Mythology Monday Werewolves

Happy Mythology Monday! Let’s talk about Werewolves! I feel like vampires get a lot of attention this time of year and sometimes the werewolf gets a bit forgotten. And while you may think this classic monster is more of a modern invention, would it surprise you to know that it has its roots all the way back to Ancient Greece?

That’s right babes, we’re are going that far back! Also trigger warning this post contains a lot of just awful stuff. You have been warned!

Ancient origins

It all possibly starts with the Legend of Lycaon. According to the legend, Lycaon, the son of Pelasgus, angered the god Zeus when he served him a meal made from the remains of a sacrificed boy. Enraged,Zeus turned Lycaon and his sons into wolves as a punishment for that.

Werewolves also had their start in Nordic folklore. This comes from the Saga of The Volsungs. In this, it tells of a father and son who found wolf pelts that had the power to turn people into wolves. But they would only be wolves for just ten days!

The father and son put on the pelts. Doing so, they went on a killing spree in the woods. But, unfortunately, the father attacked his own son. Sadly it was a lethal injury but this ended the rampage of killing. The son was healed by a kindly raven who gave him a leaf with magical healing powers. The son was saved.

Oh those 1500’s

It isn’t surprising that werewolves were of course mentioned in the medieval period or I guess Tudor period. This story takes place in France, the year was 1521, and it was not a werewolf or were wolves. But in fact serial killers Frenchmen Pierre Burgot and Michel Verdun. They confessed to being sworn to the Devil himself. The pair also confessed to having a magical ointment that would turn them into wolves. The also confessed to the murders of several children. He stated that in 1502 he was approached by 3 riders when he was having trouble with his flock of sheep. The on rider stated that if he would swear to him as his master he could help. The idiot then swore alliance to the devil and renounced God. This saved his flock, I guess.

Several years later, he admitted he was feeling weary of his pact. This is when he was summoned by Michel Verdun to a sabbat where he was told to strip naked in the woods and was given the ointment to turn him into a wolf.

This is when they started killing children and travelers. The first of their victims was that of a seven year old boy. They tore him to pieces before the alarm went. The next a little girl, whom they ate whole except for her one arm! The pair killed several agricultural workers indiscriminately. They preferred the fresh taste of the blood from their victims and legend says they would lap it up like kittens. They(Michel and Pierre) also preferred to fornicate with she-wolves than human women. So yeah, bestiality. Gross.

The men or werewolves were finally apprehended when Michel was caught in the act of being a werewolf. A traveler passing through Poligny was attacked by a wolf, which retreated to a thicket after he fought it off. The traveler followed the trail of blood, hoping to prevent the angry wolf surprising him again further along his route. Instead of a wolf, the man found Michel, whose wife was tending a wound in precisely the same place as the wolf had been injured. Michel instantly implicated Burgot when questioned, and also named Philibert Montot (who never confessed to lycanthropy). All three were burned.

Hans the werewolf

In the year of 1651, in the regions of Estonia, Hans has the title of being one of the youngest to be tried for being a werewolf. As he was only 18 at the time. Estonia and much of the Baltic were great hunting for witchfinders, as the peasantry were still practicing paganism (and associated folk-magic) into the Early Modern period, and thus often accused one another of casting spells. It was I’m sure in hopes of implementing others would possibly save themselves. Torture will make you do crazy things. The authorities interpreted such acts and accusations as Satanic witchcraft, and many people were put to death. The peasantry also believed wholeheartedly in werewolves. Things were overly superstitious back then.

Hans was brought before the judges, admitted to his wrongdoing without the need of torture. I’m pretty sure seeing all the witch hunts will do that. Get the execution over with cam not say I blame him. He admitted to the court of having hunted as a werewolf for 2 years but had not taken on the form willingly. Instead, he claimed to have been bitten by a man wearing black garments, whom he discovered to be a werewolf. I guess it dawned on him afterwards. The judges took the opportunity to ask the unusually cooperative werewolf for further detail about his condition. Hans explained that when in wolf-form he felt more like a wild beast than a man, and that he believed the transformation to be physical, not just spiritual. So all of it.

The interesting thing is that although he had no evidence of any murders being committed by him, he was still sentenced to death. Sadly, the main reason for them was the pact-witchcraft. Which is punishable by death. The cloaked figured was suspected to be Satan. And then the teen showed his scar which was that of a dog bite. Again, to avoid torture, I’m sure he just showed off a dog bite like hey look! And then he was executed.

Werewolf of Chalons

So let’s end some of this nonsense with a horrific tale of a serial killer from the year 1598. Again we go back to France to the region of Champagne. The city of Chalons, and this is the story of the killer tailor. His name is long gone, and the tale so horrible that the parliament of Paris burned the court documents. All we have left is the story passed down by the word of mouth.

During the day the werewolf ran a tailor shop. But by night, it was a different story. Much akin to fairy tails the tailor would hear small children playing around his shop. He would lure them in with promises of sweets and treats. Once inside his shop he would trap them. First the tailor would sexually abuse them, then he would slit their throats, and then cut their bodies up with butcher precision. He would store their parts in the cellar in barrels. Also, some people say he would have sex with the dead bodies before butchering them.

He would then eat the bodies.

In the forest he would turn into the wolf and attack travelers. He would rip our throats and devour them right there. And it wouldn’t be long until he was caught. Authorities searched the cellars. And inside they found bleached bones and butchered human flesh.

The tailor wolf was burned to death . And it was said he was blasphemous until death by fire.

How to kill?

Fire. It’s fire according to folk lore. Silver bullet is a more modern day thing.

So yeah the werewolf, a lot more than what you expected huh? And who would have thought there was that much of a disturbing history of the creature. What do you think? Let me know! Happy haunting!

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