Thursday, April 25, 2013

How To Be... a Werewolf

You're probably thinking right about now that the way to become a werewolf is pretty simple. All you need to do is go out and find one and let it bite or scratch you.
That would be incorrect.

Sure, plenty of books and movies depict it that way now, but that has newly been tacked onto the werewolf legend, probably due to its association with vampiric legends due to Dracula. Which is kind of interesting, because Stoker drew on werewolf legends and attached them to the vampire legends. Although it had been believed in Medieval Europe that you had to burn a werewolf corpse to keep it from rising from the dead as a vampire. So if you're looking to one day be a vampire, it appears that being a werewolf is a good start.

But, okay, if you can't become a werewolf from getting bitten, how do you become one? It appears that there are many paths to werewolfdom, and many of them are surprisingly easy to accomplish.

One of the best ways, because you can control it, is to simply wear a belt (or girdle) made of wolf hide. Putting on the belt would cause the transformation to take place, instantly and painlessly. Removing it would revert the wearer to human form. However, some sources said it wasn't quite that simple. Some said the strip of wolf skin, the wolf strap, had to come from the devil. Although you could still control the transformation, because the devil gave it to you, you could never rid yourself of the wolf strap.

Some legends say that you could become any animal at all by drinking rainwater from its footprint. Wereelephant, anyone? Or, you know, maybe find one of those stone dinosaur footprints and drink from that. Weretyrannosaur. One catch, I couldn't find anything that said how long these transformations would last, just that drinking the water would trigger them. I imagine they must wear off; otherwise, no one would have ever known they'd happened to begin with.

Other sources say that you can become a werewolf by sleeping outside in the light of a full summer's moon as long as the light is shining directly on your face. I suppose this must be part of where the full moon part of the transformation legend comes from. The sources implied that transformed human would return to normal at dawn. But these weren't permanent changes; you'd have to do the same thing any time you wanted to become a werewolf.

Still other legends claim that one would need to be cursed by the devil to become a werewolf. Or enter into an allegiance with him. Evidently, there was once a group of sorcerers that craved human flesh, so they entered an agreement with Satan to have wolf forms so that they could fill their craving. They were given straps so that they could control their transformations.

And other sources say that the werewolf has been cursed by God or Angels or, even, saints for committing terrible offenses. I'm not sure what constituted a terrible offense. But, then, still other sources say that werewolves are actually the servants of God in his battle against Satan. They are known as the Hounds of God and go down into Hell to battle demons and witches.

Oh, and some people are just born that way.

There you go. If you want to be a werewolf, you have a lot of options to choose from. Personally, I'd go with the wolf hide belt. Then, again, being a weredinosaur sounds pretty cool, too.

Notes:
1. During the Middle Ages, it was thought that werewolves did not have tails (you know, because people don't have tails), which was how you could tell a real wolf from a werewolf. To keep from being found out, werewolves would run with one of their hind legs extended behind them so that, from a distance, it would look as if they had tails.

2. In his book Fool Moon, Jim Butcher features werewolves. I appreciate that he didn't just go with the modern concept of were-ism being like a contagion. He incorporates many of the various werewolf legends into The Dresden Files, which I find a nice change of pace from most modern renditions.

EDIT:
This post is related to the post, How To Be... a Vampire

36 comments:

  1. Yay! This may be my favorite. I hadn't heard the no tails rule before--love it!

    I have to wonder if drinking water out of ancient dinosaur's footprint would actually work, or if there is a statute of limitations on the age of the footprint. Or were you aiming for a different method?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  2. Fun one! I had no idea there were so many options when considering the way of the werewolf. I, too was only familiar with the bite/scratch method.

    I would also choose the wolf hide belt--I do not like the idea of drinking water from an animal's footprint. Call me crazy, but that doesn't seem sanitary.

    Given the option I would still become a vampire. The clothing options seem more enticing. Great one, Andrew!

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  3. Yeah, glad to know the many ways to avoid becoming one.

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  4. More ways to be a werewolf than I ever knew. I'll be sure to steer clear of wolf hide, rainwater in a footprint, sleeping outside, and the many other ways to become a werewolf.

