I am excited to announce that professional copy editing has begun on “The Warning Signs!”
If you are interested in learning more, I will be participating in an interview with Mark L. Schultz on www.wordrefiner.com.
I had the honor of being interviewed by AllAuthor.com. The questions and answers were posted on February 12th. If you are interested in reading any of the great author interviews they have up, click the following link: allauthor.com/interview/mainihi/
We are looking forward to participating in Quad Con this month!!!! Be sure to keep your eyes out for updates about upcoming events and venue policy’s here: quadcitycon.com There should be plenty of room to social distance at the malls and there are sure to be some amazing creative folks present.
readersfavorite.com will have all three of my available books listed as prizes in the monthly book giveaway. If you are interested in winning some amazing books by great authors you can check out the monthly giveaway here: book giveaway /Rise or/and here: book-giveaway/lost and here: book-giveaway/endow
Upcoming Event Reminders:
Concealed Realms is now schedule to participate in Quad Con on March 6th and 7th in Peoria. The event will take place at the Northwoods Mall. To learn more visit: quadcity.com
Concealed Realms is scheduled to participate in Quad con on March 20th. This event will take place in Burlington IA at the Westland Mall.
Concealed Realms will be at Planet Funk Con! This event is taking place from June 25th -27th at The Rivercenter in Davenport, IA. To learn more visit: planetfunkcon.com (Event Canceled)
We are scheduled to participate at Raptor Con! The new dates for the event are August 21st and 22nd. This event takes place in Evansville Indiana. To learn more visit: www.RaptorCon.com
on a werewolf
Will never tame
Whose jaws retract,
with fangs intact
—to prowl the night. ” Kurt Philip Behm
“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.” Sir John Talbot
“I’m not afraid of werewolves or vampires or haunted hotels, I’m afraid of what real human beings to do other real human beings.” Walter Jon Williams
“There’s no doubt that the Moon is more than a handy night light and a hair restorer for werewolves. It’s responsible for the substantial amplitude of earthly ocean tides. These are of obvious influence if you’re a geoduck, a type of clam that people dig up at low tide.” Seth Shostak
“I wanted to be an author as far back as I can remember, mixed with occasional bouts of wanting to be a werewolf when I grew up. But mostly, when I daydreamed, it was about being an author.” Neil Gaiman
“Lycanthropy is in his blood, And spreads to those he slays. Uncontrolled metamorphosis, Undetectable by day. But when the moon is waxing, And all the world’s asleep. Through woods and fields, The werewolf he will creep.” Andrew Paul Williams
“Some people will tell you werewolves can only shapechange under a full moon, but people also say there’s no such things as ghosts.” Patricia Briggs
“Hearts set aflame by the spell of the full moon
A circle of fire that burns in the night
Cannot be stopped it’s the curse of werewolf
A child of the night that howl to the moon.” Fredrik Nilsson
“Oh the werewolf, oh the werewolf
Comes stepping along
He don’t even break the branches where he’s gone
Once I saw him in the moonlight, when the bats were a flying
I saw the werewolf, and the werewolf was crying.” Michael Hurley
“[…] werewolves reveal our fear of what lurks inside, the beast hidden in us all that has the potential to change a rational and moral person, leaving only dreaded animal behaviour and appetites of lust, hunger, and rage.” Tommy Kuusela
Definition of Werewolf:
Noun “(in folklore and superstition) a human being who has changed into a wolf, or is capable of assuming the form of a wolf, while retaining human intelligence.”– www.dictionary.com
Noun “a person transformed into a wolf or capable of assuming a wolf’s form“– merriamwebster.com
I was recently putting the final touches on my short story titled “Perception” and it inspired me to delve deeper into the legends and folklore associated with werewolves. Humans that take on the form of animals are a common occurrence in mythology from around the word, but to me none seem quite as prevalent as the werewolf. Undoubtedly, these particular shapeshifting monsters have been on our minds for a very long time. They can be found in countless books and films. You might say that they have become a staple of supernatural fiction and in my opinion, these creatures have a very interesting history.
There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands of werewolf tales the world over. In this post we will take a look at a handful of the most ancient examples, some characteristics of these shapeshifters, and some facts about the history involving them.
Ancient Origins Of Werewolves
There is some debate exactly where the werewolf legend originated. Many scholars believe the werewolf made its debut in The Epic of Gilgamesh which is one of the oldest historical works of literature. This epic tale which was written on 12 clay tablets features Gilgamesh the god-king who was believed to have reigned around 2,600 B.C. and his beast-man companion Enkidu. There are two different perspectives on what creatures are in fact considered werewolves in the epic.
