Bulgarian farmer discovers skull resembling werewolf

Bulgarian farmer discovers skull resembling werewolf in a sealed box

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A Bulgarian born farmer, Trayche Draganov, claims to have found a box, chained shut, containing a werewolf-like skull while ploughing a new section of field in the village of Novo Selo, Republic of Macedonia.

The account was reported to Ancient Origins by historian Filip Ganev, who spent time in Novo Selo while conducting research for his book on the Balkan Wars. Mr Ganev met the farmer, who showed him the box containing the unusual skull. He reported that the skull appears wolf-like with the exception of an enlarged cranium, a trait found only in primate species.

Mr Ganev photographed the skull and shared them with government wildlife officials, who concluded that it was likely a wolf that suffered from Paget Disease, a condition which causes the skull to increase in size and appear more human-like.

Novo Selo - Macedonia

The skull was found in a field in Novo Selo, a small village in the Republic of Macedonia. Credit: Filip Ganev

Mr Ganev said that werewolves have been a staple of Balkan folklore since before recorded history. The legends vary from region to region as far as how and why one becomes a werewolf. Some believe that a person is born with the ability to shape shift into a wolf. Babies born with hair are said to have a proclivity for this. Other regions believe that a person who died in a mortal sin or made some other union with the devil would be reborn as werewolves. Though the differences are great, one thing that they all share is how to dispose of a werewolf corpse.

Woodcut of a werewolf attack

Woodcut of a werewolf attack, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1512 ( Wikipedia)

Werewolves were always dealt with by an exorcism by a parish priest, decapitation and burning of the body. It was thought that werewolves were to be killed on Saturday because that was the day they lay resting in their graves and could be easily caught. In the case of this Macedonian werewolf, it seems as though it was disposed of properly. At least until it was unearthed by a curious farmer.

The werewolf-like skull

The werewolf-like skull was found in a box that was chained shut. Credit: Filip Ganev

Trayche does not fear that the spirit of the werewolf will be released and he is very proud of his discovery, showing it off to anyone who cares to look. He admits that others in the village do not share his flippant attitude and feel that it would have been better left in the ground. “Many of my neighbors are angry that I disturbed the vrkolak (werewolf),” said Trayche. “They say that I will be reborn as a werewolf. If that is now my fate, so be it. What is done is done."

Featured image: Werewolf-like skull found by a farmer in Macedonia. Credit: Filip Ganev

By April Holloway


Brandane's picture

Good halloween article. How long was this supposed to be in the ground though. . .suspiciously fresh looking straw in the box ha ha.

riparianfrstlvr's picture

great point. i have 2 dogs, 1 full blood siberian husky, 1 1/2 siberian-1/2 rottwieller. their skulls are visibly different shapes, and when i pet their head the skulls are even more different. the mix has a much more pronounced brow line and more block shaped. the full blood husky is smoother and more streamlined. both dogs are descendant of the wolf. genetics, evolution are the reason, not superstition.


No guess on when the skull was buried?

This is without a doubt, a baboon skull. You can tell by the positioning of the eyes on the front of the head. Wolves are carnivorous and their eyes need to be located on the far sides of their head while baboons are herbivores and need their eyes to sit on the front of their face like a human. In addition to the eyes, wolves have a large gab or opening around their eye socket to allow room for their powerful jaw muscles. Baboons do not need this feature as it is not necessary to their anatomy.

For proof, please visit this web page that shows both a baboon skull and wolf skull alongside with a human skull for comparison.

riparianfrstlvr's picture

when you are right you are right and you are . thanks for the facts


I must object to this. One, baboons are, like humans, omnivorous. Two, the teeth and nasal cavity match that of a canine. Three, there aren't even any cheekbones on this skull, and the lower jaw looks fused to the skull. Four, there is a distinct color difference and difference in texture between the front and rear of the skull. I honestly think someone painted words onto a wooden box, filled it with straw, and molded clay onto a canine skull roughly hominid in shape, and said "I dug up a werewolf skull!"

"Wolves are carnivorous and their eyes need to be located on the far sides of their head while baboons are herbivores and need their eyes to sit on the front of their face like a human"

Sorry I had to make a comment, but when someone plays a role of an arrogant omniscient guru, throwing away his mere opinion and thoughts as axioms and one-and-only-truth for all to accept without questioning, while those claims are nothing but ignorant blurts, I get somewhat irritated.

Let me enlighten you: Carnivores, not herbivores have eyes on front of their faces, for one simple reason: Binocular vision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binocular_vision) - this is ability of crossed fields of vision that gives carnivores and hunting species ability to precisely discern distances and to have a pseudo-3D vision, very much an essential perk of hunters.

