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  • Werewolves are one of the most popular mythical monsters today, but stories about monsters that are half-man and half-beast are ancient and found all across the world in different civilizations.

  • But why?

  • Could it be that there's some truth to this age-old myth?

  • Or is there another explanation for our species' fascination with transforming into a wild beast?

  • Let's find out in today's episode of...

  • "Colossal Mysteries"

  • A werewolf, also called a lycanthrope, is a monstrous mythical person with the unfortunate ability to shape-shift into a human-wolf hybrid.

  • Half-beast, half-human crossbreeds can be found in folktales all across the world.

  • Even places without wolves still have myths of humans who can transform into a ferocious beast.

  • From Europe to Africa to First Nations people, myths about werewolves and other were-beasts are common.

  • In medieval Europe, stories about werewolves were widespread.

  • In 1589, a German farmer named Peter Stumpp was arrested and accused of murder and cannibalism.

  • In court, he claimed that he owned a belt that would transform him into a werewolf.

  • His salacious claim went the medieval version of viral.

  • Then, a renewed fascination in werewolves quickly swept across Europe.

  • That fascination transformed into fear, and before long, the panicked populace was in a bit of paranoid frenzy, resulting in a violent werewolf hunt all across Europe.

  • Tens of thousands of people were either accused of or admitted to being werewolves during the 1500s, and before it was all said and done, hundreds of people had been hunted, tortured, or burned at the stake.

  • Experts can't say for sure what caused Europe's werewolf hysteria, but they do have a few well-founded theories.

  • Some believe the whole panic may have been caused by a particularly bad rabies outbreak.

  • All sorts of animals can give rabies to humans, including wolves.

  • The symptoms of an untreated case of rabies are rough.

  • First comes a fever.

  • Then uncontrollable spasms, confusion, maniacal excitement, an irrational fear of water, and finally, a loss of consciousness.

  • When someone is badly infected, they can even become highly agitated and begin hallucinating.

  • All of these terrible symptoms together may have made those suffering seem like real-life werewolves.

  • No one knows for sure why so many unconnected cultures have their own version of the werewolf myth, but some believe it might be connected to our most ancient important survival tactic, hunting.

  • You see, as humans became better hunters, we began finding cunning ways to match nature's vicious strength with our brainpower.

  • People started to discover that they could get much closer to wolves and other beasts if they wore the pelts of the animals they were hunting, tricking the animals long enough to strike.

  • From there, it's not much of a leap to see how the ancient hunter would start to imagine what it would be like if wolves could do the same thing back to humans.

  • And over time, the legend of the werewolf was born.

  • Of course, this is just a theory.

  • Stories about humans transforming into wild beasts are so old that we'll almost certainly never know exactly how they all got started.

  • But either way, I think it's safe to say that werewolves are here to stay.

Werewolves are one of the most popular mythical monsters today, but stories about monsters that are half-man and half-beast are ancient and found all across the world in different civilizations.

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Could Werewolves Be Real? | COLOSSAL MYSTERIES

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    Elise Chuang posted on 2021/09/23
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