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The Rise of the Werewolf in Europe

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Cynthia is an author who has written a series of science fantasy books. She also writes short stories and is busy writing two more novels

The Popularity of Werewolves

Do you believe in werewolves? With so many popular TV programmes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Trueblood and Being Human filling our screens, you might be starting to think that our world really is heavily populated with supernatural creatures like vampires, werewolves, demons, shape shifters, fairies, goblins and garden gnomes.

Heck, you might even be just a bit peeved that you were born a mere human, as all your favourite TV characters seem to end up being supernatural in some way. Putting aside the fact that I would probably find out that I was part garden gnome, rather than part seductively gorgeous female vampire or water sprite, where did our beliefs in these supernatural beings come from? And why do we find them so appealing?

However much our rational, logical brains tell us that such beliefs are merely superstitious nonsense, we carry on being fascinated by these old myths and legends and a big part of us really, really wants them to be true. Over here in Europe, one of our more enduring legends is that of the werewolf; those poor, cursed human beings who are forever condemned to change into the form of a wolf on nights when the moon is full.

Werewolves in Antiquity

So how far back in European history do we have to go to find the first references to werewolves? These fearsome mythical creatures first appear in literary sources in the time of the Ancient Greeks, although the traditions and folktales probably go back to before the invention of writing.

One Greek myth that was recorded by both Apollodorus and Ovid tells how an early king of Arcadia called Lycaon dared to question the divinity of the great god Zeus in a manner that outraged the heavens and brought terrible retribution down on the king and his family. It was said that Zeus paid a visit to Lycaon’s kingdom, and although he managed to convince his subjects that he was a deity, the king himself did not believe it and so set out to kill the visitor.

Being unable to kill Zeus, he instead killed a young man, in some accounts this is a prisoner and in others his own son Nyctimus, cooked the flesh and served it up as dinner for the god. Zeus exploded with rage when he discovered that he had been tricked into eating human flesh. He destroyed the palace, killed Lycaon’s 50 sons by hurling lightning bolts at them and turned the duplicitous king into a wolf.

Lycaon had to remain in this wolf form for nine long years and was forbidden to devour any human meat during that time, because if he did he would have to stay in wolf form forever. Herodotus also wrote of a tribe called the Neuri who lived beyond the borders of Scythia, who reputedly shapeshifted into wolves once every year.

Werewolves in Medieval Europe

The legend of the werewolf really takes off in Europe during the Middle Ages, where there were many different versions of the folktales surrounding this supernatural creature depending on which country or region you were in. Most of the stories agree that while in animal form a werewolf, or lycanthrope, looked pretty similar to the real wolves that roamed the great forests and steppes of Europe at that time, howling through the snow storms on a winter’s night, except for the fact that they did not have tails, kept their human eyes and could speak in their normal human voices.

It was said that there were also features and traits that could give away a werewolf when it was in its human form, such as having heavy eyebrows that met in the middle, ears that were set low on the head, curiously curved fingernails and a loping gait. It would seem that even in human form the lycanthrope could not completely hide its fur, as any checking under the tongue would reveal long animal hairs and also if you cut its skin you would be able to spot wolf fur in the wound. The fate of any human who was reckless (or stupid) enough to start looking in the mouth or carving chunks out of a suspected werewolf has not been recorded!

How Did You Become a Werewolf?

So why were werewolves so feared back in the Middle Ages? Well, it was believed that they had supernatural strength and agility allied to a depraved taste for human flesh. It was a highly superstitious age, where any straying from the orthodox religious beliefs of the Catholic Church left you open to being preyed on by any manner of demon in the night.

Not only were medieval folk terrified of being attacked by a werewolf, they were also scared that they would be turned into one, thus losing their soul and being turned away from the comforts of heaven forever. Beliefs on how you could be turned also differed, ranging from being cursed, stripping off your clothes and putting on a belt made from wolf skin or by rubbing a magic salve into your body.