Have you ever seen a cow? A rabbit? Goat? Or any other herbivore? Their eyes are miles apart, giving them almost 360 vision range (excluding the tinny patch in front and behind their heads), which is crucial for observing and watching out for dangers and those pesky carnivores that are constantly trying to munch on them.

Makes some logic, no?

riparianfrstlvr's picture

that is generally true about herbavores and carnivores, but in nature there are no absolutes and also exceptions to those rules. the gorilla is a herbavore and their eyes are in front just like a grizzly bear which is the apex land predator, and every time i have seen a grizzly they are grazing on plants like a cow. or gorilla. the panda bear eyes are in front and plants are all they eat. chimpanzees are omnivores like the grizzly and have eaten colobus monkeys. the wolves i have seen as well as my dogs which people always ask me if one is part wolf, their eyes while more on the sides than an ape, they are facing foreward, more than a chupmunk, which are also omnivores as i have seen them eat insects, which are not plants. i have seen goghers eat dead gophers on the road as well, which means thay are omnivores and cannabals too. i have been blessed to be able to live in the bosom of the rocky mountains. any time i want i can take a hike, bike ride or drive and i get to see things most people only get to see on tv. your comment said "Wolves are carnivorous and their eyes need to be located on the far sides of their head while baboons are herbivores and need their eyes to sit on the front of their face like a human" then you said "Carnivores, not herbivores have eyes on front of their faces" then you said "Have you ever seen a cow? A rabbit? Goat? Or any other herbivore? Their eyes are miles apart" your comment is contradictory to itself. your comment actually does show that there are no absolutes in nature and exceptions to the rule, carnivore verses herbavores eye locations. it is those pesky omnivores we need to watch out for, like us humans. nobody knows what we'll do next.


Well, let us clear some things first. About your impression that I was contradictory - I must let you know that you misunderstood the point of my comment obviously, and here's why: See those quotation marks in the first paragraph of my comment? Those are usually used when quoting or citing someone, which I obviously did. If you look at the comment the user "Tiffany" made, you will notice that I quoted her (or his) sentence, and in fact, my entire comment was a reply to that user's logical fallacies. It is my mistake I didn't mention whom that comment was intended to, I admit that. My bad. So no contradiction.

When we got that settled, let us proceed to the next talking-point: Binocular vision. I now understand that I always have to express myself with nothing less than ICBM guiding-system laser-precision if I'm not to be understood by wider public. So let's get into details to avoid further "contradictions".

You are absolutely 100% right that there are no strict rules regarding herbivore-omnivore-herbivore division and type of vision. There are no clear cut divisions anywhere in the nature, and all the categories and terminology we are using are only products of systemic thinking of human mind, representing our insatiable need to put everything into boxes and label it. If it means anything to you, this type of thinking does not reflect my own, but I was conforming and cherry-picking my statements in order to be understood better. We are on the same page regarding this. I believe you are happy now knowing that.

BUT! (There is always but, right? :) ) The evolution can shed some light on this "anomaly" we are speaking about, unless you are of those folks believing an old man up in the heavens painted us into being as that old dusty plagiarised book tells us to dogmatically believe. But I believe you are not.

I noticed that majority of your anomaly-to-that-rule examples are considering primates. Primates evolved from same ancestor species millions of years ago. That hardy primate ancestor was predominantly, if not totally, an arboreal species, living in tree tops. That way of living is not an easy task to fulfill - you have to hop from branch to branch, giving your best not to fall down to the ground and end your career on this world. Thus, primates evolved long digits, highly mobile joints, better brains to process all those sensory inputs while navigating their amazing 3D environment. And none of these skills would be possible without binocular vision. They would not be able to know if targeted branch is within the arms reach or maybe 10 meters away. Also, arboreal life style is responsible for the fact that primates are one of few mammalian species that have trichromatic color vision - helpful if your primary food are those vividly colored fruits.

Also, you mentioned panda. I will be short with this one - pandas evolved from carnivorous, hunting species closely related to bears. This is also the reason that they are lousy at digesting their loved bamboo shoots, because their digestive system is closest to one of the carnivores, way more than human's, for example.

To summarise my dissertation here: I agree with you - the food processing division (carnivore-omnivore-herbivore) has nothing to do with the position of any animals eyes nor their type of vision. It is the way of living, ecological niche and natural selection that determines that. Evolution in short.

Sorry for the length of this post, but it had to be done :)

Cheers to all.

