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Column: The WereWolves

December 4, 2005
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WereWolves-Related Information

December 4, 2005

Related Information


 Ergot

Ergot is a fungal disease of rye, barley and wheat caused by fungi Cleviceps ergot. The disease appears as a blackish-purple club shaped growth (known as head of ergot) on the tops of grain seeds. It has a rough surface

 and may be as much as four times as large as the grain kernel it replaces. The ideal condition for ergot contamination is wet and cool spring.
Ergot body contains a number of alkaloids and amines which can cause health
problems in both animals and people. Ergot contaminated food consumption may cause vomiting, diarrhea and even gangrene in serous cases. It also has a poisonous effect on the central nervous system. LSD– a psychoactive drug was first synthesized from ergot compounds.

Ergot was a widespread contamination of cereal grains in Europe during middle ages. Heat cannot break down psychoactive components of ergot; therefore, they exist in breads baked from infected grains. A major outbreak of ergot poisoning occurred in France in early 1950s. In 1951, nearly 135 people had to be hospitalized and 6 died from ergot poisoning in the French town of Pont St. Esprit. They ate bread made from fungus infected rye. The victims had horrible visions of being attacked by tigers and snakes and of turning into beasts. Experiences of this outbreak provide a good insight into what people might have experienced in medieval times.

Symptoms of ergot poisoning include hallucinations (the 1950’s French victims reported ‘being chased or attacked by horrible beasts’, ‘terror of dark’ and ‘feeling that my body was not mine’) together with burning sensations (commonly known as St. Anthony’s fire ) in the extremities & the scalp.

It is not hard to imagine how an outbreak of ergot-poisoning or, more likely, an ongoing low level of contamination, could lead to the development of werewolf-legend, the ‘pursuit by horrible beasts’ hallucination was probably the most likely cause. Furthermore, ‘tingling and loss of sensation in the extremities’ could possibly have been interpreted as shape shifting.
 

Hallucinogen

Hallucinogen drugs act on the central nervous system and produce significant change to user’s state of consciousness by distorting the perception of reality up to the point when hallucination occurs. At that point people may see or hear things that aren’t really there, or they may see a distorted image of surroundings. Hallucinogens include a wide variety of products form artificially synthesized chemicals to natural plant extracts. LSD, magic mushrooms, mescaline, PCP and marijuana are some examples of hallucinogens.

Effect of hallucinogens on any person depends on dose, user’s past experience and circumstances (place, user’s psychological and emotional stability, presence of other people etc.) under which they are taken. User’s reaction can range from ecstasy to terror. In fact, during a single hallucinogenic episode, a user is likely to experience various psychic and emotional reactions. It can be pleasant at one time and disturbing and threatening at another time.

Regular use of such hallucinogens like LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin induce tolerance within a few days: that is, little or no effect is experienced even with high doses. Cross-tolerance is also developed by usage of LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and DMT; that is, a person who has built up tolerance to one will be unable to experience the effects of another one. Normal sensation is usually restored after abstention for several consecutive days.

Chronic users may become psychologically dependent on hallucinogens. Psychological dependence exists when a drug is so central to a person’s thoughts, emotions, and activities that the need to continue becomes compulsory.

Hallucinogens do not appear to cause physical dependence; reactions have not been observed for withdrawal even after long-time usage.
 

Hallucination and Schizophrenia

 In the light of psychiatry hallucination can be defined as “perception without corresponding stimuli” (Swiss psychiatrist E. Bleuler) or as the “apparent perception of an external object when no such object is present” (L. E. Hinsie and J. Shatzky, Psychiatric Dictionary, 1940). In other words, hallucination is the experience of perceiving objects or events that do not exist. For example, a person may hear or see things that no one else seems to hear or see. It involves all five five sensory perceptual distortion, seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting that others would not sense at all. Persistent hallucination is a symptom of schizophrenia.

There is a basic difference between illusion and hallucination. If some external object is present but inadequately recognized, an incorrect perception occurs and causes illusion. By comparison, in the absence of such external object the incorrect perception is called hallucination.

