|The Shaggy Beast|
expert at hairassment
|Appeared in||Ghostbusters Role-Playing Game - Tobin's Spirit Guide (RPG)|
The Shaggy Beast is a creature from the Ghostbusters RPG's Tobin's Spirit Guide (RPG).
Near the French city of Le Mans, along the banks of the river Huisne, farmers in the Middle Ages were plagued by a monster they called the Shaggy Beast (la Velue). As is so often the case in these matters, they blamed it for causing calamities that it had no part in. This may have angered the Beast, who did not appreciate having its reputation called into question. At any rate, the creature began to specialize in one type of awful deed: the abduction of innocent young people, most of them female. One day the beast attacked a particular innocent girl and dragged her off to its lair. The girl's sweetheart tracked the monster, confronted it, and managed to kill it by slashing his sword into its one vulnerable spot, at the base of its tail. The legend goes on to say that the creature died instantly, and from that day forward the folk who lived along the Huisne were nevermore bothered by the thing. What actually happened, of course, is that the unearthly creature simply relocated. It has popped up in various places throughout Europe during the last few centuries, and will continue to torment innocent people until someone finds a way to put an end to its activities for once and for all. When we began to investigate possible appearances of this monster, we disregarded most of the specific information given in the original French legend-for tales have a way of growing in the telling. We especially did not believe what was said about the creature's true appearance. The Shaggy Beast is supposed to have had the body of a bull, covered from neck to feet with long, matted green fur, the head of a snake, and a tail shaped like a serpent. What sensible young woman, we asked ourselves, would allow herself to be led astray by a creature that hideous? It takes nothing away from the accomplishment of the intrepid hero of the legend to say that the beast he vanquished was human-looking, and that the sword blow did not cut off the creature's tail but instead struck it in the lower back. Or, as we have learned from further investigation, it is quite possible that the beast was made to flee simply because the flat of the blade hit it in the posterior. Keeping the essentials of the French legend in mind, consider how they compare with this story, told us by a middle-aged woman who, in her youth, was a serving-maid in a tavern in Birmingham. She was accosted one hot summer day by a burly man whom she guessed to be about 40 years old. It is not unusual for barmaids to be propositioned, of course, but this man sticks in her memory because his appearance was so unforgettable. He had a long, unkempt mane of black hair on his head, a scraggly beard of the same color-and the thickest, blackest covering of body hair she had ever seen. Because of the heat, his shirt was open to mid-torso and the sleeves were rolled up past his elbows--yet, had it not been for the palms of his hands and the area between his forehead and his beard. she would not have known what his skin color was. "Not so much to look at," she said, "but'e'ad a way about 'im." One thing led to another, and that evening she accepted his offer to walk her home. A couple of blocks away from the tavern, he insisted on taking a turn away from the direction they should have gone, and the girl began to suspect that something was amiss. Fearing what would happen if she simply tried to flee, she went along with him until they came to the opening of a dark alley. There she hit upon the happy idea of fussing about her disordered tresses. She stopped in her tracks and got out her comb . While pulling it through a tangle, she contrived to half-drop and half-toss it, so that it landed on the ground a short distance in front of where they stood. The man grumbled and squatted down to pick it up-whereupon she let fly with the mightiest kick she could muster, hitting him square in the buttocks. She turned and ran, hoping to reach safety before he caught her. As she fled, she called for help. Before she had got more than a few strides, a gentleman rushed up, grabbed her by the arms, and brought her to a halt. "'E's after me!" She said, gesturing back over her shoulder-but when the man turned her around, she saw nothing there. "It was like 'e vanished into thin air," she told me, little realizing how accurate that statement was. The Shaggy Beast does have a certain amount of charisma, but the spirit is quite dull-witted, does not learn from its mistakes, and can be rather easily resisted by someone with a modicum of good judgment. If a victim should find his safety is at stake, he should but give his newfound friend a swift kick in the aforementioned portion of its anatomy. Be aware that the Shaggy Beast might be able to disguise itself, at least to the extent that it can shave its body hair and thus appear as something other than a creature from the lower end of the evolutionary ladder. Be careful of strangers who are smooth-cheeked and well shorn; check the backs of their hands for razor burns, and be especially wary of any such person whose name is Harold or Harriet.