Pain ripped through Donald Childs' chest as his belaboured heart gave out under the sheer terror of what he was seeing. It was the evening of February 27th, 1971 - and he was watching a canine humanoid creature in his front yard. It was crouched down on its hands and knees, and was attempting to drink out of a fish pond. Gasping for air, it seemed as if he would become the first fatality of the 'Lawton Werewolf' panic.
Manwolf Mayhem Edit
Donald Childs was only 35 years old, and it was likely this fact that helped him survive the heart attack brought on by the sight of the monster in his front yard. He was released from hospital two days after the incident - presumably with something of a new lease on life. When questioned about what he had seen, he told local police officer Clancy Williams of a tall humanoid creature with a hair-covered face and an 'indescribable' collection of clothes on its body. This report would be the first of many to come out Lawton, Oklahoma in 1971.
Some of the first reports after the Childs sighting were received through calls made to the police by panicked residents of the Oklahoma (or Texas, depending on the source) city. The monster was described as wearing pants which were 'far too small' for it. In west Lawton, people claimed that they were seeing a 'something monstrous' running down the street, dodging cars and just causing all-round chaos. It would duck behind bushes before getting up and continuing to run - according to testimony given by officer Harry Ezell. It apparently took 20 minutes for the monster to make its way from the roads onto private property. An unnamed man soon called the police to inform them that he had seen the humanoid horror perched on a railing outside his second-floor apartment. He had first seen the critter when he had opened his curtains at around 11:15 am.
The anonymous witness initially took the odd sight to be due to a practical joke being played on him, due to it being balanced on the railing in what must've been a rather comical manner. However - it soon dawned on him that this was no laughing matter when the creature turned its head to look at him. He claimed that it resembled a 'monkey or ape'. Its face was 'horribly distorted' as if it had survived a fire, and there was hair covering its face, upper body and lower legs. It was wearing small pants covering its legs down to its knees.
After it took a glance at the terrified man, it suddenly leapt down from its perch - falling 17ft to stick a perfect landing on the ground below. It was seemingly nonplussed by this massive fall, and soon took off running on all fours, moving something like how the anonymous man would've imagined a monkey or ape to run. The monster was seemingly moving really quite quickly. It was at Fort Sill within fifteen minutes - where it terrified a group of soldiers. These normally tough men were driven to admit that this creature had truly frightened them.
The werewolf had been seen on Friday night (one day before Donald Childs sighting) and Saturday night, before its reign of terror came to a sudden halt by Sunday. On Monday night, a commander of a local police patrol division named Major Clarence Hill sent out an alert to order his men to watch for the werewolf. Despite this, the monster never reappeared, and had evidently vanished back off into whatever dark dimension from which it had originally emerged. Interestingly, there was a sighting of the Fouke Monster on May 1st in Arkansas, and Brad Steiger (the source for this article) tentatively connected the two.
Some claims have been made that this panic was the orchestration of a teenage boy at the Thomlinson Jr. High. He was apparently just wearing a mask and jumping out the bushes at people, and was quite a well-known troublemaker around the area. There was apparently a photograph published on the front page of the Lawton Constitution in which the local police chief was holding the mask in question and laughing to himself. However, this claim seems to be mostly unsubstantiated - seeing as I can only find mention of this convenient explanation on 'The Demoniacal' blog, which was posted as a comment by a user named Russ.
It's interesting to note that the werewolf was apparently never described as having a canine snout. Instead, it had a grotesque and hairy face, and moved like a primate. One might almost be driven to suggest an apeman or hairy hominid identity for the critter in question if it weren't for the presence of a pair of shorts on the legs of the creature. Some people have suggested that the whole panic might've been born from a hoaxer in a werewolf costume, but I think this becomes unlikely when faced with the information that the creature was apparently able to survive a fall of 17ft. This feat of acrobatics and the panic that it generated might actually lead me to conclude that the Lawton Werewolf might've been a 'Phantom Attacker' of the same variety as the Lobizón of Argentina.
'The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings' by Brad Steiger