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The Werewolf Myth
What modern audiences, living sheltered lives, preoccupied with escapist entertainment and able to relieve boredom through sexuality and the grotesque, fail to understand about the origins of werewolf and vampire myths is that these were never projections of desire, but of fear. When werewolves and vampires were truly believed, there was nothing alluring about them. They were seen as monsters, plain and simple. And this went on uninterruptedly for centuries. It has only been in recent times – due to cultural changes and the advent of science – that the old fears these monsters represented have diminished. Take the wolf for example; in the earliest myths—before the devil was involved—they represented three powerful fears that have plagued humanity since the beginning: cannibalism, loss of control and injury to loved ones, and possession by demonic forces. These fears are what gave birth to the legend of the wolf.
By the time human beings had become civilized – organized in a complex social way, with a uniform belief system and value system, and a stable way of life – cannibalism had become something abominable, something that could no longer be understood, except by asserting that man had become an animal. It is interesting to note that the oldest wolf story we have – from the Roman poet, Ovid – concerns a cannibal king – Lycaon, from whom we get the word Lyncanthrope – condemned by Jupiter to become a wolf for his disgust . appetites. It is also interesting to note that humans are always dangerous animals and not rabbits.
Now, as for the fear of losing control, an argument could be made that the werewolf myth—or any shapeshifting myth involving a dangerous animal—is a primitive explanation for rage and madness. Losing control and hurting the people you love can be quite a traumatic experience, and in primitive times, where people ate moldy food or suspicious mushrooms that could have triggered a hallucinogenic episode that left the victim behaving like an animal. wild, a very real fear.
Finally, possession by demonic forces was a very real fear in the ancient – and not so ancient – world. While this notion may seem laughable to many today, in the past it was more feared than death. Demons were used to explain famine, disease, pestilence, and disaster; they were also used to explain extremely evil behavior. A demon possessing a man, even if he were a good man, would turn him into an unspeakable devil, capable only of causing suffering and misery.
Before I wrap this up, let me touch on the vampire myth. Vampire myths are not as complex as werewolf myths. While the evolution of the werewolf myth went through many different stages (it has been used to explain cannibalism, what we would today call serial killers, madness, rabies and especially ferocious enemies who clothed themselves in animal skins, e.g. .Berserkers) the vampire. the myth has always been about death. In its earliest manifestation – the Lamatsu myth – the vampire is used to explain the death of infants. Later, also in different cultures, the vampire was associated with other types of death – stillborn babies, victims of the bubonic plague, etc. The fear of vampires grew so great at times that the last dead were sometimes exhumed from their graves, their heads cut off. , and stuffed their mouths with garlic before being reburied. The fear of death manifested itself as the fear of the dead, the fear that the dead, who still desired life, would rise and drain the life of the living.
In conclusion, the modern phenomenon of the sexy vampire and the sexy werewolf (necrophilia and animals) is something completely modern, a product mostly of Hollywood and escapist literature, which has nothing to do with what people actually believed when they thought these monsters were true.
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