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Werewolves are human beings with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or a hybrid wolf creature, generally, much larger and more powerful than actual wolves.

Werewolves have been featured in books, films, and plays throughout the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Most people are familiar with the folklore of werewolves, who transform during a full moon, turn others into werewolves by biting them, and can only be stopped with silver.

However, these characteristics were not part of the original folklore. Rather, they were embellishments added by authors, filmmakers, and playwrights.

The belief in werewolves goes far back in time, and werewolves were once generally accepted as being real. People were even tried and executed by courts that accepted that they had the ability to change their form and kill innocent people.

The Greek author, Herodotus, wrote about a Central Asian tribe called the Neuri who turned into wolves once a year for several days. Euanthes, a Greek author, wrote that one member of a certain family among the Arcadians would be chosen by lot, then taken to a lake, where he would remove his clothing, swim across the lake, and then go away into a desert, where he would change into a wolf, and live as a wolf for nine years before returning and resuming a human form, only with the addition of nine years.

Other stories held that the gods would turn men into wolves as a result of some sin. The idea of human beings being transformed into the form of a wolf was common in many ancient cultures. Although educated members of society didn't believe these stories, this changed in the Late Middle Ages, when the idea of werewolves was accepted as fact by the majority of people.

Olaus Magnus, the Archbishop of Uppsala, wrote, in his book, A Description of Northern Peoples, "In Prussia, Livonia, and Lithuania, although the inhabitants suffer considerably from the rapacity of wolves throughout the year, in that these animals rend their cattle, which are scattered in great numbers through the woods, whenever they stray in the very least, yet this is not regarded by them as such a serious matter as what they endure from men turned into wolves."

Over the years, a system of beliefs formed around the concept of a werewolf, and lycanthropes were established in folk culture. Although specific beliefs varied from region to region, there was more or less continuity of belief across Europe, although some doubted the shapeshifting aspect.

In most places, werewolves were predominantly male. In Finland and Scandinavia, however, it was believed that the majority of werewolves were female, and equated, in some aspects, with witches.

Some legends have it that werewolves are the result of a curse being placed on someone or, more commonly, because they were bitten or scratched by a werewolf. Lycanthropy refers to the supernatural transformation of a person into a wolf, who may also be known as lycans or lycanthropes.

A belief in lycanthropy stems from European folklore that spread to the Americas with colonialism. The case of Peter Stumpp, a German farmer who was accused of being a werewolf, and horribly executed in 1589, piqued interest in, and the persecution of, supposed werewolves.

Werewolves have been popularized in recent years in books, movies, and on the Internet. However, not every lycan is a werewolf, and not every supernaturally monstrous dog is a Lycan.

For the purposes of categorization, we will be listing topics relating to other canine cryptids exhibiting human characteristics, such as walking upright, here too. Of course, natural dogs can be trained to walk on two legs, and wolves might even do that if they are missing a foreleg, but those are not the topic of this category.

The Beast of Bray Road, outside of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, for example, is often reported as being a werewolf, yet no one has seen it transform from a human into a wolf. It is considered a werewolf because it is unusually large, and has been observed walking upright like a man, although it has the appearance of a wolf.

Outside of Galena, Illinois, another large wolf has been seen running on its hind legs, and has become known as the Wolfman of Chestnut Mountain.

Werewolves, on the other hand, do not walk on their hind legs once they have transformed into a wolf. There are several reports from many places of such creatures. Although not werewolves, these man-wolves would be listed here as well.

A wolf that is able to walk on all fours will not walk on two legs.

Werewolves, and similar creatures, are the focus of topics highlighted in this category.



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