Week 1: Werewolf Origin

Weekly Journal


Engraving entitled Lycaon changed into a wolf.

Engraving entitled Lycaon changed into a wolf.

It’s incredibly hard to pin down the world’s first reference to werewolves. Werewolves are considered as the oldest known written works on the planet. Various different parts of the world and culture have different ideology and form of what a werewolf is. “The Epic of Gilgamesh” is one of the many story that tries to explain the origins of werewolf. In it, Gilgamesh refuses to become the lover of the goddess Ishtar because of her cruel treatment of her previous suitors. Ishtar turned one man, a shepherd, into a wolf, making him the enemy of his friends, his sheep and even his own dogs. However Ishtar isn’t the only ancient god to change a mortal into a wolf or beast. In Rome they believed the god Jupiter turn a king into a werewolf. In Ovid’s “The Metamorphoses,” a traveller visits the home of King Lycaon of Acadia. Lycaon suspects that the visitor is immortal, so he devises a test. He serves human meat to his guest, who unfortunately turns out to be the god Jupiter. Jupiter immediately recognizes the meat’s origin, angry and frustrated he decides to transforms Lycaon into a wolf. The word lycanthropy amd King Lycaon’s name both come from the same root. He Greek word lykos, meaning wolf.

Both of these story are ancient and have been passed down from generation to generation, and they suggest that the idea of men turning into wolves has been around for about as long as human civilization has. The idea has widespread for instanced if wolves live or have lived in a particular region, that region’s folk tales include werewolves. On the other hand in regions where there are no wolves, stories describe people turning into other vicious animals. Certain parts of the world such as Africa, china, Russia talk about people Turing into hyenas or tigers or bears. However each stories share a common similarity with each other. They all embody shape-shifters which in return instil fear. Fear that animal that the person becomes is a large, powerful carnivore, the person transforming becomes something he fears abd he has no way of escaping himself or ultimately the fear of being bited by a werewolf and the vitcum face the threat of going through the  terrifying  process should they survive the encounter.
The wolf manEvery monster story set rule on how said monster must behave. The Film “The Wolf Man
1941″ was the first film created which stated what it takes to kill a werewolf, a silver bullet. An author name Bram Stoker’s in 1887 wrote a novel call “Dracula” for vampires which set the rules for how vampires are supposed to behave. “The wolf Man 1941” film did the similar thing “Dracula” achieved by explain how werewolf are created and behave. For Instance in “The Wolf Man” if a werewolf bites you, you have no choice but to become a werewolf yourself.  As a result during the fall season at night you’ll transform into a part-human, part-wolf creature and prey on human being. However in the sequels to “The Wolf Man” the transformation occurs on the full moon, “The Wolf Man” also states it clearly that once you become a werewolf, the only cure is death. Attempts to wish or pray your way out of it will do you no good. Like the serval folklore tale such as “Dracula”, Robin Hood, Big foot, tooth fair or “The Wolf Man” have been built on legends and stories that have existed for thousands of years. However the silver bullets, the full moon and the incurable curse of lycanthropy have more to do with Hollywood than with history. In folklore and stories, there are all kind of different way to become a werewolf and the process isn’t always involuntary or even permanent. Nonetheless werewolf in both movies and old stories have something in common. They are dangerous, cunning and even evil, and they inspire fear.
ab-anim1In early years many literature didn’t spend a lot of time describing what happens when a person becomes a werewolf. The process is quite quick, one minute the person is human. The next minute, he isn’t.  Even in “The Wolf man” the transformation process happens largely off-screen and the actor the main focus as opposed to his process of transformation. In more recent films, though, the process of becoming a wolf is often the highlight of the show such as “Being Human” and “Bitten”. In these shows it appears the transformation process is presented in great detail. The process it’s often depicted as being incredibly painful. Bones forcibly elongate and change their shape, sometimes moving so drastically that they rupture a person’s skin. As a result the creature end up being part human and part wolf. I intend to try to model a very convincing werewolf that inspire fear.
The Wolf Man (1941 film). written by Curt Siodmak and produced and directed by George Waggner.
 Bram Stoker. 1897.Dracula.United Kingdom: Archibald Constable and Company (UK)
Being human UK (2008) BBC. Written by Toby Whithouse

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