The Morbach Werewolf

Came across this just shy of Halloween.  However while stationed at Hahn AB and living near Morbach, I was at more than one cocktail party where this was discussed.

 

In May 2011 I posted The Morbach Werewolf, which included the early history of the beast and a few of the modern anecdotes and statements. I recently received a narrative from a retired USAF Staff Sergeant who was stationed in the area. This narrative includes the actual events in 1988. I investigated and received confirmation on the locales and unit placements communicated to me in the statement and in a subsequent email. What follows is the true story of the Morbach Werewolf:

In 1988 I was the assigned Security Supervisor for the Wenigerath Munitions Storage Area. Although it was just on the other side of the Village of Wenigerath we called it Morbach. We were assigned to Hahn Air Base and not Morbach. Morbach isn’t even a base, it is a town just down the road on the B327. As we drove through Wenigerath, I was driving the bus, some of the guys noticed that the candle in the shrine was not lit and there was a full moon. We all knew of the local legend. We sort of just laughed about it.

When we first came on duty my patrols would do a sweep of their assigned sectors. As I was in the Security Trailer with the security controller (radio dispatch) reading the previous shifts logs, one of my foot patrols found 3 dead deer within one of the wooded areas and radioed us. When I arrived on scene I noticed that their throats were damaged and 2 had their entrails and hind quarters eaten along with what appeared to be their internal organs (liver, heart). We did have wild boar in and out of the area and these were a small barking deer species. We placed a call to the local Forest Meister so he could remove the deer carcasses.

I went back to the Security Control Trailer to phone the base on the incident. After that I radioed all patrols for an area briefing at Control. As the patrols rolled in we heard a low level but loud growl/howl coming from the direction of our only alarmed structures to the west of our location. I radioed the foot patrol assigned to that area since they were still enroute. As I did, they came running out of the darkness yelling “Did you guys hear that?!” About that time it howled again. Low, deep, long and loud. It sounded like it was within our fence line. I called the entry control point to see if they had permitted any K-9 patrols in the area. They said no and also reported the howling. One of the guys said “What if it’s the Werewolf?” We all kind of giggled but then it howled again. This time from the center of the site but this howl was unreal. It vibrated you inside. Hard to describe.

The Shrine

I called the base and updated them that we had a breach of some kind of animal. Sounded like a large dog or possibly a wild animal. They stated that the Forest Meister had been called and was on his way. I asked the patrols if they wanted me to turn on the area lighting. They said no. The area lighting usually made matters worse since they casts too many shadows and ruined your night vision. As it was with the full moon we could see pretty good. I issued Night Vision Scopes to two of the patrol leaders. They mounted on our M-16′s. I informed them that they did not have permission to “Lock and Load”. Since it was peacetime (Cold War) we carried our weapons with a loaded magazine, weapon on safe and no round in the chamber. When it was about to get noisy, lock and load meant to charge your weapon (jack a round in the chamber) and get ready to ‘Rock and Roll Baby!’

I took one of the foot patrols with me (strength in numbers) and headed to the perimeter in case it tried to circle my guys. I went by the fallen deer to show the patrol. When we got there I noticed that the third deer had also been snacked on. I immediately called all the patrols. It had come back and fed on the third deer. About that time one of the mounted patrols (vehicle), had made contact and was pursuing a large dark K-9. We ran in a circular route as to try to out flank whatever it was they were chasing. The Entry gate radioed me saying that our K-9 patrol had arrived. I had them dispatch to the western fence line since that’s where we were all going. The pursuing patrol radioed that it was turning towards the Command Trailer. Here’s a funny part. Alpha Control radioed that he was locking down and wasn’t opening the door ’til daylight.

I took the foot patrol and headed to the fence line since we had 2 patrols going to Control. The K-9 patrol was already there and I dispatched him to the alarmed structures to stand by. I did this since they were between Control and the perimeter fence. When we got to the fence I put one of the guys near the fence line and I with the patrol leader headed to a small hill to over-watch his position. I asked for status reports because I could hear a lot of yelling. They said it was coming toward us. I radioed Control to turn on our sectors lighting. Our area was mostly open with trees on the right side. We switched off our scopes and in that instant that we reached to turn off the units our guy on the fence started screaming. We turned in time to see a huge dark mass clear our 9 foot fence! It quickly faded from our perimeter lighting into the darkness. I asked for the area lighting to be turned off. I walked further up to the hill and switched on my night scope. I looked in the direction it had run. Since the magnification was weak I really didn’t expect to see anything then I saw it. It was leaned up against a tree looking at us on it’s hind legs breathing heavily. I yelled 2 o’clock 200 meters! Then it turned and faded into the trees. Only one other patrol leader saw it.

