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In
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholog ...

folklore
, a werewolf ( ang, werwulf, "man-wolf"), or occasionally lycanthrope ( grc-gre, λυκάνθρωπος ''lukánthrōpos'', "wolf-human"), is a human with the ability to
shapeshift , Mistress of the North, attacking Väinämöinen in the form of a giant eagle with her troops on her back when she was trying to steal Sampo; in the Finland, Finnish epic poetry ''Kalevala'' by Elias Lönnrot. (''The Defense of the Sampo'', Ak ...
into a
wolf The wolf (''Canis lupus''), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large canine Canine may refer to: Zoology * dog-like mammals (i.e. members of the canid subfamily Caninae) ** ''Canis'', a genus including dogs, wolves, coyotes, an ...

wolf
(or, especially in modern film, a therianthropic
hybrid Hybrid may refer to: Economics and finance * Hybrid market, a system allowing stock trades to be completed either electronically or manually * Hybrid security, a type of economic instrument Technology Electrical power generation * Hybrid generato ...
wolflike creature), either purposely or after being placed under a
curse A curse (also called an imprecation, malediction, hex, execration, malison, anathema Anathema, in common usage, is something that or someone who is detested or shunned. In its other main usage, it is a formal excommunication Excommunicati ...
or affliction (often a bite or scratch from another werewolf) with the transformations occurring on the night of a
full moon The full Moon of 22 October 2010, as seen through a lunistice),_so_the_southern_lunar_craters.html" ;"title="lunar_standstill.html" ;"title="ecliptic_coordinate_system.html" "title="Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. This full Moon was near its nort ...

full moon
. Early sources for belief in this ability or affliction, called lycanthropy , are
Petronius Gaius Petronius Arbiter"Gaius Petronius Arbiter"
Britannica.com.
(; ; c. A ...
(27–66) and
Gervase of Tilbury#REDIRECT Gervase of Tilbury Gervase of Tilbury ( la, Gervasius Tilberiensis; 1150–1220) was an English canon lawyer, statesman and cleric. He enjoyed the favour of Henry II of England and later of Henry's grandson, Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor, Em ...
(1150–1228). The werewolf is a widespread concept in
European folklore European folklore or Western folklore refers to the folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral tradi ...
, existing in many variants, which are related by a common development of a Christian interpretation of underlying European folklore developed during the
medieval period In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
. From the early modern period, werewolf beliefs also spread to the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The re ...
with
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose the ...

colonialism
. Belief in werewolves developed in parallel to the belief in
witches In many cultures, witchcraft traditionally means the use of magic Magic or Magick may refer to: * Ceremonial magic, encompasses a wide variety of rituals of magic * Chaos magic#REDIRECT Chaos magic {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from m ...
, in the course of the
Late Middle Ages The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical com ...
and the
Early Modern period The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, adve ...
. Like the witchcraft trials as a whole, the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
(especially the
Valais Valais (in French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Wester ...

Valais
and
Vaud Vaud ( ; french: (Canton de) Vaud, ; german: (Kanton) Waadt, or ), more formally the canton of Vaud, is one of the forming the . It is composed of ten districts and its capital city is . Its flag bears the motto "Liberté et patrie" on a white ...
) in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century. The persecution of werewolves and the associated folklore is an integral part of the "
witch-hunt A witch-hunt, or a witch purge, is a search for people who have been labeled witches or a search for evidence of witchcraft. The classical period of witch-hunts in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America The colonial history of the Uni ...
" phenomenon, albeit a marginal one, accusations of lycanthropy being involved in only a small fraction of witchcraft trials. During the early period, accusations of lycanthropy (transformation into a wolf) were mixed with accusations of wolf-riding or wolf-charming. The case of
Peter Stumpp Peter Stumpp (c. 1535 - 1589; name is also spelled as Peter Stube, Peter Stubbe, Peter Stübbe or Peter Stumpf) was a German serial killer and farmer, accused of werewolfery, witchcraft and cannibalism. He was known as 'the Werewolf of Bedburg'. ...
(1589) led to a significant peak in both interest in and persecution of supposed werewolves, primarily in French-speaking and German-speaking Europe. The phenomenon persisted longest in Bavaria and Austria, with persecution of wolf-charmers recorded until well after 1650, the final cases taking place in the early 18th century in
Carinthia Carinthia (german: Kärnten ; sl, Koroška ) is the southernmost Austrian state or ''Land''. Situated within the Eastern Alps Eastern Alps is the name given to the eastern half of the Alps, usually defined as the area east of a line from L ...

Carinthia
and
Styria Styria (german: Steiermark ; Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also * Croat ...
. After the end of the witch-trials, the werewolf became of interest in
folklore studies Folklore studies, also known as folkloristics, and occasionally tradition studies or folk life studies in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, ...
and in the emerging
Gothic horror Gothic fiction, sometimes called Gothic horror in the 20th century, is a genre of literature and film that covers horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Jap ...
genre;
werewolf fiction Werewolf fiction denotes the portrayal of werewolves In folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include o ...
as a genre has pre-modern precedents in medieval romances (e.g. ''
Bisclavret "Bisclavret" ("The Werewolf") is one of the twelve The Lais of Marie de France, Lais of Marie de France written in the 12th century. Originally written in French, it tells the story of a werewolf who is trapped in lupine form by the treachery of h ...
'' and '' Guillaume de Palerme'') and developed in the 18th century out of the "semi-fictional"
chap book A chapbook is a small publication of up to about 40 pages, sometimes bound with a saddle stitch. In early modern Europe a chapbook was a type of printed street literature Street literature is any of several different types of publication sold ...
tradition. The trappings of horror literature in the 20th century became part of the horror and fantasy genre of modern
popular culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and ...
.


