I Was a Middle Aged WereFox: Shapeshifting and the Brain

A Babel Skinwalker
Skinwalker’s Coat Closet” by Aaron Babel of Steam Pony Designs
This spooky article provides an outsiders’ take on a werewolf panic back in 1970’s Sweden. It came up on my social media feeds around Halloween.

Reading this story reminded me of the time I got a feel for the personal and interior side of these events, when I felt myself metamorphosing into a fox. I felt my face elongate, the bristly hairs come in, my senses of hearing and smell intensify to the extent they almost felt like new senses entirely.

This was during a seizure I had while infected with Lyme disease, which went to my central nervous system. The obvious takeaway is simply my brain was hosed, ergo hallucination.

I would have been more inclined towards this view, except for another experience I had while completely sober and healthy, years prior to the fox one. I was bird watching down by the Berkeley Pier, on a clear day with the light sparkling on the water. I was looking at a double breasted cormorant, a dark diving bird, when suddenly it felt as it my consciousness melded with that of this bird.

I felt the pressure of the water, the modification in sound (so changed as to be useless to my mind), the stiffness of feather quills embedded in my skin and the way they moved in response to my will, modifying my body shape. I also experienced a new to me electrically-based sense, something akin to the lateral line found in fishes.

Though it happened as I was standing around in broad daylight with a normal nervous system, the cormorant mind-meld was much more intense than the fox experience, I believe in part because a diving bird is more different to a human being than is a fox.

Readers will have noted that I was staring at bright, flickering lights prior to the cormorant experience. Strobing or flickering lights can trigger seizures, though I’ve never had or been diagnosed with seizures before or since the episode with Lyme.

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