Werewolves’ origins have been traced back to the beginnings of mankind. Today’s’ concept of a werewolf, or lycanthrope, is someone who turns into a wolf during a full moon. But are there any facts to substantiate such a bizarre notion?
No doubt, modern day culture gets its perception of what a werewolf looks like from the many popular motion pictures and books concerning the subject. However, we assume these are fictional accounts. Are there any solid facts or are they just myths and fabrications? This question has perplexed civilization for over five centuries.
A werewolf is a person with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf-like creature on purpose, by being bitten by another werewolf or by a curse. The transformation usually coincided with the appearance of a full moon.
Jaws And Claws
Werewolves are often depicted as beings possessing incredible strength and senses, far superior to that of wolves or men. They have jaws and claws like a wolf, but far stronger and sharper. Fictional werewolves, however, have traits different from folklore. Such as, they can be killed by a silver bullet.
Shape shifters, similar to werewolves, are told in tales from around the world. They are especially common among Native Americans, although most of them entail animal forms besides wolves.
Controversy and debates still continue as werewolf sightings are still reported today. During the 15th to 17th century, Europe was under the influence of ignorance and superstition. However, their fear of wolves was not unfounded as wolf attacks were frequent and people feared to travel. Partially devoured human remains were not an uncommon find.
The First Recorded Sighting
It was in 1591 the first recorded werewolf sighting was reported. An ancient document describes the horrifying account in detail. A large wolf or what they believed to be one had been cornered and the townspeople set their dogs upon it. They pierced it with sharp sticks and other implements. To their dismay the wolf didn’t run away or attack. Instead, the beast stood up and discarded his wolf disguise, revealing a middle-aged man. He was Peter Stubbe, someone they all knew who lived in their village.
His fate was sealed after he confessed to killing 16 people, of which 2 were pregnant women, and 13 children. Stubbe’s had started practicing sorcery at the age of 12 and even tried to make a pact with the Devil. He began to believe he was a wolf and began attacking and eating people, one of which was his own son.
No punishment could fit the enormity of Stubbe’s crime. The villagers pulled his flesh off with red-hot pincers, broke his arms and legs and decapitated him. His dead body was then burned to ashes.
As time passed there came a point when stories told for entertainment were replaced by true incidents. Then accounts such as Stubbe’s started to emerge. People imagined werewolves were around every corner. In France alone about 30,000 people were accused of being werewolves. Many suffered harrowing interrogation and extreme torture. Whether they confessed or not many died at the stake.
There have been many attempts to scientifically explain away sightings of werewolves. One such explanation was a person may have had a disease called Hypertrichosis, or in laymen’s’ terms, “wolfitis”. It’s a condition of excessive body hair growth.
Another theory was attributed to a psychosis known as clinical lycanthropy, a defect in the part of the brain involved with body image distortion. A study of two people diagnosed with clinical lycanthropy revealed unusually high activity in this portion of their brains, suggesting people may be truly feeling their bodies are actually changing.
Greek mythology is not blameless in perpetuating the belief in werewolves either. The Greek god, Zeus, disguised himself and visited the vicious Arcadian King Lycaon. However, the King recognized him and tried to destroy the god by serving him human flesh. But, Zeus was on to the deception and refused to eat. Zeus destroyed the palace and sentenced Lycaon to spend rest of his life in the form of a wolf.
Even today there are people who believe they’re werewolves. Some of the lycanthropes, (people who believe they have changed into some type of animal) have been studied and treated by psychologists and psychiatrists.
In one study, a 20 year old man thought he was a werewolf. But his story was not totally convincing since he was a drug user who had used LSD. The drug affected the young man, who claimed to have grown hair on his hands and face. He was reportedly overcome by an overwhelming urge to chase and devour live rabbits. He stayed in this delusional state for several days.
Another werewolf patient, a 37 year old, was admitted to a hospital after numerous public displays of odd behavior, such as howling at the moon, sleeping in cemeteries, growing long hair and a beard or lying in the center of a busy highway. Unlike the former patient, he had no history of substance abuse. This individual was later discovered to be suffering from dementia.
Lycans in Popular FictionEditProbably one of the biggest and most well known use of the term and character of Lycan is in Underworld 2: Rise of the Lycans. (Still in Research)
Traits of LycansEdit
The following are the traits that define Lycans, as was stated above most people will identfy with the traits of a Lycan, but you really need to look deep within yourself to find out if that is what you believe or what you want to believe.
(*Note; If any new research on traits comes up after what is here, I will be sure to display it with (**) next too it.)
Here are the traits of Lycans:
- Meat Cravings
- Mood affected by the Weather
- More of a Leader than a follower or More of a Follower than a leader, there is no in the middle
- Okay to Great Nightvision (on a scale of 1-10 around 6-10)
- Prefers Fight to Flight
- Great Hearing (Mostly when things are in the distance)
- Mood Changes based off of the Moon (The Moon doesn't cause us to transform, but causes us to become moody).
- Urges to Howl or Growl
- Obessed with the sharpness of ones Teeth or Nails (To imitate Fangs or Claws)
- When in a group with friends, imitates a wolf pack, there is a clear definition between who the Alpha and Omegas are.
- Sometimes sits or walks awkwardly to compansate for the Phantom Body Parts (Claws, Tail and Fur)
- Has Leadership abilties or can be a good leader
- Either completely inserts self into things or comepletely withdraws.
What makes Lycantheropes different from all the others?Edit
When it comes down to it, Lycans are as different from the others as an Apple from a Banana. The thing that we are looking at to find the differences are the Transitional periods for Lycans.