Gilgamesh’s companion was said to be created by the gods to humble and balance him. Some scholars consider him to be the the first werewolf, because it is said that he was born a man, completely covered in flowing hair. Although this beast-man was said to be a vegetarian, he did run with the wild beasts of the mountains and forests.
Since Enkidu was created as a beast-man, others believe that the first mention of a werewolf is actually in the tale of the goddess Ishstar from The Epic of Gilgamesh. In this story it is said that the goddess fell in love with Gilgamesh but he rejected her advances after learning of the way she treated a past suitor. This suitor whom was believed to be a young Shepard, was said to have been encouraged by Ishtar up until she grew bored with him and decided to transform him into a wolf.
Greece and Rome
The werewolf as we know it now first appeared in ancient Greece and Rome, in poems and philosophical text, such as the tale Niciros. This story came from the Satyricon, a work written by the Roman author Petronius around AD 61.
In this story, Niciros is a soldier that traveled to a distant city with an acquaintance. While on their way, they stop at a graveyard to relieve themselves. To Niciros’ horror, his travel companion makes a circle of urine around himself rips off his clothes, and transforms into a wolf, before running off toward a town.
The stunned and frightened Niciros walks to town, jumping at and attacking every shadow along the way. Once there, he gets told by a woman that a horrifying wolf had attacked and killed off a handful of farm animals but not to fear, because the wolf-man had been speared in the throat by a servant, putting an end to it’s life.
Prior to this there are several references to men changing into wolves found in ancient Greek literature and mythology. For instance Herodotus, (an ancient Greek historian c. 484 – c. 425 BC) wrote that the Neuri, of the north-east of Scythia,(land that is now part of Russia) were all transformed into wolves once every year for several days, and then changed back to their human shape and in the second century BC, Greek geographer Pausanias related the story of King Lycaon of Arcadia, who was transformed into a wolf because he had sacrificed a child in the altar of Zeus. Other such instances can be found in writing from, Pliny the Elder, and the poet Virgil, just to name a few.
Werewolves also emerged during the Ancient Nordic age (c.1700 BC – c. 500 BC) in folklore and mythology. During the viking age, Norse people colonized Iceland and at the time their Aesir religion left elements of Norse mythology in Icelandic literature. Due to this, despite their distance, they share a common mythology.
Norse mythology is composed of sagas and when it comes to werewolfism, the Volsunga Saga from the thirteenth century stands apart because werewolf related stories have a prominent presence. The most famous such story tells of a father and son who were wondering in the woods when they came upon a hut. In it they find two spellbound wolf pelts. These pelts had the power to turn people into powerful and cunning wolves, but couldn’t be removed for a period of ten days.
The story states that the father and son donned the pelts, and after transforming into wolves journeyed together rampaging the forest for a time before splitting up. When they separated, the pair agreed to howl to each other if one of them encountered seven men to fight at a time, but the son breaches the agreement and kills 11 men at once. Angered by this, the father fatally injures the son. Then, a Raven who is a messenger of Odin, brings an enchanted healing leaf to place on the son’s wound. On the tenth day, after he is healed, he and his father take off the enchanted wolf pelts and burn them to ashes.
The wolf was once an intrinsic part of Irish culture and countryside, unfortunately the last wild wolf is believed to have been killed off there around 1786, about 100 years after they vanished from Scotland and about 300 years after they became extinct in England. The relationship between the Celts and wolves date back to the earliest times of European history. A carving of a wolf was even discovered in the Highlands of Scotland from sixth century BC.
Regarded as majestic animals, the Celtic tribes both feared and admired them. It is no wonder that wolve-human transformation and shapeshifting deities are featured in many tales. Some of these shapeshifters are good and others bad. If you would like to learn more, you could check out these link: livinglibraryblog.com, and folklorethursday.com
In folklore a werewolf is a human that shapeshifts into a wolf or wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse. In general werewolves are rumored to have superior strength and cunning. Sometimes they are even said to have supernatural abilities beyond changing form. Unlike their predecessors, generally modern werewolves change with the full moon and appear much larger than an actual wolf. Sometime they even walk on two feet and retain some very human features after shapeshifting.