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  5. Think I'll pass on being a werewolf. I wonder if they get fleas?

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  6. The full moon bit doesn't work, I was sleeping under one last night, or trying to anyway. Have to try something else.

    Trust you to think of fleas Alex.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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  7. I think werewolves are much more badass than vampires, probably because they are more redneck like me.

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  8. Anything that requires direct interaction with the devil probably isn't worth it. Just sayin'.

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  9. I love the werewolves-influenced-by-Stoker-influenced-by-werewolves cycle! It's sort of like kabuki theather: people imitating puppets (bunraku) which in turn are imitating people.

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  10. I hadn't heard the no-tails thing before. Good stuff.

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  11. I'm passing on the footprint beverage, but I might go for the girdle of wolf hide. I wonder if Ebay has one of those.

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  12. This is such a cool post. I've never heard of most of these legends. I know I definitely wouldn't go with that first option! I don't want to even associate with the devil! :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  13. Shannon: Nothing I found said the footprint had to be fresh. And I'm not surprised this is your favorite.

    Jean: I'm just not sold on the whole vampire thing. It just doesn't seem like a good life, and there's no coming back from it, unlike with many of the werewolf options.

    Sheena: Unless you get cursed...

    SfJ: They are mostly easy to avoid. Oh, there's also drinking from enchanted streams, so make sure you don't do that, either.

    Alex: I suppose if you stayed in wolf form long enough.

    Jo: You slept outside last night? And it's not summer, yet, so it wouldn't have worked anyway.

    JKIR,F!: I can see that.

    Matt: I'd tend to agree.

    TAS: Yeah, it's pretty interesting. I don't think we'd have the strong association between werewolves and vampires without him. Except for the whole werewolves rising from the dead as vampires thing.

    M.J.: I think that one's hilarious.

    C.Lee: You know, I bet they do. Ebay has just about everything.

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  14. Kristen: Yeah, bad things tend to come of that. I think. I mean, it doesn't sound like a good thing to lose your soul.

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  15. I'll come back to read more later, but in the meantime, I didn't get your email.

    try:

    bfpageljr[at]gmail.com

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  16. There's no master's required? How much does it pay? What are the benefits like? I'm all for following your passion when it comes to choosing a vocation, but I'm not sure werewolfery would suit my long-term retirement goals. :P

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  17. Briane: Okay, did that.

    L.G.: No real schooling necessary, but, then, the pay isn't very good. However, it has great health and dental.

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  18. So many options!

    I had no idea werewolves were thought to not have tails. But it seems like running with only three normal legs would be at least as obvious as running tailless.

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  19. TGE: Not from a distance through the trees, evidently.

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  20. I liked Fool Moon much better than the first book in the series, and I still recall that after he handled the big bad, he kept the gang of werewolves (I forget what they are called) as characters throughout all the later novels.

    So, if I drink water out of my footprint I had made from plaster when I was a baby, will I transform into baby me? Is that the fountain of youth?

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  21. I'm liking how easy it is to turn into a Weretyrannosaurus. I think a trip to the natural history museum is in order.

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  22. Well there you go. You learn something new every day!

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  23. Rusty: Well, no, I don't think that's how it works, because, if you went out and made a footprint in the ground with the plaster, it wouldn't be a real footprint. I think you'd turn into plaster.

    Jeanne: I know! Except, well, for the ensuing panic and all the police and stuff when you would become a dinosaur.

    Cally: That is the hope.

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  24. Correct or not, I prefer the Stoker, scratch/bitten method. It's creepier.

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  25. S.L.: It's certainly not something that can be fixed as easily as the other ways can, some of which are as simple as saying the person's name to him/her.

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  26. Technically, the fossilized dinosaur footprints, and footprints of other extinct animals, aren't real footprints anymore, either, due to the fact that fossils are just rocks that retain the shape of the original item (in this case, the soil with a dinosaur footprint in it). It is quite funny to contemplate, though.

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  27. Kristina: Shh! You're spoiling my illusion! I -want- to be a weredinosaur.

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  28. The moon thing works only on a Friday.

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  29. Makayla: My research didn't have anything about it needing to be a specific day of the week.

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