The Moon. Wolves. Shapeshifters...
( @GCParaPanda tackles the Werewolf Mythos in this week's blog.)
When it came to writing this post, I pondered on how to tackle this: from a Cryptid/Cryptozoological standpoint as an creature/animal of legend whose existence has yet to be proven or from the ancient Werewolf Mythos as a preternatural being, with the curse (or gift) of existing as an ordinary human shapeshifting into a werewolf during the cycle of the full moon...
Werewolves. We're all familiar with the Hollywood and Mainstream version: A man being exposed or viewing the full moon shifts into a savage killing machine, usually portrayed as a hybrid- a muscular, strong human shaped body, but covered in wolf fur, with a wolf's head, and depending on which country or culture the werewolf is from may or may not have a tail, and his head may have some human characteristics.
Rarely is a werewolf thought of as a completely transformed wolf, albeit larger, and more vicious- but some Native American folklore describe the transformation as a complete "shapehift" into a wolf. The hybrid version really doesn't exist in their culture.
It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when the Werewolf Myth originated. Some believe the ancient Greeks may have taken the myth from the Phoenicians, which originated approximately 1200 B.C.
With this information, it's probable that the Werewolf Mythos can be traced back several thousand years.
Again, what I find so fascinating is how almost every culture has it's own version of this mysterious creature.
Werewolves are present in the Norse, Swedish, and Icelandic folklore as well as South American, Mexican, Greece and almost all of Europe: England, Ireland, France (called the "loup-garou") the Eastern European and Slavic countries: Romania, Czech Republic, Croatia & Serbia.
Let's also look at the "rational" view on the Werewolf Mythos-
There's a rare psychiatric disorder referred to as "Clinical Lycanthropy". The person afflicted with this has the delusion that he/she can, has transformed into or is an animal.
Here's a one viewpoint I have: being a psychiatric disorder, (this may not be P.C. , but bear with me) wouldn't the person affected be referred to as a "Lunatic"?
The root for the word "lunatic" is..."luna", i.e Moon.
No small coincidence, that.
Whether you believe in the Werewolf Mythos or not, you should take into account how ancient and widely spread around the world tales of these creatures are.
I always look at a Mythos/Legend from all angles, not just selecting one aspect to write about.
Do I believe in werewolves?
I always wear a small sterling silver crucifix.
And it rarely comes off.