Sometime when people visit our house for the first time, they ask why there’s a drawing of a female werewolf on my bookshelf (this is usually after they’ve perused Sweetums’ Bigfoot collection.) I’ve mentioned the Wolf Woman of Mobile in many of my stories for AL.com and at speaking events.
The Wolf Woman was a cryptid that was supposedly sighted in Mobile, Ala., in 1971.
To explain further, here’s a little something I wrote in my book “Not Quite Right:”
After numerous residents contacted police and the newspaper office to report sightings, editors decided they should address the issue. Here’s a quote from that story in the April 8, 1971, edition: “Listening to as many as 50 phone calls the Press Register has received, day and night, in approximately a week, you wonder if perhaps there isn’t something out there.”
And according to witnesses, she really was something. The creature was described as “pretty and hairy,” and “the top half was a woman and the bottom was a wolf.”
Based on these descriptions, an illustrator on the newspaper staff drew a likeness of the creature. She was stunning. She was the kind of wolfwoman you might like to invite to girls’ night out and, after a few mojitos, ask her if she’s really as wild as her incredibly long and deadly looking claws would have you believe. Her delicate, doglike ears poked flirtatiously through long flowing tresses. She had a smattering of hair on her face, but she wore it with confidence. Her lips were full and slightly pursed as if she were about to blow a large bubble of chewing gum (Although I’m sure she wasn’t. It would be irresponsible to chew gum with all that hair.) And like a true southern wolfwoman, she was drawn using a graceful paw to toss the long locks from her face in a subtle, come-hither manner.
Not too long ago, while going through archives at the Mobile newspaper, I stumbled across the original drawing. After more than forty years in a file folder, her lines were as bold as ever. It’s a wonder she never got her own comic book. But sightings of the wolfwoman ebbed after just a few weeks and her legend faded into obscurity. Is it possible she still roams the outskirts of Mobile, her hair now styled in the blue-gray coif known as the granny bun, her long legs bent with arthritis?
To honor the first female mythical, fictional, not really real creature I’d heard of, I had the drawing framed and hung on the wall of my home office. It is a daily reminder of how insidious sexism can be. Wherever she is, I want Wolf Woman to know her place in the world of mythical, fictional, not really real creatures has not been forgotten.