I have been thinking about werewolves quite a bit. I have vivid memories of a battered 70s myths and legends book with a grisly story about a loup-garou, complete with a black and white illustration of a wolfish grin, and that, plus my much-too-early exposure to An American Werewolf in London, sealed the deal. Rick Baker’s film effects (complete with those crunchy, crackling sounds) made quite an impression, and despite vampires being everywhere (I blame Buffy for starting the tidal wave), it’s still werewolves I love most. A friend once said to me, ‘we’re all hairy on the inside’, and that’s stuck fast. What I have recently come to realise though, is that I have always thought I was a bit frightened of them, which didn’t really sit well with such a fascination. My standard response to any suggestion of camping, for example, is a flat no – because, well, werewolves (watch the opening sequence of Dog Soldiers and come back to me).
However, just recently I revisited the story of La Loba. Actually, I think it’s not so much of a visitation as a return – it doesn’t feel like we will be parting ways much from now on. La Loba is the story of the old woman in the desert who gathers up dusty bones and then sings them back to life in her cave by firelight. Slowly the flesh and fur creep back onto the skeleton until up jumps a live wolf, running wild for the horizon. But if you narrow your eyes just right, you’ll see it’s no wolf – it’s a woman, laughing and running free.
It’s interesting that in all the tales of werewolves I loved when I was little, there were no lady werewolves. They were all murderous big bad boy wolves, coming to savage you in the night.
Food for thought (or for the wolves).