A classic monster that has seen several iterations in cinema throughout the years is the werewolf.
While its cinematic history dates back to 1925’s Wolfblood, the myth of werewolves has existed for centuries.
Considering how long stories of werewolves and lycanthropy have existed, you may wonder if there’s some truth to them.
After all, there have been cases in which children left in the woods were raised by wolves and exhibited canine-like behavior.
Here’s what you need to know about werewolves and whether they exist or not.
Are Werewolves Real?
No, werewolves are not real.
They’re mythological creatures that span different cultures.
Each culture has its own version of a werewolf and what it means to be one.
Some historians claim that the earliest reference to a werewolf was in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
In this story, Gilgamesh ends up turning away a lover.
He had learned that she had turned her previous lover into a wolf.
Other cultures have their own origins in the werewolf myth, too.
However, werewolves are just fictional.
When the full moon rises, you won’t have to worry about running into a werewolf.
How Do You Become A Werewolf?
Although werewolves aren’t real, some claim to have seen them.
Not unlike Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster sightings, there’s always some speculation as to whether werewolf sightings are true or not.
It also doesn’t help that, according to different myths from different cultures, there are different ways to become a werewolf.
Here are some of the major ways that someone can become a werewolf.
One way that’s often depicted in old tales and legends of werewolves is enchantment.
In this case, there’s usually something like a wolf pelt, belt, cloak, or some other object that gets enchanted.
The one who does the enchanting also differs from story to story.
Sometimes it’s an evil witch who wants to revenge on a local village.
Other times, it’s the devil who makes a pact with the person who wants to become a werewolf.
Sometimes the individual doesn’t realize that they have an enchanted item that turns them into a wolf.
Whatever the source, if the item has an enchantment on it, then it usually allows the wearer to turn into a werewolf when they wear the item.
In this case, things are a little bit different with modern interpretations of werewolves.
They don’t only change during the full moon.
Instead, they simply put on the belt or the cloak and turn into a wolf immediately.
Sometimes the enchantment will run out and need time to replenish its power.
When this happens, the person turns back into a human.
Sometimes the wolf has to have enough intelligence to remove the item to turn back into a human.
Since this isn’t always the case, some werewolves become trapped in their wolf forms forever.
In other cases, there may be some tie to the moon.
The enchantment may only work during the full moon, for example.
Once the full moon fades, the wolf returns to its human form.
However the enchantment works, it’s one of the most common tropes in old legends about how humans became werewolves.
Another common way that people become werewolves in old legends is through a curse.
Being a werewolf isn’t a good thing.
Depending on the specific lore, it usually means that at least once a month, you lose all sanity and become a bloodthirsty beast.
It’s possible to kill innocents.
It’s even possible to kill your own family since you don’t recognize them as a wolf.
As such, it’s common for certain people to curse others to become werewolves as an act of vengeance or justice.
For example, if someone crosses an evil witch, then the witch might curse the individual with lycanthropy.
The only way that they can cure themselves is by breaking the curse or asking the witch for forgiveness.
Some might curse someone else as an act of justice.
For example, if the individual killed a person’s family, then the survivor might curse them.
While it may seem like it’s helping the person since now they’re able to kill even more ruthlessly once a month, it’s ultimately a curse.
Life as a werewolf tends to be rather short.
Finally, sometimes someone can be cursed by being somewhere they shouldn’t be or touching something they shouldn’t touch.
For example, if someone were to wander through a sacred place, then the spirits of the place might curse them into becoming a werewolf.
If the individual steals something of value, like a holy relic, then the item might curse them.
Breaking this type of curse usually means doing something to appease the spirits.
It may be as simple as returning the item that they stole or performing some great sacrifice.
The modern tales of werewolves introduced the most popular way to become a werewolf.
One has to get bitten by a werewolf.
Since encounters with werewolves usually end in death, you also have to survive.
Most of those who come across a werewolf end up dying, so they don’t become werewolves.
However, if someone manages to get away or something scares the werewolf off before they can deal the killing blow, then the bite could turn the victim into a werewolf.
With this method of becoming a werewolf, there’s more sympathy for the werewolf.
They didn’t ask to become a werewolf.
In many cases, they didn’t even do anything wrong.
They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A werewolf’s bite is infectious.
It’s not unlike rabies in that sense.
The curse or illness spreads through the victim’s blood and alters their genes.
They become a werewolf by the next full moon.
Sometimes a person won’t realize anything is wrong with them until the full moon hits.
Others may have physical changes that they notice.
They might become stronger or their senses might be more acute.
The problem with getting bitten is that, in most cases, there isn’t a cure.
The change has happened to them on a genetic level.
It isn’t something like a curse that perhaps could be broken.
Even worse, if the individual isn’t careful, then they might spread it to others.
For example, if they’re unaware that they’re a werewolf and end up transforming in their own home, they might attack one of their family members.
If the family member gets away, then it’s likely that they’re a werewolf now, too, if they were bitten.
Otherwise, the werewolf might kill their own family.
As such, getting bitten is one of the most tragic ways to become a werewolf.
4. Genetics And Puberty
Another modern invention to describe becoming a werewolf is genetics.
If your parents are werewolves, then there’s a good chance that you’re a werewolf, too.
It’s even possible if only one of your parents is a werewolf.
It all has to do with genes.
It’s not unlike if your hair color favors your mother’s side or your father’s side.
If your father is a werewolf, then there’s a chance that you might inherit the gene that makes him become a werewolf.
However, you don’t turn into a werewolf right from the start.
The gene usually makes itself known when you hit puberty.
This is a time when genes start to change or become activated.
As hormones become activated, the gene controlling your lycanthropy also becomes activated.