There was also a belief in countries such as France, Italy and Germany that if you slept out in the open on some Wednesday or Friday nights in the summer with the light of a full moon bathing your face with its gentle luminosity then you too would transform into a wolf. It was during the Middle Ages that the association between transforming into a lycanthrope and the time of the full Moon was made, and an English chronicler called Gervase of Tilbury mentions it in his compendium of medieval marvels and curiosities called the ‘Otia imperialia’.

Interestingly, as well as being linked with the English aristocracy, Gervase also claimed that he was descended from a water sprite called Melusine who was part serpent or mermaid. No garden gnome ancestry for him then! The modern belief that you get turned into a werewolf by being bitten or scratched does not actually surface until the nineteenth century, when it starts appearing in fictional accounts of this creature of the night.

Lycaon - Hendrik Goltzius

Lycaon - Hendrik Goltzius

Killing the Beast Within

As our medieval forebears were so scared by these creatures, they also gave a lot of thought to how they could be killed. And because of their supernatural nature, it was not only how they could be killed, but also how to safely dispose of their remains so that they would stay dead and not rise again to menace the populace.

Back in the time of Ancient Greece and Rome, it was thought that one of the best ways to cure someone who suffered from lycanthropy was to physically exhaust them, and so they were subjected to extreme physical exertion over a long period of time. By the Middle Ages, the cures had become really quite creative, often painful and sometimes even fatal. The victim could be given a herbal remedy called Wolf’s Bane or aconite in the hope for a cure, which is very powerful and acts as a local anaesthetic if applied to the skin and if taken internally can slow the pulse and reduce heart rate.

Taken in too large a dose it will also kill you. The wolf could also be exorcised out of you, involving a long religious exhortation and many prayers and various forms of surgery were also undertaken to release you, such as having nails driven through your hands and feet or having a knife driven into your forehead. Again, the legendary silver bullets supposedly needed to kill a werewolf were inventions of modern fiction that did not appear until the 19th century.

The Human Cost of Medieval Hysteria

Inevitably, all this fear and hysteria about werewolves preying on humans and doing the devil’s work had a human cost. In France alone during the 16th century, some 30,000 souls were accused of being werewolves and were tortured and then burned at the stake.

They were known as loup-garou and although there was strong evidence against some of the accused that proved that that they were murderers, and in a small number of cases even cannibals, most of these unfortunates were innocents that had in some way come under suspicion and then arrested.

One of the cases involved a man called Gilles Garnier, who became known as ‘the Werewolf of Dole’. He reputedly lived a very solitary life as a hermit, and as his home was so secluded he had trouble finding enough food to feed his new wife. Several children in the district went missing or were found dead and horribly mutilated. Rumours started going around the area that a werewolf was on the prowl, and in 1573, a bounty was put on its head.

One night a group of workmen came upon what they thought was a wolf savaging a young child. It turned out to be Gilles Garnier, who was duly arrested for his depravations. During his trial, Garnier stated that when he was out scavenging for food one night he had been approached by a supernatural being who had offered to make it easier for him to find food.

The spirit or ghoul had given him a magic salve that would allow him to turn into a wolf if he rubbed it onto his skin, causing him to become a much more effective hunter. Garnier admitted in court to killing and then devouring the flesh of at least four children and was found guilty of witchcraft and lycanthropy. He was sentenced to be burned at the stake for his crimes.

The Beast of Gevaudan

Another famous French werewolf case was that of the Beast of Gevaudan that supposedly attacked around 210 people in this region of south-central France between 1764 and 1767, with 113 of them losing their lives. This beast was described by those unfortunate enough to have seen it as having a wolf-like appearance with reddish fur, an extremely long tail and huge, vicious teeth.

The creature was also supposed to have smelled really terrible. It attacked its victims by ripping out their throats and then partially eating their bodies. Huge resources were put into the capture of the Beast of Gevaudan and even the King of France, Louis XV, offered a reward to a group of young people who had fought off an attack by the creature. He also sent professional wolf-hunters with bloodhounds into the area, but the attacks did not stop.

