Bulgarian farmer discovers skull resembling werewolf

Bizarre Discovery of Werewolf-Like Skull in a Chained Box in Bulgaria


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


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.

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.


"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 ( - 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?

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!"

riparianfrstlvr's picture

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



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