Hallucinations may be produced by chemical changes derived from internal metabolic disturbances or from outside of the body. Some chemicals that produce hallucinations seem to reduce sensory inputs; for example, dramatic hallucinatory recall of intense experiences from the recent past. Hallucinations during induction of (and emergence from) general surgical anesthesia induced by a variety of other chemicals can be explained on the same basis.

Some hallucinogenic chemicals seem to impair sensory inputs by decreasing the transmission of nerval impulses by increasing the resistance of the nervous system to their passage. On the contrary, some other hallucinogens increase nerve transmissions, disrupting the orderly input of information and "jamming the circuits." Many botanically derived hallucinogens seem to function this way–e.g., LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), ergot (a fungus that grows on rye), psilocybin (derived from mushrooms), mescaline (derived from the peyote cactus), and tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (derived from marijuana). Hallucinations also can be induced by jamming the circuits through input overload produced mechanically, bombarding several sensory systems with intense stimuli simultaneously (e.g., with bright flashing lights with loud noises). Hallucinogenic drugs are substances that, administered in pharmacological doses (not toxic overdoses), create gross distortions in perception without causing unconsciousness. These distortions frequently include hallucinations. Such compounds also are likely to exert profound effects on mood, thought, and observable behavior of the user.

LSD

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide or LSD is one of the most powerful hallucinogens that radically changes a person’s mental state by distorting the perception of reality. It was first synthesized in 1968 form ergot fungus which grows on rye and other grains. Pure LSD is odorless and tasteless white crystalline powder. In streets it is found in forms of tablets, capsules, little pills and very small pieces of blotting papers with pictures on them. There are also some slang names for LSD like acid, tabs, blotters, microdots, stars, white lighting, purple mike, blue mike, windows, superman and strawberries.

LSD is usually taken orally. Sometimes it is injected or inhaled as well. Even a very small amount like 50 to 100 micrograms ( 1 microgram is 1/1000 of a milligram) can alter one’s perception to the point of hallucination.

Short-term effects of LSD appear after 20 to 60 minutes and can last up to any duration from 4 to 12 hours depending on amount, user’s drug experience, manner and circumstances. Physical effects appears first that includes numbness, muscle weakness, trembling; rapid reflexes, increased blood pressure, heart palpitation, temperature increase, impaired motor coordination, dilated pupils, nausea and occasionally, seizures. Dramatic changes in perception, thought, and mood occur shortly after the physical effects. These may include:

  • Distorted perceptions of time (minutes seem like hours), distance (hazardous if operating motor vehicles or standing near balcony edges), gravity (sensations of floating or being pressed down) and the space between oneself and one’s environment (for some, a feeling of oneness with the universe, for others, a feeling of terror)
  • Fusion of the senses (music is "seen," colors "heard")
  • Diminishing control over thought processing, resulting in recent or long-forgotten memories resurfacing and blending with current experience or in insignificant thoughts or objects taking on deep meaning
  • Feelings of a mystical, religious, or cosmic nature (generally the most desired effect).

The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. Many users also experience unpleasant reactions to LSD. This can include feelings of paranoia, anxiety, fear and the worst, people can forget that it is the drug causing these effects. Calling these reactions "bad trips," users feel that they are losing their identity, disintegrating into nothingness, and that there is no reality.

Hallucinations sometimes result in violence, homicide, or suicide. This psychotic state can last for several days or even longer.

Long-term effects appear after repeated use over a lengthy period. "Flashbacks" (unpredictable, spontaneous recurrences of the original LSD experience without the user’s taking the drug again) can occur weeks, months, or even up to a year after the last dose. Typically, flashbacks last only a few minutes or less and are usually consists visual images ranging from formless colors to frightening hallucinations. Chronic LSD usage may result in prolonged depression and anxiety.

Tolerance to LSD’s hallucinatory and physical effects develops rapidly, making larger amounts of the drug necessary to produce the same effects. There is no physical dependence on LSD after continuous use, for there are no withdrawal symptoms after the drug is discontinued. Some regular LSD users become psychologically dependent on the drug and the need to keep taking it.