It was now 2:30 am. The Forest Meister arrived at the entry gate. I had to sign him in. I asked the K-9 unit to foot patrol the fence but the dog had retreated to his kennel and would not come out. I put all units back on active patrol and to remain extra vigilant. As I escorted the Forest Meister to the dead deer I explained what had happened. He listened carefully and seemed to be absorbing it all in. He took pictures of the deer for records then bagged the bodies. He said that it didn’t appear to be the work of wild boar. It had all the markings of a wolf attack. He said wolves usually didn’t kill their prey, they usually died from shock and blood loss. They would knock it down and start eating the hind quarters with the animal still alive. This one killed them then ate them as evidenced by the neck injuries. I asked if they could jump 9 foot fence. He said this one could and laughed.

The guys were jazzed to say the least. We had a group meeting around 4:00am. I said that I needed written reports by the shifts end at 6:30 so to take turns patrolling. Alpha 2 (Command Trailer) opened his door even though it was still dark out. I remember sitting there sipping some coffee saying “Are they going to believe this?” He said we were all going to “piss in the bottle”. That meant a Urine Analysis to see if we were on drugs. We laughed about it.

When we got back to the Armory I was pulled aside by my Flight Chief and Shift Commander. I briefed them on what had happened. My Flight Chief asked me to take home the statements and proof read them first then to turn them in before Guardmount.

When I arrived I noticed that the roster had been amended. We were all going back to Morbach. It was very rare to have the same patrol twice let alone the entire area. On the bus ride out there we were pretty much quiet. I stopped the bus at the alter to make sure the candle were lit and the old guy awake. Thumbs up! The Flight Chief showed up around mid-night and we had a pow wow. He said we had two choices. We could turn in the statements but omit the “werewolf” references or shred the statements and have me write in the log book that a wild animal had killed some deer in the wooded area behind the ammo building and that the Forest Meister had been dispatched…end of story. As we all looked at each other. He stated that our PRP would be called into question. PRP is a program that enables us to work around Nuclear Resources. To lose your PRP cast a dark cloud over you plus you got crap details while you were being re-evaluated. Took up to 45 days. So we opted for the later.

Some of us choose not to talk about it, but obviously some did. It really happened. It wasn’t some story to scare the jeeps. Jeeps are FNG’s, rookies, etc. Was it a Werewolf? Was it an endangered European Wolf? Was it a coincidence that the candle was out that night of a full moon? You decide. As for me…I’ll say this. The above statement is true to the best of my knowledge. D

The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings

A Lycanthropy Reader: Werewolves in Western Culture

Timothy Green Beckley’s Big Book of Werewolves: In Reality! In Folklore! In Cinema! And In Lust!

Werewolves: A Field Guide to Shapeshifters, Lycanthropes, and Man-Beast

Captain Michael A. Crandall- USAF


I vividly remember the day of the crash. The weather was very bad that day. The first sortie was recalled and we were able to refuel only two aircraft before fueling went on weather hold as well.

Capt. Mike Crandall was off station that day , but he and his wingman “snuck in ” under the weather. I was expediting that day and picked him up at the airplane. He asked about our jet (84-1292). I told him that it was in the garage (phase inspection). As I dropped him off at ops he said “Remind me about nose art when I get back.” Those were the last words I heard Mike say.

Back in ops, LtCol. Rick Huss told Mike that Capt. Bob McCormack still needed to be upgraded to flight lead and Mike volunteered to take him up. Bob was to fly 1395 and Mike 1401 the only two aircraft refueled.

On start up Bob had hydraulic indication problems and we fixed them. Mike was in the other flight so I didn’t know he was flying.

The aircraft were configured without external fuel tanks so their flight time was less than a hour. After an hour passed, we figured they “weathered in” at some other bases as it was common. After 90 minutes I was radioed to meet with my supervisor. He asked for me to quietly get the maintenance forms for 395. Fearing the worst I asked him if the aircraft was lost. he said “Just get the forms and don’t discuss anything with anyone.”

The aircraft had collided. Bob was thrown (not ejected) out of the jet. He landed in a farmer’s field with a broken back. A farmer’s daughter (yes this is true) picked him up in the family car as he was walking toward the farm house. He phoned in the base to report the collision.

The squadron was monitoring the SAR net, listening to the search effort. There were two beepers going off. In the other room, Capt. Karl Gruner was listening to German radio hoping for a news report. When Bob phoned, they then began looking for Mike. It was then that German news reported that two F-16’s had in fact collided, resulting one pilot dead and one severely injured. That is how we found out that Mike was dead. The Polizei had found his body, he had had a good chute but he died in the collision.

I went home not knowing that. Knowing two jets were down, I prayed the crew chief prayer that all pilots were safe. The next morning I read in the Stars and Stripes, that Captain Michael A. Crandall had died the night before.

I sat in my stairwell and cried .

Mike was my pilot and my friend. He is buried at the Academy. Every now and then I see cadets serving at Nellis AFB. If I get a chance to talk I tell them that when they are struggling and don’t think they can hack it, to visit Mike. We lost many, many friends during the Cold War. Let no one forget that there was and still is great valor on “routine training missions”.

Mikey is at the Air Force Academy,

Colorado Springs, Colorado.

OTHER HEROES