Names

The word ''werewolf'' comes from the
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
word ''werwulf'', a compound of ''wer'' "man" and ''wulf'' "wolf". The only
Old High German Old High German (OHG, german: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. ) is the earliest stage of the German language German ( Standard High German: , ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Euro ...
testimony is in the form of a given name, ''Weriuuolf'', although an early
Middle High German Middle High German (MHG; german: Mittelhochdeutsch (Mhd.)) is the term for the form of German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * ...
''werwolf'' is found in
Burchard of Worms Statue of Burchard at Worms Cathedral (St. Peter) Burchard of Worms ( 950/965 – August 20, 1025) was the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted ...
and Berthold of Regensburg. The word or concept does not occur in medieval German poetry or fiction, gaining popularity only from the 15th century. Middle Latin ''gerulphus'' Anglo-Norman ''garwalf'',
Old Frankish Frankish (reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a l ...
''*wariwulf''. "Werwolf" in Grimm, ''
Deutsches Wörterbuch The ''Deutsches Wörterbuch'' (; "The German Dictionary"), abbreviated ''DWB'', is the largest and most comprehensive dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arranged Alphabe ...
''.
Old Norse had the cognate ''varúlfur'', but because of the high importance of werewolves in
Norse mythology Norse or Scandinavian mythology is the body of myths Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. ...
, there were alternative terms such as '' ulfhéðinn'' ("one in wolf-skin", referring still to the
totemistic
totemistic
or cultic adoption of wolf-nature rather than the superstitious belief in actual shapeshifting). In modern Scandinavian, ''kveldulf'' was also used "evening-wolf", presumably after the name of Kveldulf Bjalfason, a historical
berserker In the Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Sca ...

berserker
of the 9th century who figures in the
Icelandic sagas The sagas of Icelanders ( is, Íslendingasögur), also known as family sagas, are one genre of Icelandic sagas. They are prose narratives mostly based on historical events that mostly took place in Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a N ...
. The term ''lycanthropy'', referring both to the ability to transform oneself into a wolf and to the act of so doing, comes from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
λυκάνθρωπος ''lukánthropos'' (from λύκος ''lúkos'' "wolf" and ἄνθρωπος, ''ánthrōpos'' "human"). The word does occur in ancient Greek sources, but only in
Late Antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Inst ...
, only rarely, and only in the context of
clinical lycanthropy Clinical lycanthropy is defined as a rare psychiatric syndrome that involves a delusion that the affected person can transform into, has transformed into, or is, an animal. Its name is associated with the mythology, mythical condition of lycanthr ...
described by
Galen Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus ( el, Κλαύδιος Γαληνός; September 129 – c. AD 216), often Anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modi ...
, where the patient had the ravenous appetite and other qualities of a wolf; the Greek word attains some currency only in
Byzantine Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
, featuring in the 10th-century encyclopedia ''
Suda The ''Suda'' or ''Souda'' (; grc-x-medieval, Σοῦδα, Soûda; la, Suidae Lexicon) is a large 10th-century Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman ...

Suda
''. Use of the Greek-derived ''lycanthropy'' in English occurs in learned writing beginning in the later 16th century (first recorded 1584 in ''
The Discoverie of Witchcraft ''The Discoverie of Witchcraft'' is a partially sceptical book published by the English gentleman Reginald Scot in 1584, intended as an exposé of early Modern witchcraft Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner ("witch") believe ...
'' by
Reginald Scot Reginald Scot (or Scott) ( – 9 October 1599) was an Englishman and Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election ...
, who argued ''against'' the reality of werewolves; "Lycanthropia is a disease, and not a transformation." v. i. 92), at first explicitly for
clinical lycanthropy Clinical lycanthropy is defined as a rare psychiatric syndrome that involves a delusion that the affected person can transform into, has transformed into, or is, an animal. Its name is associated with the mythology, mythical condition of lycanthr ...
, i.e. the type of insanity where the patient imagines to have transformed into a wolf, and not in reference to supposedly real shapeshifting. Use of ''lycanthropy'' for supposed shapeshifting is much later, introduced ca. 1830.
Slavic
Slavic
uses the term ''vlko-dlak'' (Polish ''wilkołak'', Czech ''vlkodlak'', Slovak ''vlkolak'', Serbo-Croatian ''вукодлак'' - ''vukodlak'', Slovenian ''volkodlak'', Bulgarian ''върколак/vrkolak'', Belarusian ''ваўкалак/vaukalak'', Ukrainian ''вовкулака/vovkulaka''), literally "wolf-skin", paralleling the Old Norse '' ulfhéðinn''. However, the word is not attested in the medieval period. The Slavic term was loaned into modern Greek as ''
Vrykolakas Vrykolakas (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately ...
''.
Baltic Baltic may refer to: Geography Northern Europe * Baltic Sea, a sea in Europe * Baltic region, an ambiguous term referring to the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea * Baltic states (also Baltics, Baltic nations, Baltic countries or Baltic rep ...

Baltic
has related terms, Lithuanian ''vilkolakis'' and ''vilkatas'', Latvian ''vilkatis'' and ''vilkacis''. The name ''vurdalak'' (вурдалак) for the Slavic
vampire A vampire is a creature from folklore that subsists by feeding on the Vitalism, vital essence (generally in the form of blood) of the living. In European folklore, vampires are undead, undead creatures that often visited loved ones and caus ...

vampire
("ghoul, revenant") is a corruption due to the Russian poet
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (; rus, links=no, Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкинIn Pushkin's day, his name was written ., r=Aleksándr Sergéyevich Púshkin, p=ɐlʲɪkˈsandr sʲɪrˈɡʲe(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn, a=r ...
, which was later widely spread by A.K. Tolstoy in his novella '' The Family of the Vourdalak'' (composed in French, but first published in a Russian translation in 1884).


History


Indo-European comparative mythology

The werewolf folklore found in Europe harks back to a common development during the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, arising in the context of
Christianisation Christianization (American and British English spelling differences#-ise.2C -ize .28-isation.2C -ization.29, or Christianisation) was the Conversion to Christianity, conversion of societies to Christianity beginning in late antiquity in the Rom ...
, and the associated interpretation of pre-Christian mythology in Christian terms. Their underlying common origin can be traced back to
Proto-Indo-European mythology Proto-Indo-European mythology is the body of myths Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. ...
, where ''lycanthropy'' is reconstructed as an aspect of the initiation of the warrior class. This is reflected in Iron Age Europe in the '' Tierkrieger'' depictions from the Germanic sphere, among others. The standard comparative overview of this aspect of Indo-European mythology is McCone (1987). Such transformations of "men into wolves" in pagan cult were associated with the devil from the early medieval perspective. The concept of the werewolf in Western and Northern Europe is strongly influenced by the role of the wolf in
Germanic paganism Germanic paganism included various religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religio ...
(e.g. the French ''loup-garou'' is ultimately a loan from the Germanic term), but there are related traditions in other parts of Europe which were not necessarily influenced by Germanic tradition, especially in
Slavic Europe Slavic, Slav or Slavonic may refer to: Peoples * Slavic peoples Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity and language. Most ethnic groups ...