Nightshade or Belladonna

Scientific Name: Atropa Belladonna (LINN.)

Popular names for Nightshade are Belladonna, Devil’s Cherries, Naughty Man’s Cherries, Divale, Black Cherry, Devil’s Herb, Great Morel and Dwayberry. Widely distributed over Central and Southern Europe, South-west Asia and Algeria, it is also cultivated in England, France and North America. The generic name of the plant, Atropa, has derived from the Greek Atropos, the Fate that cuts the thread of human life – a reference to its deadly, poisonous nature.

Description of the Plant—The 6 inches long whitish root is thick, fleshy and branching. Purplish colored stem is 2 to 4 feet high, undivided at the base, but dividing a little above the ground into three, each of which again branches freely. The oval shaped leaves are dull, darkish green in color and of unequal size from 3 to 10 inches long. The veins of the leaves, especially the midrib are prominent on overleaf.

The flowers, which appear in June and July, and continue blooming until early September are of a dark purplish color.The berry, which ripens in September, acquires a shining black color sizes like a small cherry. It contains several seeds. The berries are full of a dark, poisonous juice, and are intensely sweet.

A typical symptom of Belladonna poisoning is complete loss of voice, together with frequent bending forward of the trunk and continual movements of the hands and fingers and the pupils of the eye becoming much dilated. Swallowing an emetic, such as a large glass of warm vinegar or mustard and water as soon as possible, may prevent the poisonous effects of Belladonna berries.

Its deadly character is due to the presence of an alkaloid, Atropine, 1/10 grain of which swallowed by a man has shown symptoms of poisoning. As every part of the plant is extremely poisonous, neither leaves nor berries or root should be handled if there are any cuts or abrasions on the hands. The root is the most and the berries are the most poisonous parts of Belladonna.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a viral infection that attacks the nervous system of warm-blooded men and animals. Once the symptoms of rabies develop, there is no successful treatment for it; only three patients in the medical history have survived the disease after its progression to this stage. It is very important to stop the disease from developing in people who may have been exposed to the rabies virus.

To cause an infection, the rabies virus must enter the body and reach nerve cells. The virus can enter the body through broken skin. Droplets containing the virus can pass through mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth or intestine. Usually, transmission occurs when rabid animals, with the virus in their saliva, bite people. The virus travel from the site of exposure to the brain through nerves. Once the virus establishes itself in the brain, it travels down and multiplies in different organs. Eventually, the virus reaches the salivary glands ant then, it releases itself into the mouth.

The major risk of rabies comes from contact with the saliva, body fluids, or tissue of infected animals. Animals that can be infected with rabies include all mammals, but in particular:

  • Wild animals–mostly foxes, skunks, bats, and raccoons
  • Livestock–mostly cattle but occasionally horses, sheep, goats, and pigs
  • Pets–mostly cats and dogs

In Canada, rabies is also found in wolves, coyotes and other meat-eating animals. It is rarely found in rodents such as mice, squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, rabbits, rats, hamsters, or gerbils, so their bites do not usually pose a risk for rabies

In people, rabies appears in several stages. Initially, a person who is bitten may notice unusual feeling or tingling around the wound. Soon afterwards, there is a period of tiredness, possibly with lack of appetite, headache, fever, cough, sore throat, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. A period of extreme worry, irritability, inability to sleep, and depression follows, possibly with hallucinations. "Furious rabies" may follow with strange behaviors including biting other people. At this stage, victims have an uncontrollable fear of water. This is why rabies has been called "Hydrophobia." Sometimes "paralytic rabies" develops instead of furious rabies. With this form of the disease, the muscles gradually become paralyzed, starting from the site of the bite or scratch. A coma slowly develops that results to the death.

In animals, rabies appears in two different forms. It may appear as furious rabies in which the animal changes behavior, becomes restless, wanders aimlessly, and bites any animal, person, or object in its way. Eventually the animal becomes paralyzed in the throat and hind legs, and dies. Or it may appear as "dumb rabies" in which an animal changes behavior becomes withdrawn or more affectionate, tries to hide, experience swallowing difficulty, and dies after a few days without ever becoming violent.

