Full Moon of Werewolves: Of Demon Dogs and Golems

April 5, 2009 | Werewolves | 19 comments

Full Moon of Werewolves Schedule

About today’s guest: Jeri Westerson
Jeri Westerson grew up on the mean streets of Los Angeles and so always had a thing for noir. She also always had a thing for the middle ages. It was a natural fit. She tried her hand at acting but real life auditions were too brutal. She turned her attention to her other interest of art and design and became a successful graphic artist. After becoming a mom, she directed her passion again to writing and embarked on the long, slow goal of publishing her growing body of historical fiction. When she switched to writing historical mystery, she found success. Veil of Lies; A Medieval Noir is her debut novel.

I’m terribly fond of the paranormal. I enjoy a good, sexy vampire book and a good, sexy werewolf book. Haven’t quite got up the nerve to write one yet, myself, but there’s always time. The closest I’ve come is my new medieval mystery series beginning with VEIL OF LIES. My protagonist, Crispin Guest, is a dark and brooding fellow, and no wonder. He’s an ex-knight turned detective, of the hard-boiled variety but in a medieval London setting. And each story always involves some sort of mysterious religious relic with mystical powers, either something everyone is trying to get their hands on or something they can’t wait to get rid of.

So in my search for the next good relic, I’ve come across some quite interesting characters as well as fascinating creatures.

This one isn’t exactly medieval—it’s 17th century—but it has inspired its own familiar literature. This is the Demon Dog, or as it’s more famously known, the Beast of Gévaudan.

This is a wolf-like creature that prefers to attack humans, even over sheep and cattle, surely an easier quarry. It is supposed to be unusually large with strange coloration and a strangely-shaped head (indeed, sightings continue to this day, with a photograph of one of these beasts struck down by a car, not looking like any known canine).

The killings—over one hundred of them—occurred first (or were at least first reported) in 1693 in Benais, France. But it is in the mountains of Gévaudan, France, in 1765, that the creature gets its moniker. A fellow named Francois Antoine heard of the killings of women and children and hunted down the beast. He killed a very large wolf, had it stuffed, and sent to the court of Louis XV, but in December in a different locale, the wolf killings started anew. Was it a wolf? A dog/wolf hybrid? A loup-garou (werewolf)?

The fearful image of men transformed into beasts have terrified mankind as long as Man himself has existed sharing stories around a campfire. But other tales of manmade creatures have terrified, too, long before Mary Shelly penned Frankenstein.

In the third installment of my medieval mystery series, a Golem will make an appearance. A Golem is that fantastical creature born of man’s desire to create life from the simplest of forms (like from clay) and his need for supernatural protection. A Golem is a mindless creature, only given life when a Hebrew glyph is inscribed on its chest, forehead, or placed in its mouth, created by Jews to protect their community. The words of creation derive from the Kabbalah, but it is only through extreme desperation that the power of the Golem is invoked at all. It is only natural, perhaps, that the story of the Golem as we know it arose during the Middle Ages. This was the time when Jews were being kicked out of many European countries: from England in 1290, from Spain in 1492, from France…numerous times. Crusaders made no differentiation between the Saracen infidel and Jews they met along the way and so whole communities of Jews were wiped out by crusading knights. Every strange death in towns and in villages was blamed on Jews, and fearing for their lives, they found their hope in the defensive powers of the Golem, a large, silent and plodding creature stalking the dark streets. Scary enough, no?

Faced with such strange creatures and daunting relics takes a strong man, an avid detective. And so my ex-knight Crispin Guest prowls those dark streets as well, searching out the bad guys with his intellect, his fists, and sometimes through the beds of beautiful femme fatales.

Demon dog, indeed.

You can find out more about Crispin at his very own blog at www.CrispinGuest.com or read the first chapter of VEIL OF LIES at my website www.JeriWesterson.com.

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  1. crystal adkins

    I would love to read Veil of Lies! I”m a huge historical lover!

  2. Jamie

    Wow I am learning so much stuff that I didn’t know this month. I am having a blast!! Thanks for the great blog post. I am off to check out your book.

  3. Roberta Harwell

    Each day I’m reading these blogs I learn something different. Would love to read “Veil of Lies”. Have a great day.

  4. Ashley Madden

    Ooh, I like the cover of Veil of Lies!

  5. Jody F.

    I’m learning so many new things by reading all the author’s postings. And really looking forward to Veil of Lies too.

  6. kanarytx

    Your book sounds great I love historical scarry books. Have to keep an eye out for it,and add it to the books I want to read from these posts.

  7. Lisa W.

    I love this contest it has been so informative. Thanks for the info on devil dogs and golems.

  8. Jeri Westerson

    It’s been fun being here. I have to think that reading paranormal got me published in the first place, because if I hadn’t loved Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books, I never would have noticed her agent and queried them. When I signed with them they got me my contract with St. Martin’s.

    So it’s really all thanks to vampires and werewolves. :mrgreen:

  9. Barb P

    Hi Jeri! I have to agree with everyone else who commented today. I am learning so much about the different myths and legends and of course about the wonderful authors who write about them. Your series sounds fantastic and I will have to be sure to check it out. Have a great Sunday!

  10. Colleen

    Thank you so much for sharing your post with us today… I found it very interesting to read… :D

  11. Ley

    Oh, that cover is sooo pretty! I’ll keep my eye out for that one. And that is a really neat post. I’ve read about golems before… if only I could remember what it was. :???:

  12. Estella

    Quite an educational post. I enjoyed it.

  13. blackroze37@yahoo.com


  14. Pam P

    I’ve heard the word golem before but never quite knew what it meant.

    I love historicals off all kinds, this sounds really good and Crispin intriguing. Have to go check out your books some more. Jeri.

  15. Carmen R

    Here is another book to add to my TBR pile. I’m going to need to win the lotto to keep up with the books I want lol.

  16. pamk

    great cover sounds like an interesting read. Love mysteries

  17. Karin

    That sounds like some fascinating research. Your book has definitely piqued my interest and I look forward to reading it and getting to know your hero.