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Derek Nobbs - The Wolf of the West Woods


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10" x 12" // Watercolor on Paper // Framed

Long ago there lived something that wasn't quite a man, yet wasn't quite a beast. Many believed he was one time a man, cursed by a hexenmeister to live deep in the woods as a demon in a wolf's skin, until he lived this way so long that the two merged. Others believed his mother was a mad witch who lived in the West Woods, and on one sabbath night, by the light of the full moon, she held intimate communion with the devil himself. After just six months, the witch gave birth to a small child with claws, covered in hair, possessing yellow eyes. 

While how he came to be is the subject of debate there are aspects to his life that are indisputable. One publication, "Prolegomena to The Survival of The Soul of Mankind," a work chronicling the strange and unholy, written by G.G. Hohman and first published in 1821, tells the tale of a of small town in New England where in the late 1700s the locals tell of a demon with the head of a wolf and the body of a man that lived in the West Woods. The creature wore the clothes of a man and would come to town to trade and purchase goods from the locals.  Most hid behind locked doors when they heard word of his approach. The few brave enough to face the beast-man were paid in gold. On one such visit the man-wolf caught sight of a curious young woman who stood just outside her door and watched as he bartered for goods. When he made a gesture in her direction she too went inside to hide, but from that day forward, upon his visits he would leave flowers at her doorstep. On one autumn day the foolish girl snuck out of town and went into the West Woods.  When word got out, the town formed a mob and gathered all their weapons, sharp tools, and courage. They marched into the dark woods in search of the girl––and the yellowe-eyed man-wolf.  The terrible sound of a creature howling in pain drowned out the sound of the dry leaves beneath their feet. Soon enough they came to an old house. Entering the house, they found a note written in perfect script which read, "I am deeply sorry for what I have done.  I wished only to love her as a man would."  On the floor lay the girl's dress, shoes, and bones.  The Wolf of the West Woods was never seen again, but sometimes late in the year as the shadows grow long you can still hear his howls linger on the wind."

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