The legend of Old Stinker, a folktale descended from English werewolf stories of the 10th century, was long assumed by modern inhabitants of East Yorkshire to be nothing more than fiction... until the residents of Kingston upon Hull - or Hull, as it's commonly called - started meeting the monster in the flesh. Over a century after the last stories of the monster, a truck driver reported that he had been attacked by a creature whose description sounds like it was ripped from the most thrilling and vile Saxon-era accounts of Old Stinker itself. No further reports surfaced at the time, but the legend was reborn, and this time, it refused to stay dormant. In 2015, one reported sighting of the werewolf near Barmston Drain led to a wave of local sightings that terrified citizens of Hull for nearly a year, dragging Old Stinker into the media spotlight.
Just as the werewolf sightings of Cannock Chase made the English country town notorious among paranormal enthusiasts, Hull has gained its own otherworldly reputation as a result of its hairy problem. The possibility of a real encounter with a werewolf became such a concern in the town that a few citizens even went so far as to organize an official werewolf hunt. However, despite the best efforts of intrepid investigators, the true story of Old Stinker the werewolf remains shrouded in mystery - mostly. Here's a look into the history of East Yorkshire's resident foul-breathed werewolf.
Legends of Old Stinker's foul breath and vicious attitude persisted for hundreds of years before dying down in the late 18th century. After that, the werewolf was forgotten... for a while.
Then, in the 1960s, a truck driver reported that while traveling down a quiet road in Yorkshire, he noticed what looked like a pair of red lights by the side of the road. According to the driver's story, when he slowed the truck down to get a better look at the lights, a “huge wolf-like creature” attacked his truck. The creature reportedly tried to break the windshield of the truck before disappearing back into the dark. As it did, the driver realized that what he had mistaken for a pair of red lights were, in fact, the creature's glowing red eyes. When residents of Yorkshire began hearing about the driver's harrowing encounter, they began to realized that the giant, red-eyed, wolf-like attacker bore a frightening resemblance to the Old Stinker of legend.
With so many sightings from residents of Hull and nearby towns, Old Stinker became a viral sensation. Reports of the creature were published in national papers, and the fervor surrounding the werewolf sightings built until the people of Hull were genuinely concerned that they were at risk of being attacked. So in the interest of reclaiming their idyllic country roads and peace of mind, several citizens of Hull did what any sensible denizens of a werewolf-besieged town would do: Plan a werewolf hunt.
On the full moon of May 21, 2016, a journalist, a local historian, and a folklorist and his family gathered in Saint Mary's Graveyard to discover the truth behind the monster once and for all. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate, and the party was forced to disband before the opportunity to dispel the werewolf menace presented itself.
The earliest accounts of Old Stinker described a truly fearsome beast. Stories that date back to the 1100s describe him as a wolf-like monster that walks on its hind legs like a human. According to these legends, Old Stinker was - or is - formidably tall with a long, powerful tail that can sweep its prey off their feet. Its luminous blood-red eyes were compared to “crimson and darting fire.” The most recent stories have included a profoundly creepy additional detail: Old Stinker's face looks uncannily human-like.
But the calling card of this ravenous creature was its horrible breath—the source of its nickname. Even the oldest accounts made note of how terribly its breath stank. As if the idea of a rank-smelling vicious predator weren't disturbing enough, Old Stinker's notorious halitosis has a deeply unpleasant historical origin: at the time that the first tales of the werewolf were taking shape, real wolves were known to scavenge in graveyards. To date, no one has gotten close enough to confirm firsthand whether or not the monster terrorizing residents of Hull has necrotic breath.
Though centuries passed between Old Stinker's reported attack on a stagecoach along York Road in the 18th century and its ambush of a truck driver in 1960s, not even half a century had passed before another Yorkshire resident had an encounter with the legendary creature. In December of 2015, a woman claimed that as she watched from a bridge near the banks of Barmston Drain, a figure below her went from standing upright to prowling on all fours. The figure then reared back on its hind legs and took off in the direction of the river. Before her eyes, the figure jumped 30 feet to cross the river and land on the opposite bank before darting away.