Cindy is a paranormal enthusiast and author of over twenty books on the subject of true supernatural phenomena.
The Nightmare Begins
Defiance, Ohio is a small Midwestern city located just south of Toledo. While on the surface, it appears to be no different than any other community, a little digging into its past proves that looks can be deceiving. As locals will cheerfully tell you, there is more to this picturesque slice of Americana than meets the eye.
It all began on July 25, 1972, when a pair of railroad workers assigned to the overnight shift were performing routine brake inspections. As they toiled away, one of the men, Ted Davis, heard the sound of something rustling in the distance. When he looked up to see what was going on, he observed a menacing figure rapidly approaching from only a few feet away.
By the light of the moon, he could see that the interloper walked upright on two legs and was completely covered in a thick coat of fur. He also couldn't help but notice that its mouth was open, revealing fangs that resembled those of a large canine.
Not knowing what else to do, Davis had shouted at the beast with as much force as he could muster. Startled by the outburst, the creature had turned and fled into the nearby woods. As it lumbered away, the stunned workmen noticed that it had a peculiar lopsided gait that reminded them of how cavemen moved about in movies.
Realizing that they had witnessed something extraordinary, Davis and his coworker made a beeline to the police station to report the encounter. Even though he listened to the wild story with a straight face, the officer on duty didn't put much stock in the outlandish claim. It was only when similar accounts began to filter in that law enforcement sat up and took notice.
The Terror is Real
Within days of the first sighting, other railway workers came forward to say that they had seen something they described as a "werewolf" lurking near the tracks late at night.
From there, things really took off. The steady stream of people phoning in reports of brushes with a massive beast of unknown origin overwhelmed local authorities. They would later recall that there hadn't been enough hours in the day or manpower to investigate every alleged sighting.
Among the residents who filed complaints was a grocery store owner who told of being set upon by a half-man, half-animal that was carrying a large piece of wood in one of its clawed hands. Knowing that he was no match for the fearsome presence, the man had high-tailed it inside and barricaded the doors until the coast was clear.
Another incident involved a motorist who claimed that he had come dangerously close to hitting an extremely large wolf-like creature that had run in front of his car on a dark roadway. Much like all of the other encounters, this one had occurred on a moonlit night.
News of the werewolf in their midst soon made headlines in the area's hometown paper, the Crescent News. As word spread, the Toledo Blade picked up the story and ran with it. Before long, nearly everyone in Northwestern Ohio knew about the strange goings-on taking place in Defiance.
An Abrupt Return to Normal
While not all of his colleagues were on board with the idea that a werewolf had settled in their sleepy burg, Chief of Police Donald Breckler had taken the situation seriously from the get-go. Although he hadn't necessarily believed that they had a monster straight out of a horror movie on their hands, he had sworn an oath to protect the people of Defiance and he aimed to do just that.
Even though he had left no stone unturned in the search for the elusive wolfman, Breckler was never able to catch him in the act. Despite the fact that he and his officers followed up on every sighting as quickly as possible, the culprit always managed to stay one step ahead of them.
And then—just like that—the ordeal was over. After weeks of being on edge, everything returned to normal. For reasons that no one could explain, the phenomena ended as abruptly as it began. To everyone's relief, the mysterious entity that had turned their lives upside down had retreated back into the shadows from which it came, never to be seen or heard from again.
Fifty years later, residents of Defiance still speak of those harrowing weeks in 1972 when they were afraid to venture far from home after nightfall. It was a time that, for them, will forever be known as the summer of the werewolf.