Many of us grew up watching shows or movies that depicted werewolves. Some notable films include the Twilight series, the Underworld, and Teen Wolf. The mythological animal has been feared by many over the years. There have been legends recorded that described these vicious wolves. Some are a combination of wolf and human. 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 creature. The shape-shifting 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 incredible 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 through which you can 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 that they do not have any tails. In addition to this, werewolves tend to have human-like eyes and are much larger than ordinary 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 that was commonly discussed throughout medieval Europe was that werewolves devoured corpses that have 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 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, there is Ralston, who has mentioned an incantation 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 particular 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 shape-shift. 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 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 times, Europeans considered three methods for curing victims from becoming werewolves. The first method involved the use of medicine. The second believed surgery, while the third required exorcism. But, most of the cures that were administered by the practitioners resulted in patients suffering. According to Sicilian and Arabic beliefs, werewolves could be cured by striking the forehead or using a knife on the scalp. It was also believed that the werewolves could have their hands pierced with nails to be cured. The Germans believed that werewolves could be treated by addressing them by their Christian name thrice. On the other hand, Danes thought that werewolves could be cured if they were scolded. In medieval times, it was also common for werewolves to be converted to Christianity to be cured.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest Western proses that have mentioned a werewolf. The story involves a potential lover turning her mate into a werewolf. Greek mythology also mentioned werewolves in various legends. Moreover, even early Nordic folklore described werewolves.
Werewolves have been discussed for a long time. They hold historical and literary significance. Just about everyone has heard about them in one way or another.