If you’re a product of the American educational system, you’ve probably been through the story of Helen Keller at least once — usually in the form of the play The Miracle Worker (which is in turn based on Keller’s autobiography). This heartwarming, inspirational stuff about a dedicated teacher helping a deaf and blind girl learn to communicate is the image most of us have of Keller. What most schools don’t mention is Keller’s lifelong career of radical activism; she helped found the ACLU, supported Eugene V. Debs and was a member of the IWW.
That’s the usual course for a historical icon — the controversial aspects get smoothed over and they get Hollywood-ised. We’ve seen it happen to others, so it’s no surprise it happened to Keller.
But there’s another part of Keller’s history that doesn’t get mentioned much in schools, and that is her complex history with wolf attacks. Until now, that is: director St. James St. James has finally brought the tale of Keller’s battle with these unholy predators to the small screen. You can check out the whole thing free on Youtube:
I learned a lot from Helen Keller vs Nightwolves, mostly about the dangers of nightwolf attacks in small-town America in the early 20th century and the heroic measures needed to resist them. I also didn’t realise that there were quite so many swords or Tombstone references around the Keller household. I found it nearly as informative as Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter. There are a lot of similarities, although the bitchin’ theme song in Helen Keller comes at the beginning rather than at the end, which I feel is probably an improvement.