The Bizarre Case of the Southend Werewolf

Could werewolves really exist?

Throughout the course of human history, every civilization has had its own supernatural monsters that haunt our collective dreams. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies are only a few examples of the terrifying creatures that seem to lie somewhere between fact and fiction. While there are usually few documented cases to give such stories authenticity, there are rare examples that make even the most ardent skeptics question their beliefs. One example is the Southend Werewolf.

Who is the Southend Werewolf?

Black and white photo of Bill Ramsay, the Southend Werewolf

The terrifying creature known as the Southend Werewolf is actually a man named Bill Ramsey. He was born in 1943 in the town of Southend in Essex, England. His early life was completely normal. He would play outside his house for hours at a time and never got into any particular trouble. He was an imaginative child, so he often spent afternoons outdoors lost in the worlds of his imagination.

However, when Ramsey was 9 years old, something terrifying happened. He was playing in the garden behind his house as usual when he began to feel very strange. He suddenly felt as if an icy wind was sweeping across his body. It was a warm, pleasant afternoon, so the feeling was certainly out of place. The stress of it caused him to perspire, but the chilling cold froze the sweat on his skin. He later stated: “Have you ever walked into a meat locker right after you’ve been outside on a hot day? That’s what this was like.” He was also overtaken by an overpowering stench that filled him with extreme nausea. He was barely able to stop himself from vomiting from the smell.

Even more unusual than the physical symptoms he experienced were the psychological manifestations that came along with this bizarre experience. While in the grip of whatever possessed him, Ramsey’s mind was filled with the desire to run away towards the ocean on all fours like an animal. Mingled with these thoughts were vivid and repeated images of wolves. He felt that in that moment, something inside him changed. He no longer felt like the carefree child that had been playing in the yard moments before.

Ramsey’s mother saw that something was amiss and tried to snap her son out of his trance. However, this only made matters worse. When the troubling images of wolves vanished from his mind, they were replaced with feelings of extreme and violent rage and hatred. Much to his mother’s horror, the adrenaline from this rage filled Ramsey with almost supernatural strength. He began tearing fence posts out of the ground and swinging them like a club. His parents tried to take the post away but were unable to pry it from his grip.

While reluctant to leave their young son alone while suffering from this episode, Ramsey’s behavior soon frightened his parents into fleeing toward the house when he began to growl and snarl as he placed the metal wire of the fence in his mouth and began gnawing on it like an animal.

Ramsey eventually calmed down and his parents fearfully let him inside of the house. They tended to the bleeding wounds on his lips and in his mouth left by his attempts to tear at the fence with his teeth. Ramsey’s parents didn’t know what had possessed their son, but they firmly instructed him that none of them should ever discuss it again.

Ramsey’s Teen Years

Werewolf in foggy forest.

For the next 15 years of Bill Ramsey’s life, the fit that gripped him in his back yard was nothing but a terrifying memory. He grew up, married his lovely wife, and had three beautiful children. According to family and friends, Ramsey was a wonderful father who doted on his children. He worked as a carpenter and led an entirely conventional life for numerous years.

However, shortly after Ramsey married his wife, he was plagued by terrifying nightmares. He would see himself chasing after his wife. The dreams would always end with her turning to look at him, her face twisted into an expression of terror. Ramsey would awaken from the dreams in a cold sweat, filled with deep feelings of dread. On some nights when he awoke from one of these dreams, he was certain that he could hear the panting of a wild animal coming from somewhere inside the room. However, he soon realized that the animalistic noises were coming from his own throat.

In 1967, two years after his wedding, the dreams suddenly stopped. Ramsey went on to be the caring father that his family and friends knew and loved.

The Attacks Resume

Werewolf Seized in Southend, Newspaper clipping

Another 15 years went by without incident. In 1983, Ramsey went to a pub for a night of fun with some of his friends. He had tossed back a few drinks when an eerily familiar feeling suddenly came over him. As he perched on his barstool, he felt the same icy chill that overtook him on that fateful day when he was 9 years old. Fearing the rage that had taken over all those years ago and slowly being overtaken by nausea, he ran to the lavatory of the pub. Much to his horror, the face that stared back at him from the mirror was that of a wolf.