The Middle ages and Early Modern History
Through the ages and across continents the belief in werewolves continued to live on. In the Middle Ages, werewolves were mentioned in Medieval law codes(for instance that of Cnut, and discussed in clerical texts by churchman. At this time werewolves generally were described as having an appearance that resembled that of ordinary wolves and they were not usually directly connected to lunar cycles.
Toward the end of the Middle Ages, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a belief arose that werewolves, like witches, were servants of the Devil. Trials associated with werewolf-ism spread throughout Europe as part of the European witch trials and didn’t subside in some regions, until the eighteenth century. The convicted were often burned alive.
Not all accused werewolves were entirely innocent, some being actual serial killers and/or Cannibals. If you are interested in reading about a few “real life” stories, I recommend this article that features “eight historic accounts of werewolves“: www.mentalfloss.com
There are also several medical reasons that have been identified as possible explanations regarding some “real life” werewolves, such as gene mutation and mental illness. If you would like to learn more about them, I recommend reading this article on “werewolves from a medical perspective“: www.the-cma.org.uk
Before the end of the 19th century, Greeks adopted the belief that if the corpses of werewolves were not destroyed, they could come back to life in the form of wolves or similar creatures which would prowl battlefields and drink blood from dying soldiers.
Werewolves became common subjects of horror and gothic works of fiction in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with depictions usually centering around werwolf-ism that was either caused by a hereditary condition or being transmitted like a disease.
Becoming a Werewolf
Traditionally, legends describe several ways that a person could become a werewolf. One of the simplest methods involves removing ones clothing and putting on a wolf-skin or a belt made of wolf-skin. In other cases the body is rubbed with magic salve in order to achieve transformation. Additionally in some story’s, drinking water from the footprint of a werewolf was also considered a method of accomplishing metamorphosis. Other reasons for becoming a werewolf range from being born on a certain night to being cursed for having done misdeeds. Transforming into a werewolf simply by being bitten by another werewolf is common in modern fiction, but rarer in legend. Perhaps because werewolves in such tales seldom left any victim alive for very long.
Werewolves have several described weaknesses, the most common being an aversion to wolfsbane (Aconitum). Ingesting the plant is said to severely weaken them, and direct skin contact is rumored to causes them to be burned so severely that their skin will smoke slightly at the site of contact. Similarly to vampires, werewolves are also sometimes said to have an aversion to religious artifacts like crucifixes and holy water.
Although I have read that it was not a feature of folk legends, in popular culture, a werewolf can be killed if shot by a silver bullet. The general belief that you can defend oneself against a werewolf in this manner is believed to originate from the story The Beast of Gévaudan (1764 to 1767). In it a magician named Jean Chastel blessed a silver bullet with which he seriously wounded a werewolf.
However there are legends that claim stabbing a werewolf with a silver dagger would revert the beast back to human form. Similarly it was rumored that a werewolf in human form could not shapeshift when wearing a silver amulet and that you could increase the amulets repressive abilities further by filling it with wolf-bane.
(I found it interesting that some researchers believe the silver weakness was actually mistranslated and claim that silvered metal in stories, actually refers to quicksilver (mercury).)
Removing The Curse
Various methods have appeared in folklore for removing the werewolf form. Among them disgaurding the magic item that made you turn, killing the witch or person who cursed you, and death seem to be the simplest. Other cures mentioned are striking the offender three times on the forehead with a knife or piercing of the werewolf’s hands with nails.
It is also mentioned that in antiquity the Ancient Greeks and Romans believed exhaustion could cure werewolf-ism and the victim would be subjected to long periods of strenuous activity. Traditionally, in europe during midevil times excercism was also sometimes believed to be a cure.
I hope that you enjoyed these few ancient werewolf tales and a brief look at their history. Stories of werwolf-ism were common in folklore prevalent across Europe. Werewolf legends have sprung up in virtually every area of the Earth. They are one of the oldest human monsters recorded throughout the world and although there may not be evidence of an actual human-to-wolf transformation, there are stories of brutal encounters with humans claiming to have a wolfish prowess and incidents of people having wolf-like features.
Scholars have suggested that it was destined for wolves, being the most feared predators in Europe, to be projected into the folklore and legends, since up until the 20th century wolf attacks against humans, although infrequent were a rather widespread feature of life in Europe. This idea is often supported by the concept that areas devoid of wolves have typically used different kinds of similar predators in the same way, for instance there are legends of were-hyenas of Africa, were-tigers in India and were-jaguars in South America.