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Lycanthropy and werewolves are an established rite in the film industry, ever since The Werewolf, the first werewolf motion picture, appeared in 1913. But what are they? How do they tie in with wolves?


Lycanthropy is the transformation of a human into the form of a wolf. Lycanthropy takes place by magic to satisfy the taste for human flesh or by desire of the gods as punishment for wrong doing. This definition is from the British lycanthropy scholar, priest, historian and novelist, Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924), celebrated in werewolf circles for his carefully researched The Book Of Were-Wolves, published in 1865. He also noted that lycanthropy is a madness found in most lunatic asylums.

The term lycanthropy is derived from the Greek lukos for wolf and 'anthropos' for man. In Greek mythology Lycaon was transformed into a wolf because of eating human flesh.


Werewolves are men who change into wolf form. But transformation is not unknown among women and children. As a werewolf you behave as a wolf and do what the body of a wolf does. Yet at the same time you retain your power of reasoning to do what a man does. If you wish you can combine killing sheep and cattle with breaking into houses, terrifying the occupants and stealing their beer. But you must watch out because if you come to harm as a werewolf you carry that injury back with you on returning to human form; if a sheep farmer blasts you in the leg with his shot-gun you will be lame on your return to humanity. littlewitches_1.jpg

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