Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Mysteries of Mons: Horrible Hounds and Haunted Heavens (or perhaps merely German experiments)

Is there any truth to the seemingly tabloid tale that took hold of the press during World War I? Purportedly witnessed by soldiers, an unearthly creature near the Belgium town of Mons savaged friend and foe alike. One report suggests there was some truth to the legend
As printed in an August 10, 1919 edition of The Oklahoman:
WEIRD FRENCH HOUND IS DECLARED REALITY
Teeth Marks Left on the Wounded as Proof.
Montreal, Canada, Aug. 9.--

That weird legend of No Man's Land, the gruesome epic 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 warfare, 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.

If this sounds vaguely like the premise to an X-Files film, you're not too far off. Read this and watch the weird Russian "experiment".

In a May 2009 issue of Fortean Times Alistair Moffatt points out that no such person as Captain Yeskes was with the London Fusiliers, citing the name as a Canadian or American one. To him this meant the tale likely arose from Canadian's imagination. Moreover, the Battle of Mons occurred in August 1914, not November and that the tale of the Hound of Mons likely came from a spurious account about one of Captain Max von Stephanitz's experiments in breeding German Shepherds. Stephanitz is the man credited with the breed as it is known today.

Mons is also know for another spectacular tale: The Angel of Mons.

In 1914, Arthur Machen wrote a story entitled The Bowmen about a group of English soldiers who were under heavy fire from advancing German troops at Mons. One of the men jokingly said: 'May Saint George be a present help to the English!' It followed that Saint George appeared alongside the ghosts of bowmen present at the battle of Agincourt in 1415. The story was pure fiction, but in a style well ahead of its day, Machen wrote it as if it had all been reported truthfully from soldiers on the front.

And people began to believe it.

In fact, the bowmen soon became angels and various soldiers came forward to declare they had actually witnessed the event. Scientists, psychologists, psychics, occultists, and the like all weighed in with different theories on what the manifestation had been.

Then, in 1930, a story was printed in several papers that claimed a former German intelligence officer could back up this story--with an equally fantastic one.

Colonel Friedrick Herzenwirth originally told a New York paper that the 'Angles of Mons' were nothing more than motion picture images projected onto foggy cloudbanks from German aircraft.

Friedrick stated that the object was to instill superstitious fears in the British, but the plan was flawed. Instead of being frightening, the awesome images were a galvanizing force for their war-tattered foes. The British saw Saint George; whereas, a projected woman was seen as the Blessed Virgin by Russians and Joan of Arc by the French. It was this subjective nature that ultimately led to the experiment's downfall.

2 comments:

Courtney Mroch said...

WOW! This is a super interesting story. Never heard this one before. Very good stuff. Sharing it with all my Haunt Jaunts followers.

Autumnforest said...

Holy mind fuck! Yeah, that was quite a story. It shows how lack of knowledge in medical science can have people believing anything. Just look at my mother and her damned mustard plasts! That was a cool story. You find amazing stuff, buddy!