Werewolf – Lycanthropy

Lycanthropy comes from the Greek lykoi, “wolf” and anthropos, “man”

Werewolves Shapeshifting

The movie Van Helsing (2004) may have not had the best ratings,
but it had some really epic werewolves!

The legend of the werewolf is one of the most ancient and wide spread. Stories of werewolves can be found as far back as history has been written. These shapeshifter myths can be found all over the word from China to Iceland and Brazil to Haiti.

This humanoid creature of myth and folklore had the incredible ability to shapeshift. In numerous accounts they are said to shift into the form of a wolf or a human-wolf-hybrid. Some legends have them being able to shift at will and others after being cursed, scratched or bitten.

Earliest Accounts of Werewolves

Some of the first accounts of werewolves come from Ancient Greek literature. Ovid, in the Metamorphoses, told of the Arcadian King, Lycaeon. King Lycaeon was visited by Zeus. Not believing him to be a true all-knowing god, he decided to test Zeus by serving him human flesh in one of the many dishes served at a banquet in their honor. And not just any flesh — Lycaeon served up his own sons’ flesh. Yikes! His son Nyctimus was just one of 50, so I perhaps King Lycaeon felt he had plenty more where that came from.

Unsurprisingly, this was not a very smart move… Murder and cannibalism was a major slight indeed. Upon discovering the tainted dish, Zeus changed King Lycaeon into a werewolf. Zeus feeling that since Lycaeon obviously had a penchant for human flesh, the wolf form would be a more acceptable form to take part in such a vile activity. Zeus then brought his son Nyctimus back to life.

Nyctimus succeeds his father as king of Arcadia. His rule was cut short by the floods in the age of Deucalion, which some speculate was caused by his brothers and their lack of respect for the Gods.

Well Know Werewolves

The most widely know story of the werewolf would be “Little Red Riding Hood”. The origins of the Little Red Riding Hood story can be traced to sometime preceding the 17th century, and could be found in various European countries. Being so wide-spread makes this tale relevant to the werewolf-trials of the time (similar to the witch trials). There are many ancient were-creature legends to warn the fragile, small and easiest of targets — children. “Little Red Riding Hood” features a wolf who talks to Little Red Riding Hood and then dresses in grandmas clothing to fool the innocent little girl. Not something any regular ‘ol wolf could do.


  1. I can’t help feeling there may be a truthful origin to this wide-spread myth. There’s an old vase with a depiction of a man wearing a wolf-skin, 2500 or so years old. Was this done to terrify people? In a foolish attempt to be protected from wolves? “Fairies” did exist once – they were the smaller peoples once common and driven out of their lands by the big and powerful, but hanging around to seek revenge. They disappeared but the stories about them stayed, got rejected by adults, changed for children and looked like pretty nonsense.

  2. These are just legends people, don’t mistake them for reality. Yes I’m a firm believer in the unknown and that mysterious occurrences happen, but until it is scientifically proven that there is suck things as lycanthropy, I’m not going to believe a word any of yall say. Oh and a werewolf controlling elements is a bunch of BS, in none of the legends does it say that they can control elements but that would make for a good book idea.

  3. Hey person who made this! I could not stop laughing at the thumbnail for this article it is so funny and epic good job on this it gave me a lot of info I needed to know

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