Many of us grew up watching movies or shows that represented werewolves. Some memorable films include the the Underworld series, Twilight series, pr the classic werewolf series starring Lon Chaney. The mythological beast has been feared by many over the generations. There have been myths recorded that characterized these dangerous wolves. Some are a combination of wolves and humans. The bloodthirsty beasts do not have any control when it comes to killing animals and people.
Another name for a werewolf is a lycanthrope. It is a folkloric creature that can transform into a wolf or a wolf-like animal. The shapeshifting can either be on purpose or due to a curse. The transformation typically occurs during a full moon. Besides possessing the natural characteristics of humans and wolves, werewolves also have remarkable speed and strength. Most people believe that the werewolf is a European myth. However, its lore has spread to just about every corner of the globe. Modern fiction is filled with tales about werewolves.
According to European folklore, werewolves possess bear-like traits. They have eyebrows that cover the bridge of their nose, a swinging stride, and low-set ears. One of the methods to identify a werewolf is when a person has fur. Russians believe in the superstition that werewolves have bristles under their tongues. Werewolves are described as having different appearances across different cultures. However, they are commonly portrayed as ordinary wolves, except they do not have any tails. In addition to this, werewolves tend to have human-like eyes and are much larger than normal wolves.
Swedish folklore mentions werewolves as wolves that run on three legs. The fourth is stretched backward, similar to a tail. When they returned to their human form, they were reported to be weak, as if they had undergone nervous depression. A trait commonly discussed throughout medieval Europe was that werewolves devoured corpses that had been recently buried. Scandinavian werewolves were described as old women that possessed claws and could paralyze children and cattle with just a single glance.
As for Serbians, they reported that werewolves congregated every year during the winter. They got rid of their wolf skins and would hang them on a tree. Then, they would get another skin. As they would burn the previous skin, it would help release them from the curse. The Haitians believe that werewolves would trick mothers into offering their children to go on a walk with them by disorienting them.
Methods for Becoming a Werewolf
Different methods can turn people into a werewolf. The easiest way to become a werewolf is by removing all your clothing and wearing a wolfskin belt. Another technique for transforming into a werewolf includes using a magic salve to rub oneself. It is also believed that drinking rainwater from the footprint of animals can enchant one and turn them into a werewolf through metamorphosis. According to Olaus Magnus, the sixteenth-century Swedish writer, the draining of a cup that consists of beer initiates Livonian werewolves. Then, Ralston has mentioned a chant in his Russian songs.
In countries like Germany, France, and Italy, it was believed that a male or female could become a werewolf if they slept outside on a specific Friday or Wednesday during a full moon in the summer. If the full moon shone directly at their face, they were thought to become a werewolf. As for other cases, satanic allegiance was required to transform into a werewolf.
The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence writer described werewolves as sorcerers who would use ointment on their bodies to initiate the devil. The book was written in 1628. The werewolves would need to wear a girdle to shapeshift. There is a difference between voluntary and involuntary werewolves. Voluntary werewolves need to make a pact with the devil and transform into werewolves during the night to engage in malicious acts. As for involuntary werewolves, they are werewolves who have turned into werewolves due to an accident. Even certain cultures believe that individuals who suffer from epilepsy or those born during a new moon are werewolves.
Suppose you have read or watched people turning into a werewolf because of being scratched or bitten by a werewolf. In that case, it is not something that was mentioned back in the day. Only modern horror fiction mentions such a possibility.
Various methods have been mentioned for removing the curse or the ability to transform into a werewolf. The Ancient Romans and Greeks believed that it was possible to treat people who became werewolves. Victims needed to be subject to an extended period of strenuous activity to be cured.
During medieval ages, Europeans viewed three methods for curing victims from turning into werewolves. The first approach involved the treatment of medicine. The second believed in surgery, whereas the third called for exorcism. But, most of the cures that were given by the practitioners resulted in patients suffering. According to Sicilian and Arabic views, werewolves could be cured by striking the forehead or employing a knife on the scalp. It was further thought that the werewolves could have their palms pierced with nails to be cured. The Germans believed that werewolves could be treated thrice by calling them by their Christian name. On the other hand, Danes thought that werewolves could be cured if they were admonished. It was likewise typical for werewolves to be turned to Christianity to be cured in medieval times.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest Western stories alluded to as a werewolf. The myth involves a likely lover turning her mate into a werewolf. Greek mythology also discussed werewolves in varied legends. Moreover, even early Nordic legend described werewolves.
Werewolves have been discussed for a long time. They carry historical and literary merit. Just about everybody has heard about them in one form or another.