Legends, Folklore, And Accounts Of Werewolves And ShapeshiftersFirst Published: November 30, 2018 Last updated: December 2nd, 2018 Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes
Most of us have heard legends of werewolves, a human who, often against their will, changes into a wolf only to later change back and resume their human form. These legends can be found all over the world. As can legends of shapeshifters, who unlike the werewolf, is an entity that can take on any living form it wishes. And unlike many of the werewolf legends, this change is most-often under the control of the shapeshifter itself.
Even more intriguing, some legends claim that such a skill can be learned through studying the arts (magic) and spirituality. Indeed, the legends of “reptilian humanoids” and their ability to take on human forms revolve around such tales. As is becoming increasingly clear with many myths and folklore legends, some degree of truth often resides within these otherwise fantastic “fictional” accounts. Might this be the same too of shapeshifting creatures and the stories of werewolves?
We will come back to some of the werewolf legends later, including claims of sightings of such creatures in the modern world. We will first, though, keep our attention on the legends of shapeshifters. Legends which go back to the dawn of time itself.
Legends Of The Gods And “The Sorcerer”
Right the way back to the mythology legends of the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations, and even the ancient Sumerians before them, shapeshifting abilities and accounts thereof are rife. Many of the Egyptian gods, for example, are depicted with the head of an animal and had the ability to change their form. Zeus, perhaps the most famous of the Greek gods would shapeshift into animals, and even assume the form of a woman’s lover in order to trick them into having sex.
Rather than mere myths and legends from antiquity, though, we might look at the Cave of the Trois-Freres in the south of France. One of the cave paintings is over 10,000 years old, going back to at least 13,000 BC. This cave painting appears to show a human in the process of shape-shifting. It clearly shows a strange figure with both human and animal aspects and features. Even the position of the creature suggests it is in the process of some kind of metamorphosis.
Rather aptly, then, the painting is named “The Sorcerer” and would appear to show that belief in such creatures was prevalent even before the intricate fairy tales and stories entered into the human psyche. Indeed, we might argue that the reasons such entities did appear in these early fairy tales in the first place are because our ancestors had witnessed such things. You can check out the cave painting below.
Animals, Plants, And Even Physical Objects
It isn’t just animals that these apparent shapeshifters can morph themselves into, though. Some legends even speak of the changing into plants or other physical objects. This is certainly an interesting theory. Particularly when we think of the claims from some ufologists that UFOs, for example, are themselves living sentient entities as opposed to nuts-and-bolts crafts.
Many Shamans and wise men of native tribes around the world claim to have the ability to shapeshift so that they might communicate with entities in the spiritual realm. Many of these, interestingly enough, might equally be described as out-of-body experiences or astral projection.
In our contemporary era, claims of reptilian shapeshifters flood social media daily. Indeed, a quick search of that term in Google or YouTube, for example, will bring back a plethora of results for one to sift through. What is the apparent obsession then? Do these reptilian shapeshifters really exist? Have they always been here and the “crazy conspiracy loons” were right all along? Or, even taking away the obvious hoaxes, is there a subconscious ancestral fear of these apparently menacing and deceitful creatures that remains in our minds from antiquity?
Perhaps, though, there is one particular shapeshifting legend that has found a place in the collective human conscious more than any other. The Werewolf. Before we return our attention to those beast-like creatures, though, check out the video below. Just one example of the many videos showing “shapeshifters” in today’s society. Make of them what you will.
Equally Persistent Legends Of Werewolves
Much like shapeshifters, werewolves and the idea that a human can transform into such a being go back to the beginning of time. Indeed, werewolves are just one strand of the shapeshifting legends. However, unlike the shapeshifting that can be learned and then actioned when required and controlled, many accounts of werewolves revolve around a curse-like notion that brings on such changes in sympathy with the full moon. The connection with the moon is certainly interesting. Especially when we think about the affect the pull of the moon (and indeed the planets) have on human emotions and feelings. Might, for a very select few, that affect be monstrously extreme?