All animals do not behave in the same manner when they have rabies.

In medieval Europe, rabies was a deadly threat. In desperation, peasants turned to St. Hubert, the patron saint of rabies victims. Thousands of people would travel to Liege and pray that they would be spared. They also prayed for those already suffering.

Peasants used iron bars or crosses called the "keys" of St. Hubert to protect themselves. Some would insert the keys into the walls of their houses. Others carried them with them to protect against the curse. Patients killed themselves or were killed when bitten by a dog believed to be rabid.

Most peasants heated irons and applied them to wounds left by rabid animals. Surprisingly, if applied immediately, the wound would be sterilized. Of course, this was seen as a miracle. Even when scholars denounced these rituals, the peasantry believed in the keys until the late nineteenth century.

Rabies has been a horrifying, tormenting and fatal disease for humans throughout history. It is feared still today. Nonetheless, rabies can be avoided, prevented and treated. Through education, we can correct the common misconceptions, raise public awareness and promote common sense when dealing with animals and the potential threat of rabies.

The Bright Moon’s Dark Power

As keeper of the night, the moon has been accorded a baneful role in earthly affairs. Wolves howl at it, robbers are guided by its light, vampires and werewolves are reputed to revel in its glow. Virtually every sort of misfortune has been attributed to the moon’s influence-alcoholism, suicide, murder, arson, birth defects and mental illness. (The word lunacy comes from the Latin for moon, luna)

Science has been enlisted to aid our understanding of the satellites force. A Duke University professor has asserted that changes in the brain’s electrical activity coincide with lunar phases. Other studies connect the moon to increases in strokes and epileptic seizures. The researchers claim that drugs have greater effect, enzymes and hormones are more active, and the body’s metabolism increases during the full moon. Using less formal methods, police often note that especially violent crimes often occur during periods of full moon. The nationwide murder rate, for instance, has been alleged to jump 50 percent during a full moon, while in New York City, the incidence of arson has been said to double.

Many scientists reject this so-called moon madness. They say that only the ocean tides owe this action to the moon and that any other events attributed to it can be blamed on coincidence, faulty scientific methods, or error. Still, research into lunar effects continues, a search for the orb’s enigmatic power.

copy rights by Sk. Nur-Ul-Alam 

WereWolves-Werewolf in Literature

December 4, 2005

Werewolf in Literature


 A vivid description of King Lycaon’s metamorphosis was given in later centuries by Ovid, the Roman poet. With this tale, the werewolf entered popular literature that provided plenty of eerie accounts. It held the attention of medieval literature for almost three centuries. Certain peoples of Poland and Lithuania were widely regarded as sorcerers who turned themselves temporarily into wolves

 once a year. Similar ritualistic transformation seems to echo in the tales of Livonia describing ceremonies

occurring during the Christmas seasons: Christmas, because of its association with the winter solstice, was traditionally a period of magical activity of all kinds. Ireland was a similar repository of werewolf lore; perhaps because wolves thrived there long after they were hunted to extinction in England. At one time the Emerlad Isle was even known as wolf-land and Saint Patrick himself was believed to have transformed Vereticus, the king of Wales, into a wolf.
Romanticized stories involving werewolves persisted for years in Europe
. England’s Gervase of Tilbury, a scholastic writing between 1210 and 1214, noted that “in England we often see men changed into wolves at the change of the moon.” Gervase’s Otia Imperialia, a collection of medieval legends and superstitions, includes the tale of Raimbaud of Auvergne, a former soldier turned outlaw, who turned himself into a werewolf and began a series of attack on children and adults alike until a carpenter chopped off his hand. A similarly curious twelfth century werewolf tale came from Ireland. In his Topographis Hibeniae the ecclesiastic Gerald of Wales related the tale of a priest and a boy who met with a werewolf couple on their journey to Meath. Medieval writers of romance started to construct airy fictions. Werewolves were figured as wicked-step mother and lost-heir of a throne. The Lay of the Werewolf was such a story describing the cruel infidelity of a woman.

