Werewolves: Beasts of Legend
We trust everyone had a lovely holiday weekend.
Something wonderful about the Labor Day weekend (other than it being a 3-day weekend), is that we are on the downward slide toward Autumn! Autumn, friend, is THE most wonderful time of the year. 😉
We are now less than 60 days to Halloween. If you haven’t started on your costume yet, today might be a good day to start. Not trying to cause a panic or anything...
Did you know…
…a werewolf does NOT have to be created through being bitten?
As a matter of fact, it usually wasn’t.
In the old stories, a werewolf was born a werewolf, or created through magical rituals. One could be cursed to be a werewolf if born with extra digits, or maybe born with a tail or some other deformity. As well, an individual might be a werewolf if they were unlucky enough to be the seventh son of a seventh son, or…wait for it…if they were left handed. *Shudder*
Strangely enough, all these signs could also point to a person being a witch, a healer, a vampire, or a seer.
We suppose that choice would be up to who had what to gain at any given time. Sounds like politics and religion of the day, doesn’t it? Hmmm…
The werewolf (at least many of our common campfire stories about them), like other creatures or evil manifestations, were largely created and kept alive by the Church and always tied to the Devil. Kind of an insurance plan, we suppose.
Back to werewolves…
(Oh, and we understand and completely respect the age-old conversation about the difference between the man-wolf vs. the wolf-man, but we are not intending to breach that conversation here. There is also the legend of the wolf-were, that of the wolf becoming the man. Again, we’ll save that one for another conversation.)
Werewolves are monstrous beasts, hailing from many different cultures, losing themselves when they turn. Terrible, fierce man-eaters, which also died by way of horrible methods.
Of course, if a person wanted to become a werewolf, (Why? These aren’t the beefy dudes from the Underworld movies, people, these are murderous beasts.) there were a bevy of rituals or ways to accomplish this, from drinking rainwater from a werewolf’s paw print to wearing a belt made from wolf’s fur.
Full moon? Mmm…probably not, but it makes for a great story.
Among the details lost in the new mythologies of our modern horror flicks and supernatural TV shows, we forget many of the weaknesses that can hamper or kill them. There is, of course, silver (although some claim that it is actually quicksilver, or mercury, that is truly deadly), and many people know about a werewolf being incapable of touching a rose.
Still, we don’t see a lot of wolfsbane popularized—”wolfsbane”, friends, the name itself screams, “I Kinda Kill Wolves For You.”
And don’t forget to add salt, one of the most common tools in the monster hunter’s pouch. This is one of many legends that is disputed by many, and certainly in our world we think the discerning werewolf would have to be very choosy about what he or she consumed, but it is a legend that still holds weight in many of the old stories. Regardless, salt is useful to keep about anyways. You know, just in case you happen to run into a vampire, witch, faerie, demon, or maybe a giant slug.
Of course, these are just the more popular (Germanic) werewovles we are talking about. If we look at the other lycanthropic creatures from around the world (ulfhednar, faoladh, and aswang, oh my!!!), all manner of stories and possibilities open up for us.
And if you see something shifting shape by the light of the full moon and howling a terrible howl, and growling a terrible growl…well, you might better run. That’s probably some psycho trying to do something really stupid. 😉
Happy Halloween 2014!
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