My first experience with werewolves was in fifth grade. I was waiting in the lunch line, book in hand to pass the time, reading The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine. Of course, one of my friends at the time decided to take the book, look ahead, find out who the werewolf was, and tell me before I got to find out. Still, reading that book sparked my interest on the moon-loving creatures, so here they are! ~Editor Sandy
WHAT IS IT?
We all know werewolves. By day they’re human, by night they’re human, except when there’s a full moon. Then, controlled by a supernatural force stronger than themselves, they transform into a wolf, usually larger than a typical wolf, with sharper teeth and claws, too, and a seemingly unquenchable thirst for blood. They can’t control themselves when the full moon comes out, so don’t go out at night during the full moon if there are werewolves known to be in the area. You become a werewolf when one bites you, but when did the first werewolf originate?
There are myths in Europe during the Middle Ages of lycanthropy, which is a big word for “becoming a wolf.” The wolf is an important symbol in Germanic paganism, which influenced the European myths. Werewolves can be found in Ancient Greek texts as well. For example, the Neuri tribe in Histories by Herodotus change into wolves for several days once every year.
Where do I start? Well, I already mentioned my favorite Goosebumps book, Werewolf in Fever Swamp. And then there was that Scooby Doo episode, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Werewolf?” Of course, that werewolf was fake, but Shaggy got turned into one in “Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf,” and they met real werewolves (and other fantastic creatures) in “Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School.”
I also loved reading Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, and the film, although it diverges from the story, was excellent as well. Young werewolf Vivian has to decide whether she’s more human or more wolf.
Then there’s the classic, “Wolf Man.” And you can’t leave out Professor Lupin from the Harry Potter series, who is only the nicest werewolf ever. I took a course in college that included werewolves and required us to read The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan and watch “An American Werewolf in London.” The list goes on.
How can one be original when there are so many werewolf books and movies out there? Well, for one thing, you could think about how your life would change if you were bitten by one.
Or, how about this: you find out your lover is a werewolf. What do you do? Do you kill him/ her to save humanity? Do you let yourself get bitten? Do you run away?
Happy writing! And be careful in the full moon!