What are werewolves


A gargoyle on a church in France. Its shape is that of a werewolf.

A werewolf is a mythical creature. The word roughly means man-wolf, because “who” is an old Germanic word for man. So it's a man who also looks like a wolf. Or such a man turns into a wolf at night. Werewolves eat people and animals. According to the stories, if you are bitten by a werewolf, you become a werewolf yourself.

Stories about werewolves exist all over the world. In Europe, the ancient Greeks already knew a legend about it. Lycaon hosted the god Zeus. To test whether Zeus was actually a god, he gave Zeus the meat of humans to eat. As a punishment, Zeus turned the lycaon into a wolf.

In the Middle Ages and beyond, many people believed not only in witches but also in werewolves. Some men have been persecuted and killed for allegedly being wolves. At that time and much later there were wolves in Europe and they sometimes attacked people.

In the past, people who suffered from certain diseases were believed to be werewolves. For example, when people have rabies, they can actually act like angry wolves. Some people also grow a lot of hair on their faces. But that is a rare disease. That doesn't explain the many stories about werewolves.

Perhaps it was thought that we humans are sometimes as wild as animals. In any case, there are many stories and films about werewolves, much like there are about vampires. They are usually adult horror films.

  • From a book from the Middle Ages: A priest meets two nice werewolves.

  • Jupiter and Lycaon, on a four hundred year old painting

  • Butch Patrick played a little werewolf on TV.

There are also more search results for “Werewolf” from Blind Cow and Ask Finn.

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