Louis XV then sent his Lieutenant of the Hunt, François Antoine, who managed to kill a very large grey wolf in September 1765. This huge wolf was identified by some of the victims as the animal that had attacked them and Antoine was given a huge reward. The wolf became known as the ‘Le Loup de Chazes’ and was stuffed and sent to the king’s palace at Versailles as a trophy. Unfortunately, the attacks resumed that winter and this time a local hunter called Jean Chastel was the one who dispatched the beast. The story was that when Chastel was out with the hunting party, he took some time out to pray and read from his bible.

During one of his prayers, the beast appeared in front of him, but he was able to finish his devotions before shooting it dead. There have been many theories as to what type of animal the beast actually was, with some believing the attacks were undertaken by a pack of wolves and some thinking that that it was a cross between a wolf and a domestic dog. There were even suggestions that the beast could have been a hyena.

Any Possible Scientific Explanations for Lycanthropy?

So are there any scientific explanations for werewolves? Is it possible that humans could be transformed into wolves? While there is no proof that a human has ever changed into a wolf under the light of a silvery moon, there are a few medical conditions that in less enlightened times might have induced people into thinking that it had occurred. There is a rare medical condition called porphyria which can cause abnormal hair growth, sensitivity to light, disfigurements to the teeth and fingers and even madness.

It is believed that this is the disease that afflicted King George III of England and caused his bouts of madness. There is also a rare genetic disorder called hyper-trichosis or werewolf syndrome which causes the face and upper body of a sufferer to be covered by thick hair. In the superstitious times of the Middle Ages, these distressing physical symptoms would have been regarded as a sign that the unfortunate sufferer was a werewolf and it would have been all too likely that they would then be reported to the authorities, arrested, tried and executed.

So do you believe in werewolves? Do you still think that you could be attacked by a ravening beast if you walk alone at night under a full moon? However rational and scientific that we like to think we are, many of us do still believe in the old legends and superstitions. Only recently it was reported in the news that a grave had been disturbed and a corpse mutilated in Romania because the relatives of the deceased were convinced that their loved one had turned into a vampire.

These stories speak to something very deep inside of us. We are closer to the animal kingdom than many of us would ever care to acknowledge, and this part of our nature needs to be honoured or the darker side might just spring out one dark night and ambush us when we least expect it.

Written for Alastar Packer to thank him for his wonderful article on Native American shape shifters.

© 2012 CMHypno

Comments

tyson on August 26, 2018:

Do werewolf and vampire really exist?

jasse on August 25, 2018:

does a werewolf transform in the moonlight or when the full moon is on its peak?

ines on April 24, 2018:

why are the gouvernent looking for us. i mean what did we ever do. what i mean is, werewolves are being chased an d taken to make some experaments on them.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on October 25, 2013:

Glad that you enjoyed reading the hub Jodah and thanks for leaving a great comment

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 24, 2013:

Very interesting hub and enthralling subject. I have a keen interest in folklore and the unexplained. I look forward to reading more.

epigramman on June 09, 2013:

Well right now I am howling at the daybreak over the lake and because

I am a vampire I must retire from the night shift and head off to sleep now in my casket ......at lake erie time 6:22am canada

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on June 09, 2013:

Thank you so much for your very kind comments epigramman and for sharing my hub. The next full moon is on 23rd June, so maybe we can coordinate some hubbers for a good howling session - very good for releasing stress and tension. Hope you are enjoying a great summer over there in Canada.

epigramman on June 07, 2013:

Finding you my friend was like finding buried (Hub) treasure - what a world class writer and thinker you are and what a grand assortment of hubs to choose from too.

Naturally this title caught my eye and led me to enjoy and be enlightened and educated by the definitive werewolf hub presentation and you offer so much here through beautifully chosen images and your awesome research. Yes I would howl at every full moon for someone like you - it's so nice to meet you and I just shared/linked this masterwork by you on my Facebook page.

Sending to you my warmest wishes and good energy from ontario, canada lake erie time 4:22am courtesy of Colin aka epi-man and his cats Tiffy and Gabriel

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 07, 2013:

Well there is a couple of weeks to go before the next full moon, but even then if you hear howling in the night it's probably just someone on their way home from the pub who has had a few too many.

