Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Hound of Mons

In the January 2009 issue of Fortean Times, Theo Paijmans reports the following story of "The Hound of Mons," quoted from the Ada Evening News, Ada, Oklahoma, 11 August 1919:
That weird legend of No Man's Land, the gruesome epice of the "hound of Mons," has, according to F.J. Newhouse, a returned Canadian veteran, been vindicated throughout Europe as fact and not fiction. For four years civilian skeptics laughed at the soldiers' tale of a giant, skulking hound, which stalked among the corpses and shell holes of No Man's Land and dragged down British soldiers to their death. An apparition of fear-crazed minds, they said. But to the soldiers it was a reality and one of the most fearful things of the world war.

"The death of Dr. Gottlieb Hochmuller in the recent Spartacan riots in Berlin," said Capt. Newhouse, "has brought to light facts concerning the fiendish application of this German scientist's skill that have astounded Europe. For the hound of Mons was not an accident, a phantom, or an hallucination--it was the deliberate result of one of the strangest and most repulsive scientific experiments the world has ever known.

Teeth Marks in Throats.
What was the hound of Mons? According to the soldiers, the legend started in the terrible days of the defense of Mons. On the night of November 14, 1914, Capt. Yeskes and four men of the London Fusiliers entered No Man's Land on patrol. The last living trace of them was when they started into the darkness between the lines. Several days afterward their dead bodies were found--just as they had been dragged down--with teeth marks at the throats.

Several nights later a weird, blood-curdling howl was heard from the darkness toward which the British trenches faced. It was the howl of the hound of Mons. From then on this phantom hound became the terror of the men who faced death by bullets with a smile. It was the old fear of the unknown.

Howl is Heard.
Patrol after patrol, during two years of warefare, ventured out only to be found days later with the telltale marks at their throats. The ghastly howl continued to echo through No Man's Land. Several times sentries declared that they saw a lean, grey wraith flit past the barbed wire--the form of a gigantic hound running silently. But civilian Europe always doubted the story.

Then after two years, while many brave men lost their lives with only those teeth marks at the throat to show, the hound of Mons disappeared. From then on the Germans never had another important success.

"And now," says Captain Newhouse, "secret papers have been taken from the residence of the late Dr. Hochmuller which prove that the hound of Mons was a terrible living reality, a giant hound with the brain of a human madman."

Hound Had Human Brain.
Captain Newhouse says that the papers show that this hound was the only successful issue of a series of experiments by which Dr. Hochmller hoped to end the war in Germany's favor. The scientist had gone about the wards of the German hospitals until he found a man gone mad as the result of his insane hatred of England. Hochmuller, with the sanction of the German government, operated upon him and removed his brain, taking in particular the parts which dominated hatred and frenzy.

At the same time a like operation was performed on a giant Siberian wolfhound. Its brain was taken out and the brain of the madman inserted. By careful nursing the dog lived. The man was permitted to die.

The dog rapidly grew stronger and, after careful training in fiendishness, wa taken to the firing line and released in No Man's Land. There for two years it became the terror of outposts and patrols.
Back before the Internet, the local newspapers met our needs for fabulous hoaxes, and many of them applied, at least periodically, the journalistic standards of the Weekly World News--you only need one source.

UPDATE (April 25, 2009): Fortean Times reader Alistair Moffatt writes in a letter in the May 2009 issue (p. 73) to point out that while F.J. Newhouse did exist, there was no Captain Yeskes of the London Fusiliers and Yeskes is an American or Canadian name, not a British one, suggesting a local origin for the above tale. He also notes that the Battle of Mons took place in August 1914, not November. He suggests that the tale may have originated from a propagandized and heavily distorted account of Captain Max von Stephanitz's breeding of the German Shepherd.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting story, it may have been easier to believe in a time when people thought that you could just swap brains between people and animals, or people and people.