Loopy Lupus

Vern Gray, the resident Wolfman at Clark's Bears in Lincoln, has been scaring the bejesus out of children for seven years

Serious trouble is boiling up at Clark’s Bears in Lincoln. Seems that some foul-smelling, one-eyed hermit keeps chasing a train full of children with an ax, loaded rifle and car straight out of “Mad Max.” Blood-draining howls, thunderous shotgun booms and threats are hurled. Often, the kids reciprocate with their own withering insults. Irresponsible parents choose laughing at — instead of comforting — their terrified kids. Meet Vern Gray, who has been scaring the bejesus out of little children at Clark’s for seven years while protecting his rich Unobtanium mine and sacred privacy. The Wolfman is good for a laugh until the authorities finally catch wind. Nothing good can come of this. Nothing.

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The Wolfman at Clark’s Bears in Lincoln, Vern Gray

  • The Wolfman has to be hard workin’, hate kids, be witty and hate kids. On a serious note, you must have a fun, even temper, despite the fact you’re running around screaming at a train all day.  
  • The role of the Wolfman has essentially been the same since its conception. Be scary. Be funny. Chase the train. Make it interesting. What the Wolfman can do, however, has changed.
  • Once upon a time the Wolfman would get on the train, kidnap a woman or gal planted on the train. When I was a kid the faux kidnapping had stopped, but he could still get on the train.
  • [The Wolfman] told me once that he was going to take my mother. I was red as a beet, veins popping out of my face, screaming, “Don’t you dare touch my mother!”
  • Shortly after that, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
  • Now, however, there is no getting on the train, but when you tell a kid they are going to work the mine, eat toenail soup and their mother is your new housewife, it gets the point across.
  • After seven years being the Wolfman, it is just as fun, sometimes even more so now than the first time I ever chased the train.
  • Kids have thrown a variety of things at me. One kid threw his ice cream cone. That turned out to be amazing, I was able to catch it by the cone, and the ice cream stayed on top.
  • I made sure to eat it in front of him every time his car went by me.
  • It has been said that I eat children. I would like to set the record straight. I don’t make a habit of eating kids, just the ones that aren’t pulling their weight laboring at the bottom of the mine. Needless to say, I am currently out of child laborers. Good help is so hard to find these days.
  • Back in the 1700s, the mine was lost to time, but local legend told of a rare earth mineral called Unobtainium. The ore is the most valuable and rare of any on earth. A space-traveling acquaintance says there is a planet in another galaxy where a bunch of blue, cat-faced alien hippies hoard it.
  • You know, I may smell like a goat, but I get to be all-natural. I think the only time I’ve washed my clothes is when it rains. I can say I haven’t bathed in 20 years, but it’s likely a hell of a lot longer than that.
  • I work Tuesday through Friday. Saturday, Sunday and Monday I get my forty hours in, working my “real job” as a campus safety officer at New England College in Henniker.
  • I love being the Wolfman. Scaring kids and watching their parents laugh at them instead of comforting them while they cry is the ultimate win; I strive for this reaction each day.
  • Honestly, there are more kids that laugh than cry. Some families have done so many family vacations where their kids don’t remember a Disney princess, but they remember me. 

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Photo courtesy Clark’s Bears

Did we forget to mention that there are also bears?

Clark’s Bears does indeed have bears. Talented and hungry bears (though their favorite food seems to be ice cream, not small, tender children). Their website explains, “In 1949, brothers Edward M. and W. Murray Clark started teaching and training bears for show work, a tradition that Clark family members continue to this day. The late W. Murray Clark developed a rapport and understanding of these intelligent animals, which he passed on to his children, the current trainers, Maureen and Murray Clark.

“‘Each performance is unique,’ Murray says. ‘The weather, dynamics in the den, audience reaction — any number of things can affect the bears’ attention and distract them from the performance.’ 

“Truly a tradition among White Mountain vacationers, this entertaining and educational half-hour show is a thrill for all. Unmuzzled and unleashed, the bears enjoy performing for you in our covered show arena.” clarksbears.com

Categories: People