CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF – Part of the May Monster Madness Hop

*LUPINE – adjective meaning
 “of, like, or relating to a wolf
or wolves”
 
How do you become a werewolf? Most of us think first of the Hollywood movie tradition – that if you’re bitten by a werewolf, you’ll automatically turn into one. This method is actually quite rare among the many lupine* legends and lore from around the world. Because I write novels about shapeshifters, I collect shapeshifter trivia. Today I dusted off some of the more interesting ways and means of becoming a werewolf – all of them involuntary!


In many countries on both sides of the Atlantic a person could become a werewolf against their will if someone cursed them. Often, the person doing the hexing was not a witch but a priest!

If you weren't "good" you might
be cursed to become a werewolf.
But if you offended the devil
(by being too good?) you could
receive the very same curse!
From Russia to France, if you didn’t go to church or offended God in some other way, you could be officially cursed with lycanthropy. This was said to happen to those who failed to attend annual confession – do this 10 years in a row and you’re automatically a werewolf.

In 14th century Normandy, the varouage was an excommunicated person who became a werewolf between Christmas and Candlemas or during Advent. During this time, the sinner was either redeemed – or doomed to belong to the devil and run as a wolf forever. (By the way, in Finland, if you were lucky enough to break the spell, you were still stuck with a wolf’s tail for the rest of your life!)

Because they would not accept Christianity, St. Patrick is said to have cursed the ruler of a Welsh tribe and all his followers to become wolves! It’s said that the curse lasted 7 years, but other versions of the story have them turning into wolves EVERY 7 years for the rest of their lives. This is similar to the curse delivered by Saint Natalis (or Naile), who condemned an Irish clan to werewolfism for some long-forgotten sin. Forever after, every member of the clan would spend 7 years of their lives as a wolf.

If your parents were werewolves, you were likely to be born one too. But curses abound for anyone born on the wrong day. In Italy, it was bad luck to be born on the winter solstice, December 20-21, and a sure way to become a shapeshifter. In many other European countries, it was believed that children born on December 24th, Christmas Eve, automatically became werewolves. Apparently it was a divine punishment for competing with the Christ child!

In Romania, this legend went a step further. Children conceived on Christmas Eve were cursed to become werewolves because their parents were supposed to have abstained from sex at that time!

Birth order could also determine your fate. If you were the seventh boy of seven boys born in a row (no girls inbetween), then you would become a werewolf. This belief was so prevalent in Argentina (where the werewolf is called a lobizon) that seventh sons were commonly abandoned, given up for adoption or even killed! In 1920, the president of Argentina countered this by declaring all seventh sons to be his official godchildren.

A Polish legend says that if a witch lays a belt of human skin across the threshold of a house in which a marriage is being celebrated, any member of the wedding party that steps over it is immediately transformed into a wolf. The wolves are forced to serve the witch for a year, then regain their human form and return to their lives.

As if there weren't enough ways to become a werewolf, it was also possible to become one by sheer accident! In some stories, if you happen to lock eyes with a wild wolf, it could cause you to turn into a wolf within a few days.

Legend also says that a “lycanthropic flower” grows wild in the Balkan Peninsula, with a sickly death-like scent and white or yellow blooms. If you pick these flowers, you become a wolf!

Not even water is safe. If you unknowingly drink from a "lycanthropic" river or stream, you could become a werewolf. In some European legends, especially in Scandinavian countries, lycanthropic water is said to possess a "lurid sparkle" and a faint smell that is like nothing else. Other legends say that drinking from any body of water where a wolf pack has recently satisfied their thirst will cause you to become a shapeshifter!

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MAY MONSTER MADNESS BLOG HOP

MANY THANKS to the hosts of this hop – author Annie Walls, Little Gothic Horrors and Something WicKED This Way Comes.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
A name has been drawn at random from the commenters 
and the winner is KWEENY TODD from Canada.

She'll be receiving a signed copy of Book 3 in my shapeshifter series, CHANGELING DAWN and a Dani Harper TOTE BAG to put it in!  (check out the "Paranormal Novels" button to learn more about my work or go to my website at www.daniharper.com)

63 comments:

  1. Excellent post!!! I didn't know some of these legends! =D I'm glad I'm a balanced person! Neither bad or too good... I wouldn't want to be come hairy!

    My favorite monster? Ed Gein. Hands down. Many stories and movies were inspired by him including Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre... I actually wrote my research paper on him in high school. So, it probably is not a surprise Leatherface is my favorite slasher.

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    1. Omigosh, I had to look this guy up. I had no idea these stories were inspired by a real person.