Thanks for reading about werewolves and leaving a comment

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on February 06, 2013:

Interesting but no I don't believe, even when I am drunk!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on August 18, 2012:

Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a great comment whowas. I think that werewolves, vampires and other monsters date back to when we humans were trying to understand the natural world around us. Many of our myths and legends go back thousands of years and when invaders or a new religion arrived in an area, new layers and understandings were put on the old stories. But the great thing about mysteries is that we still can't be absolutely sure - just watch out the next time the moon is full!

whowas on August 16, 2012:

How did I manage to miss this??? Fantastic and exhaustive treatment of the werewolf legends that had me riveted to the screen from start to finish.

I don't believe in them, of course - I'm afraid I'd be one of those rationalists that Wesman so distrusts! However, I do think that it is important that we acknowledge these primal fears as real, embedded deep in the cellular structure of our evolutionary experiences. They're powerful and need to be treated seriously. I'm happy to explain them - but I wouldn't want to 'explain them away.'

Great stuff and voted up. :)

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on May 27, 2012:

Thanks for reading the hub Anne and leaving a great comment.We humans have a great need to explain things, and back in the Middle Ages when disease was poorly understood, the supernatural was used as a kind of catch-all explanation for any poor soul who had an unusual condition, bodily deformity or mental illness

Anne Harrison from Australia on May 27, 2012:

What an interesting hub. I've had patients with porphyria (which has many subtypes) including one with mis-shaped incisor teeth and who was so sensitive to light they could not sit near a window without getting sunburnt - which leads to the association between vampires and werewolves in history. A fascinating subject.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on April 06, 2012:

What is the truth Mark? And would we be able to imagine something if we had no experience of it somewhere in out psyche? Thanks for reading the hub and glad you enjoyed the werewolves

markbennis on April 05, 2012:

Ah the mysteries of the werewolves and its long roots in history and you are right because I have also noticed the mass supernatural episodes being played out continuously on the television.

Although I am not complaining because I find it fascinating to watch and wonder about, but it does lead you to thinking well could it really be?

I wouldn’t be surprised anymore if it were true, but great Hub and I can see why it was chosen as Hub of the day, as it was brilliant.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 24, 2012:

Hi Cyndi10, glad that I could tempt you away from the vampires to read about werewolves. Though there have been some great vampire hubs written this weekend - see Seeker 7 and Kittythedreamer's hubs. Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a great comment

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on March 24, 2012:

Congratulations on a great Hub. My tastes run to vampires, but I do like reading about werewolves occasionally. You made it interesting and gave lots of insight into the lore which has been around for thousands of years. Voted up.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 19, 2012:

Thanks for reading the hub and the congratulations Dolores. I've always thought that the transformation into a werewolf must be quite a painful process and I wonder how long it takes you to get used to it? But I agree with you that the running free after the change must be amazing

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on March 19, 2012:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! I enjoyed reading about the werewolves, have always enjoyed them in the movies. There is something so ridiculous, yet appealing about that change - when the body totally changes from a human into a wolf. There is also something appealing about becoming an animal and running free.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 17, 2012:

Hi 50 Caliber - I did not take it all as a criticism, I am glad that you enjoyed reading the hub. But I am aware that I can never use two words when fifty will do LOL! Have a great weekend! I read Randy's hub as well - it is great.

50 Caliber from Arizona on March 16, 2012:

CMHypno, if my mention of length to this hub was taken as criticism, I apologize as I enjoyed the read and you held me, start to finish and even down into the comments. The topic is one I like and you added much knowledge I wasn't aware of. I just finished R.SSSSS bayou witch tale another on the topic lines of what lies in the edges of reality,

Peace, dusty/ 50

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

You are very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world Les Trois Chenes. Thanks for sharing about the loup-garou story attached to your local town. Are all the wolves gone in France now, or are there still some in the Pyrenees or the Alps? There have been no wolves in England since the 1500s and legend has it that the last one was killed on Humphrey Head in what is now Cumbria

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

I don't like to categorically deny the existence of anything freemarketingnow, as I prefer to keep an open mind. I have been interest in the paranormal for years, so have read many books and articles on werewolves. Thanks for the read and the comment

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Thanks for the congratulations and the vote up Skler.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Thanks again Alastar. The seventh son deal in Argentina is pretty amazing - but could you imagine having six sons, you are pregnant with your seventh child and it turns out to be a girl? There is a book in there somewhere!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Hi cebutouristspot, who can ever really disprove someone else's reality? We all have different experiences in life, and if someone told me they had seen a werewolf or shape shifter and I knew them to be generally an honest person, then who am I to knock them back and say they are lying?