Slavic Europe
and the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
, and possibly in areas bordering the Indo-European sphere (the Caucasus) or where Indo-European cultures have been replaced by military conquest in the medieval era (Hungary, Anatolia). In his '' Man into Wolf'' (1948),
Robert Eisler Robert Eisler (27 April 1882 – 17 December 1949) was an Austrian Jewish The history of the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of an ethnoreligious group and a nation or ...
tried to cast the Indo-European tribal names meaning "wolf" or "wolf-men" in terms of "the European transition from fruit gathering to predatory hunting."


Classical antiquity

A few references to men changing into wolves are found in
Ancient Greek literature Ancient Greek literature is written in the language from the earliest texts until the time of the . The earliest surviving works of ancient Greek literature, dating back to the early , are the two epic poems the ' and the ', set in an ideali ...
and
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
.
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
, in his ''
Histories Histories or, in Latin, Historiae may refer to: * the plural of history * Histories (Herodotus), ''Histories'' (Herodotus), by Herodotus * ''The Histories'', by Timaeus (historian), Timaeus * The Histories (Polybius), ''The Histories'' (Polybius), ...
'', wrote that the
Neuri The Neuri or Navari were a tribe described by Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the ...
, a tribe he places to the north-east of
Scythia Scythia (, ; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
, were all transformed into wolves once every year for several days, and then changed back to their human shape. This tale was also mentioned by
Pomponius Mela Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman geographer ;Pre-Hellenistic Classical Greece *Homer *Anaximander *Hecataeus of Miletus *Massaliote Periplus *Scylax of Caryanda (6th century BC) *Herodotus ;Hellenistic period *Pyt ...
. In the second century BC, the Greek geographer
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
related the story of King Lycaon of Arcadia, who was transformed into a wolf because he had sacrificed a child in the altar of Zeus Lycaeus. In the version of the legend told by
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom ...

Ovid
in his ''
Metamorphoses The ''Metamorphoses'' ( la, Metamorphōsēs, from grc, μεταμορφώσεις: "Transformations") is an 8 AD Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured syste ...
'', when
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
visits Lycaon disguised as a common man, Lycaon wants to test if he is really a god. To that end, he kills a Molossian hostage and serve his entrails to Zeus. Disgusted, the god turns Lycaon into a wolf. However, in other accounts of the legend, like that of Apollodorus' ''Bibliotheca'', Zeus blasts him and his sons with thunderbolts as punishment. Pausanias also relates the story of an Arcadian man called
Damarchus Image:Thermae boxer Massimo Inv1055.jpg, The ''Boxer of Quirinal'' (Museo delle Terme, Rome) Damarchus ( el, Δάμαρχος) or Demaenetus was a victorious Olympic Games, Olympic boxer from Parrhasia (Arcadia) who is said to have changed his shap ...
of Parrhasia, who was turned into a wolf after tasting the entrails of a human child sacrificed to
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
Lycaeus. He was restored to human form 10 years later and went on to become an Olympic champion. This tale is also recounted by
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
, who calls the man Demaenetus quoting
Agriopas Agriopas was a writer of ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Anti ...
. According to Pausanias, this was not a one-off event, but that men have been transformed into wolves during the sacrifices to Zeus Lycaeus since the time of Lycaon. If they abstain of tasting human flesh while being wolves, they would be restored to human form nine years later, but if they do they will remains wolves forever. Pliny the Elder likewise recounts another tale of lycanthropy. Quoting Euanthes, he mentions that in
Arcadia Arcadia may refer to: Places Australia * Arcadia, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney * Arcadia, Queensland * Arcadia, Victoria Greece * Arcadia (region) Arcadia ( el, Ἀρκαδία) is a region in the central Peloponnese. It takes its name ...
, once a year a man was chosen by lot from the Anthus' clan. The chosen man was escorted to a marsh in the area, where he hung his clothes into an
oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including on ...

oak
tree, swam across the marsh and transformed into a wolf, joining a pack for nine years. If during these nine years he refrained from tasting human flesh, he returned to the same marsh, swam back and recovered his previous human form, with nine years added to his appearance. Ovid also relates stories of men who roamed the woods of
Arcadia Arcadia may refer to: Places Australia * Arcadia, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney * Arcadia, Queensland * Arcadia, Victoria Greece * Arcadia (region) Arcadia ( el, Ἀρκαδία) is a region in the central Peloponnese. It takes its name ...
in the form of wolves.
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...

Virgil
, in his poetic work ''
Eclogues The ''Eclogues'' (; ), also called the ''Bucolics'', is the first of the three major works of the Latin poet Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in Englis ...
'', wrote about a man called Moeris, who used herbs and poisons picked in his native Pontus to turn himself into a wolf. In
prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions ...

prose
, the ''
Satyricon The ''Satyricon'', ''Satyricon'' ''liber'' (''The Book of Satyrlike Adventures''), or ''Satyrica'', is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally sp ...

Satyricon
'', written circa AD 60 by
Gaius Petronius Arbiter Gaius Petronius Arbiter"Gaius Petronius Arbiter"
Britannica.com.
(; ; c. ...
, one of the characters, Niceros, tells a story at a banquet about a friend who turned into a wolf (chs. 61–62). He describes the incident as follows, "When I look for my buddy I see he'd stripped and piled his clothes by the roadside... He pees in a circle round his clothes and then, just like that, turns into a wolf!... after he turned into a wolf he started howling and then ran off into the woods." Early Christian authors also mentioned werewolves. In ''The City of God'',
Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo (; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Im ...

Augustine of Hippo
gives an account similar to that found in Pliny the Elder. Augustine explains that "It is very generally believed that by certain witches spells men may be turned into wolves..." Physical metamorphosis was also mentioned in the ''Capitulatum Episcopi'', attributed to the
Council of Ancyra The Synod of Ancyra was an ecclesiastical council, or synod A synod () is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word '' synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" ...
in the 4th century, which became the Church's doctrinal text in relation to magic, witches, and transformations such as those of werewolves. The ''Capitulatum Episcopi'' states that "Whoever believes that anything can be...transformed into another species or likeness, except by God Himself...is beyond doubt an infidel.' In these works of Roman writers, werewolves often receive the name ''versipellis'' ("turnskin"). Augustine instead uses the phrase "in lupum fuisse mutatum" (changed into the form of a wolf) to describe the physical metamorphosis of werewolves, which is similar to phrases used in the medieval period.