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  2. fun information :) don't enter me, just wanted to stop by and share some sheep love. and find the links to all the other stops on this cool hop!!! I love monsters...shifters are one of my favorite romance monsters, but for just straight up monster I will go with Aliens!

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    1. I lean towards Predator - totally love that monster!

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  3. Hi, no need to enter my name in the contest. I guess wolves were considered irreligious. Be well, and don't lock eyes with a wolf!!!

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    1. Before the Church became so powerful, werewolves were often regarded as noble creatures and usually retained their humanity within the animal form. It's this older aspect I chose to utilize in my own shapeshifter stories.

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  4. My favorite tv show of all time was Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. She fought a lot of pretty mean monsters!

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  5. I LOVE Buffy! My daughters and I watched every single episode to the very end.

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  6. I don't know if I can call them monsters or not but my favorite would have to be shifters.

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    1. Forgot my email
      Megblod@yahoo.com

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    2. I'm using the term "monsters" VERY loosely. So shifters fit in. :)

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  7. Yay werewolves, my fav of all the monsters. :)

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    1. I have a weak spot for werewolves too!

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    2. CONGRATULATIONS KWEENY! You're the winner of my draw. I have goodies for you and I'll be emailing you in a few minutes. :D

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    3. WOOOO! I feel like a champion! *howls at the moon*

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  8. Great post! Lol, my cousin may be a werewolf or destined to become one! He's the youngest of seven sons, no sisters and his father is a seventh son (though he has sisters in between brothers so he's safe!). I love werewolves! Definetly my fav manster though if you're going for classical monsters then I love frankenstein's monster as well (though why Dr. Frankenstein never gave his monster a real name I don't know), one of the most misunderstood monsters ever!
    suzi1811 (at) fsmail (dot) net

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    1. Wow, I don't think I've ever met anyone who really IS a seventh son! Very cool. And I've wondered about Frankenstein's monster's name too -- I would have thought he'd have one prepared in advance for his great creation.

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    2. I know, he really didn't think ahead! In Ireland they believe that a seventh son of a seventh son will have a cure of some sort, anything from a cure for warts to a cure for a specific cancer, so far Joseph isn't showing any possible cures!

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  9. One of my favorite "monsters" would have to be THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. I know he's not a monster in the true sense, but he was treated as one.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Oh that story is sooooo sad -- I read the book when I was a kid. You're right, he wasn't really a monster but he sure was treated like one.

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  10. Great post Dani. I'm so glad I live in this century. :) My favorite monster is Boris Karloff's Frankenstein. Thanks for the chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Boris Karloff did some amazing things, didn't he? I think he must have been a very interesting person.

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  11. As always, one hell of info here Dani. I never heard any of these before

    Monsters.. Well, that means the bad guys right? Since i'm a fan of anita blake series, i pick mommie dearest from that series. She's scary thing

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    1. Oooo, I remember her from Cerulean Sins - Marmee Noir, mother of all vamps!

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  12. Great info on werewolves , it's fascinating to read about it. I am a big fan of the old Hammer Horror movies , Dracula and Frankenstein.
    Irene
    irgl7(at)bonzo15(dot)plus(dot)com

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    1. I always thought it was interesting that Christopher Lee got to play both Dracula AND Frankenstein for Hammer.

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  13. WOOT another werewolf post, which makes me thing, great minds think alike. Great info!

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  14. YIKES!!! I will be good verrrry good. At that rate we allll should be werewolves and shapeshifters *darts eyes
    My fave genre of Monster is the Zombie. I grew up on Night Of The LIVING Dead (Romero) and its always been my fave movie. Brian Keene put a lovely spin on the zombie genre with City of The Dead and The Rising. And everyday I am grateful for the millions of people who have embraced the zombie genre as I would have been the only if not heh
    earthdancedaph@yahoo.com

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    1. I thought that too --- no wonder there were so many werewolves in medieval Europe, LOL! My daughter and her friends LOVE zombies - they attend all kinds of zombie raves and events and are always finding new ways to dress up. My fav was the Zombie Wedding Party theme one Halloween. Of course, Walking Dead is very big in our house!

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  15. I Love The Post Dani As For My Favorite Monsters I Have To Say I Have 3 They Would Be Vampires, Werewolves And Zombies Oh My! My Favorite Zombie Movie Would Be Night of the Living Dead The 1990 Version Of The Film It Was Better Made Than The One First Filmed In The 1960's. My Favorite Books Has All 3 Of Them In It And That Would Be The Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series By Laurell K. Hamilton. Most People Would See Vampire Hunter And Think Only Vamps Are In Them And You Would Be So Wrong I Recommend Reading The Entire Series And You Will See What Im Talking About.