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Thank you my friend prasetio. As you say there may not be werewolves as such, but the human psyche dredged up this image from somewhere and it seems to have been a fairly persistent one. 'If you go down to the woods tonight....'

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Thanks Wesman. It would be a very boring world if we knew it all, and I think that folks who like to think that we have got it all sown up are in for a big surprise one day! I can see you as a creature of the night, so keep on running free!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Maybe the werewolf myths arose from medieval people trying to deny their animal self DzyMsLizzy? It was a time when the church had people fairly clamped down and terrified of sinning, so any 'animal urges' would have been regarded by a lot of people with terror and disgust. Thanks for the congratulations and leaving a great comment

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Sorry about the length 50 Caliber - brevity was never one of my strong points!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Never seen the Twilight movie, but werewolves do seem to be making a come back on the small screen

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

It is a very plausible explanation, and there were indeed that number of trials in France in the 16th century. There were also a lot of witchcraft trials at that time in Europe, and a lot of innocent people suffered horribly.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Thanks tammyswallow. Alastar has written some very interesting hubs around this kind of thing, and kittythedreamer writes some excellent vampire/werewolf hubs as well. I have a vampire/werewolf fiction blog, but don't get around to writing post very often unfortunately

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Probably back in medieval times the werewolf myth was probably one way that people explained serial killers, gogogo. Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a comment

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Thanks for the vote up Civil War Bob. Yes, there is always going to be part of a wolf that can't be domesticated, and we evolved as wild animals and still have a need to connect with nature and run free.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Glad that you liked the approach viveresperando, and thanks for stopping by and reading the hub

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Glad you liked the poll Natashalh - I find that it is always easier to believe some things after a few bevies than when completely sober. The phrase 'I'll call you' being one of them LOL!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Thanks for slithering along and commenting Randy and glad you liked the hub. I don't understand why you keep being banned as I have never seen you say anything particularly untoward to anybody. You call it like you see it, but it seems like some folks have very thin skins and a prediliction for the report button! Look forward to seeing you back in hissing good form on the forums.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Anything is possible shanemartin! As the immortal bard Shakespeare put it 'there are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy'

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 16, 2012:

Thanks tillsontitan. After having watched the werewolf films also, it was fascinating to research where these beliefs really came from.

Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on March 15, 2012:

I live in Limousin, S W France and this is real wolf and werewolf country. Limousin is "a land of wolves and witches," and we had wolves here until just very recently, 1920s or 50's. There's a famous loup-garou story attached to Rochechouart, our nearest town. The belief is very widespread though and perhaps partly due to the proximity and fear of the wolf.

freemarketingnow from California on March 15, 2012:

Whoa, how long did it take you to research all of that? How did you become interested in warewolves? Do you believe in their existence? Nice job on hub of the day!

Skyler Meyer from 297 Garlington Rd Unit A Greenville, SC 29615 on March 15, 2012:

Hi CMHypno, Congratulation!.. Your hub is really deserving to be on hub of the day.. voted up and shared!..

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on March 15, 2012:

Congrats are in order again CM. Well done my friend. Can you believe that seventh son deal in Argentina- whew.

cebutouristspot from Cebu on March 15, 2012:

Werewolf have been around so long. Some regard Lycanthropy as a curse and some a disease but who can really tell in the land of Myths and legends. One thing for sure is that this skinwalkers have manage to harness our imagination.

Could they exist ? Some people do specially those culture who respect and honor animals.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 15, 2012:

Between fact and Myth, I do believe that werewolves were real. The world has so many secrets, even the unseen world. We couldn't created the characters if we don't believe. Though I only saw this character on the movie. But the folktale was true and many people believe this. In the deep of jungle where we can't touch. Thanks for writing and share about this with us. Good job and rated up!

