The Book of Were-Wolves

The Book of Were-Wolves


(2 Reviews)
The Book of Were-Wolves by Sabine Baring-Gould







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The Book of Were-Wolves


(2 Reviews)
One of the most frequently cited folkloric studies of lycanthropy. Half-way through, the topic changes to crimes only vaguely connected to werewolves, including grave desecration and cannibalism.

Book Excerpt

e day, set before him a hash of human flesh, to prove his omniscience, whereupon the god transferred him into a wolf:-- [1]

[1. OVID. Met. i. 237; PAUSANIAS, viii. 2, § 1; TZETZE ad Lycoph. 481; ERATOSTH. Catas. i. 8.]

In vain he attempted to speak; from that very instant His jaws were bespluttered with foam, and only he thirsted For blood, as he raged amongst flocks and panted for slaughter. His vesture was changed into hair, his limbs became crooked; A wolf,--he retains yet large trace of his ancient expression, Hoary he is as afore, his countenance rabid, His eyes glitter savagely still, the picture of fury.

Pliny relates from Evanthes, that on the festival of Jupiter Lycæus, one of the family of Antæus was selected by lot, and conducted to the brink of the Arcadian lake. He then hung his clothes on a tree and plunged into the water, whereupon he was transformed into a wolf. Nine years after, if he had not tasted human flesh, he was at liberty to swim

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I found this book interesting and informative in the area of what the early peoples called werewolves. In those days it was a man dressed in the skin of a wolf or bear and was evil and sometimes cannibalistic. It also mention something that supports my theory of today where extreme evil deeds by mass murderers are the work of someone who is demonically possessed. It mentions hundreds of years ago the church had various theories as to the cause and diabolical possession was one. The book lists several stories from many areas and times to shed light on the subject.
Profile picture for user Perky Moon
Accurately described as a classic in the field; it's frequently cited by most works on lycanthropy. Responsible for popularizing the mythical version of the Elizabeth Bathory story that continues to influence vampire fiction to this day.

Author's writing is entertaining enough that the book rates equivalent to above average fiction for the period. It's a quick read, but covers the material well.