Meet the Monsters: The Defiance Wolfman

Defiance, 1972—The town of Defiance is about 50 miles southwest of Toledo, and, in August of 1972, it was apparently home to a wolfman…or, at least, someone dressing up like a wolfman. That was when the local paper the Crescent-News first revealed that the local police department was on the lookout for a wolfman, after first wanting to keep it quiet, not wanting to incite a panic. 

According to the Crescent-News story, on three different occasions witnesses saw a figure that they described as some kind of wolfman near the railroad tracks in downtown Defiance, between the hours of 1:30 and 4:20 AM. On one occasion, it struck a man from behind on the shoulder with a two-by-four or some kind of club it was carrying.

All said it was very hairy and that it seemed to be a person wearing “some disguise such as a mask”. It apparently wore dark clothing—one witness said blue jeans—and was described as ranging from six to nine feet tall. Which is actually awfully tall for someone just wearing a mask.

The first witness, railroad man Ted Davis, said he had seen the monster in the early morning hours of July 25. He was in the act of connecting an air hose between two train cars and thus had his head down. “I saw these huge hairy feet,” he told the reporter. “Then I looked up and he was standing there with that big stick over his shoulder. When I started to say something, he took off for the woods.”

The article, and another in the Toledo Blade, helped set off a bit of mass hysteria, just as the police had originally feared, and they received  all kinds of calls from frightened citizens worried about the wolfman. 

If it was just someone in a disguise, police never caught who it was, and, like so many other monsters in Ohio, it simply stopped appearing in newspaper stories.

Illustration by Janie Walland

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