Prasetio

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on March 15, 2012:

Thank you for a wonderful and fascinating read!!!!

I tend to think that if anything, I'm the chill in the air :-/

~snicker~

Heck, nobody can or will know what all went on way back when...but the more "rational" among us will always have some pretty little scientific theory for us all to believe and go back to bed safely with.

Me, I'm down with the wild and the infinite universe, and I sort of spit at humans that think they know it all - and then show me some stupid science that they secretly hope justifies the rationality of the fears we all have...but in a much more sedate fashion.

Congrats! I wish every day were Halloween sometimes!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on March 15, 2012:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! This was the most thoroughly researched article I've read on the topic in quite some time. Well done.

As far as 'believing,' I do not. I enjoy some of the fictional works along these lines, but find them no more believable than anything in the science fiction genre. In fact, some of the science fiction is well founded in real science, and probably not far from becoming reality at some future date.

As to your closing comment of "We are closer to the animal kingdom than many of us would ever care to acknowledge..." that is so true. We actually ARE animals, and there are many who will not admit that because it makes them uncomfortable, and removes their ability to find themselves "superior" to "animals."

Voted up across the board and shared, both locally and socially.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 15, 2012:

Since the origin of the myths go so far back in history mikeydcarroll67, maybe they are some kind of ancestral memory of a creature that is now extinct? Maybe there was once a type of fearsome dog-like creature that gave rise to a belief in werewolf?

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 15, 2012:

I didn't realise that the history of werewolves went as far back as Greek myth either Stephanie until I did the research. Thanks for your congratulations and for reading the hub

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 15, 2012:

Thanks for the congratulations for Hub of the Day vespawoolf, and glad that you found the hub so interesting

50 Caliber from Arizona on March 15, 2012:

An interesting topic and a lot of points made, I liked the artwork and videos. A rather long read but worth it, voted up, useful, awesome and interesting, thanks,

50

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 15, 2012:

Fascinating stuff about werewolves in Argentina Vanderleelie, especially that the Argentinian government still pays the seventh son money. In Europe it is still believed that a seventh son will be psychic, but not, as far as I know, a werewolf.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 15, 2012:

Glad you found the hub amazing and that you like the image NeCap72

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 15, 2012:

Hi amilypitt, thanks for reading the hub. I don't literally believe in werewolves either, but I do think that there might have been human serial killers or rogue dogs that led to the belief in supernatural beings in the Middle Ages

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 15, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting on the hub Silverfish and glad that you enjoyed reading it

Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 15, 2012:

Interesting hub. It reminds me about Twilight movie.

Congratulations on winning Hub of the Day award!

MrEction on March 15, 2012:

This is a great hub - well researched and informative. I just wanted to pass this bit of info on - between 1520 and 1630, there were more than 30,000 werewolf trials (and those just in France!) Most of those tried were poor people who had most likely ingested bread which had been out too long and grown Ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and was used much later in history to make LSD. A possible explanation?

Tammy from North Carolina on March 15, 2012:

Fascinating hub! Congratulations on your hub of the day. I am glad to see a hub like this get some attention. You and Alastar should write a series of hubs like this to this as the Hubpages version of Twighlight. It is a wonder to many. Well done!

gogogo on March 15, 2012:

Excellent hub, I do not believe in werewolves, but enjoyed reading the hub. Would it be fair to say that these days we call them "serial killers"

Civil War Bob from Glenside, Pennsylvania on March 15, 2012:

Well written hub,CM. Voted up, funny (I HAD to vote "when drunk" just to see the results), and interesting. I'm not convinced men change into werewolves, but the 1940s view of the 'wolf' on the corner whistling at women certainly is one form of 'wolvery,' if I can coin a phrase. I've often said you can domesticate that sort of wolf, but he'll STILL be a wolf. Enjoy your day.

viveresperando from A Place Where Nothing Is Real on March 15, 2012:

Loved they way you approached this subject. Enjoyed reading this.

