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Werewolf of Defiance

DEFIANCE Ohio. - Some people here are jokingly referring to it as the case of the werewolf. But Defiance police are serious about it.

Three persons have told police that they saw a large beast that resembles a werewolf lurking along railroad tracks near downtown Defiance in the last week.

In each case he was spotted during the early morning hours, and one man, a train crewman switching trains, said that he was approached from behind and was struck on the shoulder with a piece of 2-by-4 lumber. But when be ran the "werewolf" also disappeared into some nearby brush.

In the other reported incidents the "werewolf" was seen by another train crewman about 3 a.m. Police say the third report came from a motorist who said "it" ran in front of his car about 4 a.m. and then quickly disappeared.

"We don't know what to think." Chief Donald Breckler said. "We didn't release it (to the news media) when we got the first report about a week ago. But now we're taking it seriously. We're concerned for the safety of our people."

Chief Breckler said that descriptions of the "werewolf" given by the three persons (police are not giving their names) that spotted him are similar. But he admits in each case the description is "vague."

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"Very hairy" is the first description given by each person who saw the "werewolf." The chief said that he thinks that a person is wearing some disguise such as a mask. "But there is a lot of natural hair too," he said.

"I'm inclined to think it might be a local person," Chief Breckler said. "None of the other area towns have had anything like this. And in each case he has been seen in the same area of our town."

Chief Breckler said that the creature wears dark clothing and at first reports described him as ranging from 7 to 9 feet tall. "But that was a little exaggerated," the chief said.

Two of the trainmen that reported seeing the "werewolf" work in the area during the early morning hours. Both of them are from Toledo. The third complaint came from, a local grocery store employee, Mr. Breckler said.

"If his motive is robbery then he is not picking on the type of person that would have a lot of money," Chief Breckler said. "We don't know what his motive is." A railroad agent at the Norfolk & Western depot on Fifth Street here said that "the switching crewmen from Toledo" are the only persons that have spotted the "werewolf."

The agent, who did not identify himself, said that none of the other crewmen in the area seemed disturbed by reports.

"We don't think it is a prank," Chief Breckler said. "He's coming at people with a club in his hand. We think it's to the safety of our people to be concerned."

Creature Described As Having Fangs

Two N&W brakemen, interviewed at the railroad's Sumner Street yard today, said the creature "had huge hairv feet, fangs, and ran from side to side, like a caveman in the movies."

Ted Davis and Tom Jones, crewmen on the N&W local freight which serves Defiance on an overnight run, said that the large figure, which they said was between 6 and 8 feet tall, has appeared twice under a full moon.

"When, we leave here the moon is usually about a quarter full, but about 4 a.m. when we're working Defiance, the moon is full," Mr. Davis explained.

The creature was first seen July 25, and then again last Sunday, both men said. When he first confronted Mr. Davis, the creature, ran away before he (Mr. Davis) could say anything.

"I was connecting an air hose between two cars and was looking down. I saw these huge hairy feet, 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."

Both Mr. Davis and Mr. Jones saw the bluejean-clad figure again last Sunday morning in the yards. The creature was standing in some weeds near the main track.

"At first I thought the whole thing was a big joke, but when I saw how hairy and woolly it was -- that was enough for me," Mr. Jones said.

He had laughed at Mr. Davis earlier in the week, but said that when he could account for all the railroad workers at the time, he knew it was not a crewman's joke.

When they took off, Mr. Jones said, he and Mr. Davis also heard screams from a car stopped on a nearby road.

"That thing's going to hurt somebody someday," he said.