Werewolves

For thousands of years, the concept of werewolves or lycanthropes (meaning “wolf-men” in Old English and Ancient Greek respectively) has existed and evolved. They are said to be those who can shapeshift into wolves or human-wolf hybrids, either by choice or because of some curse or affliction. Their first documented mention dates back to around 450 BC in Greece – where, every year, whole tribes transformed into wolves for several days – though it is generally accepted that the “wolf-men” originated from Indo-European cultures where warriors would wear wolf hides as a mark of their status and ferocity. Several examples of this existed across Europe, and it was not exclusive to battle: wolf skins were sometimes donned during pagan festivals too. However, as of the 15th century, belief in the existence of genuine werewolves spread as part of the witch hunts. Some tales detailed that one could become infected after being bitten or scratched by a werewolf, while others blamed supernatural curses placed on murderers and cannibals. It has long been argued that the association of wolves with evil was due to them being feared as deadly predators in Europe, much like the weretigers of Asian or the werehyenas or African folklores.