Natasha from Hawaii on March 15, 2012:

I love your poll! Having a funny answer always draws my attention to a poll and makes me want to vote.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on March 15, 2012:

Very nice, Cynthia! Interesting and well written, of course! Sorry I could not post a congrats on your thread, but I'm serving my "weekly" forum ban for being too honest, as usual! LOL!

It's great to see a Hub of the Day chosen on something besides food! Congrats to you!!

SSSSS

Mary Craig from New York on March 15, 2012:

I've been a fan of werewolves and vampires since I was a kid watching Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. What a marvelous write up you gave them. I enjoyed your writing style and appreciate all the research you did! I am voting this up and interesting. Thanks for SHARING.

mikeydcarroll67 on March 15, 2012:

Very informative! I never knew that the origins spread so much! I remember hearing about them in Latin class (and yes I know I am only 24 and a bit young for Latin class) and I've seen similar origins or legends in Asia as well. This is perhaps a global phenomenon and maybe there is something to the legends.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on March 15, 2012:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! I never heard the story of Zeus and Lycaon...your thorough research is fascinating! Voted up!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 15, 2012:

Thank you for a fascinating and macabre account about werewolves! Congratulations on a well-deserved Hub of the Day.

Vanderleelie on March 15, 2012:

Interesting hub. In Argentina the belief that the seventh son in a line of all male children is destined to be a werewolf still persists. The government finally had to honour the arrival of seventh sons with a special monetary award in order to protect them from persecution and social isolation. This is still the case today and families now welcome the arrival of number seven. Good research on a fascinating topic. Voted up!

NeCap72 from Spain on March 15, 2012:

Hmmm WaOOooo its really amzing post. i love warewolves and the drawing is really good looking.

Silver Fish from Edinburgh Scotland on March 15, 2012:

Fantastic Hub, and well done- I enjoyed reading it. Voted up.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 29, 2012:

Thanks Alastar

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on February 29, 2012:

Links working now CM!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 29, 2012:

Glad you liked the drawing - I found it on Wikimedia Commons, but it would be great to be able to draw like that. Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a message,

CreateSquidoo on February 28, 2012:

The drawing of the werewolf is so artistic for me.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 28, 2012:

Glad that you enjoyed the hub Case1worker and thanks for the comment. Wouldn't it be great if we could go back in time for just a little bit to see how they really felt and viewed the world. I wonder how many of us would go out at night if there were no street lights, so to them it must have seemed as though they were surrounded by the dark

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on February 28, 2012:

Brilliant Hub- I guess the answer must be in the psyche of the villagers- living in lives controlled by the sun, little in the way of night lighting, maybe they saw things or like we realise now, saw tricks of the light in the darkness. It is something we will never know- maybe it was the only way to explain gross actions such as multiple murder which were against the teaching of the church- A classica view that evil looked evil and was personified in a frightening body. Thought provoking and very interesting

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 28, 2012:

Thanks for the read and the comment. Well if you did an interview drbj, then Dracula must exist? As we all seem to be so fascinated by the spiritual/supernatural element of our world, there must be something to it, even if it isn't as literal as a creature like a werewolf or vampire.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on February 27, 2012:

Hi, CM. What a fascinating read and outstanding research involved in this hub. Werewolves and vampires have long held folks' interest, perhaps because of superstitions and also because we are fascinated by that which we do not completely understand. I have always been interested in the subject of Dracula - did he actually exist? Even wrote an interview with him: "Interview with Dracula" (Vlad the Impaler).

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

Fangs for trying Alastar!

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on February 27, 2012:

Hi Cm. Put a link up but it's still 'no suggestions found' so may take a bite more time. Did I write bite? Oh my what a Freudian lol.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

Thanks for your kind comment and voting up Seeker7 - it is such a vast subject, that I'm sure that there are there are lots more werewolf hubs that could be written

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

I have to say that Eric in Trueblood has reignited my interest in vampires. Vikings Do It Better LOL!

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on February 27, 2012:

Hi CMHypno - what an excellent and totally absorbing hub this is. It's a long, long time since I read anything about werewolves and this was a fascinating way to be reminded of this subject.

Voted up + awesome + interesting!

