Werewolves

(Primarily written by ReD except where indicated)

Werewolf is a term used to describe a human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or wolf-like creature, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Though other Shapeshifters may be able to transform into wolves, werewolf is typically used to describe an individual who is capable of transforming only into a wolf or wolf-like creature. Werewolves may be commonly referred to as lycanthropes, lycans, 'wolves, weres, skinwalkers, skin changers, werwulf, wulfs, garwulf, or wolf-man.

Werewolves are one of the most diverse species in folklore and mythology, with countless interpretations. There are as many differences amongst the werewolf species as there are between werewolves and another species.

Brief Description:

In Folklore and Mythology, the werewolf is an individual capable of transforming into a wolf and gaining increased abilities, senses, or strength as a result of this transformation. Werewolves have been described as both solitary and group-oriented in traditional folklore. Modern interpretations of Werewolves often include a strong pack-dynamic.

Groups of Werewolves are typically referred to as Packs.

Country of Origin:

Folklore on Werewolves can be found in almost every area of the world that included the possibility for interaction between human and wolves. In countries were wolves are not common, shape-shifters would take the form of another top predator, most notably a big cat.

Habitat:

Because their primary form is that of a human, most Werewolves reside wherever humans live. Some werewolves might isolate themselves to rural, woodland, or isolated areas in an attempt to hide their transformations.

Diet:

Werewolves are primarily carnivorous in nature and prey upon large mammals, including livestock and humans. Werewolves hunt either solitary or in packs, using both their human cunning and animal instinct to run down and kill their prey. Some werewolves will use wolf-like hunting tactics and have a few werewolves herd prey towards another group of werewolves waiting in ambush. Solitary werewolves traditionally use theft or ambush as a hunting technique, although their human-cunning gives them an advantage over regular wolves.

The subject of consuming human flesh amongst werewolves is complicated. In some stories, an individual could be cursed into transforming to a wolf by consuming human flesh once. A theme in contemporary werewolf fiction is whether the consumption of flesh is cannibalism, or if the werewolf’s wolf-like nature excuses the act.

Additional Information:

In folklore, mythology, and modern interpretations, Werewolves achieve the ability to transform into a Wolf through voluntary or involuntary means. However, it is important to note that the status of voluntary or involuntarily transformation is not mutually exclusive with the individual’s desire to be a werewolf.

Voluntarily

In many stories, a person can transform into a werewolf by drinking water from a wolf’s paw, spreading a special ointment onto the skin, wearing a belt or wolf pelt, taking off their clothes and swimming (sometimes swimming backwards) through a lake, sleeping under a full moon on a Friday, chanting a special indication, using a special indication and jumping over a knife, entering a trance state, rolling in the dirt under the light of a new moon, or entering into a deal with a magician, sorcerer, god, or devil-like figure.

Involuntarily

In many stories, a person can be transformed into a werewolf as a result of a curse, by being born the seventh son of a seventh son, being born on Christmas Day, consuming human flesh, failing to honor a specific deity or being on the individual’s wedding day, a genetic curse, being bitten by a werewolf, inheriting the curse, being born a werewolf, dying a virgin, dying as a vampire, being bitten by a normal wolf, or losing one’s soul.

Physical Characteristics:

The Werewolf may alternate between two guises: a human shape and a Wolf Shape. Occasionally, a hybrid form between the two shapes is possible.

In most folklore, the Human Shape is considered the Werewolf’s Primary-Shape and the individual transforms into a Wolf Shape either voluntarily or involuntarily to achieve an objective.

Wolf Shape:

The Wolf Shape of a Werewolf varies heavily accordingly to region and belief. In many cases, the Wolf Shape is identical to that of a regular wolf common to the individual’s region or birthplace. Distinguishing features that separate a Werewolf from a normal Wolf might include human eyes, teeth or hands, lack of a tail, a swinging gait where a hind leg is held out behind the animal, the ability to speak in a human voice, or unusual markings.

Occasionally, the Wolf Shape might be bigger and can range in size from a slightly-larger wolf to a creature the size of a large draft horse.