An interesting account to look at here is The Georgia Werewolf from Talbott County, Georgia from the early 1900s. A farmer in the area was losing sheep each night to a mystery beast. Despite “hunting parties” of locals patrolling the area, the killings continued and no perpetrator, beast or otherwise was captured. A local woman, Mildred Burt, would privately suspect her sister was involved with the animal killings. She would often roam the countryside during the night when she became “restless and anxious”. Furthermore, she had very sharp and larger-than-normal canine teeth. She would also, according to Mildred, read book upon book about the supernatural and dark arts.
One evening, armed with a heavy pistol, Mildred would venture along to the farm suffering attacks on its sheep.
An Extreme Form Of Lycanthropy?
Not long after her arrival, a strange animal would lunge at her from out of nowhere. Mildred pointed the gun to where she thought the creature was and fired. She wasn’t sure if she hit it, but it ran away into the night following the shot. The next day, according to some local rumors, Emily, the sister she suspected, was suddenly missing her left hand.
Perhaps even stranger, her mother would send Emily to Paris almost immediately following the incident. She was to see a doctor who would specialize in lycanthropy – a condition that makes the sufferer believe they are a werewolf. Interestingly or not, following her departure to Paris the attacks ceased immediately. When she returned, although she was “cured” of her condition, the attacks would begin again, although they would never return to the scale they once were. Might whatever treatment she received in Paris have resulted in her being able to contain her outbreaks and attacks to a minimum?
There are several similar if less detailed accounts on record. For example, a legend from France tells of a hunter who after receiving permission to hunt in the lands of an unnamed “Lord and Lady” experiences a sudden attack by a large wolf while hunting. He manages to shoot an arrow at it which results in the severing of its paw. He would pick up the paw and place it in his hunting basket. Later in the evening, however, as he sat by a fire to examine his kills, the paw was no longer there. In its place, was a human hand. And what’s more, it had on it the unique ring of the Lady who owned the land. There is no date or names given in the account.
The Unfortunate Account Of Peter Stubbe
As outrageous as it might sound, there are just as many claims of werewolves throughout history and into our modern world as there are of shapeshifting reptilians, if not more. Many of these accounts, certainly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries would come out of Europe. There are likely several reasons for this, not least the wolf population was simply larger and more visible in this part of the world. Europe, though, was still fighting off the remaining grip of the church and the Inquisition. Claims of a “werewolf” would have been treated as brutally as claims of witches were.
For example, in 1589 in what is now modern-day Germany, is the story of farmer Peter Stubbe. During the Cologne War, as the number of dead increased, citizens began claiming to have witnessed a “wolf-like creature” stalking livestock and people alike. One particular evening the townsfolk managed to corner this strange creature after tracking and chasing it with a pack of their own dogs. However, when they moved in for the kill there wasn’t wolf laying in front of them. It was Peter Stubbe.
Under torture, Stubbe would admit to murdering several people while “a wolf”. Furthermore, he claimed to have made a deal with the Devil when he was a 12-year-old boy. Satan, according to Stubbe (or at least the recording of his confession), had given him “a belt” that would allow him to change into a wolf so that he could fulfill any dark desire he wished. He would be executed on 31st October, tied to a wheel and his limbs broken, his skin was then pulled off with “heated pincers” before he was decapitated. His head was placed on the body of a wolf to anyone else who may “do a deal with the Devil”.
The Devil’s Promise – The Wolf Strap!
The “belt” that Stubbe mentioned, however, is extremely interesting. If we accept for a moment that Stubbe’s confession was true and not one arrived at through torture and then the details for the historical record added by his accusers, there are other examples of a “wolf strap” throughout history. This “magical device” is a gift to one who “sells their soul to the Devil”. By wrapping it around the torso tightly it will allow the owner to immediately change into a werewolf.
One particular legend of this mysterious item comes from Russia around the same time as Stubbe’s final bloody encounter with his fellow townsfolk. According to the legend, in an unnamed Russian village, one particular man, who lived right on the edge of the settlement and would keep himself to himself would come under suspicion from the rest of the villagers. The villagers would describe him as “sneaky” and they would often find strange tracks outside his house. These were particularly noticeable during the harsh Russian winters and the constant blanket of snow. Such was this growing suspicion that several villagers would hide in his barn one evening. However, a blood-curdling howl from outside scared them so much, they fled back home. As they did, though, they noticed fresh, animal-like prints in the snow leading from the man’s home and out into the woodlands.