Mikal Smith from Vancouver, B.C. on February 27, 2012:

Great comments are what hubpages is all about! I lost my passion for vampires around 19. Then Twilight killed it completely :) I've buried my sorrows in sci -fi.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

Well I'm glad that we could get you onside with the werewolves at last ar.colton. However you can have both, as in some parts of Europe they used to believe that the dead person would rise from their coffin at night as a vampire in the form of a wolf, which would then roam through the dark hours drinking blood before returning back into their human form when they returned to the grave. Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a great comment

Mikal Smith from Vancouver, B.C. on February 27, 2012:

What a well written hub! I've never really been interested in werewolves. When I was in highschool I went through a vampire phase and sort of considered werewolves to be (don't hate me) the poor man's vampire. However, you just managed to do what no other article, book or film has done: Got me interested in werewolves. I was so fascinated by your article! Voted up, interesting and following!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

Thanks for the visit Alicia - your visits are always greatly appreciated. I'm glad that you enjoyed reading about lycanthropy and found the information useful

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

Sorry Alastar - sleep and demands of the day job. Your very kind comment did post - thank you so much

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

Glad that you found the hub an exciting read stars439. I think that it is great that you can see the sadness behind the fearsome exteriors of these creatures - after all they are still human most of the time.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

Glad that you didn't mind me adding the link to your hub, Kittythedreamer, and I'm glad that you enjoyed reading my hub. I was led to your work by reading your comments on Alastar's hub, and it looks like you have some really interesting stuff

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 27, 2012:

Glad that you enjoyed the hub Alastar. Sorry for the delay in replying, but different time zones and all. It was an interesting topic to research, and it was fascinating to see how our views and beliefs about werewolves have been shaped by fiction and Hollywood, rather than the original European folklore. Thanks for the link, and I hope that you don't mind but I have already added a link to your shape shifter hub.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2012:

This is an interesting, detailed and very enjoyable hub, CMHypno. Lycanthropy is a fascinating topic, although I'd never heard of the word before I read your hub! I enjoy reading about myths and legends and how they began. Thanks for the information.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on February 26, 2012:

testing testing- did my comment post CM?

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on February 26, 2012:

Wonderful, and exciting to read. Every day of my life when I watch television I have to turn to the horror movies first, and then the thrillers. Lon Chaney Jr. was my favorite person to change into a werewolf. He was so sad, and the sweet Gypsy lady of course said that his soul would be condemned forever unless he was set free. That would involve a silver bullet. Voted up of course. God Bless You Dear Heart.

Kitty Fields from Summerland on February 26, 2012:

Thanks for the backlink to my vampires vs. werewolves history hub! Awesome awesome info here. I haven't heard of much of these legends and lore on the werewolf. Wonderfully written and engaging. Thanks for this awesome piece. :)

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on February 26, 2012:

Now that's the way to start these out CM, with a fine dose of humor! So glad you wrote one on the European werewolves 'cause all I really knew about them before this excellent write was maybe all the movies and a book on the Beast of Gevaudan- which I believe may have been a Dire wolf. You've done your research well- from an angry Zeus to Medieval hysteria through to hyper-thricosis and the fact that some still take werewolves very seriously in Europe. Super enjoyable with your style and new info CM, thank you! Oh, this will be a great companion piece with the NA shape-shifter so will link this on there if that's alright with you.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 26, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting on my hub Nell - I think that this is the first I have written in 2012! You have intrigued me as to what your husband turned into though? One good thing about the current craze for werewolves is the cute guys on TV shows who take their shirts off regularly - Alcide in Trueblood springs to mind LOL!

Nell Rose from England on February 26, 2012:

Hi, Lycanthropy is a fascinating subject, I was only reading about Lycaon last week as I had never heard of the origins of it before. I did smile when you mentioned how people thought that anybody with a curious loping gait and eyebrows that meet in the middle were werewolves, it reminded me of my husband who also had the meeting eyebrows, but of course he changed into something quite different! I didn't realise that people still believed in it until I saw it on tv about Romania and other surrounding countries, maybe there really is such a thing, you never know, fascinating hub, rated up! cheers nell