Werewolves are creatures that are said to change from human form to a human-wolf hybrid form. This change usually occurs during or because of a full moon, but not always.
Quick Facts about Werewolves
- Transformations from human to werewolf almost always occur when the 'infected' person is struck by the light of the moon.
- Some werewolf bites or attacks cause the victim to become one as well.
- Silver bullets are one of the few ways to kill these creatures.
- Werewolves have superhuman strength, allowing them to chase down and capture their prey.
Where did werewolves originate?
No one knows exactly where the legend of the werewolf originated, but people have been telling their tales for many centuries. Stories can be traced as far back as Greek and Norse mythology, and possibly even earlier. In the 1500's, several people were tried and executed as werewolves.
These creatures have also been referred to as lycanthropes for many years. The word lycanthrope originates from the Greek mythological story of Zeus turning King Lycaon and his children into wolves. According to legend, Zeus did this because of the evil acts of King Lycaon, which included sacrificing children at the altar of Zeus.
What do werewolves look like?
Their appearance may change depending on who saw them or who is telling the tale, but most werewolves are roughly the same size as the human they transformed from or slightly bigger. They often retain a number of human features as they transform from human to hybrid, giving them a twisted, abnormal appearance. They almost always stand on two legs, as humans do, but on rare occasions run on four.
They are sometimes depicted as drooling with wild or ravenous eyes, and usually have long hair along their arms, legs and face. Werewolves are faster, more athletic and stronger than humans.
Werewolves in Writing, Movies and Music
- Bram Stoker wrote that Count Dracula was the origin of the monster in his novel 1897 novel "Dracula".
- One of the most famous appearances of the creature in film is in the 1941 film "The Wolf Man", starring Lon Chaney. A follow up film titled Frankenstein vs. The Wolf Man was also a big hit and a cult classic.
- "Teen Wolf" was a 1985 comedy horror movie starring Michael J. Fox as a clunky teenage basketball player, who gains massive popularity after he learns he can transform into an athletic werewolf. The movie has a somewhat graphic transformation scene. In 2011, a tv series with the same name became popular on MTV.
- In 1972, a Marvel comic book character named Werewolf by Night appeared in Marvel Spotlight #2
- In movies, the creatures have become less human and more wolf-like since the turn of the millennium. This can be seen in movies such as Underworld and Van Helsing.
- "Werewolves of London" is a popular song written by Warren Zevon in 1978 with fun and unique lyrics.
- Another popular horror film is "An American Werewolf in London", released in 1981. Another film, called "An American Werewolf in Paris", is somewhat of a sequel and was released in 1997.