We Who Hunt Werewolves; the histroy of werewolf hunters
Part One: Present day hunters
This is the first part of a sires of hubs that will focus on several aspect of werewolf hunting though out history. As a writer of horror and an avid fan of mythology, I consider myself a werewolf hunter, for I am constantly hunting “the facts” that are hidden within mythology about werewolves. This subject could be considered as a type of cryptozoology, which is the study of hidden animals. Animals that were presumed to be extinct, extremely rare or considered to be the creatures of mythology. Now Werewolves tend to lean towards the supernatural or creatures of myth category. I will not focus on the subject of cryptology much, in this hub. However, it is an interesting subject so I may venture into that realm in future hubs.
What I want to accomplish in this series of hubs, is to search the history of the mythology about Shape- Shifters, sorcerers and other creatures of legend. We will study all the possible explanations for the mythology of werewolves. Even explore the popular concept that werewolves were the victims of mental illness and the possible causes of these mental illnesses. On the subject of mental illness, I have found people in certain forums that have a strong belief that they are werewolves or “half-werewolves” These statement makes me wonder which half?
For the word werewolf comes from the Anglo-Saxon word were which means man, and wolf is self-explanatory. To me, being a werewolf is like being pregnant. You either are our you are not. Now personally I do not see anything wrong with having a fantasy life and yet, if you are convinced that you are some kind of creature capable of murder and cannibalism, then you should seek professional help! The truth is, there was a time in history, especially in Europe, that if you felt you were a werewolf you would had been burned at the stake, hanged or beheaded. I will venture more into subject of witch and werewolf trials in the next hub in this series, for now we will stick to modern times.
The term for the mental illness that cause people to think they are werewolves is known as Clinical Lycanthropy. The last clear case for this disease, was diagnosed in 1977 and was reported in The American Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 134, NO.10, the following is taken directly from this Journal.
A 49-year-old married woman presented on an urgent basis for psychiatric evaluation because of delusions of being a wolf and "feeling like an animal with claws." She suffered from extreme apprehension and felt that she was no longer in control of her own fate: she said, "A voice was coming out of me." Throughout her 20-year marriage she experienced compulsive urges towards bestiality, lesbianism, and adultery.
The patient chronically ruminated and dreamed about wolves. One week before her admission, she acted on these ruminations for the first time. At a family gathering, she disrobe, assumed the female sexual posture of a wolf, and offered herself to her mother. This episode lasted for approximately 20 minutes. The following night, after coitus with her husband, the patient suffered a 2-hour episode, during which time she growled, scratched, and gnawed at the bed. She stated that the devil came into her body and she became an animal. Simultaneously, she experienced auditory hallucinations. There was no drug involvement or alcoholic intoxication.
With the proper care and medication the woman finally recovers with only occasional relapses. This condition has also been classified as chronic pseudo neurotic schizophrenia. Here are more of her symptoms:
1. Delusions of werewolf transformation under extreme stress.
2. Preoccupation with religious phenomenology, including feeling victimized by the evil eye.
3. Reference to obsessive need to frequent graveyards and woods.
4. Primitive expression of aggressive and sexual urges in the form of bestiality.
5. Physiological concomitants of acute anxiety.
There are other terminologies for people who think they are wolves or other animals stuck in human forum. These are; Therianthropy and "Otherkin" Therianthropes comes from the Greek word thereon meaning wild animal or beast. It is interesting to me, that there is even a Christian therianthrope forum! this to me is kind of Ironic for the concept of being connected to animal spirit would be considered pagan, or some kind of Shamanism. I even joined this forum for it will be way to actually build a relationship with those who believe they are part animal or were an animal in a past life.
Then there are those who call themselves "otherkin." These are people who believe they have the souls of mythical beings like Elves for example. These people have groups all over the net an yet, when you try to find out any tangible information about what it means to be a "otherkin" the interpretation is either vague or is put in terminology I am not familiar with. They do seem to talk a lot about "Awakening" which is the sudden realization that they are not a "normal" human. At the end of this hub I will supply links that will lead you to websites if you wish to learn more.
Another direction I Will take is the Shape-Shifting believes in Native American and Native Mexican cultures. These general are two terms which are used in both Native American, both North and south and Mexico. This is known as Skinwalker in many native American tribes and the Nahual in Mexico. The Navajo is one of the best known tribes to practice this form of shape-shifting with a form of witchcraft that they call yee naaldooshii or "The Witchery Way." It is said that only those who have reached the highest form of Priesthood and then break several Taboos and even kill one of their close kins such as a sibling to be able to become a skinwalker. This practice is defiantly on the outskirts of traditional Navajo beliefs and practices.
On the other hand, we have the confusing term of Nahul (pronounced Na'wall) which comes from the Nahuatl language that was spoke by the Toltec and the Aztec to name just a couple of civilisations in Mesoamerica. Overall, it refers to a special form of witch or "Brujo" (to use the Spanish word for witch) that has the capability to turn it into certain animals. In this way it is similar to the skinwalkers of the Navajo or Hopi. However, this is just one of the meanings of the word that differs some, depending on what part of Mexico or Central America you may travel.
Ever since the Spanish conquered Mexico, it is hard to tell what legions are original in nature, and which has been influenced by the Catholic Belief systems. To learn a little more about the culture that used this terminology, I suggest you read my series called "The Feathered Christ"
It is very interesting to me that the legend about werewolves refuses to die, for the subject has become very popular lately. Not only this, but we have developed our own mythology around a werewolf here in the USA! This is the so called “Dog Man” of Wisconsin; also known as the beast of Bray Road.There have been many books and videos devoted to this mystery, like “Hunting the American Werewolf” or the hoax video known as The Gable film.
Scientists examine key evidence found on the hunt for a werewolf. This is in Monsterquest fourth season. The other video's I have loaded from YouTube will show four segments from the same show.
Beside the sightings in Wisconsin there has been other states that has reported there own sightings. These are Ohio, Minnesota New Mexico and Texas. One interesting incident was in Greggton Texas, way back in 1958. A woman by the name of Mrs Delburt Gregg, claimed to have a experience that could be called a encounter with a werewolf. She claims that she saw a animal that was a "huge, shaggy, wolf-like creature" that was clawing at the screen of her window! She then jump up and grabbed a flashlight and the beast ran off into nearby bushes. Later she claimed to see a tall man was walking down the road away from where she saw the creature.
Speaking of Texas, there seems to be a new trend with teenagers that hang out together and call themselves werewolves. It has started in some High schools in Texas and will most likely move throughout the country. This of course is nothing new, for over the years there has been many groups in many places that pretend to be vampires, so why not wannabe werewolves? Then there are some Forums that believe that the werewolf craze is fading out and will be replaced by some other mythical monster.
On my next segment we will "claw" are way back to the very beginning of the werewolf myth and then work our way forward to explore the truth behind the werewolf trials in Europe. Part two will be called "The Story Behind the Story" for it was the history of the werewolf "outbreak" that was said to happen in France, that inspired my Hearts That Howl Series. From there, I will return to a fictional story about a group of modern day werewolf hunters which I will call And Deliver Us From Evil....
So stay tuned and tell all your friends to also check out these new segments that will be written to enhance and add too "Hearts That Howl."