Gerald Dabrowski, a monster hunter with with nearly 40-years experience, stopped by MonstersOnTheWeb.com to give tips on hunting monsters. Get the scoop after the jump.
A Life of Sacrifice with Monster Hunter, Gerald Dabrowski
I met Gerald Dabrowski at a little coffee shop near the Megler Bridge in Astoria, Oregon. He came to town on “business,” and had a few hours to kill before he started to hunt.
Gerald greeted me with a nod. Years of monster hunting had dug channels for crow’s feet around his eyes. His hands had scars that crisscrossed his knuckles, and his left hand didn’t have the last digit on his index finger.
Dabrowski lifted a soup-bowl sized mug and slurped down about a third of the java. “Have a seat. There’s so much I have to tell you.”
Dabrowski grew up in Portage Park in Chicago. It’s a Polish neighborhood on the northwest side. His parents migrated to the US after World War II and just before the Communists closed the country’s borders.
“My world changed when I was 16,” Gerald said. “A buddy, Tim Blaziewski, and me were out in Mt. Olive Cemetery drinking some beers one night. As we left, this big hairy thing tackled Tim and took a chunk out of his shoulder.”
The beast was never seen again. But things started to happen to Tim. He grew 4 inches and put on 30-to-40 pounds of muscle. His wound also healed within a week and without a scar.
“His parents were flabbergasted by all of this,” Gerald said. “None of them were over 5’8″, and now their kid was 6’2″ and built like a linebacker.”
Gerald dropped his head and shook it.
“Timmy changed a month later,” Dabrowski said. “His skin started to boil and it stretched and split. There was hair all over him. His teeth fell out and there were fangs. I didn’t know what to do.”
“He came after me and I ran into my parents’ garden shed,” Dabrowski said. “Timmy ripped off those aluminum doors like they were nothing. He lunged at me and I put up some garden sheers.”
The sheers went straight through the boy’s stomach and out his back.
“Once he fell down to his knees, I took a hammer and smacked the claw into his forehead.”
Gerald stated that the police chalked it up as a teen on PCP. As for Gerald, the police said it was self defense. No charges were brought.
“It was that night that put me on the path to monster hunting.”
Struggles with Family and Work
Dabrowski met Anne Loftgren while he was a student at The Illinois Institute of Technology. He studied mechanical engineering and she was working as the service desk librarian.
“I was smitten with her smarts,” he said.
The couple eloped once Gerald finished his Master’s degree and landed his first job with United Airlines. But monster hunting started to get in the way of his family life and career. Gerald missed his son’s birth because he had to purge a coven of dark witches.
“I told Anne that I went on a three-day bender because I was afraid to be a dad,” Dabrowski said. “But I had to kill those witches. If they had a chance to drop a hex on me, my family would never have peace.”
After a few too many missed birthdays, anniversaries and getting fired for absenteeism, Anne took Robbie, his son, and left Gerald. Once the couple divorced, Robbie would come to Chicago and spend his summer break with his father.
“I never hunted when I had Robbie,” Gerald said. “He was much too precious to put at risk. I usually take on some questionable risks, but not with him.”
“The sacrifices you make can gut you,” Dabrowski said. “When you commit to this job, you’ll lose everything you love. It’s better to set the terms yourself than let the monsters do it.”
Tips for Hunting Monsters
Over our interview, Gerald gave a masterclass in what it takes to be a monster hunter. Here are the things he said you have to know and the skills you need to survive.
Keep It Local
Start close to home. Check out urban legends and reports of missing people. Some communities have a rash of disappearances over a few months. That’s a good sign a monster has setup in town.
In many cases, authorities will report animal attacks as the cause of death. See what you can find out by talking to the police or the reporter that covered the story. You need to know the real scoop.
This one is the most important. You got to know a monster’s weakness, and you have to know your own. I’m not talking about how physically fragile people are. I’m talking about emotions and psychology.
I once let a 13-year-old vampire get away. Poor kid had been turned no more than a month. Reminded me of my son. It seemed like he could handle it. He fed on livestock and stayed away from his folks and friends.
But he fell into a blood frenzy. Vamps need human blood, not cow blood. He ripped his parents throats out, then slaughtered the entire soccer team.
It really got to me when I had to chop off his head. From now on, I just kill vamps on sight. No remorse. No thinking of who they were before. No second guessing. Just kill them.
Become a Trapper
Monsters move faster than you. Traps can help contain them, so you don’t get hurt. Learn about the monsters in your area. How do they hunt? What’s their habitat? When do they hunt? How do they attack? Knowing this and their weaknesses will give you a better understanding of the trap to build.
Find a Buddy
A buddy doesn’t mean another hunter: It’s a pet. Dogs and cats can sense supernatural threats and warn you. With some monsters, dog bites and cat scratches take much longer to heal. That lets me track them down easier.
I once had a Doberman Pinscher that tore into a werewolf. It got away, but I found it the next day. Turned out to be the baker in town. When I went for some doughnuts the next morning, she had bandages on her forearms where Mercy had chewed on her. Easy to tag ‘n bag after that.
Develop a Specialty
Pick a type of monster so you can better train. I know werewolf hunters, vamp hunters and lake monster hunters. Don’t expect to get good at hunting every type. Generalists tend to die sooner than specialists. No one ever said you had to hunt every kind of monster. As for me, I specialize in The Infected and werewolves. Training on werewolves will help with many of the other monsters out there.
Expect to Die
Yep, I’m surprised I lasted this long. If you accept that you’ll probably die taking out a monster, you have more courage and take more risks. Things that other people wouldn’t consider to save more lives.
I once used a pedophile to attract a group of Infected. Hung him upside down from a barn and cut his arm. That blood was like nectar to a bee. Once the zombies got inside, I locked them all in and burned it to the ground. Probably saved 50 people for the price of one peddy (pedophile).
You know, you never really get out of the monster hunting business. Something will get you in the end. You may be in the retirement home and your nurse is a vamp. It never ends until the monsters finally catch up with you.
Gerald and I wrapped up our interview and shared some fly-fishing tips. He doesn’t come to the West Coast often. The Great Lakes region is the place where he does most of his business. I asked him why he came to Oregon.
“If you remember, I mentioned my son,” he said with a tremble in his voice. “He got turned a few years ago. Not into a vampire, but a werewolf.”
Dabrowski paused for a moment. He grimaced like he could imagine the moment a beast bit or slashed his son.
” He killed a family of 3 near Bend a couple of weeks ago,” Gerald said.
“And now I’m hunting him.”