30.11.10

Werewolf Myths and legends

Article

A Werewolf is a human which turns into a wolf commonly by being placed under a curse. The image of the Werewolf has undergone many changes over time, but what remains unchanged is its association with evil and darkness. Though originating from mythology and legend, there are those even today, who believe they are Werewolves.

A portrait of a Werewolf in human form reveals bushy eyebrows, long blood-red fingernails, narrow ears, rough hairy skin, and a dry mouth and ears. They are said to prefer the night and solitude, and are inclined to visit graveyards. The transformation from human form to Werewolf typically takes place under a full moon.

Ancient Werewolves

An early example of a Werewolf is found in the Greek myth of Lyacon, who was transformed into a wolf after eating human flesh.

The Neuri tribe northeast of Scythis were reported by Herodotus to be annually transformed for a few days, from human to wolf form.

In Armenian belief, a woman who committed a deadly sin was condemned to spend seven years as a wolf and during this time would one by one, make meals of her own children, and then those of her relative’s children.

French folklore included numerous Werewolf tales in the 16th century, and there were over 30,000 Werewolf tales alone in this country, between 1520 and 1630.

The First Werewolf

The first Werewolf in its more common and familiar form originates from a German town in 1591. At this time, the people of the countryside were terrified. The woods were filled with wolves that frequently attacked them.

During such an attack, what looked like a wolf stood up and revealed itself to be a man, known by those being attacked, as Peter Stubbe. He was put on a torture wheel and confessed to the murder of sixteen people.

He claimed to have been practising sorcery since he was a boy, and to have made a pack with the Devil, which eventually caused him to take the guise of a wolf and hunt down what he believed to be his enemies.

 Lycanthropy

A psychiatric condition concerning Werewolves, is known as Lycanthropy. A sufferer believes he is a wolf or other animal, stimulated perhaps by the belief that men can assume the forms of animals. It is a very rare condition supposedly linked to schizophrenia, but it has been around since Biblical times.

King Nebuchadnezzar in the ‘Book of Daniel’ was described as suffering a seven-year depression that culminated in a delusion that he was a wolf. It still appears in regions of the world, such as South America and Africa, involving animals such as lions, sharks, eagles and leopards.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.