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Werewolves of South Africa – Serial Killers & Shape-shifters

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Everyone loves a good creature feature. By everyone, I of course mean people like me. Watching a horror movie just to see what fresh new hell the SFX department has cooked up is one of the few joys of life.

Some people believe they live in a world populated by strange creatures. Mythical monsters are as real to some people as the conspiracies to which they desperately cling. No country is exempt from this. American monsters get the most publicity, like Bigfoot, Dogman, or the Hodag.

South Africa isn't anyone's first guess when the idea of real werewolves comes up. That hasn't stopped the fuzzy fiends from popping up in the province of Gauteng. From Serial Killers to shape-shifters, they've seen it all.


Werewolves of Benoni


Benoni Mine Dump taken by Anton Koen, of No Jack Vehicle Tracking
This, but add werewolves

Recently, I've received a certain TikTok video from several people. They all know that I love monsters, and the folklore surrounding them. That folklore is still evolving, which is an easily overlooked fact. People tend to think of folklore as a static part of history.

The video in question tells the story of the Benoni Werewolves. According to TikTok user, Coolstorybru_, the Benoni mine dumps were swarming with wolf-like creatures some time in the 80s.

Police responded to calls from panicked residents claiming to have seen the beasts cavorting on the dumps. The most South African explanation is that these werewolves are created through Satanic rituals.

Benoni Werewolf standing on a mine dump
Howzit, boet?

South Africa has a very large population of incredibly conservative Christians. They believe that the devil is a very real and active threat. Schools are always banning popular media for being satanic, like Pokémon. Actual adults were so afraid of the animated pocket monsters that they tried to have them banned nationwide.

The only other source for the story of the Benoni Werewolves is a Gauteng based Paranormal research society named Phoenix Paranormal. Their Facebook post spins the usual story of Satanic Witchcraft and Werewolf assassins. Perfectly normal ideas in South Africa.

According to Phoenix Paranormal, the residents of Benoni living near the mine dumps reported hearing howling at night. They also saw strange “things” moving in the dumps at night.

Local legend tells of demon worshipers running across rooftops at night, and pentagrams being found in the dumps.

The Benoni City Times allegedly have extensive records of these reports. Unfortunately, these reports don't seem to exist. Are the journalists in Benoni trying to hide the truth?!

Obviously not, South Africa has been flitting from one satanic panic to another ever since Europeans first set foot here. Stories of dead cats, black candles, and devil worshiping drug addicts pop up every other year. No evidence for any of this activity has been found, it's all anecdotal.

There have been a few psychopaths who blamed Satan for their actions, because why wouldn't you? Most often, as proven by the documentary DevilsDorp, it is Christian fundamentalists doing the murdering.


Serial Killers – The Real Monsters are Human


Some anthropologists theorize that the prevalence of shape-shifter myths throughout human cultures originated from serial killers. Witnessing the brutality that humans are capable of left a scar in our collective psyche. We came up with the concept of a person transforming into a savage predator as a way of explaining the cruelty of our peers.

Several serial killers in history have earned the moniker of Werewolf. They are usually brutal in the style of their killing and cannibalistic in their motivations. People have also claimed to actually be werewolves after their capture. Believing that they physically transform before killing.

Psychologists came up with the diagnosis of Clinical Lycanthropy. Patients presenting with this particular psychosis are heavily influenced by their cultural and religious backgrounds.

The Sunnyside Werewolf stalks the poorer neighborhoods of the city of Pretoria, South Africa. For over 9 years, this very human monster has been murdering their way through.

Preying on young women and girls, The Sunnyside Werewolf, or Werewolf of Pretoria, has been known to cook parts of his victims. Police have yet to capture what they assume to be a male perpetrator due to evidence of sexual assault present on his victims.


Conclusion


There probably weren't Satan worshiping werewolves running around the Benoni mine dumps in the 80s. That can easily be chalked up to anxiety caused by the escalation of the struggle against Apartheid nearing its climax. Government propaganda was promising dire times ahead for the white minority, should the fight for freedom work out. These tensions spilled out in the well-worn psychological path that is Satanic Panic (there was a large panic happening in the USA at the time as well, and Apartheid era white South Africans love emulating Americans above all else).

Of course, this doesn't apply to all Christians. When the majority of a population subscribes to a particular belief, then it stands to reason that the gullible elements or bad people would also claim to follow that belief or ideology.

Real monsters do exist, but they never change from their human forms. I would love to live in a world where magical transformations exist, but there is just no evidence for it.

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