The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings
By Brad Steiger forward by Br. Franklin Ruehl
First it should be stressed that the idea of a man morphing into a wolf is actually well within the realm of feasibility. Few among us have not lost their tempers on at least a few occasions. During such out bursts, eruptions of uncontrolled emotions spew forth, making us feel as though we have become transformed who some type of fierce beast.
Intriguingly, the first depiction of a man-wolf was apparently inscribed on a cave wall, suggesting that even prehistoric Homo Sapiens may have been cognizant of this incredible duality. The first account of a werewolf appears in the scriptures in the Book of Daniel (4: 15-33), where King Nebuchadnezzar exhibited symptoms of werewolfism for nearly four harrowing years. And the Greek legend of King Lycanon of Arcadia being transformed into a wolf by Zeus after offering the God by serving him a meal of human flesh gave birth to the scientific term for werewolf, “lycanthrope”.
Later, in the fifth century B.C., the celebrated Greek historian Herodotus reported on the Neuri, a strange people who became wolves for a brief time once a year. In the first century A.D., noted Roman poet Virgil described a sorcerer who transmogrified himself into a wolf by use of secret herbs. Also in that century, renowned Roman author Gaius Petronius Arbiter wrote of such shape-shifters in his compilation of short stories, “Satyricon”.
Moreover, early physicians, such as Paulos Agina of Alexandria (seventh century A.D.) and Avicenna (ninth century A.D.) and Ali ibn al Abbas (tenth century A.D.), both of Persia, were well aware of the condition. They are not delineated it in detail, but also recommended therapies for it.
Fast forwarding to the middle ages, accounts of lycanthrophy mushroomed with an astounding 30,000 individuals charged with werewolfism in France alone between 1520 and 1630. Without a doubt, the most notorious case centered around Gilles Garnier. Garnier was a peasant whose four-month rampage resulted in the deaths of four youngsters in the French village of Dole, youngsters whose flesh he devoured after which he bayed at the moon. His unholy crimes about in the guise of a halfling—half-man, half-beast. And, incredibly, Garnier himself admitted that he was indeed a werewolf. As punishment, he was burned alive on January 18, 1573.
In an intriguing modern case, Dr. Harvery Rosenstock, former clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical School, published a paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry documenting the case of a 49-year-old woman stricken with lycanthropy. One evening, when the moon was full, she suddenly jumped to the floor and started to crawl about on all fours as she growled and salivated. Worse, she even began chewing and ripping up the furniture. When she gazed into the mirror, she saw not a female’s head but a wolf’s.
Wearing a pentagram (a five pointed star) affords one protection against a werewolf. Shooting such a beast with silver bullets is the best-known means of dispatching the creature. But battering it with a sharp silver implement, such as a silver-handed cane is also effective.
Curing a werewolf is also possible to popular lore. One way is supposedly by merely calling him by his human name while he is in his animal state. Another method required the highly dangerous trick of extracting three drops of the entity’s blood while in beastly form. Yet a third technique demands that the lycanthrope restrain himself from attacking humans for a full nine years.
One can read a frightening book about vampires or a host of other scary monsters and feel secure in the knowledge that they are merely creatures born of the dark side of human imagination. Seeking to define the shadows world beyond death and the awful things that go bump in the night. Werewolves, however, constitute a very different, and much more frightening reality. Werewolves are real.
Not only do werewolves really exist but everyone has the seed of the wolf within his or her psyche. Since prehistoric times the bloodline of the wolf has blended with that of our own species. And each one of us bears the personal responsibility of honoring the noble aspects of out lupine heritage and, at the same time, the vast majority have mastered the challenge of sublimating and channeling their lycanthropic impules into positive and constructive outlets.
Anubis is the jackal-headed Egyptian God of the underworld, the judge of the dead. Sometimes known as the Great Dog, Anubis was mated to Nepthys, the underworld aspect of the Goddess Isis. Dogs were greatly revered in ancient Egypt, and Anubis had a place of great honor in the pantheon of Gods.
For Christians in the middle ages, images of Anubis reinforced folk legends of werejackels that attacked on wary desert travelers. While some ancient cults saw Anubis as a conduit for healing, others believed the pagan God’s role as judge of the underworld and were stealing the souls of those hapless victims that they only pretended to cure.
Sources: Gatnor, Frank, ed. Dictionary of Mysticism. New York; Philosophical Library, 1953.