1. By their birthday ye shall know them… The legends say that anyone born on Christmas Eve is destined to become a werewolf. It’s regarded as a divine punishment for daring to compete with the Christ child. As if not getting a birthday party isn’t bad enough.
2. Waxing won’t help… If you have a unibrow (brows that meet above the bridge of your nose), you’re probably a werewolf. According to this rule of thumb, Bert of Sesame Street fame has been a shapeshifter all along and will probably devour Ernie one of these days.
3. It’s not polite to point… Having an index finger that’s longer than your middle finger is a clue that you might be a werewolf. If that long forefinger occurs with thick and lengthy nails and hairy palms, it’s fairly certain that you have waaaaay more problems than just needing a good manicurist.
4. Water, water, all around… Like rabid dogs, werewolves are said to possess an irrational fear of water. Which is a real pain to live with because werewolves are also incredibly thirsty all the time. Their raging thirst when in human form apparently stems from all their extracurricular exertion as a wolf. Plus they need to wash all those victims down.
5. The better to see you with, my dear… Werewolves can be spotted even in the densest forest or darkest night because of their glow-in-the-dark red eyes. A shapeshifter’s eyes can glow when they’re in human form too. Especially if you’ve had a little too much Absolut and orange juice.
6. It’s only skin-deep… Centuries ago, the pentagram (5-pointed star) was considered a sign of evil. Werewolves were also considered evil, so naturally everyone thought the two would go together. Doctors of the time actually checked the skin of suspected werewolves for tattoos of pentagrams or birthmarks shaped like them! Sometimes they checked under the skin too, believing that a werewolf wore its fur within while in human form -- kind of like a reversible raincoat.
7. To sleep, perchance to scream… Someone with strange sleeping habits could be suspected of being a werewolf. Doglike behavior such as turning in a circle on the bed, scratching at the covers or even having restless leg syndrome could all be a sign. Restless dreams and nightmares have been rumored to plague werewolves. Sleeping excessively, especially through the day, has often been considered a solid clue to shapeshifter tendencies. (Wow – that takes in most teenagers.) However, NOT being able to sleep is also a sign of being a werewolf!
8. Temper, temper… People with rage issues and tendencies towards violence were often suspected of being werewolves. A werewolf’s aggression supposedly increased as the moon became fuller, and declined as the moon waned. No one ever seemed to consider PMS.
9. Able to leap tall buildings… If someone was unusually physically strong, they might be suspected of being a werewolf. Shapeshifters were notoriously well-muscled and some legends say they were as powerful as a dozen ordinary humans. They were immune to disease as well, so if the plague came to your village and you didn’t die from it, you might fall under suspicion. Same goes if your co-workers fall prey to the latest office flu and you don't.
10. Sexy as all get out … That is, you are if you play a werewolf in Twilight, True Blood, Being Human, and other popular movies and TV programs --- or if you happen to be a hot character in one of my new paranormal romance novels! The series centers around a family of shapeshifters, the Macleods, who have settled in northern Canada after being driven out of Scotland. They love their ability to turn into wolves at will, considering a great gift. However, it's a gift that complicates their lives, especially when love comes along.
By the way, these shapeshifters find it insulting to be called werewolves – they refer to themselves as Changelings. (The first three books, Changeling Moon, Changeling Dream and Changeling Dawn, are available online and in bookstores.)
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