Middle Ages

There is evidence of widespread belief in werewolves in medieval Europe. This evidence spans much of the Continent, as well as the British Isles. Werewolves were mentioned in Medieval law codes, such as that of
King Cnut Cnut the Great (; ang, Cnut cyning; non, Knútr inn ríki; or , no, Knut den mektige, sv, Knut den Store. died 12 November 1035), also known as Canute, was King of Denmark The Monarchy of Denmark is a constitutional political system, ...
, whose ''Ecclesiastical Ordinances'' inform us that the codes aim to ensure that “…the madly audacious werewolf do not too widely devastate, nor bite too many of the spiritual flock.’
Liutprand of Cremona Liutprand, also Liudprand, Liuprand, Lioutio, Liucius, Liuzo, and Lioutsios (c. 920 – 972),"LIUTPRAND OF CREMONA" in ''The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium The ''Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium'' (ODB) is a three-volume historical dictionary pu ...
reports a rumor that Bajan, son of
Simeon I of Bulgaria Tsar Simeon (also Symeon) I the Great ( cu, цѣсар҄ь Сѷмеѡ́нъ А҃ Вели́къ, cěsarĭ Sỳmeonŭ prĭvŭ Velikŭ bg, цар Симеон I Велики, Simeon I Veliki el, Συμεών Αʹ ὁ Μέγας, Sumeṓn prôto ...
, could use magic to turn himself into a wolf. The works of Augustine of Hippo had a large influence on the development of Western Christianity, and were widely read by churchmen of the medieval period; and these churchmen occasionally discussed werewolves in their works. Famous examples include
Gerald of Wales Gerald of Wales ( la, Giraldus Cambrensis; cy, Gerallt Gymro; french: Gerald de Barri; ) was a Cambro-Norman Cambro-Normans ( la, Cambria Cambria is a name for Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kin ...
's '''', found in his ''Topographica Hibernica'', and in Gervase of Tilbury's '','' both written for royal audiences. Gervase reveals to the reader that belief in such transformations (he also mentions women turning into cats and into snakes) was widespread across Europe; he uses the phrase "que ita dinoscuntur" when discussing these metamorphoses, which translates to "it is known". Gervase, who was writing in Germany, also tells the reader that the transformation of men into wolves cannot be easily dismissed, for "...in England we have often seen men change into wolves" ("Vidimus enim frequenter in Anglia per lunationes homines in lupos mutari…"). Further evidence of the widespread belief in werewolves and other human-animal transformations can be seen in theological attacks made against such beliefs. Conrad of Hirsau, writing in the 11th century, forbids the reading of stories in which a person's reason is obscured following such a transformation. Conrad specifically refers to the tales of Ovid in his tract. Pseudo-Augustine, writing in the 12th century, follows Augustine of Hippo's argument that no physical transformation can be made by any but God, stating that "...the body corporeally [cannot], be changed into the material limbs of any animal.' Marie de France's poem ''
Bisclavret "Bisclavret" ("The Werewolf") is one of the twelve The Lais of Marie de France, Lais of Marie de France written in the 12th century. Originally written in French, it tells the story of a werewolf who is trapped in lupine form by the treachery of h ...
'' (c. 1200) is another example, in which the eponymous nobleman Bisclavret, for reasons not described, had to transform into a wolf every week. When his treacherous wife stole his clothing needed to restore his human form, he escaped the king's wolf hunt by imploring the king for mercy and accompanied the king thereafter. His behavior at court was gentle, until his wife and her new husband appeared at court, so much so that his hateful attack on the couple was deemed justly motivated, and the truth was revealed. This ''Breton lai, lai'' (a type of Breton sung-poem) follows many themes found within other werewolf tales - the removal of clothing and attempting to refrain from the consumption of human flesh can be found in Pliny the Elder, as well as in the second of Gervase of Tilbury's werewolf stories, about a werewolf by the name of Chaucevaire. Marie also reveals to us the existence of werewolf belief in Breton and Norman France, by telling us the Franco-Norman word for werewolf: ''garwulf,'' which, she explains, are common in that part of France, where "...many men turned into werewolves". Gervase also supports this terminology when he tells us that the French use the term "''gerulfi"'' to describe what the English call "werewolves". ''Melion'' and ''Biclarel'' are two anonymous lais that share the theme of a werewolf knight being betrayed by his wife. The German word ''werwolf'' is recorded by Burchard von Worms in the 11th century, and by Bertold of Regensburg in the 13th, but is not recorded in all of medieval German poetry or fiction. While Baring-Gould argues that references to werewolves were also rare in England, presumably because whatever significance the "wolf-men" of Germanic paganism had carried, the associated beliefs and practices had been successfully repressed after Christianization (or if they persisted, they did so outside of the sphere of literacy available to us), we have sources other than those mentioned above. Such examples of werewolves in Ireland and the British Isles can be found in the work of the 9th century Welsh monk Nennius; female werewolves appear in the Irish work ''Acallam na Senórach, Tales of the Elders'', from the 12th century; and Welsh werewolves in the 12th-13th century ''Mabinogion.'' In 1539, Martin Luther used the form ''beerwolf'' to describe a hypothetical ruler worse than a tyrant who must be resisted. The Germanic pagan traditions associated with wolf-men persisted longest in the Scandinavian Viking Age. Harald I of Norway is known to have had a body of ''Berserker, Úlfhednar'' (wolf-coated [men]), which are mentioned in the Vatnsdœla saga, Haraldskvæði, and the Volsunga saga, Völsunga saga, and resemble some werewolf legends. The Úlfhednar were fighters similar to the berserkers, though they dressed in Wolf hunting#Pelts, wolf hides rather than those of bears and were reputed to channel the spirits of these animals to enhance effectiveness in battle. These warriors were resistant to pain and killed viciously in battle, much like wild animals. Úlfhednar and berserkers are closely associated with the Norse god Odin. The Scandinavian traditions of this period may have spread to Kievan Rus', giving rise to the Slavic "werewolf" tales. The 11th-century Belarusian Prince Vseslav of Polotsk was considered to have been a werewolf, capable of moving at superhuman speeds, as recounted in ''The Tale of Igor's Campaign'':
Vseslav the prince judged men; as prince, he ruled towns; but at night he prowled in the guise of a wolf. From Kiev, prowling, he reached, before the cocks crew, Tmutorokan. The path of Great Sun, as a wolf, prowling, he crossed. For him in Polotsk they rang for matins early at St. Sophia the bells; but he heard the ringing in Kiev.
The situation as described during the medieval period gives rise to the dual form of werewolf folklore in Early Modern Europe. On one hand the "Germanic" werewolf, which becomes associated with the Witch trials in the early modern period, witchcraft panic from around 1400, and on the other hand the "Slavic" werewolf or ''wikt:Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/vьlkolakъ, vlkolak'', which becomes associated with the concept of the revenant or "vampire". The "eastern" werewolf-vampire is found in the folklore of Central and Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Romania and the Balkans, while the "western" werewolf-sorcerer is found in France, German-speaking Europe and in the Baltic.


