The Flixton Werewolf

Flixton is a very small village about 5 miles south of Scarborough on the North Yorksire coast, nestled on the south eastern edge of the Vale of Pickering, between the hills of the Yorkshire Wolds to the south and the edge of the North York moors a few miles to the north. Today it’s quite a bleak and desolate looking landscape, elemental and rugged, with miles of swampy open countryside, but long ago it was a dense forest with a large lake.  It must have been quite a wild, remote spot in the 10th century when the first known report of the Flixton werewolf tells of it terrorising the local countryside.
 There is no way of knowing now just how far back the Flixton werewolf tales go, but in the year 940 the situation was such that a hostel was built in Flixton specifically for the protection of travellers. The werewolf had reportedly attacked  sheep and local people as well as travellers.  The winters at that time were recorded as being particularly cruel in northern Britain and food was scarce. Freshly buried corpses were dug up and devoured, and anyone out after dark was risking being attacked. The Flixton werewolf became quite notorious around this time, not just around Flixton itself but also in other local villages.

However, the reports then stopped, and he the werewolf doesn't seem to have been reported again for a couple of hundred years or so, when around 1150 (ish) the reports began again.  It, (even assuming it was the same, very old, creature), devoured a local shepherd and a young girl, as well as farm animals. This werewolf walked upright, was incredibly stinky, had a particularly long tail and ferocious looking eyes.  Then all seems to have gone quiet again for about 600 years.

Maybe we should pause here a moment and consider the idea of lycanthropy (the ability to become a wolf, or werewolf) as either an inherited genetic trait, or something which is learned and passed down through the generations in particular families or groups, rather than a single creature roaming around for hundreds of years. Shape shifting is an incredibly ancient phenomenon, reported from all parts of the world in all time periods, even hinted at as far back as the palaeolithic in europe, where cave paintings show the possible transformation of humans into animals. Either way,  it's unlikely that a single creature could survive over a period of at least a thousand years.

One particularly interesting twist to the legend is that it was believed the werewolf was connected to a local magician who either used the creature for his own ends or was actually a shape shifter himself,  taking on the form of a wolf at will.
Anyway, Sometime around 1800 a carriage travelling to York was attacked just outside Flixton by a huge wolf like creature who first attacked the driver and then the occupants of the carriage. One of the travellers reportedly shot the creature, but apparently he didn't use silver bullets, because the creature was unharmed. It has to be remembered that wolves had been pretty well eradicated from this area by that time, and anyway a solitary wolf would have to be pretty desperate to attack a carriage full of people.
Then again much more recently, in the 1970's, local reports say a truck was attacked when a huge wolf like creature jumped on the front and tried to bash its way through the windscreen.
Moving further forward in time to 2016, a story that may be relevant was widely reported in the media about a creature which was seen several times near Beverley, which lies just over the Yorkshire Wolds about 25 miles to the south of Flixton. There were at least 7 sightings reported over a short period of time, of a creature described as 'half man, half dog' which stood upright on its hind legs, then dropped down and ran on all fours before jumping 30 feet over the Barmston Drain drainage canal. It was reported to be at least 8 feet tall and covered in shaggy hair. There is a local legend dating back centuries of a creature called 'Old Stinker' which is also tall and hairy, and has red eyes. Whether this is connected to the Flixton Werewolf legend is anyones guess, but local people organised a 'Werewolf Hunt' to try and find more evidence (presumably carrying pitch forks and burning torches).
So the Flixton Werewolf may be a flesh and blood creature or local folklore, but whatever it is it certainly hasn't gone away.

Another point of interest is that Flixton is the site of Star Carr, a neolithic lake village which dates back to the end of the last ice age, and so is the first  known site to be occupied after the glaciers retreated about 11, 000 years ago. This gives the place a very ancient history indeed and is a perfect place for stories and legends to grow, and although the oldest reports of the werewolf at Flixton date back over a thousand years, who knows whether people were telling tales of strange creatures here many thousands of years before that, way back in the mists of time.

"He has left his stamp on classic antiquity, he has trodden deep in Northern snows. He has ridden rough-shod over the mediƦvals, and has howled amongst Oriental sepulchres. He belonged to a bad breed, and we are quite content to be freed from him and his kindred, the vampire and the ghoul. Yet who knows! We may be a little too hasty in concluding that he is extinct. He may still prowl in Abyssinian forests, range still over Asiatic steppes, and be found howling dismally in some padded
room of a Hanwell or a Bedlam".
Sabine Baring-Gould. The Book of Werewolves (1865).

                                                       Barmston Drain.




16 comments:

  1. Interesting stuff Mick. Xxxx

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  2. Thank you Romany Soup and Little Bear.

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  3. Hi, what are your sources for this? I work in flixton and would like to know more.

