VIDOR – Twenty-year-old Bobby Bussinger got brave Monday night and decided to confront what North Tram Road residents near here are calling a werewolf.
By the light of a full moon, he took his .12 gauge shotgun and walked to the back edge of this cleared lot. To his surprise, the erect form described to be taller than six feet with long, shaggy hair and muscular body, did not scare.
It came toward him. He fired a shot in panic as he turned and ran back toward his house. He barely made it, he said.
Then he called the sheriff’s office.
Bobby and his 18-year-old wife, Beckie, have lived at the house in the 3900 block of N. Tram Road for 14 weeks. It is owned by her father. The couple have only been married a short time. They moved here two weeks after the wedding. Bussinger works as a laborer for a construction crew at the Goodyear synthetic rubber company near Beaumont.
They knew when they moved into the area that previous tenants left because of strange occurrences during the night.
An elusive figure roams the night, clawing at the window screens, howling and yelping like a wounded dog.
“It wasn’t that bad at first,” Beckie said from the safety of her parents’ Beaumont home. “But Sunday night…”
Deputy Sheriff Jack Reeves picks up the story. It was Reeves who responded at 11:30 PM to the prowler call. The Bussingers told him that Sunday night three of their dogs were believed killed. The hindquarters of two were maimed and the dogs have died. One is missing. All three are puppies of mixed breed, part of the eight dogs the young couple kept on the property.
Monday night after sundown, as the moon moved into full phase, they heard a commotion “like a good-sized dog fight”, Reeves said. There was banging on the walls of the house, rapping on windows, heavy footfalls were heard outside and an eerie barking and yelping filled the air.
That’s when Bussinger took his shotgun down. When the shot failed to produce the desired result, he called for help.
Reeves reports that the situation is extremely serious. He saw broken window screens torn “by what appears to be bare hands.” Some of the frames are broken. Four screens were ripped off.
At the edge of the cleared property, a footpath led through three acres of heavy timber. At one time, Mrs. Bussinger walked the path in search of berries.
That is the path used by the ‘thing’ as she calls it. It is well worn. Mrs. Bussinger said during one of her walks she saw a lean-to in the distance at the far edge of the timbered area. It was put together with scrap lumber and tree limbs.
Reeves said he went to the timber Monday night to investigate. “I heard growling and howling, in the distance. It sounded like a cross between the noise a hyena makes and that of an injured dog. As I went into the woods, the sound came from farther away and I knew it was backing off,” Reeves said.
After consulting with Bussinger, Reeves decided to move the patrol car a block away and wait a few minutes for the prowler’s return. As he sat in his car, his radio crackled with a dispatch that something was at the back of the house scratching and banging on the window screens. It had only been five minutes.
“I drove in, but my car was under a street light. It took me a matter of seconds to hit the driveway – but, it had backed off,” Reeves said.
“I saw it about 50 yards off, a large form in the shadows. It was between two small oaks that form a “V”. I shined the spotlight and it moved into the woods.” That was enough for the Bussingers. They packed their belongings under Reeves watchful eye and headed to Beaumont.
Reeves said today he has not ordered any silver bullets, but he has consulted with his superior and there will be a follow-up investigation and probably a stakeout.
“I was skeptical at first and so was Bussinger. But it has gotten pretty serious with the property destruction and now the dogs,” he said.
As far as the Bussingers are concerned, the one-story frame home will stand vacant until the prowler is caught.
“I’m not going near that place until they find it, whatever it is,” Beckie said.
(Story written by John Rice for The Orange Leader in 1978 republished in “Las Sabinas” July 1994 – only address has been redacted from original story)