How silly that you refer to evolution as fact. You make the assumption. It is The Theory of Evolution. You forgot the 'theory' part. Theory, hypothesis. Evolution is your belief. It is not a proven fact, but you believe in it. You have insulted others for believing in something else. Hypocritically, you don't even realise that you also believe. You are a believer, based on a belief. What you believe is not a proven fact. You believe it based on faith. You believe evolution is correct; you have faith that it is correct. You do not know it is correct; it is a belief of yours based on faith.

What you need to know is that EVERYTHING in science is called a theory, even when it is accepted as fact – which is the case with evolution. It is always called a theory rather than a fact because scientists know that they may find new information later that changes that theory. Evolution is pretty much considered fact and is a settled question. This is basic science, I learned it in fourth grade.

Roberto Peron's picture

I absolutely agree that this is a skull of a baboon.  However, that does not prove nor disprove the existence of a werewolf creature.  A simple hoax I suspect and a resounding YES the straw looks way to fresh in the box.

yh i was going say it looked more like the skull of a monkey or something,

Baboons are NOT all strictly herbivores. They have been known to eat fish, insects, birds .... and even small game.

As a slavic shaman, exorcist (whisperer) and healer, with shape-shifting, as its time to move beyond the religious corruption of shamanic reality and set the record straight. Humans have an animal and/or avian as part of our soul, this is our connection to the earth. Not all people belong to the wolf clan, some are bird tribe people in ancient Baltic and Slavic Cultures. Those who are wolf clan origin people, have the ability to shape shift, but generally in-between the veil, not pure physical world. A 'werewolf' is a human who has a shadow (darkness) or past life shadow that has entered its animal-human soul and taken over that part. A real shaman exorcist can extract the persons own dark shadow demon and send it back to the underworld without even harming the human and then the human is fine and heals and moves forward. There are a few things a person can do to keep their own dark shadow from entering and that is give up alcohol, drugs and pot - for these things let your demonic past life shadow into your body when you get too drunk too many times or too high or the modern medicine drugs which are just as damaging. Chopping off heads by priests and religions were the same people who killed shamans and pagans. Thank heaven that time is over.

riparianfrstlvr's picture

i can't agree with you more about excessive consumption of pharm. drugs and booze being unhealthy. but would you please post some pics of your 2 different selves. surely with the high res cameras available today we should be able to see the differences, just as we see the differences in the skulls on the link above. if you can't do this i would say you have definetely moved beyond religious corruption and shaman reality into your own vivid imagination. as far as being possessed by demons or evil spirits i will defer to an expert. to quote Dr. Niel DeGrasse Tyson Phd.: "when you are writhing on the ground and froth is coming out of your mouth, you are having an epileptic seizure you have not been invaded by the devil. We got this one fugured out okay? I mean discovery moves on. So I don't mind the power of myth and magic, but take it to the next frontier and apply it there. Don't apply it in places where we have long passed what we already know what is going on."   further more when a voodoo practioner or devil worshiper consumes the blood or flesh of a sacrificial victim, whether human or animal they do not feel the power of the victim spirit entering their body. what they do feel is, not only their own adrenaline, endorphins, an enkaphelins, but the victims as well. it is a "high" just like the adrenaline junkie gets cliff climbing or base jumping... but that is their own adrenaline. after a short while sacraficing victims, the practitioners own body quits producing it's own adrenaline and endorphens and the practitioner needs the victims more and more in order to feel good. that is an addiction. looking forward to your pics.


so who said dr niel degrasse Tyson is an expert? dr niel degrasse Tyson? If you haven't studied magick and the occult then you don't know what the hell you're talking about. the comment above just proves you're an ignorant fool

riparianfrstlvr's picture

i have read 2 books on witchcraft and how to cast a spell, i don't remember the titles because nothing happened. also 2 books on demonology; The Demonologist, and the Devil in Connetticut about demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. I have even played with a ouija board, nothing happend there either. I have read the book The Power of the Mind to Heal. people have healed themselves through the "placebo effect" (the power of suggestion) in countless double blind studies. people have cured themselves through self hipnosis/meditation. most people don't even know what the limbic system is nor how it works, yet we experience it's effects all day long, every day of our lives, if people can cure themselves through the placebo effect, power of suggestion, meditation/self hipnosis, they can most certainly make themselve sick, both physically and mentally, hypochondria. mental illness is either a malformed brain or an imbalance of the brain chemistry, both of which directly involves the limbic system. Brainwashing can affect brain chemistry also. i was bred, born, and raised a Catholic, they to believe in majic and are very superstitious and phobic. If God the holy father created devils or fallen angels, and loves us so much, and wants what is best for us, why doesn't he uncreate them? the human body, simply put is nothing more than an electicity generating, chemical producing machine. real, whole foods are the fuel and water is the solvent/lubricant. if you put gas where the oil is supposed to go, you car engine will seize up and quit running. the body is much like that. Evil is nothing but a human concept and trait. take charge of your brain, body and life and all that you do, after all it is your's, you own it all. if you let imaginary forces control you, you are a weak ignorant  fool!!


