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Wulver's Cave

Unst, Wulver's Houl, Shetland.

NGR:HP 62474 09667
WGS84:60.76512, -0.85521
Length:Not recorded
Vert. Range:Not recorded
Altitude:Not recorded
Geology:Not recorded

Folklore reference to Shetland Werewolf.

Hailing from the Shetland Islands, to the north of the Scottish mainland, the Wulver took the form of a man with a wolf's head. Taking pity on the needy by leaving fish on the windowsills of poorer families, the Wulver was spotted on a regular basis around Shetland up to the start of the 20th century. Covered in a layer of thick brown hair, unlike the actual Werewolf, the Wulver was never human in the first place. the ancient Celts believed that the Wulver actually evolved from wolves - it was said to be symbolic of the in-between stage of man and wolf. Although there isn't much official documentation on the elusive creature - the last reported sighting being in the early twentieth century, the Wulver was said to live alone in a cave on Shetland and enjoyed the peaceful life. Unlike other werewolves - often painted as ferocious and daring - the Scottish Wulver was considered kind and often helped lost travellers, by guiding them to nearby towns and villages.

After researching folklore traditions gathered primarily from Gaelic areas of Scotland, an authority on congenital disorders, Susan Schoon Eberly, has speculated the tale of the wulver may have a basis in a human being with a medical condition; she suggests it may be Hunter syndrome.

So far the location of either the cave on the hillside or the Wulver's Stane remains unknown. The coordinates given are Wulver's Houl or Hool (Jessie Saxby's Cottage) by the war memorial at Balta Sound.

Alternate Names: None recorded.

Notes: In her 1932 book, Shetland Traditional Lore, the noted folklorist Jessie Margaret Saxby, wrote: "The Wulver was a creature like a man with a wolf's head. He had short brown hair all over him. His home was a cave dug out of the side of a steep knowe, half-way up a hill. He didn't molest folk if folk didn't molest him. He was fond of fishing, and had a small rock in the deep water which is known to this day as the 'Wulver's Stane.' There he would sit fishing sillaks and piltaks for hour after hour. He was reported to have frequently left a few fish on the window-sill of some poor body."

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This entry was last updated: 2019-08-23 17:15:30

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