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WereWolves-Modern Werewolf Cases from Scientific View Points

December 4, 2005

Modern Werewolf Cases from Scientific View Points


 There are many individuals today who believe they are werewolves, and some of the lycanthropes have been studied and treated by psychologists andpsychiatrists. The November 1975 issues of The

 Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal reported in details on several recent cases of lycanthropy.
In the first case, the twenty-year-old patient, referred to as Mr. H, was convinced that he was a werewolf. A drug user, he told his doctor that while serving in the United States Army in Europe, he had hiked into a forest near his post and had ingested LSD and strychnine, the latter a deadly poison that acts as a stimulant when taken in tiny quantities. Both substances are pharmacologically similar to some of the ingredient used by shape shifters in the past. They had an instant and potent effect on the young man, who claimed to have seen fur growing on his hands and felt it sprouting on his face. Soon he was overcome by a compulsion to chase after, catch, and devour live rabbits. He wandered in this delusional state for several days before returning to the post.

Placed on the tranquilizer chlorpromazine, Mr. H was weaned away from drugs and received adjunct therapy for some nine months, during which time he continued to hear disembodied voices and to experience satanic visions. Claiming to be possessed by the devil, he insisted he had unusual powers. Tests indicated his delusions were “compatible with acute schizophrenic or toxic psychosis” He was treated with an antipsychotic drug, and when he improved sufficiently, he was referred to an outpatient clinic. After only two visits, however, he had stopped taking the medication and left treatment. Subsequent efforts to contact him failed.

Another werewolf patient, thirty-seven-year-old Mr. W was admitted to the hospital after repeated pubic displays of bizarre activity, including howling at the moon, sleeping in cemeteries, allowing his hair and beard to grow out, and lying in the center of busy highways. Unlike Mr. H, Mr. W had no history of drug or alcohol abuse. He had once been a farmer and considered of average intelligence, which was found in an IQ test administered when he served in the United States Navy. Now, he was seen not only as psychotic but also as intellectually deficient, with a mental age of an eight-to ten year-old child.

Because of the patient’s increasing dementia, the doctors performed a brain biopsy. Their findings revealed an abnormal physiological deterioration of cerebral tissue, known as walnut brain. Mr. W was diagnosed as having a chronic brain syndrome of unknown origin. When placed on antipsychotic drugs, he showed no further symptoms of lycanthropy. Seen later on an outpatient basis, he exhibited quiet, childlike behavior.

The October 1977 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry details the particularly bizarre story of a forty-nine year-old woman who believed herself a wolf and, with increasing frequency, had begun acting like one. She revealed that just below the surface of a seemingly normal twenty-year marriage she had harbored a consuming desire to indulge in secret, bestial appetites. Her erotic daydreams often involved other women in polymorphous perverse orgies. The wolf was a constant and central figure in her fantasies; she felt its mesmerizing stare fastened onto her by day, its hot breath on her bare neck at night. Soon she began “feeling like an animal with claws.” For her, the message was clear-she was a wolf.

After a time, she began to act out her compulsions. At a family gathering, for instance, she was suddenly overwhelmed by the wolf passion. Stripping naked and dropping to all fours she excitedly approached her own mother, and assuming the sexual posture of a female wolf, she offered herself. The woman’s state continued to deteriorate; the next evening, after making love to her husband, she lapsed into a frenetic two-hour episode of grunting and of clawing and gnawing at the bed. She explained afterwards that the devil “come into her body and she became an animal.”

Enrolled in an inpatient program, she received daily psychotherapy and was placed on medication. In the first three weeks she suffered relapses, during which she would rave: “I am a wolf of the night, I am wolf woman of the day……. I have claws, teeth, fangs, hair………and anguish is my prey at night………powerless is my cause. I am what I am and will always roam the earth after death……….I will continue to search for perfection and salvation.” Concurrently she experienced the urge to kill accompanied by a consuming sexual excitement. 