The problem with being born a werewolf is that you don’t always know when your first transformation is going to happen.
It might be when puberty starts or it might be some time after its first signs of occurring.
This can be dangerous because, if the werewolf isn’t properly restrained or taken out to an abandoned patch of woods, then they could end up hurting and killing other people.
Considering the young age of the werewolf, this could be quite the problem for them to deal with emotionally.
Being born a werewolf is a bit easier if the parent who is also a werewolf is still around.
They can talk them through the process and give them some idea of what’s to come.
If the parent isn’t present, however, then the young werewolf may have no idea what’s happening.
The non-werewolf parent may not even know.
Being born a werewolf is another way to become a werewolf, and it often comes with a lot of confusion.
5. Eating Human Flesh
Some people also become werewolves after eating human flesh.
This might happen because they’re lost in the woods.
If they’re with a group of friends and everyone is starving, then they might turn on each other.
Whoever survives might then eat the flesh of their friends.
Sometimes there’s a curse involved for doing something so heinous.
The curse ends up making them become a werewolf.
Others may become werewolves because they willingly engage in cannibalism.
It may give them some magical connection to the primal world.
They end up becoming werewolves as a result.
Since werewolves are always on the hunt for people, it makes sense that there’s some connection between werewolves and cannibalism.
The bestial urge to eat one’s friends or family ends up transforming the individual into a beast that wants to do nothing but eat human flesh.
This type of method of becoming a werewolf usually happens in horror stories where the werewolf may be a serial killer or someone who was just trying to survive.
It’s both a tragic and gruesome way to become a werewolf.
6. Wolf Spirit
In some cultures, becoming a werewolf isn’t a bad thing.
Instead, it’s akin to having the Wolf Spirit inside of oneself.
Certain cultures see the wolf spirit as something that symbolizes loyalty, courage, and strength.
The Quileute and Kwakiutl people also believe themselves to have been wolves before they transformed into men.
As such, being a wolf isn’t looked down upon.
Instead, you might become possessed by the Wolf Spirit.
In this case, you still end up turning into a wolf, but you might have more control over your thoughts and actions.
You don’t turn into a senseless beast that wants to destroy everything it sees.
It might mean that you’re able to protect your people better.
It might mean that you’re able to hunt better and provide them with food.
If the Wolf Spirit chooses to possess you, it’s considered a great honor.
This is another, less horrific way to become a werewolf.
What Are The Signs Of A Werewolf?
If you suspect that there might be a werewolf around, then you may wonder how you can identify them.
There are several signs that someone is a werewolf or that a werewolf is around.
Although werewolves aren’t real, it can sometimes be a bit of fun to keep an eye out for these signs.
Here are some signs or indicators that someone is a werewolf.
1. Excess Hair
One sign that someone is a werewolf is that they have excessive hair.
Sometimes this means that they have hair growing on their palms.
Other times, they have a lot of hair on their eyebrows to the point where they have a unibrow.
Sometimes they might have a lot of body hair.
It may even seem like their hair grows longer and thicker the closer it gets to the full moon.
While normal, non-werewolf people also can have excessive hair, it’s worth keeping an eye on them just in case.
2. Long Index Finger
Mythology often states that a werewolf’s index finger will often be quite long.
It’s usually longer than the middle finger, but it might also come to the same length as it.
No one knows why the index finger becomes longer than the middle finger.
One possible reason might be that it better reflects a wolf’s paw print.
Wolves have two stubs at the front of their pawprints that are close together in length.
As a werewolf, a person’s index finger might grow to be about the same length as their middle finger because that’s what a wolf’s paw print looks like.
Looking at someone’s fingers is an easy way to tell if they’re a werewolf or not.
3. Glowing Eyes
Another way to tell if someone is a werewolf is if their eyes glow in a certain light.
If you’ve ever seen a cat’s eyes or a dog’s eyes reflect the light, then you know what you’re looking for.
A werewolf’s eyes do the same thing.
When the light gets passed over them a certain way, the eyes reflect the light and seem to glow.
This isn’t always the easiest way to test if someone is a werewolf or not.
It can become pretty clear very quickly what you’re doing, which could put you in danger.
However, if you pay attention to their eyes while out walking under the sun, then you might see this phenomenon for yourself.
4. Raw Meat Cravings
As the full moon gets closer, a werewolf’s bestial urges become more prominent.
You may notice that the person wants to eat their meat rarer and rarer.
It might start with a rare steak as opposed to their usual well-done steak.
Then you might find them eating meat before it’s even cooked.
A craving for raw meat is a sure sign of a werewolf—or another health problem.
Since wolves eat their meat raw, werewolves aren’t going to be much different.
When the full moon hits, they’re going to be out on the hunt trying to find raw meat to fill their stomachs.
If you see someone eating raw meat, you might want to keep your distance.
5. Silver Allergy
Almost everyone knows that the best way to kill a werewolf is with silver.
While this usually means that the werewolf gets shot with a silver bullet, any type of silver weapon will do.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that a single bullet will stop the werewolf either.
You need to hit them where it hurts.
However, if you’re just testing to see if someone is a werewolf, one of the best ways to do so is to expose them to silver.
Since werewolves have an allergy to silver, you should see them react in pain.
The silver might even burn them and leave a mark on their skin.
Of course, werewolves aren’t the only supernatural creatures to have an allergy to silver.
However, if you notice a reaction, then it’s just possible that the individual is a werewolf.
Werewolves aren’t real.
They’re mythological creatures who stem from different stories spanning several cultures.
For a bit of fun, however, it’s worth knowing the major ways you can become and recognize a werewolf.