HHS Classics - Werewolves
Howdy!! This HHS Classic will discuss werewolves!! For thousands of years, the relationship dynamics between humans and wolves has been an interesting one and nothing expresses that better than that than the lore of werewolves!! As usual, we’ll discuss where this legend came from, are they real and what intrigues humanity so much about them!!
Also known as lycanthrope or lycanthropy; a werewolf is mythical beast that is a human who can shape shift or physically change into a human wolf hybrid. Generally the transformation happens at night and under the light of a full moon. They display wild and animal like behaviours and are responsible for killing and eating people as well as live stock. The most well known stories of werewolves are mostly based in European cultures, however every culture around the world has a legend that is similar to a person shapeshifting, being half man and half dog and consuming human flesh.
It seems that anyone can become a werewolf however the way one becomes one varies depending on different regions. Others suggest being bitten or scratched by a wolf or werewolf. A person can become a werewolf by drinking water from the paw print of a wolf or from enchanted rivers and streams. In some parts of Europe, it is believed that a person can turn into a werewolf if they sleep outside on a summer night and have the full moon shine on their face. In Hungary, people believed that a person who was born into an abusive house had the ability to change into a werewolf at will after the age of seven. They also believed babies who were born with hair or birth marks on the head would have the powers to shape shift.
Some people turn into werewolves as a form of punishment such as Lycaon in Greek mythology who was punished for killing his son and serving it as a meal for the gods. Some people suggest a person can become a werewolf if they are excommunicated from the church.
Some people choose to turn into werewolves to gain animalistic powers and strength. In the medieval times people believe that a person can make deal with the Devil and gain powers to turn into a wolf that way. Some suggest that a person can become a werewolf by wearing a belt made from the wolf skin. When a person wears the belt, the can shape shift and when they take the belt off, they revert back to their human form. The indigenous people of North America, especially Navajo people, the believe werewolves are akin to Skinwalkers which is a witch that has committed certain rituals such as murdering newborn babies in order to gain powers which will turn them into a werewolf. The peoples from the regions of Canada, New York and Michigan believe that a werewolf is similar to a Wendigo, which is what happens to a person who through practicing certain rituals and consuming human flesh becomes as horrid man eater monster.
Werewolves are generally in their human form during the day, however at night they shape shift. Generally the belief is that people transform in the light of the full moon, sometimes when the moon is raising. Others suggest that people change during the Winter Solstice or during Easter.
As there is a strong link with witches and werewolves, people also conducted werewolf hunts and trials along with vampire and witch hunts. There are many different ways to cure a person who is suffering from lycanthropy. This includes finding the skin of the werewolf and burning it, hitting the person over the head with a knife, piercing their hands, calling them by their christian name, using Wolfsbane herb and converting them to Christianity.
There is a human connection to the wolf and nature. Maybe there’s something that makes humanity question how far away are we from the animal and the beast which is our natural senses such as strength, sex, power. Maybe wolves are not that different from the early humans, they hunt, live in packs. Many early human lived and hunted along side wolves, after all dogs, man’s best friend, are domesticated from wolves.
Maybe stories of werewolves originate from cases of Hypertrichosis. Hypertrichosis is a disease that causes excessive amounts of hair growth on a person, including all over the face and it occurs in men and women. This is caused either genetically or from medication. People with this disease have been known as Dog-faced man, Lion-face Men and Wolf men.
There is definitely something sexy, animalistic and a sense of strength associated with werewolves and it has appealed to humanity for ages and will continued to do. Y’all come back now here.