She now saw the head of a wolf, rather that her own face, when she gazed in the mirror. The medical staff commented on “the unintelligible, animal-like noises she made.” There was some improvement, but the patient then relapsed during the full moon. Writing about her experience, she stated: “I don’t intend to give up the search for (what) I lack……….in my present marriage……..my search for such a hairy creature. I will haunt the graveyards for a tall, dark man that that I intend to find.” After nine weeks of treatment, she was released from the hospital on a regimen of drugs designed to free her of her delusion. 

On the basis of the woman’s symptoms, her doctors were able to formulate a psychological profile of the lycanthrope, which is not so different, in spite of its modern medical language, from the conclusion of some of the more enlightened physicians and thinkers of earlier times.

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WereWolves-Possible Explanations of Werewolf Phenomenon

December 4, 2005

Possible Explanations of Werewolf Phenomenon


General Explanation of Werewolf Phenomenon
 
Was the werewolf phenomenon really a matter of delusion-or drug induced madness? There was no lack
 

of effort to explain the werewolf behavior down through the ages. Some asserted that it was caused by an excess

of melancholy or an imbalance in humors, the liquid
or fluid part of the body. Many doctors believed that such melancholy could lead to insanity, hallucination and delusion. One physician recommended that the lycanthrope should be treated with baths, purging, bleeding, dietary measures; to promote a state of mental calmness, rubbing opium into the nostrils. In his 1621’s work entitled Anatomy of Melancholy Robert Burton, the clergyman and scholar, considered lycanthrope to be a form of madness, and he blamed every thing from sorcerers and witches to poor diet, bad air, sleeplessness and even lack of exercise. 
 

Whatever would be the explanation, the frightened common folk preferred magical explanations. Thus, for some, the werewolf was the projection of a demon, which made its victims appear as a wolf in his own eyes and to those around him. For others, the werewolf was a direct manifestation of the Devil. Early seventeenth century French author Henri Bouguet believed, as did a great many people of that day, that Satan would leave the lycanthrope asleep behind a bush, go forth as a wolf, and perform whatever evil might be in that person’s mind. According to Bouguet, the Devil could confuse the sleeper’s imagination to such an extent “that he believes he had really been a wolf and had run about and killed men and beasts.”

The Mysteries of Magic, written by nineteenth century French occultist Éliphas Lévi, postulates the existence of a phantom – a body that acted as mediator between a living organism and the soul. “Thus in case of a man whose instinct is savage and sanguinary, his phantom will wander abroad in lupine form, whilst he sleeps painfully at home, dreaming he is a veritable wolf.” Lévi believed that the wounds so often reported in the cases of werewolves could be attributed to the out-of-body experience. He saw the human body as a subject to magnetic as well as nervous influences and capable of receiving the wounds suffered by the metamorphosed shape.

Scientific Explanation of Werewolf Phenomenon:

Modern physicians diagnose the lycanthrope as suffering from 1. Schizophrenia, 2. Organic Brain Syndrome with psychosis, 3. Psychotic Depressive Reaction, 4. Hysterical Neurosis of the dissociative type, 5. Manic-depressive Psychosis and 6. Psychomotor Epilepsy. Science has found a chemical basis for lycanthropy. Hallucinogenic plants and fungus-infected grain had caused many of the so-called lycanthrope to believe that they had turned into wolves. The main ingredients of the ointments used by the werewolves were belladonna or nightshade that could produce hallucination and delusions of bodily metamorphose. 