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  4. Hello tommo8993. Numerous sources are available online which may or may not be original research. Andy roberts is a reliable researcher and author..see http://www.hotspotsz.com/Werewolves_(cat52-6-sort-popular).html
    but i first came across the story in a book called 'satanism and demonology' by none other than lionel and patricia fanthorpe. Apparently 'it' was seen even more receently in the winter of 2013 / 14, so maybe someone local could point you towards the person who saw it.

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  5. I too would like to know where a few of these Flixton werewolf accounts have come from. There are only a few accounts on the net. Wolves did roam the east and north Yorkshire wolds until the 1800s. The place of safety you talk about being built to protact from the werewolf was actually a refuge from roaming wolves. And was built at a place called spittal corner in Staxton. The story says the beast roamed an old grave yard..I can also tell you flixton only has one and it was first used in 1921. I do know where the said grave yard is though and its not flixton. All of this said there is something very real to the story and I have an account for late 2013. I have also interviewed many people in the village. Interestingly many of them, now in there 80s have never heard of the flixton werewolf. I wonder how many reaserchers have actually spent the time talking to people in and around flixton like I have done.
    I have the grave yard down to too places. One is an old burial ground just out of flixton on the wolds. There is only one stone there and knowone would ever know that it was in fact once a burial ground. I was lucky to be taken there with a guy now aged 88years who remembers. The account of the werewolf coming at the lorry is I am told a true account.
    Regards Paul Sinclair

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  6. Yes Paul, you're right about Staxton, but it is only about a mile down the road. As for the graves, i assume they could have been anywhere in the area, not necessarily in Flixton itself, which as you know is very small, but there are several other villages nearby. Seamer springs to mind, as it is only about 2 miles away and has a very old church (st martins) and cemetery. I believe parts of it date back to the 12th century. Also, youre right about the wolves, they survived in this area even after they had been eradicated from most other parts of england, but even by the 1500's they were very rare. By the early 1800's the wolf bounty was lifted so its to be assumed they were no longer seen as a threat.
    I would love to hear any more news / stories / information you come across regarding this story. As you said there seem to be very few good sources of information.
    mick.

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  7. I spend a day at Flixton last week and found out very little and the werewolf story. However I did get 5 different accounts of a big cat in the area. Or should I say cats as 3 people tell me what they saw was black the other 2 say brown. Interesting what they had to say about the the brown cat sightings. They searched the net and say the cat looked like an Onza. A cat that's actual excistance in reality is questionable. Back to the flixton werewolf. Well my opinion is that we are dealing with something of a paranormal nature. I am speaking with some old guys from staxton later this week so may find out a little more. I noted that you mentioned Andy Roberts and his account. If he had bothered to do any real digging into this he would have found out that the grave yard in flixton was not in use until 1921. The problem as I see it is people read old accounts on the net and assume it must be correct and most of the time no real work is ever done so its never exposed as incorrect.

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  8. Thank you Paul. I agree, but supernatural is not a word i like much. I think all phenomena are natural, we just dont understand them yet. But the realms of folklore, psychology, magic etc are often tricky and hard to decipher. If people really do experience something then its real for them and enters our world as an experience. Thank you for the cat info too, i'm always interested....
    mick.

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  9. Trying to deduce what took place a thousand years ago is nonsense...anything that happened so long ago as to there being no living witness is also nonsense..and I`d like to ask just WHY all the "modern accounts" are also so lacking in credibility or evidence..where is the person who was in the lorry when it was attacked ? Who did he or she work for ? Did they report it to the police and if so where are the reports ? and if no such reports can be verified then who made them ? ... Sorry and all that but there are NO such things as "shape-shifters" ...when are people going to stop living in a fantasy world and realise there are NO such things as vampires, ghouls,werewolves,dracula type creatures,or zombies ? ...Get a grip on reality !!!

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    1. Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open and that in his youth, and so try to test his ideas on reality. Albert Einstein.

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    2. Well said Romany. And Albert. It must be nice for 'Anonymous' to be so sure of everything. Safe in their cosy little world view. Security i suppose.

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    3. Thats where your wrong. Have you ever had OUT OF BODY experiences? I can bet you haven't but I have. Their is so so much we do not know.Even with all my experiences I'm left in awe and have even more questions now than before. I feel as if there is a bit of truth in every myth. I have saw things in my lifetime I could never explain. I do not even try too.

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    4. I agree. I and others i know have had many types of experience which would be classed as unbelievable by people who have never had such experiences. There are always more questions.

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  10. My Gran used to tell me not to go over Cayton Carrs to Flixton at night, because the Werewolf might be about, until now (50+ yrs years later) I thought was her way of keeping me in.

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    1. Cayton Carrs is quite spooky at night anyway though isn't it !

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