Werewolves

Column: Legends, Lore, Superstitions, and More


The moon is powerful. The moon creates tides, helps animals migrate, and when full allows man to become wolf. People of Italy, Germany, and France believed that if you slept under a full moon during summer you could transform into a wolf. They weren’t the only ones who believed the moon had powers that affected humans and their behavior. The word lunatic, which means a mentally ill person, came from tales about how full moons make people go crazy. Eugene Jonas, a Czech doctor, even wrote a family planning method that says the moon controls fertility and ovulation.


From Teen Wolf to Hotel Transylvania, werewolves have been a part of folklore and media for a long time. Werewolves have been around way longer than Twilight though, werewolves date back to 2,100 BC.


Some of the first werewolves came from Greece. Lycaean Zeus was worshipped in Arcadia. Cult members use human flesh in sacrifices to Zeus. Tales say that if you taste the flesh then you will turn into a wolf.

The werewolf we think of today originated from the tale of the sons of Lycaon. The sons of Lycaon, the Arcadian king, made a sacrifice of the youngest brother. They then threw a feast and tried to trick Zeus into eating the dead brother to prove that Zeus was weak. Zeus got mad at the brothers for this and killed them all with a lightning bolt. Zeus also turned Lycaon into a wolf.

In 1935, the silver bullet was introduced into the werewolf lore. It’s said that the only way to kill a werewolf is to put a silver bullet in its heart. The silver bullet aspect of the werewolf lore is said to be inspired by Jean Chastel. Chastel was a French hunter and farmer who killed the Beast of Gévaudan in 1767 with a silver bullet.

Werewolves have and will continue to be one of the most infamous mythical creatures. From 2,100 BC to 2021 and beyond, werewolves will keep their place in folklore and movies.


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