Early modern history

There were numerous reports of werewolf attacks – and consequent court trials – in 16th-century France. In some of the cases there was clear evidence against the accused of murder and cannibalism, but none of association with wolves; in other cases people have been terrified by such creatures, such as that of Gilles Garnier in Dole, Jura, Dole in 1573, there was clear evidence against some wolf but none against the accused. Being a werewolf was a common accusation in witch trials throughout their history, and it featured even in the Valais witch trials, one of the earliest such trials altogether, in the first half of the 15th century. Likewise, in the
Vaud Vaud ( ; french: (Canton de) Vaud, ; german: (Kanton) Waadt, or ), more formally the canton of Vaud, is one of the forming the . It is composed of ten districts and its capital city is . Its flag bears the motto "Liberté et patrie" on a white ...
, child-eating werewolves were reported as early as 1448. A peak of attention to lycanthropy came in the late 16th to early 17th century, as part of the Witch trials in the early modern period, European witch-hunts. A number of treatises on werewolves were written in France during 1595 and 1615. Werewolves were sighted in 1598 in Duchy of Anjou, Anjou, and a teenage werewolf was sentenced to life imprisonment in Bordeaux in 1603. Henry Boguet wrote a lengthy chapter about werewolves in 1602. In the Vaud, werewolves were convicted in 1602 and in 1624. A treatise by a Vaud pastor in 1653, however, argued that lycanthropy was purely an illusion. After this, the only further record from the Vaud dates to 1670: it is that of a boy who claimed he and his mother could change themselves into wolves, which was, however, not taken seriously. At the beginning of the 17th century witchcraft was prosecuted by James I of England, who regarded "warwoolfes" as victims of delusion induced by "a natural superabundance of melancholic". After 1650, belief in Lycanthropy had mostly disappeared from French-speaking Europe, as evidenced in Diderot's Encyclopedia, which attributed reports of lycanthropy to a "disorder of the brain. although there were continuing reports of extraordinary wolflike beasts but they were not considered to be werewolves. One such report concerned the Beast of Gévaudan which terrorized the general area of the Provinces of France, former province of Gévaudan, now called Lozère, in south-central France; from the years 1764 to 1767, it killed upwards of 80 men, women, and children. The part of Europe which showed more vigorous interest in werewolves after 1650 was the Holy Roman Empire. At least nine works on lycanthropy were printed in Germany between 1649 and 1679. In the Austrian and Bavarian Alps, belief in werewolves persisted well into the 18th century. In any case, as late as in 1853, in Galicia (Spain), Galicia, northwestern Spain, Manuel Blanco Romasanta was judged and condemned as the author of a number of murders, but he claimed to be not guilty because of his condition of ''lobishome'', werewolf. Until the 20th century, Wolf attack, wolf attacks on humans were an occasional, but still widespread feature of life in Europe. Some scholars have suggested that it was inevitable that wolves, being the most feared predators in Europe, were projected into the folklore of evil shapeshifters. This is said to be corroborated by the fact that areas devoid of wolves typically use different kinds of predator to fill the niche; ''werehyenas'' in Africa, ''weretigers'' in India, as well as ''werepumas'' ("''runa uturuncu''") and ''werejaguars'' ("''yaguaraté-abá''" or "''tigre-capiango''") in southern South America. An idea is explored in Sabine Baring-Gould's work ''The Book of Werewolves'' is that werewolf legends may have been used to explain serial killer, serial killings. Perhaps the most infamous example is the case of
Peter Stumpp Peter Stumpp (c. 1535 - 1589; name is also spelled as Peter Stube, Peter Stubbe, Peter Stübbe or Peter Stumpf) was a German serial killer and farmer, accused of werewolfery, witchcraft and cannibalism. He was known as 'the Werewolf of Bedburg'. ...
(executed in 1589), the German farmer, and alleged serial killer and Cannibalism, cannibal, also known as the Werewolf of Bedburg.


Asian cultures

In Asian Cultures, the "were" equivalent is a weretiger or wereleopard. (See werecats) Common Turkic mythology, Turkic folklore holds a different, reverential light to the werewolf legends in that Turkic Central Asian Shamanism, shamans after performing long and arduous rites would voluntarily be able to transform into the humanoid "Kurtadam" (literally meaning Wolfman). Since the wolf was the totemic ancestor animal of the Turkic peoples, they would be respectful of any shaman who was in such a form.


Lycanthropy as a medical condition

Some modern researchers have tried to explain the reports of werewolf behaviour with recognised medical conditions. Dr Lee Illis of Guy's Hospital in London wrote a paper in 1963 entitled ''On Porphyria and the Aetiology of Werewolves'', in which he argues that historical accounts on werewolves could have in fact been referring to victims of congenital porphyria, stating how the symptoms of photosensitivity, reddish teeth and psychosis could have been grounds for accusing a sufferer of being a werewolf. This is however argued against by Woodward, who points out how mythological werewolves were almost invariably portrayed as resembling true wolves, and that their human forms were rarely physically conspicuous as porphyria victims. Others have pointed out the possibility of historical werewolves having been sufferers of hypertrichosis, a hereditary condition manifesting itself in excessive hair growth. However, Woodward dismissed the possibility, as the rarity of the disease ruled it out from happening on a large scale, as werewolf cases were in medieval Europe. People suffering from Down syndrome have been suggested by some scholars to have been possible originators of werewolf myths. Woodward suggested rabies as the origin of werewolf beliefs, claiming remarkable similarities between the symptoms of that disease and some of the legends. Woodward focused on the idea that being bitten by a werewolf could result in the victim turning into one, which suggested the idea of a transmittable disease like rabies. However, the idea that lycanthropy could be transmitted in this way is not part of the original myths and legends and only appears in relatively recent beliefs. Lycanthropy can also be met with as the main content of a delusion, for example, the case of a woman has been reported who during episodes of acute psychosis complained of becoming four different species of animals.


