A Few Possible Explanations for Werewolves

The legend of the werewolf, a man who changes into a wolf, goes way back in European history. However, in Africa there are similar old tales of men who turn into hyenas, and in Asia of men who turn into leopards. What could be behind those stories? It may be a confluence of several exceptional circumstances that bled into each other with time and retelling.

There is a form of mental illness called lycanthropy, in which a person is convinced that they change into an animal. This delusion may be exacerbated by the use of drugs like belladonna.

True serial killers, like Peter Stumpp in 1589, may use the story of turning into a wolf as an explanation of his behavior, or a confession under torture.

As is suspected in some tales, a gang of men would dress as animals to terrorize people to exert control over them.

While not causing murderous rampages, there are medical conditions like hypertrichosis and porphyria that can cause one to appear more like a wild animal, making the idea of a hybrid or transformation more plausible.

And in all those places and eras, there were actual wild predators who occasionally developed a taste for human flesh, or became unafraid to attack due to rabies. When livestock and even children are ripped apart by a wild animal, the terror that follows can easily be blamed on supernatural forces.      

When these various stories were retold over generations, the myth of a bloodthirsty man-wolf was an easy way to cover them all. Read more about the many possible contributions to the werewolf myth at the Daily Grail. -via Strange Company

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Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.
It was a long time before I could actually watch Lon Chaney's transformation in The Wolf Man.
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