We already know that a full moon plays a prominent role in the changing of a werewolf, but other cultures believed there were other ways to identify the beast. In this article, you will learn more about characteristics of the werewolf, as well as ways to kill the creature.
The Turning of a Werewolf
The way that a man turned into a werewolf almost always involves a full moon. For example, the Italians, French and Germans believed that a man or woman could turn into a werewolf if he or she, slept in the outdoors with a full moon directly shining on their face. Typical days that this transformation would take place would be on a Wednesday or Friday.
According to a variety of cultures, they used different ways to identify a werewolf. Some people believed that werewolves had red hair. If you were born on December 25th, this was a warning sign to some people. If your eyebrows met in the middle, this characteristic was sometimes grounds for identifying a werewolf. Some believed that a werewolf had index and middle fingers that were the same length. People who loved rare or raw meat were looked at differently. Hairy palms on their hands were also a feature associated with werewolves.
Beliefs for Turning Werewolves Back
Some cultures believed that you could use a remedy to turn a werewolf back into its human form. Ancient Greeks and Romans relied on exhausting a person they thought suffered from lycanthropy. The people hoped to purge the werewolf traits out of their ‘condition’ by putting them through long periods of physical activity. This action was a result of the belief that werewolves were left in a weakened state after they’ve attacked their prey.
Europeans during medieval times thought they could cure a human deemed a werewolf by striking their forehead or scalp with a knife. Some would pierce the hands of a werewolf with nails. Others would call out the Christian name of the human for three times in hopes of curing a werewolf. During medieval times, it was also commonplace to convert a suspected werewolf to Christianity to cure them of their condition.
How Can You Kill a Werewolf?
The werewolf was not without any vulnerability. Modern fiction says that silver weapons were a weakness for the werewolf , especially when they were struck with a silver bullet. However, werewolf tales before the 19th century do not make this a feature. The history of silver being a protection metal is traced back to the ancient days of the Greeks, Romans, Sumerians, Babylonians, and Egyptians.
When trying to kill a werewolf, it is common to see heroes aim for the heart or brain. Some tales say that they can die when they suffer a wound that destroys any portion of these parts. This is why some stories speak of decapitating the head and removing the heart of a werewolf to kill the creature. Hanging or depriving the beast of oxygen are also effective ways to kill a werewolf.
Werewolves do not flinch at religious objects like other creatures of the night, such as the vampire. However, some thought that throwing a piece of iron or steel over the head of a human when they were in their wolf form would make them return to their human self. Some cultures believed that mountain ash, mistletoe, and wolfsbane could serve as protection against a werewolf.