Human Guise:

The Werewolf’s primary is that of a human being. Appearances vary by region, gender, sex, and ethnicity of the individual. The Werewolf may have few physical characteristics that indicate that the individual is inhuman, which may include sharp canine teeth, an index finger longer than the middle finger, thick and dark-colored fingernails, curved fingernails, low-set ears, a second toe longer than the big toe, excess hair on palms or eyebrows, reddish gums or skin over the upper portion of the teeth, or bristles located on the underside of the tongue.

In some legends, cutting a werewolf’s skin would reveal fur on the underside.

Common Powers:

Powers amongst Werewolves vary, but frequently include:

  • Shapeshifting between Human, Wolf, Hybrid forms
  • Increased or Supernatural Stamina
  • Increased or Supernatural Speed
  • Increased or Supernatural Senses (including ability to see in dark)
  • Increased Healing Abilities
  • Increased Lifespan
  • Immunity/Resistance to disease
  • Immunity/Resistance to Iron weapons
  • Immunity/Resistance to Fire
  • Ability to regrow or regenerate limbs, organs
  • Communication with Wolves
  • Limited Telepathy/Mental Communication

Common Weaknesses:

Weaknesses amongst Werewolves vary, but frequently include:

  • Extreme Energy Use/Exhaustion
  • Weakness to Silver
  • Inability to control conscious thought while in wolf-shape
  • Limited cognitive abilities in Wolf-shape
  • Dependent on external/environmental factors for Shapeshifting (full moon, wolf pelt, etc)
  • Inability to communicate in wolf-shape
  • Trapped in wolf-shape for time specific period.
  • Weakness to Spell Craft
  • Weakness to Fire

Weakness to Silver

A common theme in modern werewolf folklore is an allergy to silver. The allergy to silver is a fairly recent development to werewolf folklore, occurring for the first time in the 1944 film House of Frankenstein.

The story of The Beast of Gevauden occurring in France during 1762 is often cited as the first occurrence of a werewolf finding silver fatal, but it is important to note that originally the bullet that killed the creature was created from melting down the blessed artifacts from the Church. The description of silver was not added until after the fact.

Despite this, the weakness to silver is a common theme in Werewolf mythology. Some interpretations include the symbolic link between silver and moonlight, symbolizing that the moon that controls the Werewolf’s ability to shapeshift is also what allows an individual to kill the werewolf.

Notable figures:

  • Hermine Haller (Starlight Academy Student from 1905-1910), a German-Swiss Werewolf who attended Starlight Academy after she was bitten while attending theater practice. Haller was an early member of the Shapeshifting Club at Starlight Academy and later worked in a Textile Mill on the island. Her interest in textiles inspired Haller to open her own textile mill, which specialized in manufacturing shape-shifting resistant clothing. Haller began the Hermine Haller Scholarship for Werewolf Students and donated several new shapeshifting friendly uniforms to the school each year until her death.

Presence on the Manta Carlos Islands and Starlight Academy:

The Manta Carlos Islands have always had a sizable Werewolf population, though its size fluctuates by the year.

The Hermine Haller Scholarship:

The Hermine Haller Scholarship is a Scholarship available to incoming Werewolf students for the high school and college level. The scholarship covers one basic outfit of shapeshifting friendly clothing for each student, the first semester's textbooks, and basic office or stationary supplies. The scholarship is funded by several wealthy Werewolves who graduated from Starlight Academy, and from various small fundraisers and festivals throughout the year.

Wolf Town

While the Manta Carlos Islands are a melting pot, at one point so many Werewolves lived in the same residential area that it gained the nickname “Wolf Town”. The exact location of Wolf Town has always been a heated debated, possibly because werewolves have now settled in multiple areas of the island.

Werewolf Ambassadors:

(Written by ReD. This reflects one member-created interpretation of Werewolves on the Manta Carlos Islands.) In the last several years, a movement has started among werewolf students and citizens to change the Werewolf reputation. Many werewolves feel that they need to pass as human, and advocates are encouraging werewolves to embrace their werewolf nature and understand that they are neither human nor wolf, but something both.

Werewolf Ambassadors are Werewolves who have made their status as a werewolf semi-public and participate in community outreach projects including volunteering and conservation efforts, to provide good role models for new werewolves to the island and to change the public perception of werewolves to a more positive image.

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