Werewolves are being blamed after herds of goats were slaughtered during full moons on a tiny island in the Philippines. According to reports, the goats show signs of having been killed by supernatural beings and villagers have been instructed by local authorities to shoot on sight in an attempt to protect livestock. News of the ritualistic slaughter of the animals reflects some of the Filipino legends about vampires and werewolves, but it also has connections to the modern conceptions of the monsters found in popular literature. Despite the seemingly fantastical nature of the story, however, residents of the island are nervous and afraid when the full moon comes around and are expecting worse things to come.
Sibale Island is a tiny location reachable only by boat. Comprised of a small community with many small farms, the incidents of goat killing are big news under any circumstances. But the coincidence of the killings with the full moon and the apparent fact that they have been going on for the last two years have created a stir beyond the Sibale community. Residents report that goats have been killed during every full moon since 2012 and they have worsened recently. The upcoming “super moons” have intensified fears of the seemingly supernatural killer. Super moons are when the full moon occurs when the moon is closest to the earth in its orbit, something scientists call a perigee moon. There are fears that they could bring dangers to more than just livestock from the werewolves accused of the massacres.
The signs that the goat killings are committed by a werewolf are familiar to many who have even a small knowledge of supernatural mythology. They occur during the full moon, traditionally the time when werewolves turn into their furry alteregos. The killings happen in the middle of the night between midnight and two in the morning and the goats have gaping wounds and signs of bite marks. The heart and liver of some goats were also removed and when a pregnant goat and her kid were killed, the mayor of the island added a larger police presence to patrol and protect the citizens from the werewolves which are being blamed in the Philippines.
These last two facts point to the less well-known local myths about monsters called Aswang. The myth of the aswang goes that the monsters are shapeshifters who can turn into a variety of animals, but the form of a dog is most common. One resident reported that he had come face to face with the monster, describing it as a big black dog, in keeping with the myth. Aswang also have some favorite foods, including the heart and liver and a propensity to seek out pregnant victims. This fact is what added to the alarm about the news that a pregnant goat had been slain and cemented the idea that only a supernatural killer could be responsible.
It seems as though the officials on the island are taking the threat of werewolves seriously. The increased police presence is meant to protect villagers and there is a standing order for the perpetrator or perpetrators of the ongoing goat massacre to be shot on sight. A local veterinarian has been retained to investigate the remains of the goats and determine the nature of the killer from evidence such as bite patterns. A municipal agriculturist weighed in on the matter, saying they were not able to determine whether the attackers were werewolves, dogs, or some other creature. The lack of certainty in discounting supernatural option is perhaps not the most comforting thing to alarmed residents who are protecting themselves with guns and sharpened bamboo sticks.
While skeptics will discount the existence of werewolves as unreasonable, the people living on Sibale Island are in a very real state of fear. They are certain of the danger from the supernatural beasts and have said they will have “nights of agony” during and preceding the next full moon and the super moons in August and September. Nevertheless, they are working hard to be prepared for the next attack, determined to protect not only their livestock, but themselves from the threat of attack. For them, the werewolves blamed for the killing of goats in the Philippines are more than a myth and they are taking every precaution against them.
By Lydia Bradbury