The next day, however, the villagers, with many others including village elders, would arrive at the man’s home.
The Legend Of “Gust K.”
Upon opening the door, they would demand to know where he had been the previous evening. He would refuse to answer which would lead them to force their way inside, seizing him in the process. Once inside the home, they would search a thick chest of drawers at the side of the man’s bed. In them, under a thick blanket, they would discover a “strange leather strap carved with symbols”. It also contained several strange herbs and appeared to have a “greasy substance” unknown to them on its surface. The village elders, though, would claim to know what it was. The belt, and the man were immediately burned to death.
In much more contemporary times, shortly after the Second World War in Poland, a man named as “Gust K.” was claimed to own such a belt. And, according to the rumors of the townsfolk, he would bring “chaos and misery” to the town because of it. According to local legend, several of the villagers managed to steal the strap with a view to burning it in their oven. However, no matter how they tried, whenever they threw it into the flames it would somehow fly back out again, as if blown out by an invisible wind. Scared, they would return it.
When Gust K. died there were apparently further strange happening. Firstly, on the day of his funeral, the strange strap burst into flames. It would quickly become nothing more than a pile of ash. Then, as the pallbearers attempted to lower his coffin into the waiting grave, they would find it was too small for the casket. This happened several times despite widening of the hole. Eventually, they would drag his body from the coffin and throw it directly in the ground.
The Michigan Dogman
There are many sightings of “dog-men” or werewolves throughout North America and the United States. Perhaps one of the most intriguing, and persistent, is the “Michigan Dogman” sightings. These go right the way back to the late 1880s when two local lumberjacks would witness a beastly creature. They would claim it to have the body of a man and a dog’s head.
Multiple sightings of these strange creatures would continue throughout the decades. One particular sighting in 1938 saw the witness attacked by a pack of five dogs. At least one of them, he would later claim, walked on two legs. In 1961 at a manufacturing plant, a night security guard witnessed a man in black clothing approaching. As he stared a little harder, though, he could clearly see bizarre “dog-like” features to this strange entity. As he was about to pull out his gun, he remembered his camera. He managed to snap a picture of the bizarre creature before it disappeared. You can view that picture below.
Sightings of the Michigan Dogman continue today. Particularly over the swampy marshes of the state. Many Michigan residents claim to hear strange “child-like howls” coming from the swamps and woodlands. The vast majority of descriptions of this apparent beast-man are eerily similar to each other. Some local legends even speak of “dog-soldiers” of native tribes of the area. These warriors, through ancient techniques and practices, would become in tune with their spirit animal. So much so, that could control the change into a dog-man and unleash the powers that come with it. Some conspiracies suggest US military programs would hunt down these dog-soldiers. Some, however, would survive.
The short video below looks at some of the legends of the Michigan Dogman a little further.
Sightings And Reports Continue Into The Twentieth Century
Reports of these apparently bizarre half-beast half-man creatures continue today. For example, in Brazil in 2014 came reports of a “werewolf” coming out of the trees, searching around for several moments before disappearing into the woodland again. The incident would appear on CCTV and wasn’t the first such report in the town of Sao Concalo de Campos. Local authorities would treat the incident so seriously they would put a 9 pm curfew in place.
Around two years later in May 2016 in Hull, East Yorkshire in the north of England, came seven separate sightings of an “eight-foot-tall creature lurking in an abandoned industrial area” of the city. One of the witnesses would even claim to witness a man change into the beast. She would watch the transformation from a bridge above. She would claim to the press “It was stood upright one moment. Then next it was down on all fours running like a dog”. She would continue that at one point it would stop and “rear up on to its back legs”. It would stand upright for a moment before it continued on and “vaulted thirty feet”. It would land across the water on the other embankment.
At the same location, another couple saw a similar creature “eating a German Shephard dog”. When they stopped in shock and horror, the creature stood, the dead animal still in its mouth. It would then jump clear over an eight-foot-high fence. A local councilor is even keeping an official incident log of the sightings. Interestingly, Yorkshire was one of the last parts of England where wild wolves roamed freely. Might it also be home to something a little more menacing and mysterious?
The video below looks at some of the alleged sightings of werewolves captured on video.