Ramsey went back to his friends and convinced them that they should all leave the pub. His friends agreed and piled into the car they had ridden in. On the drive, Ramsey began to growl deep in his throat. His friends watched in terror and confusion as Ramsey twisted his hands into the shape of claws. With no warning, he leapt at his fellow passengers and attempted to claw and bite them.

The driver quickly pulled over and attempted to pull Bill from the car. The supernatural strength he seemed to possess in his frenzy made any attempts to restrain him impossible. After a few minutes, the rage ebbed and Ramsey’s friends were able to remove him from the car. He later stated that he couldn’t remember anything that happened in the car.

Ramsey tried to forget about the incident until 18 months later when he began to experience chest pains and broke out into a cold sweat. He checked himself into the local emergency room, believing that he was having a heart attack. It was only when he was laying on a gurney undergoing an examination that he began to recognize his symptoms as the same icy chill that had plagued him previously. While a nurse was examining his blood pressure, he suddenly turned to her and sunk his teeth into the flesh of her arm. He began running through the hospital with a hunched back, hands curled into claws, and his teeth bared as he growled and snarled.

Several people tried to restrain him, but were easily knocked down by his bizarre strength. Even when a police officer managed to put handcuffs on Ramsey, he continued his rampage. Eventually, with the help of several staff members, he was sedated. When he awoke from the sedation, he was back to normal and checked himself out of the hospital against his doctor’s advice. He couldn’t remember anything about the incident.

A mere two months later, Ramsey returned to the same hospital after experiencing the icy chill that prefaced his earlier attacks. By now, the story of the Southend Werewolf had made its way around the hospital, and the nurse on staff was understandably terrified of Ramsey. Her fears were justified as he soon leapt at her and an orderly. Luckily, a group of police officers entered the hospital and were able to restrain him. However, one officer was so badly injured that he remained in the hospital for four days. Ramsey was released from jail when he returned to normal, unable to recall details of the event.

In 1987, the Southend Werewolf returned to the police station. Ramsey had encountered a young prostitute and decided to haul her to the police station. While they were driving, the terrified girl watched as he transformed and began snarling and growling at her. She jumped from the car and ran for the police station. An enraged Ramsey followed her. When a large, burly police officer touched Ramsey’s arm in an attempt to calm him down, the werewolf snapped: he tackled the man and nearly choked him to death. He yelled, “The devil is in me…I am going to kill you.” It took six officers to sedate him. This incident landed Ramsey in a hospital where 10 days of tests were unable to determine the cause of his bizarre condition.

The Southend Werewolf Exorcisms

Black and white photo of Bill Ramsay, the Southend Werewolf, one of Ed and Lorraine Warren's most famous cases.

Noted demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren heard about the Southend Werewolf while they were in the UK. They believed he might be possessed by some sort of werewolf demon and offered to help. After numerous conversations, Ramsey reluctantly agreed to travel to Connecticut with the Warrens to be treated by their specialist, Bishop Robert McKenna. His transformations had increased in frequency, duration, and intensity, so he knew that something had to be done. He and his wife made the trip to the United States. The night before the exorcism, the Southend Werewolf took hold of Ramsey and he tried to strangle his wife as she slept.

The first 30 minutes of the exorcism were uneventful. Then, Ramsey suddenly took on the characteristics of the werewolf. His hands curled into talons and he began snarling and growling at the bishop. The bishop commanded the demon to leave. For a moment, Ramsey displayed a rage even more powerful than he had shown previously. Then, it suddenly stopped.

Where is the Southend Werewolf Now?

In 1992, Bill Ramsey made his last public appearance, stating that he had had no more incidents since the exorcism. There have been no incidents recorded that match the descriptions of his attacks in the years since then, so many believe that the Southend Werewolf was successfully banished by the Warrens’ exorcism.

However, others point out that twice before there have been decade-long lulls in activity from the werewolf that raged inside Bill Ramsey. They believe that it could be only a matter of time before the monster takes hold again.