These Guys Aren’t Hunting Ducks! – Werewolf Hunters in the Deep South
Here at I Must Be Hallucinating, we offer free directory listings for those that investigate and research mysterious phenomena like UFO’s, Bigfoot & other legendary monsters, & ghosts and the paranormal. We received a request for a listing from a werewolf hunter in Alabama. This is one of the reasons that we offer our free directory listings. I for one, had no idea that there was anyone hunting werewolves in the deep south of the United States. So I inquired for some more information about this group called A.C.E. Project Lupine, American Cryptid Expeditions.
Our contact, the founder of the group, Doug “Pig-E” Ward wrote:
“Sure… The official name is A.C.E, Project Lupine – and we are one of the few teams on earth devoted to investigating werewolf sightings. When you try to explain that you are a werewolf hunter, most people look at you like you are stark raving mad. We are ok with that. If you want to take that description at face value, dismiss it as crazy, and go about your way, by all means feel free. “For those that want to take a closer look at what we do, we offer this explanation: The idea of the existence of shape shifters has been a part of the human psyche for so long it seems as if it has always been around. The tale in Greek Mythology of Lycaon; the King of Arcadia; Thiess of Kaltenbrun, known as the Livonian Werewolf; and the Werewolf Trials of Estonia – Peter Stubb, Henry Gardinn. All were said to transform into a wolf. Note that I said wolf, NOT wolf-man. The importance of that distinction is thus: in all of the history and well known legends of werewolves they change into a wolf, NOT a wolf-man.
” It wasn’t until the Acadian French settled into the American south that the legend of a Loup Garou being wolf man overtook the original legend of a Loup Garou being a man transforming into a wolf. This was many years before makeup artist Jack Pierce turned Lon Chaney Jr. into what the world now pictures as a werewolf in the 1941 film The Wolf Man.
“To this day, sightings of the Loup Garou or Rougarou continue throughout the south. Our suggestion is that the thing that has been spotted over the last several hundred years is some form of cryptid; nothing supernatural, simply an unknown animal. The sightings of the Skunk Ape, Honey Island Swamp Monster, and the Alabama White Thang are all very close in description to a Loup Garou. ” The Bigfoot sightings as seen in the northwest describe a much larger but less aggressive animal. We simply suggest that the beast people have been spotting was mistaken for a werewolf and the legends changed a bit, very much like the way peoples’ image of a Chupacabra changed from a blood sucking lizard, like monster into a mangy coyote over the last 20 years.
“What we hunt is a legend, and make no mistake. Our witnesses are usually VERY frightened of it. The thing is reported to be vicious. Our position is that this is a flesh and blood critter, NOT some mythical beast. Yep, I admit it. We are Cryptozoology researchers, not just ‘drunken redneck werewolf hunters with guns’. We study search and rescue style team tracking, forensics, and evidence collection. Our research is always ongoing. We go into this with an open mind. Our object is to see what we find, not to prove or disprove; just to collect evidence and follow the rabbit hole.
We do happened to be armed to the teeth, loaded down with moonshine, and having a damn good time doing what we do.”
I was of course left with a few questions for Doug, which he was more than happy to answer for us.
How did you personally get into werewolf hunting and crytozoological research?
My interest in the unknown started at an early age. I grew up travelling with my parents all over country for my dad’s work… even as far as Alaska for him to take a project on the Alaskan pipeline. My folks filled me with a sense of wonder and adventure. I even learned to read on road signs. Home for us was Chilton County, Alabama. Back then, rural Alabama was the kind of place where the folks running or sheriff tended to visit on election year. If you are a student of Cryptozoology and perhaps have read Loren Coleman’s work, the names of two of those sheriffs might ring a bell. I was lucky enough to hear both T. J. Lockhart and James Earl Johnson talk about the 1962 Chilton County Booger sightings at my mom’s kitchen table. As a kid I had no idea how important that event was. It just inspired me to look for books about such things at the local library. I was shocked when I found mention of Clanton, Alabama in several books. The internet did not exist at the time, but as soon as I was old enough to drive, I was spending weekends taking my dad’s old, green F-100 Explorer to search the Birmingham library for tales of cryptids and lost treasure. I found a few that struck me.
My summers were spent in a little town in Texas named Coleman. This was well before the supposed Chupacabra invasion of the area; however, there were legends of the lost San Saba Silver Hoard supposedly hidden in the nearby Santa Anna Mountain. I spent many hours of my youth crisscrossing that place looking for signs of the treasure hoard. I never got lucky, but I was within yards of a location where a silver and emerald cross was found years later.
