Custer County Chief, 1/3/1896
Another frightening-if-true story with a supernatural twist comes out of the northwest county of Dawes, just around the Pine Ridge. The end of 1895 saw a number of brutal attacks against many herds of cattle and the men who tended them. Even the animals from the wilderness became occasional victims of these attacks. The twist was that these vicious animal-like attacks were committed by a man. A man many swore was an actual vampire. The attacker would hunt down the animal using only his bare hands as a weapon. He would wrestle the beast to the ground and proceed to tear the unfortunate creature apart with almost supernatural strength. Many times he was witnessed lapping the blood of his victim the way a dog laps water.
The local stories also suggested this person was a madman. No one knew for sure about this individual’s origin, but he had been seen numerous times in December of 1895. Many had even tried to capture this man, or man-like animal. All attempts were unsuccessful.
There is a report of a Jack Lewis, a cowboy working ranches around the Black Hills and northern Nebraska prairie, having a personal encounter with the vampire. Lewis and a small group of wranglers had been on the range for several days in mid-December. This one particular evening he had wandered away from his companions for some personal time. He dismounted his horse and was about to begin his meditation.
From out of the shadows of the early evening on the winter prairie leaped the vampire directly at Jack Lewis. The cowboy was knocked to the ground and the beast clawed at his neck, alternately trying to choke Lewis. In the moments of the struggle Jack had managed to draw his firearm and fire off a round or two. The gunfire attracted his companions, who quickly arrived on the scene.
The killer fled, but was pursued by several of the cowboys on horseback. The beast managed to elude the riders as dusk grew into night, eventually making good his escape. According to the story, Jack Lewis was badly torn about the face and neck by the man’s teeth. There was also shock as he described the attack by a frothing assailant trying to bite his throat.