werewolves of folklore and legend. Eventually, the frequency of the murders led to the French werewolf trials, that convicted numerous men, –some may have been guilty, while others were most likely only responding to extreme torture.

The most interesting theory regarding werewolf legends and folklore comes from a former FBI profiler, Gregg McCrary. He believed the the brutality of the murders may have been what originally spawned the werewolf lore. “There’s a reluctance to admit that someone in our community would be capable of the kind of evil we see in brutal murders,” he says.  “Evil is so overpowering that we want to attribute it to some ‘monster,’ but the reality is that many good people can have some terrible flaws.”

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