The diet of medieval peasants may have been another source of lycanthropic delusions. Bread was frequently made from ergot infected grains. Ergot is a fungus of which alkaloids are chemically related to LSD (LysergicAcid Diethylamide, a strong hallucinogenic psychoactive drug. The drug produces dreamlike changes in mood and thought, and alters the perception of time and space. It can create a feeling of lack of self-control, extreme terror and blur the feeling between the individual and the environment.) Like this modern drug, ergot infected grains can induce powerful and long lasting hallucination. In 1951, nearly 135 people had to be hospitalized and 6 died from ergot poisoning in the French town of Pont St. Esprit. They ate bread made from fungus infected rye. The victims had horrible visions of being attacked by tigers and snakes and of turning into beasts. This incident suggests that organic hallucination, rather than supernatural causes, may explain the werewolf phenomenon.
Something else has to be considered as well: the distinct possibility that some so-called werewolves were in fact the tragic victims of rare diseases like Rabies and Porphyria. A strain of virus carried by dogs, wolves and other animals including vampire bats causes Rabies. The virus strikes the central nervous system and produces uncontrollable excitement and painful contractions of the throat muscles’ intervention, which prevent the victim from drinking. Death usually occurs within three to five days of the first symptom. The second disease, Porphyria is a rare genetic disorder that results in a deficiency of heme, one of the pigments in the oxygen-carrying red blood cells. At the 1985 conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, biochemist David Dolphin suggested that the untreated symptoms of Porphyria match many of the traits associated with the classic lycanthrope. One of them is severe photosensitivity, which makes venturing out into daylight extremely painful and thus dooms the sufferer to a life of shadows and darkness. As the condition advances, the victim’s appearance grows increasingly morbid. Discoloration of the skin and an unusual thick growth of facial or body hair occur. There is a tendency for an abnormal change in skin and formation of sores. Eventually the disease attacks cartilage (the soft bone) and causes a progressive deterioration of the nose, ears, eyelids and fingers. The teeth, as well as the fingernails and the flesh beneath them might turn red or reddish brown because of deposition of Porphyrin, a component of Hemoglobin in the blood. Porphyria is often accompanied by mental disturbance, from mild hysteria to delirium and manic-depressive psychoses.

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WereWolves-Werewolves’ case

December 4, 2005

Werewolves’ case


As centuries passed there arrived a point when fanciful stories told to amuse people were replaced by real incidents and real suffering. Suddenly tales such as Stubbe’s started to emerge. It was as if people believed that werewolves were every where. The trial records on lycanthropy revealed an epidemic cases.
 

In France alone, between 1520 and 1630, some 30.000 individuals had the misfortune to be labeled

werewolves, many of them underwent criminal
investigation and torture, confessed, and suffered a vile death at the stake. For those who escaped such a fate, the trauma of interrogation must have left lifetime scars. Here is collection of some French werewolf trials which have been recorded.

The case of Pierre Burgot and Michel Verdun

The trial of two French peasants in 1521 got wide spread notoriety. Pierre Burgot and Michel Verdum were the convicted werewolves. Nineteen years ago when Burgot was desperately trying to gather his storm frightened sheep, he met with three mysterious black dressed horsemen. One of them assured him the future protection of his sheep and gave him some money as well. In return the stranger just wanted Burgot to obey him as the Lord. Accepting the proposal Burgot agreed to meet again. In the second meeting the so-called Lord announced the full conditions of the deal: Burgot must renounce God, the Holy Virgin, the Company of Heaven, his baptism and also his confirmation. 

As year passed Burgot became reluctant to maintain the pact. Then he was called by Michel Verdum. Verdum demanded him to strip naked and rub a magic ointment on his body. When Burgot obeyed the order, he found his arms and legs had become hairy, his hands reshaped into paws. Verdum changed his shape too and together they ran through the surrounding countryside. They committed various awful crimes. They tore to pieces a seven-year-old boy, killed a woman and abducted a four-year-old girl. The unfortunate girl was fully eaten up by two of them. When they were caught they were duly put to death. Their picture was hung in the local church as a reminder of all the evil deeds that men could commit under the influence of Satan. 

 

Gilles Garnier, “the hermit of Dole,”

ycanthrope trials increased in the following years. In 1573 werewolf attacks became more apparent. After finding several half-eaten children the authorities of the town Dôle in Frenche-Comté province put a price on werewolves’ head. Two months after the injunction, an alleged werewolf named Gillas Garner was arrested. His victims were nine to twelve-year-old children. He slew them with his paws and teeth. To satisfy his appetite, he ate flesh from their thigh, legs and belly. The story of his crimes and sentencing him to death still survive and have become a folk song. 

