Paradise is a small Texan town, situated not too far from the sprawling city of Fort Worth, and is dominated by isolated homes, thick and somewhat mysterious woods, huge fields, numerous cows, and not much more at all.
Aside, that is, from a killer-werewolf.
Dawn had just broken on a particular day in September 1996, and Walter, a rancher who then made Paradise his home, headed out to tend his cows, which had the run of a large field at the back of his property.
Walter was not expecting to find the horrifying scene upon which he stumbled: one of his most valuable cows had been killed under cover of darkness.
And, by the looks of the cow, the killer had been some sort of vicious, powerful creature that surely had no place prowling the fields of Paradise.
The cow was disemboweled, with its throat ripped out and both back legs completely gone.
Although Walter wasted no time in contacting the police, this turned out to be an utterly fruitless task, since the only thing the responding officers could suggest to the irate and worried rancher was that perhaps a big cat was responsible and was still on the loose.
And, while this was certainly a major cause for alarm and a matter they would most definitely look into, it what not, technically speaking, a crime that required the attention of the police.
So, a wholly dissatisfied Walter decided to take matters into his own hands and elected to embark upon night-time vigils, in the hope that the beast might return and he, Walter, would have the opportunity to blow the creature’s head clean off its shoulders, and put an end to the matter before it risked spiraling wildly out of control.
Thus it was that at roughly 2.00 a.m. four days later, and while dutifully scanning the field with a night-scope that was attached to his high-powered gun, Walter became frozen with fear when he caught sight of a large, hairy figure striding across the field.
Around seven feet in height, very muscular and dark, it had the body of a man, yet the face, the ears and the muzzle of what looked like a large German shepherd dog or a wild wolf.
Rooted to the spot, Walter didn’t even think to fire his gun. Rather, he simply watched, dumbstruck with fear, as the beast covered the width of the field very quickly and vanished into the trees that bordered his property.
Rather ominously, only a short time later, and in the same exact spot where he first noticed the diabolical wolf-man, Walter found in the grass the small, stone, carved head of a large fanged monster with slits for eyes and flared nostrils.
Walter quickly became convinced that occultists had been secretly at work his field, engaged in some unholy act, and had quite literally invoked the beast from another realm of existence.
When Walter related the extraordinary tale to me, high up on his list of priorities was to finally get rid of the unsettling carved head.
Well, as someone whose office shelves are home to the skull of a coyote (or of a Texas Chupacabra – take your pick), the remains of a large stingray, a piece of brickwork from the Mothman-haunted TNT plant at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and even an old rusted pistol that I found on the shore of a stretch of Texan beach in the summer of 2003, I said to Walter something like, "How about I take the head off your hands?"
A mightily relieved Walter was more than happy to give me the head, and I was pleased to place it next to the aforementioned stingray.
But, there was something very odd and disturbing about the head. When it was held up to the light, or when placed in a shadowy environment, its appearance seemed to change slightly – sometimes to a maniacal glare, and occasionally to what resembled a cruel sneer.
There’s absolutely no doubt that it was all just due to the light and the shadows – the head was not literally changing form. But, the fact that the shadows seemed to ensure the face took on such specifically gruesome appearances seemed beyond chance.
It was almost as if someone had ingeniously, skillfully, and deliberately, fashioned the head in such a way that its appearance had the ability to seem to change – radically so, even.
Today, I no longer own the skull. But that, as they say, is a story for another day...