Friday, October 14, 2016
When the moon is full it is said that the canine shape shifters prowl the night seeking new prey! Gypsies around the world tell folktales that warn about the anthropomorphic wolf-men cursed to endure a life of transmutation when the moon is full, becoming a predatory killer until the sun rises.
Are these half-human, half-wolf "monsters" real, or are they a figment of our imagination, that people ages ago created to explain shadows in the night? Could these shape shifters actually exist? Perhaps Hollywood has instilled a false memory and predisposition for beings of the night, like vampires, zombies and werewolves. Maybe latent fear of the unknown drives the human mind to justify their fear of the dark by creating and believing in strange and bizarre creatures.
Then it may also be true-werewolves may be more than mythical creatures in stories told by many people with roots that run deep in the old country of their origin. The gypsies may tell tales embellished by years of remembering, but based upon a truth shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
Common Beliefs About Werewolves
- The modern day name may come from the Old English "wer-wolf" (where 'wer' means 'man).
- Then again the name could come from the Norse legends about the 'berserkers'. who were crazed warriors that dressed as wolves when they savagely raided and pillaged villages in the northern land or Europe.
- One more good possibility could be it came from the word "warg-wolf". another name of Norse origin which denotes a rogue or lone wolf type of character prone to stalk their prey before dealing the death blow.
- Were-wolves eyebrows come together and there is no skin space between them.
- It is said by some that they have "bristles" under their tongue.
- When they are in the wolf form they have no tail, keep their human eyes and can speak in human language,not just canine woofs and howls.
- When they shift into wolf mode they are said to have super strength and extremely sensitive senses, such as sight and scent.
- It is reported in Europe in the 1700's that werewolves would dig up freshly buried corpses to eat.
- Scandinavian were-wolves were reported as being old women with poison claws that could paralyze children with their glaring eyes.
- The curse which transforms a person into a werewolf is often seen as occurring from a evil allegiance or by being bit or scratched by one who is a werewolf. It has also been deemed by many cultures as being a "divine punishment". During the dark era of the Middle Ages the Catholic Church investigated excommunicated priests who were accused of becoming werewolves.
- Taking an oath with Satan or powers of evil is usually the reported path to becoming a werewolf and transformation from bites is rarely a recorded occurrence in historical writings.
- The fact that they can be killed by silver bullets is a modern movie generated folk factoid. All tales about werewolves prior to the late 1800's do not talk about silver as a protector from the creatures.
- Religious holy water or icons (such as a crucifix) do not keep them away.
- Items that will protect you from a werewolf are garland of fresh rye, mistletoe and garlic cloves.
- Some modern day researchers believe that werewolves were real people afflicted with a medical condition called hypertrichosis. This is a hereditary disease that caused extreme hair growth all over the body, especially on the face and hands.
In Australia they celebrate Guy Fawkes Eve as the day for Halloween or as it is also known Mischief Night or Danger Night.
On this night it is a day for children to create mischief by doing tricks or getting a treat.
It is not widely done in Australia as it is in America and elsewhere, in fact most children in Australia celebrate it as dance at their schools or in other activities. Not as a day to create lawless or other mischief.
In Estonia folktales tell of unsuspecting people who wander into village churches on All Saints' Day night only to find all the pews filled with ghosts who sit and kneel attentively while a ghostly priest celebrates mass at the altar.
In France people celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day but not Halloween.
French bellmen would walk through the streets warning of the arrival of, "The spirits are about to arrive!" Once everyone heard this they would all hurry to bed and shut their eyes.
Today the French children beg for flowers with which to decorate churches and the graves of loved ones.
In Guatemala, the advent season is a time of men dressing up as the devil in costumes playfully chasing children through the streets.
To bring the season to a close on December 7, people are to light bonfires in front of their homes. They would toss accumulated garbage and other debris onto these. In the City fireworks explode into the night.
This event is called the Burning the Devil or La Quema del Diablo.
Saint Martin's Day, November 11th, is a celebration in Holland very much like "trick-or-treat". People in Holland go around getting treats by ringing on some doorbells, singing songs for which they are given sweets or tangerines. They go around with lanterns and here is one the songs they sing:
Elf November is de dag,
Dat mijn lichtje,
Dat mijn lichtje.
Elf November is de dag,
Dat mijn lichtje branden mag.
Words to Sint Maarten Song.
This is the story of why the Dutch celebrate Saint Martin. It was a dark and stormy night. Martin was quite alone on that dark stormy night. He only had a cloak and a singular piece of bread. He was returning home when suddenly a poor and homeless man appeared in the darkness. Martin felt pity for the man and gave him half his piece of bread, and half his cloak and offered him hospitality in his home. Now he is called St Martin and is known for his kindness to the stranger. That is why they celebrate Saint Martin's Day.
In New Zealand they celebrate Guy Fawkes Day as the day for Halloween. It is popularly a night for mischief and is called Mischief Night or Danger Night, which is on November 5th.
The Odo Festival is held to mark the return of the dead (odo) to those still living, this occurs in the village of Igbo Nigeria.
The festival has three stages. The first stage is observed with ritual celebrations and festivities to welcome those returning from the spirit world. The spirits stay for six or more months. Their departure is an emotional affair as they will not return for two years.
There are Odo plays featuring different characters in costumes. Most roles are by men with women as chorus members and as spectators.
Children in Sicily go to bed on November 1 well aware that outside, in all the graveyards, the dead are rising from their tombs and coming like Santa Claus to deliver candies, cookies, and gifts to leave for them in celebration of All Saints' Day.
On All Souls' Day the Sicilian chefs mark the holiday with almond-flavored "bones of the dead", bone-shaped biscotti, with molded-sugar dolls, and with fave dei Morti, little Venetian cookies in the shapes of fava beans, a legume associated since ancient times with rites of the dead.
Vu-Lan or Wandering Souls' Day is a festival celebrated by all Vietnamese. When a person dies it is believed their soul goes to hell where it is judged and, depending on the person's behavior on earth, is sent to heaven or kept in hell. Souls in hell can gain release by the prayers of the living. Wandering Souls' Day is the best time for these rituals. Hell's gates are opened at sunset and the naked hungry souls fly out, returning to the family altars.
Tables are spread with a meal for the ancestors and 'wandering souls', and incense sticks and votive papers are burned. This takes place in large rooms or outdoors so there is plenty of room for the 'wandering souls' who have no relatives, or whose relatives have forgotten them.
In Wales people build Halloween fires on the Vigil of Samhain. The celebration is very somber. Each of the family is to write his or her name on a white stone which is then thrown in the fire. Then all of the family members march around a fire, praying for good fortune. The next morning, after the fir has died out, each member sifts through the ashes to search for the stone. If any stone is missing, it means that the spirits will call upon the soul of that person during the coming year.