Monster hunting was never anything that I expected to fall deeply into, but when you start looking into sightings and seeing patterns emerge, folks with inquisitive minds tend to want to look deeper. So far, every answer I think I have found calls for new questions. So I keep following. From a quest for the Snallygaster in Maryland and all the way back home to investigate animal mutilations in my state, I search for a better understanding. We have found hoaxes and natural explanations; and we have found things that we just can’t explain. Our current project is huge. It leads from here, my home in Chilton County, all of the way to forgotten temples and African jungles. I have no expectations of ever being lucky enough to follow the route back to the source. I simply hope to help map out the legends and perhaps inspire some future cryptozoologist to take a trip further down the rabbit hole.
Can you tell me in what state your group is based?
We are based out of Alabama, but are currently working all over the southeast, hoping funds will come one day to expand the hunt to other lands as this is a worldwide mystery.
How do you separate out the hoaxers from the sighters?
We know what the patterns are that make up most sightings that turn out to be substantial. The things we look for to determine if we are going to look into the case are also what tends to help us weed out hoaxes. We tend to listen to folks that some researchers would turn away if what they are telling us fits our information of the area. By that, what I mean is that sightings occur a lot of times in places where your average person does not spend much time. Backwoods and swamps are not suburbia and if you do not understand local culture and the mores of the local society, you are going to think that the people there are nuts and that they are going to think you need to go to the hell home. We don’t overlook someone because they seem eccentric. We do pass them by if what they tell us sounds straight out of a movie, or we catch them faking details. When you have done this for awhile, you can tell. People will try to fake you out. We actually had one woman in an area while we were interviewing a witness, who acted completely normal. That is until she found out what we were doing. Then she started randomly growling and talking about seeing ghosts.
We are not ghost hunters; we do however, investigate any paranormal events that occur in areas we are looking into, mostly because we do not want to rule anything out. One of the members of our team has a strong background in the occult. She studied Wicca for years and has been a student of Thelema for several years.
I do want to be clear we are not an occult group. We all have different beliefs on the paranormal, and we have several different religions in our group…Christians, Atheists, and others. It just strikes us that since our branch of this field of study has historically been associated with the paranormal that we need to know a bit about it. Remember, we are looking for a flesh and blood cryptid we feel has been misidentified as a werewolf. That does not stop us from following some of the supposed traditions of old… just because it seems that we should. A few of the weapons that we carry have been blessed on an alter to St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters.
*NOTE!* We carry weapons only for defense. The areas we investigate have more than werewolves to worry about!
Of course the question of silver bullets comes up. Yep, we have them…just because. Silver bullets are horrible for modern barrels and are hard to make. We have a friend who is a jeweler that makes the bullet, and a buddy who loads them for us. Silver bullets also have very little to do with historical werewolf hunting.
The whole silver thing came from the case of the Beasts of Gevaudan. That case is a conversation in itself, but to sort of sum it up, some unknown critter or critters was/were killing a LOT (100’s) of folks in the French countryside back in the 1760’s. The king sent out hunters who wounded it, but even shot at point blank range it survived. An innkeeper named Jean Chastel is credited with killing the beast, and a couple hundred years later, writers added the silver bullet thing to enhance the tale.
The critter in question is more likely to have been a hyena and the silver bullet probably never happened, but it makes a great story. The legend of silver bullets killing a werewolf is still very well known and also good fun. When someone asks us about silver bullets, we can tell them “Yeah, we carry them.”
What determines whether you go on a hunt or not?
For us to invest our time, energy, and money into researching an area up to the point of interviewing witnesses and putting boots on the ground, we look for at LEAST three things: A previous sighting in the area: These things have been around for a long time. If someone sees them now, someone has seen them in the past. We have a pretty good database that we can cross reference, but most of us know the general locations of southeast hot spots from memory. A witness who gives us a description of the critter we are looking for: Not one who describes what television, movies, books, or the internet suggests a werewolf should look like. Terrain that is similar to known locations of credible sightings we have investigated in the past: or along the waterways that seem to be pathways for the critters. Physical evidence already collected: Physical evidence already collected is a plus, but rare. Not because of lack of evidence, but because most people who encounter something have no idea how to collect and preserve it. We are hoping to change that some by educating a few folks local to the hot spots that we end up at a lot.
Can anyone become a werewolf hunter?
I suppose. But it takes a special breed I think to sort out the BS. You have to keep a sense of humor and an open mind. Expect folks to think that you are nuts and expect to have to work a lot harder than those ‘nutty’ Bigfoot guys to get any sort of credibility. Anyone with a serious interest is more than welcome to hit us up. We are always glad to give input and what advice we can.
Click here to find how to contact Doug and/or A.C.E. Project Lupine
Doug “Pig-E” Ward Founder A.C.E. Project Lupine
Interview by Pael Spelle