Saturday, August 2, 2008

More on Werewolf

The word "werewolf" comes from the anglo-saxon word "werwulf", "wer" meaning man, or human, and "wulf" meaning (quite literally), wolf. This half-man half-beast has the physical appearance of a normal guy during the day, but come nightfall, with the rising of a full moon, a transformation takes place. What was once a man turns into a vicious, bloodthirsty killing machine--the werewolf.

Hollywood's portrayal of this beast is often shallow and sometimes even comical (Bugs bunny anyone?). It makes this supernatural phenomenom almost unbelieveable. But this creature is prevailant amongst many ancient cultures.

Yes, yes, DotA-ers will be yelling "WOOT LYCANTHROPE", but there is such a word. It is not unusual, from Asia to Europe. It describes the ability to assume the for of an animal, that is to shape shift. The werewolf is a good example of this. Another one will be the Vampire-Bat change.

Instances of Lycanthropy have been recorded as early as the time of Julius Caesar by Ovid (43 BC to 18 AD). As the legend goes, Lycaon the king of Arcadia tried to test the omnisience of Zeus by placing before him a dish of human flesh, just to see if a god could tell. Well, if Zeus could'nt tell the differance then he won't exactly be of god quality. So Zeus got pissed and cursed Lycaon, turning him into the first werewolf.

King Nebuchadnezzar:
Besides Roman and Greek legend, shape shifters are also mentioned in the Bible. The book of Daniel tells of how King Nebuchadnezzar was transformed from an almightly ruler to a beast of the field.

Daniel makes a prediction about the king and the Bible records, "The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. And he was driven from men and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair was as grown as eagle's feathers and his nails were as long as claws.

Do we need any further proof that shape shifting is plausible?

Possible Causes:
According to and old english traditional belief, lycanthrophy in the case of a werewolf is caused by the plant wolfsbane. If a man scratches himself with this magical plant by the light of the moon, he will immediately become a werewolf, forever doomed to changing onto a ravenous, murderous beast everytime the full moon rises un the night sky.

However, i believe it can also happen through spirit possession. The sopirit world, you see, is very complex. There are some spirits that would make you take the form of an animal if you are trapped by one of these foul demons. Have you been to excosisms? I've not been to one in person, but hearing from others, they people sometimes behave like beasts and don on the facial expressions.

In the time of the Celts, before the Norman and Saxon invasion of England, the druids used to dress up in wolfskin by the light of the full moon to mark occult festivals like the summer and winter solstice

Eastern Beliefs:
Although the wolf is the most common animal reffered to in lycanthropy in Europe, it is not necessarily the case in the east.

Indian legends of lycanthropy invole the tiger instead of the wolf.

As recently as 1919, in Bhagalpur, India, a shopkeeper named Rupa Sao attacked and killed a young girl. However, the marks on the body were more like that of a tiger than a man. When arrested, Sao was in such a deteriorated state if mind that he could not account for the heinous act himself. He has to be committed to an asylum. One night, when in custody there, the guards heard him calling out to the heavens---that he did not want to change into a tiger again! By the time they reached him cell, he had killed himself. Eeriely, that night was a full moon, the first since his arrest.

In popular Chinese legendslycanthrophy and werewolves are also prevalant. Many stories revolve around this. However, here's an interesting variant---a female of the species, the legendary Hu Li Jing.

This is the Fox Spirit, where certain beautiful women are believed to be the spirits of demonic foxes.

You could say they could change their shape frm a foxy babe to a baby fox at will!

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