Folk beliefs


Characteristics

The beliefs classed together under lycanthropy are far from uniform, and the term is somewhat capriciously applied. The transformation may be temporary or permanent; the were-animal may be the man himself metamorphosed; may be his Doppelgänger, double whose activity leaves the real man to all appearance unchanged; may be his soul, which goes forth seeking whomever it may devour, leaving its body in a altered state of consciousness, state of trance; or it may be no more than the messenger of the human being, a real animal or a familiar spirit, whose intimate connection with its owner is shown by the fact that any injury to it is believed, by a phenomenon known as repercussion, to cause a corresponding injury to the human being. Werewolves were said in European folklore to bear tell-tale physical traits even in their human form. These included the Unibrow, meeting of both eyebrows at the bridge of the nose, curved fingernails, low-set ears and a swinging stride. One method of identifying a werewolf in its human form was to cut the flesh of the accused, under the pretense that fur would be seen within the wound. A Russian superstition recalls a werewolf can be recognized by bristles under the tongue. The appearance of a werewolf in its animal form varies from culture to culture, though it is most commonly portrayed as being indistinguishable from ordinary wolves save for the fact that it has no tail (a trait thought characteristic of witches in animal form), is often larger, and retains human eyes and a voice. According to some Swedish accounts, the werewolf could be distinguished from a regular wolf by the fact that it would run on three legs, stretching the fourth one backwards to look like a tail. After returning to their human forms, werewolves are usually documented as becoming weak, debilitated and undergoing painful nervous depression. One universally reviled trait in medieval Europe was the werewolf's habit of devouring recently buried corpses, a trait that is documented extensively, particularly in the ''Annales Medico-psychologiques'' in the 19th century.


Becoming a werewolf

Various methods for becoming a werewolf have been reported, one of the simplest being the removal of clothing and putting on a belt made of wolfskin, probably as a substitute for the assumption of an entire animal skin (which also is frequently described).Bennett, Aaron. “So, You Want to be a Werewolf?” Fate (magazine), Fate. Vol. 55, no. 6, Issue 627. July 2002. In other cases, the body is rubbed with a Flying ointment, magic salve. Drinking rainwater out of the footprint of the animal in question or from certain enchanted streams were also considered effectual modes of accomplishing metamorphosis. The 16th-century Swedish writer Olaus Magnus says that the Livonian werewolves were initiated by draining a cup of specially prepared beer and repeating a set formula. Ralston in his ''Songs of the Russian People'' gives the form of incantation still familiar in Russia. In Italy, France and Germany, it was said that a man or woman could turn into a werewolf if he or she, on a certain Wednesday or Friday, slept outside on a summer night with the full moon shining directly on his or her face. In other cases, the transformation was supposedly accomplished by Satanism, Satanic allegiance for the most loathsome ends, often for the sake of sating a craving for human flesh. "The werewolves", writes Richard Verstegan (''Restitution of Decayed Intelligence'', 1628),
are certayne sorcerers, who having annoynted their bodies with an ointment which they make by the instinct of the devil, and putting on a certayne inchaunted girdle, does not only unto the view of others seem as wolves, but to their own thinking have both the shape and nature of wolves, so long as they wear the said girdle. And they do dispose themselves as very wolves, in worrying and killing, and most of humane creatures.
The phenomenon of repercussion, the power of animal metamorphosis, or of sending out a Familiar spirit, familiar, real or spiritual, as a messenger, and the supernormal powers conferred by association with such a familiar, are also attributed to the magic (paranormal), magician, male and female, all the world over; and Witchcraft, witch superstitions are closely parallel to, if not identical with, lycanthropic beliefs, the occasional involuntary character of lycanthropy being almost the sole distinguishing feature. In another direction the phenomenon of repercussion is asserted to manifest itself in connection with the bush-soul of the West African and the ''nagual'' of Central America; but though there is no line of demarcation to be drawn on logical grounds, the assumed power of the magician and the intimate association of the bush-soul or the ''nagual'' with a human being are not termed lycanthropy. The curse of lycanthropy was also considered by some scholars as being a Divine judgment, divine punishment. Werewolf literature shows many examples of God or Saint, saints allegedly cursing those who invoked their wrath with lycanthropy. Such is the case of Lycaon, who was turned into a wolf by
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

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as punishment for slaughtering one of his own sons and serving his remains to the gods as a dinner. Those who were excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church were also said to become werewolves. The power of transforming others into wild beasts was attributed not only to malignant sorcerers, but to List of saints, Christian saints as well. ''Omnes angeli, boni et Mali, ex virtute naturali habent potestatem transmutandi corpora nostra'' ("All angels, good and fallen angel, bad have the power of transmutating our bodies") was the dictum of St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Patrick was said to have transformed the Wales, Welsh King Vereticus into a wolf; Natalis of Ulster, Natalis supposedly cursed an illustrious Irish family whose members were each doomed to be a wolf for seven years. In other tales the divine agency is even more direct, while in Russia, again, men supposedly became werewolves when incurring the wrath of the Devil. A notable exception to the association of Lycanthropy and the Devil, comes from a rare and lesser known account of an 80-year-old man named Thiess of Kaltenbrun, Thiess. In 1692, in Jürgensburg, Livonia, Thiess testified under oath that he and other werewolves were the Hounds of God. He claimed they were warriors who descended into hell to battle witches and Demon, demons. Their efforts ensured that the Devil and his minions did not carry off the grain from local failed crops down to hell. Thiess was steadfast in his assertions, claiming that werewolves in Germany and Russia also did battle with the devil's minions in their own versions of hell, and insisted that when werewolves died, their souls were welcomed into heaven as reward for their service. Thiess was ultimately sentenced to ten lashes for idolatry and Superstition, superstitious belief.


