Posted on May 17, 2010 at 9:38 PM
Wednesday, Oct 13 at 2:18 PM
School's out at John Marshal High School, and exiting the facility are your typical cliques: cheerleaders, nerds, jocks and Goths… and werewolves?
"We're not to be feared,” said Argus, his ghost-white, eyes staring at the camera.
Argus is one of several members of the wolf pack, one of several packs scattered about San Antonio's north side.
His friend Katze Lupus Burn added, "We're not a gang at all. Gangs are like posers. They just want attention, that's why they go along tagging stuff. The pack? We're a family. We go to each other for our problems."
The fascination with werewolves dates back to the 19-30's, with popular movies starring Lon Chaney, Jr. More recently, movies like Van Helsing and the Twilight series have captured the attention of teenagers. They may not be mutating from man to wolf, but Northside school district counselors warn these teens are experiencing transformations of their own: from childhood to adulthood.
Northside School District counselor Dr. Deborah Healy said, “Young people are looking to define their identities, sometimes to come together and affiliate around a theme or an idea, just really to belong, that sense of belonging."
And a sense of belonging is just what this group says they're after.
"You get friends. You get a place where you belong. You're pretty much accepted to where you are, who you are, what you are," said Deikitsen Wolfram Lupus, the unofficial leader of the pack at Brandeis High. He says he's got some wolf in him, howling sometimes to get out.
"We just like hang out here, we're just like another family. This is our second home, basically," added Kit, dressed in pink with a touch of leather and chains.
And you couldn't help but notice the eyes. And the fangs. It's a style, we're told. And nothing more.
Friend Guerrero continued, "We're not trying to be intimidating, we're not trying to be menacing. We're just trying to live our daily lives and hang out. You know? We're teenagers and we just want to have fun."
And they gather attention, too. One of the wolf pack, whom many consider the "alpha dog," received some international acclaim when a neighbor's dog went missing, only to have its skull found in the possession of 18-year old, Wolfie Blackheart. It created a firestorm on the internet, and was San Antonio's first glimpse into the world of these transformed teens.
Northside officials confirm wolf packs do exist in at least half a dozen schools, with anywhere from 12 to 20 werewolves in each. Dress codes are strictly enforced, NISD officials say. The wolf pack isn't allowed the tails, chains, or anything else that negatively affects the learning environment.
Brandeis head counselor Bill Hill said, “They walk down the hallways and meld into the fabric of the school and don't seem to be troublesome in the school environment."
Northside counselors say it's extreme expression. Dei says it's something deeper than violating the school's dress-code.
"I don't believe anyone is just human. Everyone's got something else mixed in with them. They just have to look inside themselves and find out what it is."
Dei's got his own leash he wears. His mom has a leash on him to: Pam Manley keeps Dei tethered to family, his chores and his studies.
"As soon as he walks in the door, he is supposed to take out the fangs, lose the lenses and put his hair back," Manley said. "They're good kids. And it takes some courage to stand up and be who you want to be and be able to express yourself in this way."