Author Shara Lanel offers her take on werewolves, lycanthropy, and the full moon…
Lycanthropy is “the change of man or woman into the form of a wolf, either through magical means…or through judgment of the gods in punishment for some great offence,” according to Sabine Baring-Gould in The Book of Werewolves. In The Complete Book of Werewolves (yes, similar titles) by Leonard R. N. Ashley he states: “The werewolf is an outcast, shunned. Medieval laws stated that for certain crimes against society the offender must ‘become a wolf.'” In other words, the law won’t protect this man and he can be hunted and killed like a wolf. Ashley says the Catholic Church acknowledged the existence of werewolves, but considered them a form of possession or a glamour that makes the person believe he is a beast.
From True Werewolves of History by Donald F. Glut: “Generally…the term ‘lycanthrope’ refers to the unfortunates who believe themselves to be transformed into beasts without an actual physical metamorphosis. ‘Werewolf’ mostly pertains to those physically changed into animals or hybrids.”
You can change into a werewolf by wearing a wolf’s skin or by performing a ritual or using a magic ointment. Or you could just be insane or have a genetic anomaly. This forum thread discusses several more ideas on how to become one (http://forum.werewolfcafe.com/viewtopic.php?id=3817).
Or it could run in your family. Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf (1985) probably influenced my thoughts on werewolves the most. I’d never seen the black and white movies or read any books about werewolves. I might’ve seen one on Scooby Doo, but it was the image of Michael sprouting fur in front of the bathroom mirror that stuck with me. In fact, when I was creating the character of Haden Blackwood in Blame It on the Moon, I gave him a similar memory from his teenage years. But Haden was given to human parents for adoption, so he had no idea whether his case was a genetic anomaly or hereditary.
Did you know there’s a Werewolves Anonymous? “‘Werewolves Anonymous’ by Kevin Creed, tells about the organization now with 257 members, that was started in early 1993 for victims of OCL (Organically Caused Lycanthropy) or testosterone poisoning, patients of Dr. Mason Grumler, Baton Rouge, LA.” (Resource: http://michaelhalm.tripod.com/id173.htm) Another interesting tidbit–there was a study saying that werewolves went extinct in the 1800s and one that recorded werewolves going at 60 mph.
Almost every werewolf site or book includes a list of classic movies like The Wolf Man, The Werewolf of London, or the She-Wolf of London. Ashley’s book has awesome reviews or comments on even the most obscure film. This page (http://www.werewolfpage.com/multimedia/posters.htm) offers a compendium of werewolf movie posters—now that’s cool! Hmm, could Chewbacca be a descendent of a pack of werewolves?
Since there are entire books on historical references to the werewolf in different cultures through time, I won’t try to cover those here. My question to you is, with all the pop culture about werewolves, do you prefer the beasts to retain a somewhat human form or to turn completely into a wolf? And do you like your weres scary or sexy? In Blame It on the Night, I went with the pack turning into actual wolves and staying sexy men (or women) the rest of the time. Do you think a werewolf has to change at the full moon, or do you like them to have the ability to shape-shift at will? I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
Awards: VRW HOLT Medallion Winner for Blame It on the Moon