Remedies

Various methods have existed for removing the werewolf form. In antiquity, the Ancient Greeks and Romans believed in the power of exhaustion in curing people of lycanthropy. The victim would be subjected to long periods of physical activity in the hope of being purged of the malady. This practice stemmed from the fact that many alleged werewolves would be left feeling weak and debilitated after committing depredations. In medieval Europe, traditionally, there are three methods one can use to cure a victim of lycanthropy; medicinally (usually via the use of Aconitum, wolfsbane), surgically, or by exorcism. However, many of the cures advocated by medieval medical practitioners proved fatal to the patients. A Sicilian belief of Arabic origin holds that a werewolf can be cured of its ailment by striking it on the forehead or scalp with a knife. Another belief from the same culture involves the piercing of the werewolf's hands with nails. Sometimes, less extreme methods were used. In the German lowland of Schleswig-Holstein, a werewolf could be cured if one were to simply address it three times by its Christian name, while one Danish belief holds that merely scolding a werewolf will cure it. Conversion to Christianity is also a common method of removing lycanthropy in the medieval period; a devotion to Hubertus, St. Hubert has also been cited as both cure for and protection from lycanthropes.


Connection to revenants

Before the end of the 19th century, the Greeks believed that the corpses of werewolves, if not destroyed, would return to life in the form of wolves or hyenas which prowled battlefields, drinking the blood of dying soldiers. In the same vein, in some rural areas of Germany, Poland and Northern France, it was once believed that people who died in mortal sin came back to life as blood-drinking wolves. These "undead" werewolves would return to their human corpse form at daylight. They were dealt with by decapitation with a spade and exorcism by the parish priest. The head would then be thrown into a stream, where the weight of its sins was thought to weigh it down. Sometimes, the same methods used to dispose of ordinary vampires would be used. The
vampire A vampire is a creature from folklore that subsists by feeding on the Vitalism, vital essence (generally in the form of blood) of the living. In European folklore, vampires are undead, undead creatures that often visited loved ones and caus ...

vampire
was also linked to the werewolf in East European countries, particularly Bulgaria, Serbia and Slovenia. In Serbia, the werewolf and vampire are known collectively as ''vulkodlak''.


Hungary and Balkans

In Hungarians, Hungarian folklore, the werewolves used to live specially in the region of Transdanubia, and it was thought that the ability to change into a wolf was obtained in the infant age, after the suffering of abuse by the parents or by a curse. At the age of seven the boy or the girl leaves the house, goes hunting by night and can change to a person or wolf whenever he wants. The curse can also be obtained when in the adulthood the person passed three times through an arch made of a Birch with the help of a wild rose's spine. The werewolves were known to exterminate all kind of farm animals, especially sheep. The transformation usually occurred during the winter solstice, Easter and a full moon. Later in the 17th and 18th century, the trials in Hungary not only were conducted against witches, but against werewolves too, and many records exist creating connections between both kinds. Also the vampires and werewolves are closely related in Hungary, being both feared in the antiquity. Among the South Slavs, and also among the ethnic Kashubians, Kashubian people in present-day northern Poland, there was the belief that if a child was born with hair, a birthmark or a caul on their head, they were supposed to possess shapeshifting abilities. Though capable of turning into any animal they wished, it was commonly believed that such people preferred to turn into a wolf. Serbian Vrykolakas#Etymology, ''vukodlak''s traditionally had the habit of congregating annually in the winter months, when they would strip off their wolf skins and hang them from trees. They would then get a hold of another ''vulkodlak''s skin and burn it, releasing from its curse the ''vukodlak'' from whom the skin came.


Caucasus

According to Armenian lore, there are women who, in consequence of deadly sins, are condemned to spend seven years in wolf form. In a typical account, a condemned woman is visited by a wolfskin-toting spirit, who orders her to wear the skin, which causes her to acquire frightful cravings for human flesh soon after. With her better nature overcome, the she-wolf devours each of her own children, then her relatives' children in order of relationship, and finally the children of strangers. She wanders only at night, with doors and locks springing open at her approach. When morning arrives, she reverts to human form and removes her wolfskin. The transformation is generally said to be involuntary, but there are alternate versions involving voluntary metamorphosis, where the women can transform at will.


Americas and Caribbean

The Naskapis believed that the Reindeer, caribou afterlife is guarded by giant wolves which kill careless hunters venturing too near. The Navajo people feared witches in wolf's clothing called "Mai-cob". Woodward thought that these beliefs were due to the Norse colonization of North America, Norse colonization of the Americas. When the European colonization of the Americas occurred, the pioneers brought their own werewolf folklore with them and were later influenced by the lore of their neighbouring colonies and those of the Natives. Belief in the ''loup-garou'' present in Canada, the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan and upstate New York (state), New York, originates from French folklore influenced by Native American stories on the Wendigo. In Mexico, there is a belief in a creature called the ''nagual''. In Haiti, there is a superstition that werewolf spirits known locally as ''Jé-rouge'' (red eyes) can possess the bodies of unwitting persons and nightly transform them into cannibalistic lupine creatures. The Haitian ''jé-rouges'' typically try to trick mothers into giving away their children voluntarily by waking them at night and asking their permission to take their child, to which the disoriented mother may either reply yes or no. The Haitian ''jé-rouges'' differ from traditional European werewolves by their habit of actively trying to spread their lycanthropic condition to others, much like vampires.


