These people were said to be werewolves. People like them can still be among us today

These people were said to be werewolves. People like them can still be among us today
These people were said to be werewolves. People like them can still be among us today

In every part of the world, the oldest known cultures have one type of legend in common—that of men, women, and children who transform into animals. Our ancestors were fearful people and therefore often considered them a serious threat. “The wolf was a widespread animal for hundreds of years, from which the fear went. European folklore also admitted that a person can turn into a wolf. And many people would swear that they saw such a transformation with their own eyes.” Petr Horáček, who has been dealing with ancient myths and mysteries for almost twenty years, explained to Č

Whatever the case with the werewolf’s existence, it certainly doesn’t matter – from the famous story by the first-century Roman author Gaius Petronius to modern films, such as An American Werewolf in London, this creature is a popular fictional monster. But is it really fictional? Or were there real werewolves? The five examples below of humans are said to have been able to turn into a wolf.

King John (1166–1216)

The 13th century writer Gervasius of Tilbury stated that werewolves were common in England in his time. “It is certain that there are men who at some stage of the waxing moon turning into wolves,” wrote in his encyclopedia Otia imperialia. It may be somewhat strange that he wrote his work in the time of King John, who according to legend was a werewolf himself.

“In 1185, the future king traveled to Ossory, the kingdom of medieval Ireland. Back then, it was said to be the land of werewolves. Chronicler Gerald of Waleswho accompanied Jan, even recorded this meeting,” claimed Horáček. This is probably why it was subsequently assumed that the king is “friends” with the werewolves, because he is one of them. In his 1863 book on folklore, Walter Keating Kelly wrote: “King John of England is said to have lived as a werewolf after his death.”

The Werewolf of Down (died 1574)

In January 1574, Gilles Garnier was convicted of lycanthropy and witchcraft and burned alive at the stake. Garnier, a murderer and cannibal, became known as “The Werewolf of Dole”, after his hometown of Dole in eastern France. “A few years before his execution, the city plagued by mysterious deaths and local children were disappearing. Garnier was the prime suspect because he lived alone in a house outside the city. When he was arrested, he scared a lot of people because he claimed that some forest spirit had given him a potion that would make him turn into a wolf.”

Garnier subsequently confessed that as a werewolf he hunted a attacked small children, killing and eating at least four. More than fifty residents of the city of Dole testified in court and swore that he had indeed eaten people and that he had turned into an animal many times before their eyes.

The Beast of Bedburg (c. 1535–1589)

Probably the most famous “real” werewolf in history is Peter Stumpp, born around 1535 in the town of Bedburg near Cologne. It was for this and for the crime of murder that he was tortured in 1589 eventually martyred. “He was accused of practicing witchcraft and necromancy all his life. He also allegedly had incest with his sister, who then gave birth to a child.” stated Horáček.

Stumpp is said to have summoned the devil, who gave him a special ointment and belt that turned him into a huge wolf the size of a bear. When he was a beast, he was supposed to hunt, kill and feast on men, women and children. He is said to have murdered at least 16 people. “When he wanted to return to human form, he simply unbuckled his belt. It was said that he not only feasted on people, but attacked sheep and goats with his sharp claws and teeth.’

Demon Tailor (died 1598)

About 20 years after Gilles Garnier’s reign of terror, another werewolf was on the hunt, strangely only a few hundred kilometers from the city of Dole. Nicholas Damont was known as the “Demon Tailor of Châlons” and was eventually executed for being a werewolf. He had lured his young victims to his tailor shop, attack them and cut their throats. “He was also believed to have murdered and eaten people in the forests around Châlons. His shop was eventually inspected by city officials and human remains were found in his basement.’

His gruesome confessions and court testimony caused a wave of horror in France. “The case remains one of the most famous werewolf trials, which were teeming in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Like Garnier, the tailor was condemned and burned alive in 1598.”

The Welsh Werewolf (1790)

In the 1890s, a wild beast – a werewolf – terrorized the landscape of North Wales. The first report was of a horse-drawn carriage traveling one night on the road between the towns of Denbigh and Wrexham, the lonely road being illuminated by a full moon. “Suddenly the carriage was attacked by a monster, described as a huge black beast, and it gasped one of the horses. In the winter of 1791, a farmer in the same area found a scene straight out of a horror movie – a pile of dead sheep that had been torn apart. Leading to the carcasses of the sheep were massive paw prints that seemed to belong to some huge animal.” Horáček described.

This farmer was subsequently chased by a werewolf. He told how the beast walked on its hind legs and looked at him through the windows of his house and pounded on the door. In his words the creature had human eyes. “Around 1798, the werewolf was allegedly seen again, it was said to have murdered two men. After that, werewolf sightings in the area ended. But local people still walked around the moors and woods near Denbigh, fearing the beast would return.” added Horáček for Č

Sources: author’s article

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The article is in Czech

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