    April
    butterfli262002@yahoo.com

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    1. I agree, the Anita Blake series has EVERYTHING! You never know what's going to show up next. I really like her as a heroine and the fact that she's a necromancer.

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  16. I think my favorite monster would have to be Cthulu. Wonderful werewolf post! Jessica Penot Jessica.penot@ gmail. com

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    1. Cthulu is certainly gaining popularity. Check out this CTHULU CAKE! (I definitely want one for my birthday, except it would be too cool to eat, LOL)

      http://www.dorkly.com/picture/13142/cthulhu-cake

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  17. I think the menaed from the Sookie Stackhouse series was definitely different and interesting. Her venom on her claws was pretty viscous.

    andieleah78@gmail.com

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    1. Maryann was a really unique creature. I hadn't heard of Maenads before.

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  18. Definitely Lestat from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles series. Amazing post and giveaway!

    wickedlybookish@gmail.com

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    1. What a character -- I didn't like him when we first met him in Interview with the Vampire, but by the time the series got to The Queen of the Damned, I did (probably because I understood him better by then).

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  19. I have a thing for Dragons (yes, I'm a little strange...)

    isabelli3619 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Nothing strange about that - dragons are COOL! I fell in love with them early by reading Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series.

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  20. I like Frankenstein.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Just started reading Dean Koontz's version of it.

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  21. Monsters hmm... I have always been a big Buffy fan and the spin-off series Angel. I just love anything vampire!

    bookdevoteereviews(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  22. Buffy totally rules! I'm a fan too.

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  23. Ooooh... fascinating post! I love mythology and folklore. You would imagine that people must have been nervous wrecks in the past with all those potential ways to turn into a werewolf to worry about. I guess as society became more sophisticated we simply filled our anxiety void with more modern concerns like image and status instead. ;)

    I usually don't enter giveaways because I'm in Australia, however, as it is international... if I'm TOO international though, feel free to not put me in the draw. Haha.

    Very hard question, but I think I will pick Spike, from 'Buffy', as my favourite monster. He was such a complex character. He could be violent, funny, evil, thoughtful, tender, thoughtless, even noble, and James Marsters portrayed him brilliantly.

    info@littlegothichorrors.com

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    1. I totally agree that James Marsters was brilliant in this role. I always thought that Buffy should have picked Spike over Angel --- Spike actually worked and suffered to get a soul on his own. Out of all the characters in the Buffiverse, I think he was the one who changed and grew the most: from cold-blooded killer to sacrificing hero.

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  24. I'm a Twilight fan and I love Edward Cullen. However, my love for zombies overshadows my love for vampires. I took a poll at my blog, and werewolves came in last. Vampires came in first with zombies second. But zombies are becoming more and more popular.

    Precious Monsters

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    1. I've noticed that zombies are making big gains in popularity. And "The Walking Dead" series has certainly helped that!

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  25. I love all monsters! The notion that they are all bad or evil is just wrong. They have been misunderstood or have been typecast in movies...just look at the dear stepmothers!
    PhoenixCarvelli at gmail dot com

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  26. Many classic stories invoke sympathy for the monster and make you ask "Who is the REAL monster?"

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  27. I love the fae characters from the Sookie Stackhouse series.

    rockchick531@gmail.com

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  28. Love the way that all the beauty is just a facade.

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  29. I Love Werewolves,if a book/movie has a werewolf in it I'm going to be reading/watching it :)

    reginamayross@gmail.com

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    1. Werewolves are my favorites too. LOL - I guess that's obvious from the books I write. The heroes are Changelings (their preferred name for themselves - they don't like to be called werewolves). :)

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  30. While I have been reading more werewolf books lately I think my favorite is still Vampires. I think it's the fangs.

    miztik_rose@yahoo.com

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    1. My current fav vampire is Bones from the Night Huntress series, by Jeaniene Frost.:)

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  31. The monsters from Underworld, pretty scary! LOL, but the werewolve guy is really sexy!!

    ilepachequin(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I really love that world. I thought the first movie was fabulous, and the third one was pretty good too. (The 2nd not so much). I'm definitely on the side of the Lycans!

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  32. My favorite monster from movies would be Godzilla.

    mythic021@gmail.com

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    1. I have a big green pickup truck that I just named Godzilla Jr.

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  33. Those scare tactics and legends are fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

    My favorite monster is bigfoot. I love the rumors that he's out there. ;D

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    sophiarose1816@gmail.com

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    1. I agree -- I totally enjoy the feeling of "possibilities" -- all those creatures that just might be out there. :)

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