Modern reception


Werewolf fiction

Most modern fiction describes werewolves as vulnerable to silver weapons and highly resistant to other injuries. This feature appears in German folklore of the 19th century. The claim that the Beast of Gévaudan, an 18th-century wolf or wolflike creature, was shot by a silver bullet appears to have been introduced by novelists retelling the story from 1935 onwards and not in earlier versions. English folklore, prior to 1865, showed shapeshifters to be vulnerable to silver. "...till the publican shot a silver button over their heads when they were instantly transformed into two ill-favoured old ladies..." c. 1640 the city of Greifswald, Germany was infested by werewolves. "A clever lad suggested that they gather all their silver buttons, goblets, belt buckles, and so forth, and melt them down into bullets for their muskets and pistols. ... this time they slaughtered the creatures and rid Greifswald of the lycanthropes." The 1897 novel ''Dracula'' and the short story "Dracula's Guest", both written by Bram Stoker, drew on earlier mythologies of werewolves and similar legendary demons and "was to voice the anxieties of an age", and the "fears of late Victorian age, Victorian patriarchy".Sellers, Susan. ''Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction'', Palgrave Macmillan (2001) p. 85. In "Dracula's Guest," a band of military horsemen coming to the aid of the protagonist chase off Dracula, depicted as a great wolf stating the only way to kill it is by a "Sacred Bullet". This is also mentioned in the main novel Dracula as well. Count Dracula stated in the novel that legends of werewolves originated from his Székelys, Szekely racial bloodline, who himself is also depicted with the ability to shapeshifting, shapeshift into a wolf at will during the night but is unable to do so during the day except at noon. The 1928 novel ''The Wolf's Bride: A Tale from Estonia'', written by the Finland, Finnish author Aino Kallas, tells story of the forester Priidik's wife Aalo living in Hiiumaa in the 17th century, who became a werewolf under the influence of a malevolent forest spirit, also known as ''Diabolus Sylvarum''. The first feature film to use an anthropomorphism, anthropomorphic werewolf was ''Werewolf of London'' in 1935. The main werewolf of this film is a dapper London scientist who retains some of his style and most of his human features after his transformation, as lead actor Henry Hull was unwilling to spend long hours being made up by makeup artist Jack Pierce (makeup artist), Jack Pierce. Universal Studios drew on a Balkan tale of a plant associated with lycanthropy as there was no literary work to draw upon, unlike the case with vampires. There is no reference to silver nor other aspects of werewolf lore such as cannibalism. A more tragic character is Lawrence Talbot, played by Lon Chaney Jr. in 1941's ''The Wolf Man (1941 film), The Wolf Man''. With Pierce's makeup more elaborate this time,Clemens, p. 120. the movie catapulted the werewolf into public consciousness. Sympathetic portrayals are few but notable, such as the comedic but tortured protagonist David Naughton (actor), David Naughton in ''An American Werewolf in London'', and a less anguished and more confident and charismatic Jack Nicholson in the 1994 film ''Wolf (1994 film), Wolf''. Over time, the depiction of werewolves has gone from fully malevolent to even heroic creatures, such as in the ''Underworld (film series), Underworld'' and ''Twilight (novel series), Twilight'' series, as well as ''Blood Lad'', ''Dance in the Vampire Bund'', ''Rosario + Vampire'', and various other movies, anime, manga, and comic books. Other werewolves are decidedly more willful and malevolent, such as those in the novel ''The Howling'' and its subsequent sequels and The Howling (film), film adaptations. The form a werewolf assumes was generally anthropomorphic in early films such as ''The Wolf Man'' and ''Werewolf of London'', but a larger and powerful wolf in many later films. Werewolves are often depicted as immune to damage caused by ordinary weapons, being vulnerable only to silver objects, such as a silver-tipped cane, Silver bullet, bullet or blade; this attribute was first adopted cinematically in ''The Wolf Man''. This negative reaction to silver is sometimes so strong that the mere touch of the metal on a werewolf's skin will cause burns. Current-day werewolf fiction almost exclusively involves lycanthropy being either a hereditary condition or being transmitted like an infectious disease by the bite of another werewolf. In some fiction, the power of the werewolf extends to human form, such as invulnerability to conventional injury due to their healing factor, superhuman speed and strength and falling on their feet from high falls. Also aggressiveness and animalistic urges may be intensified and more difficult to control (hunger, sexual arousal). Usually in these cases the abilities are diminished in human form. In other fiction it can be cured by medicine men or antidotes. Along with the vulnerability to the silver bullet, the full moon being the cause of the transformation only became part of the depiction of werewolves on a widespread basis in the twentieth century. The first movie to feature the transformative effect of the full moon was ''Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man'' in 1943. Werewolves are typically envisioned as "working-class" monsters, often being low in socio-economic status, although they can represent a variety of social classes and at times were seen as a way of representing "aristocratic decadence" during 19th century horror literature.


Nazi Germany

Nazi Germany used ''Werwolf'', as the mythical creature's name is spelled in German, in 1942–43 as the codename for Werwolf (Wehrmacht HQ), one of Hitler's headquarters. In the war's final days, the Nazi "Operation Werwolf" aimed at creating a commando force that would operate behind enemy lines as the Allies advanced through Germany itself. Two fictional depictions of "Operation Werwolf"—the US television series ''True Blood'' and the 2012 novel ''Wolf Hunter'' by J. L. Benét—mix the two meanings of "Werwolf" by depicting the 1945 diehard Nazi commandos as being actual werewolves.


See also

*
Damarchus Image:Thermae boxer Massimo Inv1055.jpg, The ''Boxer of Quirinal'' (Museo delle Terme, Rome) Damarchus ( el, Δάμαρχος) or Demaenetus was a victorious Olympic Games, Olympic boxer from Parrhasia (Arcadia) who is said to have changed his shap ...
* Kitsune * Nagual


Notes


Citations


References


Secondary sources

*
Google Books
* * * Grimm, ''Deutsche Mythologie'', 4, ii. and iii. * Hertz, ''Der Werwolf'' (Stuttgart, 1862) * Claude Lecouteux, Lecouteux, Claude, ''Fées, Sorcières et Loups-garous'', Éditions Imago, Paris (1992), trans. Clare Frock, ''Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages'', Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vermont (2003), * Leubuscher, ''Über die Wehrwölfe'' (1850) * * Otten, Charlotte (ed.), ''A Lycanthropy reader: werewolves in Western culture'', Syracuse University Press, 1986. * * *


Primary sources

* Wolfeshusius, Johannes Fridericus. ''De Lycanthropia: An vere illi, ut fama est, luporum & aliarum bestiarum formis induantur. Problema philosophicum pro sententia Joan. Bodini ... adversus dissentaneas aliquorum opiniones noviter assertum...'' Leipzig: Typis Abrahami Lambergi, 1591. (In Latin; microfilm held by the United States National Library of Medicine) * Prieur, Claude. ''Dialogue de la Lycanthropie: Ou transformation d'hommes en loups, vulgairement dits loups-garous, et si telle se peut faire''. Louvain: J. Maes & P. Zangre, 1596. * Bourquelot and Jean de Nynauld, ''De la Lycanthropie, Transformation et Extase des Sorciers'' (Paris, 1615). * Montague Summers, Summers, Montague, ''The Werewolf'' London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1933. (1st edition, reissued 1934 New York: E. P. Dutton; 1966 New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books; 1973 Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press; 2003 Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, with new title ''The Werewolf in Lore and Legend'').


External links

{{Authority control Werewolves, Indo-European legendary creatures Mythic humanoids Mythological canines Mythological monsters Therianthropy Supernatural legends