We’re familiar with werewolves, right? Spooky shapeshifting creatures that howl at the full moon and can infect others with a single bite?
As we’ve hit October, the spooky season comes along with it. So we decided to have some fun and dive into the folklore behind werewolves for the next few weeks!
So let’s begin with werewolf beliefs, characteristics, and (believe it or not!) werewolf trials of the 16th century!
Werewolves are people who can turn into wolves – some can do it on command, while others have no choice when the full moon occurs. In all cases, however, it was believed that werewolves could not control their urge to kill people and other animals.
The first mentions of werewolves are found in the Gilgamesh epic, Nordic folklore, and Greek mythology.
Belief in werewolves really ramped up during the same time as the belief in witches during the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period. Many times, they were directly connected with witch trials. Werewolf trials were actually held between the 15th and 18th centuries.
France seemed to have a lot of trouble with werewolves during the 16th century, which led to many convictions and executions.
Confessions were given after torture sessions. Many admitted that they made a deal with “a man in black” or were working with Satan. Some even admitted to turning into a wolf in order to go down to hell and fight demons.
People were burned at the stake, hanged, sentenced to life imprisonment or sent to psychiatric hospitals.
Because so much violence was associated with werewolves, it’s thought that these werewolves were actually serial killers.