Best Answer

The first documented werewolf attack was in Germany in 1591. Dogs were sent upon a 'wolf' that turned out to be a man named Peter Stubbe. He was tortured until he confessed to the murder of sixteen people. He even confessed to murdering his own son in his thirst for human flesh and was put to death.

Most legends have had some basis in fact, and the legend of the werewolf is no exception. However the werewolf of popular fantasy/horror novels and films is an imaginary beast, based on extravagant interpretations of past superstitions.

Wolves have been both feared and worshiped by past civilizations. The Ancient Egyptians feared the wolf god Ap-uat, who was associated with the Lord of the Dead. Ancient Greeks believed that wolves were sacred to Apollo and Ares, and a bronze statue of a wolf ornamented the oracle at Delphi. The legend of the founding of Rome is well known, with the abandoned twin babies Romulus and Remus being saved and succored by a wolf. Being suckled by a wolf is a notion that persisted into the Celtic civilisations, a legendary King of Ireland supposedly nurtured in this way. One Irish tribe claimed to be descended from a wolf.

The werewolf story has roots at least as far back as the Ancient Romans. One of Ovid's shape-shifting stories tells of a King of Arcadia who turned into a wolf. This was a punishment because he tried to trick the god Jupiter into eating human flesh. Other ancient Greek writers including Herodotus and Pliny wrote about shape-shifting human/wolves.

What could have led to such stories in the first place? There are various theories. The legend is too widespread and has been so for too long a time to have no basis in fact at all.

A rare genetic mutation can produce excessive body hair, in females as much as males. Varieties of this disorder were probably responsible for the unfortunate 'bearded ladies' and 'wolfmen' in traveling freak shows in less enlightened times than ours. It is a mutation of the X chromosome so can be passed to future generations by either parent. It is easy to see how such conditions could have frightened people in past centuries, especially in remote country areas (where inbreeding could have led to an intensification of the disorder).

Lycanthropic Disorder is a mental illness which causes the victim to believe that they are actually a werewolf. If someone truly believes that they turn into a werewolf under the full moon, they may be capable of committing crimes consistent with this delusion - thus perpetrating the werewolf legend into modern times.

Ergot, the fungus which frequently affected the grains that were used to make bread throughout Europe for many centuries, is well known for its hallucinogenic properties. In a modern case in France in 1951, over 100 people suffered from ergot poisoning after eating bread made from infected rye. Many of them suffered from hallucinations about being attacked by or turning into wild animals. Such poisoning could have been another cause for the development of the werewolf myth.

One final possibility lies in the diseases Rabies and Porphyria. Rabies, however, only lasts for a short while once the symptoms have developed, and then the victim dies. Rabies might have caused victims to briefly take on the appearance of a mad beast, but they would not lived to attack beyond this short timeframe. Porphyria, if untreated, leads to extreme sensitivity to light and degredation of the skin, thus producing a victim who rarely ventures out before nightfall and whose physical appearance is sinister. Mental disturbances accompany the physical symptoms. This disease is also genetic and therefore could have given rise to the notion of cursed families, as it often does not manifest until an age whereby the victim would have reproduced.

There have been a few celebrated cases of feral children, such as inspired Mowgli in The Jungle Book. Many cases have been reported over the centuries but there is little documentary evidence for most of them. However some have been documented, in which children have been found in the depths of the jungle or forest, apparently having been raised by wolves, and then returned the human civilization (usually by missionaries or other religious people). These children seen to have retained a propensity to run on all fours rather than walk upright, to eat raw meat rather than cooked meals, and have extreme problems learning any human language. It is difficult to say whether the children already had a mental disorder, whether one was induced by their upbringing, or anything else about them. But they undoubtedly add another thread to the enduring notion of the werewolf.

Just how enduring this legend is can be well born out by the proliferation of popular novels, films and television programs about werewolves. And a quick internet search on werewolves throws up a wide variety of sites, some dealing with legends and possible causes such as outlined above - and some apparently written for werewolves, by werewolves!

User Avatar

Wiki User

โˆ™ 2011-01-09 07:35:02
This answer is:
User Avatar

Add your answer:

Earn +20 pts
Q: Where did the myth of the werewolf originate?
Write your answer...
Related questions

Did the myth of the werewolf start from a movie?

No. The werewolf myth goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Do you have to be a guardian to be a vampire or werewolf?

Vampires and werewolves are myth. They are not real.

Can a werewolf kill you?

No, they are not real so they can not kill you. A myth can not kill.

Does a werewolf die if bitten by a vampire?

Depends on the myth you read...

Who did the greek myth originate from?


What is the myth about how werewolves work?

The myth says that anyone who is bitten by a werewolf has no choice to become a werewolf. They transform to a werewolf at night on a full moon. They also die from nothing else but a silver bullet. Wolfsbane is a plant that a werewolves weakness and is like a poison to werewolves.

Who invented the werewolf myth?

There are many myths based about werewolves. It being a myth, no-one knows when or who invented werewolves.

Is the ancient vampire werewolf mythology true?

If they are true, then so is the myth.

Can a werewolf be your father?

No, that is unless you only exist in stories, myth, and legend.

Who discover the werewolf?

werewolves are not real they are a myth so it is imposible to be discovered

How did the myth of werewolves originate?

Russia - I think.

Why do vampires and werewolf fight?

in the Twilight movies, they fight because of a myth of the past

Can you be a vampire werewolf or ghost?

No. These things don't exist and are myth. Therefore you can not be one.

Where does the myth 'pepper makes you sneeze' originate from?

it is not a myth it actually makes you sneeze

A scary myth to why dogs howl?

Dogs howl whenever the werewolf passes by. the werewolf created all wolves who created all dogs so the dogs all howl at the werewolf begging for freedom.

Why are there myths about the moon?

There is a myth that when a man is bitten by a wolf, they become a werewolf by the full moon

At what age do you become a werewolf?

You do not, nor does anyone else. Werewolves are the things of myth and legend.

What are 2 adjectives of the Oregon trail?

werewolves are everywhere there REAL i am a werewolf Believe it or not there not a myth

When was the first werewolf story created?

The earliest known werewolf stories in Europe date back to ancient Greece, Ovid, Virgil and Herodotus all wrote about them. The myth spread until most European countries had their own versions of the myth.

Who wrote the first werewolf story?

The earliest known werewolf stories in Europe date back to ancient Greece, Ovid, Virgil and Herodotus all wrote about them. The myth spread until most European countries had their own versions of the myth.

Where did the myth zombie originate?

Caribbean amongst the VooDoo culture.

Where did the myth of George Washington's teeth originate?

"Word of Mouth"?

What country did Pandora's box originate from?

The myth is ancient Greek.

What happens to a werewolf when a human bites it?

According to my research on the inter-net: It is believed there are no such things as werewolves. However, according to myth a victim will himself turn into a werewolf from a werewolf bite. If the bite is very bad he may be dead. Also, only a real werewolf (a complete werewolf) can produce an other one by biting. As for the werewolf bitten by a human, I'm thinking he should get it looked at by a doctor (or vet) as the human mouth is an extremely unsanitary place. -- Based on the myth about what happens when a werewolf bites a human, I suppose the werewolf would turn into a human when a human bites a werewolf. This answer might sound a little silly, but it's all myths when it comes to werewolves.

Are werewolves real or fake?

simple questien the werewolf is a myth its not real have u ever seen a person transform in to a werewolf no u have not no and no one has and no will never see one