Tsurugi's picture

Dr. Tyson is a physicist. When speaking on the subject of physics, he is an acknowledged expert.

In any other subject, he is no more or less expert than any layman...including subjects such as modern medicine, or demonology, for example.

Nothing wrong with quoting him, of course.


I do have a problem with his certainty, however. I find it most un-scientific. To illustrate my point I will quote another great physicist:

"In physics, the truth is rarely perfectly clear, and that is certainly the case in human affairs. Hence, what is not surrounded by uncertainty, cannot be the truth."
--Dr. Richard P. Feynman, PhD

riparianfrstlvr's picture

 that is true, that's why we have quantum physics. not so much about hard answers, but much more about possibilities.


Phoenix, this is fascinating. I’ve long been interested in Slavic shamanism. Can you point me to any websites or books for any information on it? thank you!

DeAegean's picture

"What is done is done"

The only thing we can do at this point is wait until he dies to see what happens with this curse upon him.

Can anyone translate what the box says?

riparianfrstlvr's picture

maybe it says here lies my beloved pet baboon Snuggles


beware (or caution) vampire

its a baboon

Yeah a translation of the box lid would have been nice.

It says

That looks like a wolf skull someone molded clay onto...

what does the box say?

I'd be more interested in the box this skull was buried in. The wood doesn't seem to be very rotted for having been in the ground for long. Wood rots quickly once it is underground. Small tree branches in my compost pile take only a couple of years to break down completely. I would say this is a hoax. The writing on the box could put an end to this speculation. Sounds like this farmer wants to play Hallowe'en.

The Skull shape at first glance is like a baboon, but the teeth are more simular in shape and quantity to that of a wolf, Baboons have only 4 large square shaped teeth between the front canine teeth, wolves have 6 sharper and smaller front teeth between the canine teeth, and this skull looks to have wolf type teeth, It cant be a baboon.

Makes me laugh. So many people are always so sure that what they think is what is actually the case. Sorry but you don't know. You're making a guess. As I see it, the process is obvious:

First, is it a hoax? That would be my guess. Of course it's possible that someone would find something like that and make a public announcement straightaway but that seems strange to me.

If it isn't hoax, then as I see it, things get trickier. All indications are that official research into anomalies isn't always open and honest. And given that it's now public knowledge, genuine investigation would be even more difficult.

Wish the skull was dated to see when the animal lived. To me, it looks like a Baboon skull. Baboons have fierce canine teeth and larger skulls because they are indeed a primate. Maybe this is a hoax and someone buried a Baboon skull in a box. It has to be dated to determine anything further but it sure looks like a Baboon.....teeth, eyes and skull.

Rob Gonzalez

First of all, the farmer is a Macedonian guy and not a Bulgarian born farmer. The word Bulgarian is only used as a keyword here. Second this IS a hoax. I will not "elaborate scientifically, because the whole thing is a joke. Filip Ganev IS Bulgarian and is a locally well know so "scholar".

lizleafloor's picture

I love this - a very cool mystery. Even if it does end up being a baboon skull - how does someone come to possess a gnarly baboon skull? Further, (and Im no osteologist or animal bone specialist) simply googling baboon skull seems to show varying eye socket and tooth configurations. The teeth on baboon skulls seem to look like wide 'chiclets', like human teeth.

Interesting history nevertheless.

From a cursory reading of Paget Disease it seems unlikely that this skull is a result of that disease. The difference between the amount of bone between the eyes, a wolf having a much different skull with more bone between the eyes similar to a dog makes me think this isn't a wolf. Baboon? Its possible, but how would a baboon get to Bulgaria?

Not saying its a werewolf, but if its not a hoax, then I'd love to see a detailed examination of the skull, box and other material.

Appears to be some kind of primate skull to me.

The third letter of the third word in the picture was eliminated from Bulgarian spelling in 1945 according to this article:


The box is a typical box for storing ammunition and other munitions. They are sturdy and can be kept for years, however, I suspect that burying one in the ground would cause the wood to discolor at least even after a year or two. The untarnished hardware also points to the box not being buried at all or only for a very short time.

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angieblackmon's picture

I like that he's so okay with his fate for disturbing the creature...eh if i turn into a werewolf, it happens. 

love, light and blessings


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