Analyst vs. Critic: Tracking a Kentucky Werewolf

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This is an article from the Louisville Skepticism Examiner by Bruce Priddy. You can view the entire article here.

Here is a key excerpt:

Barton Nunnelly, who references Thompson’s story in his Mysterious Kentucky, says he “honestly felt Jan was sincere” when he interviewed her in 2007. However, he adds “There is not a shred of physical evidence to back up the story,” along with the caveat that this lack of evidence does not necessarily mean the story is a hoax.

While absence of evidence does not automatically invalidate a story, and despite Thompson’s sincerity, the “Bill and Dave” tale does not hold up under a critical reading. Thompson claims a cover-up of the murders, so to not scare away tourism in the area, to explain why the public never heard of slaughtered family. Her police officer friends were not to speak of it, yet they tell the first person they meet after leaving the crime scene. If they tell Thompson, it stands to reason Bill and Dave would tell others, such as family or close friends. Thompson also says there were dozens of police officers and other authorities investigated the murders, including officers from another state. Not a single one of the large number of people supposedly involved has come forward. Nor have any friends or family they would have told. There have seen been a few reports of a man-wolf at Land Between the Lakes, but nothing that has collaborated Thompson’s claims.

The claimed conspiracy conflicts with the climatic twist in Thompson’s story, the officers telling her the hairs belonged to a wolf. If authorities were trying to cover the incident up, rank-and-file officers would not be told the results of the analysis. Surely these would have been covered-up as well.

Seven years after Thompson made her post on Guardian Tales, she remains the sole source of a story that cannot stand up to scrutiny. It is doubtful that witnesses to such an extraordinary event would have remained silent for so long.

Sadly this is another example of skeptics using their bias to judge a story and not putting in the effort to investigate the claims themselves. I also need to point out that skeptics will be quick to point out how an eyewitness account can be influenced by lighting, distance, fear and other factors. However when it helps to prove their case they ignore these same rules. We all know truth gets distorted when it passes from the mouth of one person to the ear of another. To assume all of the details presented today are 100% accurate to the original occurrence ignores this possibility. The objective investigator must consider all angles before passing judgement.

The reason I make this assertions with such certainty is because I actually visited the site where the supposed murders took place and was very surprised at what I found.

I followed the description of the location and to my surprise I seemed to have found it quite quickly. I’ve tracked down many exotic locations and sites from stories and eyewitness directions and I’ve learned that most people suck at giving directions. These were right on the money. Immediately I noticed a clearing at the end of a short road on the river. The area was strewn with tracks and bones from various animals. Virtually every bone I saw had several teeth impressions. But these weren’t the signs of a mythical creature, they were signs of a pack of coyotes.

I’m not a coyote expert but as an avid hiker I have had many encounters with coyotes and their kills. Despite this I had never seen a single location with such a large collection of bones and coyote tracks. Now coyotes are typically very shy creatures. I’ve had two close encounters with solitary coyotes, in both cases they quickly fled. However Coyote attacks on humans are not unprecedented. It is a rare occurrence but it can happen. If two campers happened to setup camp in the middle of a coyote hang-out it is not difficult to understand why they could have been savagely attacked. And a group of 4 or more Coyotes could have inflicted horrific damage to the victims. The attack could have been a territorial response, a prey response, or perhaps one or more of the animals was rabid. In either case the explanation seems clear.

Unfortunately I lost the pictures I originally took of the site. I plan on doing a revisit, collecting some samples this time and I want to see if I can track down a police report on the original incident. I’m skeptical of a cover-up, but it could be possible. I’ll be documenting this in detail on the Werewolf of LBL Case Study page. 

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