 

Werewolf of Caude

After an interval for a few years the werewolf menace rose again in 1584.This time two alleged werewolves, Pierre Gandillon and his son George were apprehended. They were accused for having murdered and eaten numerous youngsters under the narcotic influence of the salve with which they rubbed their bodies. Again in 1598 Jacques Rollet was tried for killing and eating a boy of fifteen. He was known as the werewolf of Caude. When he was found in the woods, he was half-naked with long matted hair and blood covered hands. He was still holding a lump of flesh. At his trial he described how he had slaughtered various people, including a number of Attorneys, lawyers and bailiffs. Though he was sentenced to death he was later sent to a madhouse. Strangely he stayed there for only two years.

 

The Tailor

Among other werewolf cases, the story of a tailor stands out for its peculiarity. The alleged werewolf would hide in the forests and lie in wait for a passerby. Whenever he could get a chance, he jumped out and killed the ill-fated man. He had a shop and used it as to bait children. He tempted them into his shop, and then killed them. In his cellars he stored their meat like butchers.Some barrels were used to stack up bones and “other foul and hideous things”. The records accumulated during his trial were so repulsive that the court decided that it would better destroy them. 

 

The Boy Lycanthrope

There is also a record of a child werewolf. He was Jean Grenier of Aquitaire. His story was more or less like that of Burgot. When his father beat him, he ran away from home and wandered around the countryside. One evening another boy named Pierre La Tihaire took him to the depths of the woods. The Lord of the Jungle was present there. He was a tall black dressed dark man upon a dark horse. The Lord got off his horse and kissed Grenier with icy lips. In the second meeting both of the boys submitted themselves to the Lord of the forest. Their master scratched tattoos on their thighs as brands. He brought out a wine bag and gave them a drink. He also presented them wolf skins and an ointment. The Lord taught them how to rub their bodies with the ointment before putting on the fur.

During their reign of terror fifteen children including one from Grenier’s cradle disappeared. When finally Grenier was caught in 1603, he confessed of eating them all. At that time he was fourteen, physically and mentally retarded.

Taking into account of his age and limited mental capacity, the Judge ordered Grenier to be confined in a cloister for life. There he refused to eat any regular food and devoured offal instead. Seven years later when a man called Pierre de Lancre visited him, he had grown gaunt and lean. His deep-set black eyes burned incessantly. His hands were like claws with bent nails and his teeth were like canines. Apparently he enjoyed hearing about wolves and readily imitated them. After one more year he died, to be remembered forever in the anal of werewolves as the “boy lycanthrope”.

Greiner’s case is among those that contributed to the shift in attitude towards the werewolf phenomenon. The head of the inquest committee who looked into this case found him incapable of rational thought. “The change of shape existed only in the disorganized brain of the insane. Consequently it was not a crime that could be punished”. Judges began to regard werewolf cases with approaching tolerance.

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WereWolves-A Ritual

December 4, 2005

A Ritual


 “Hail, hail, hail, great Wolf Spirit, hail
A boon I ask thee, mighty shade,
Within this circle I have made.
Make me a werewolf strong and bold,
The terror alike of young and old.”

 

Thus begins an ancient incantation. The lycanthropic literature of the past is filled with such eerie chants.

Delivered in desolate locations, sometimes form within the perimeters of mysterious circles scratched onto the ground, and generally beneath the ghostly light of a full moon.

As invocation of evil, the chants called upon the spirits of the trees and air, of heat and fire, of cold and ice. Repeating the chants over and over again, the votary prepared himself psychically for his experience. Yet however intently he might feel the words, they were not enough to bring him to the altered state of mind that would enable him to kill and eat his victims. Essential was a girdle or belt cut from the skin of a wolf or a hanged murdered, to be worn around the waist. But more important by far were the vapors that he might inhale or the slaves or ointment with which he rubbed his naked body. Made from ingredients as foul as they were potent, there contained psychoactive substances that released the beast within the lycanthrope and set him on his bloody course, in the company, as one chat has it, of the “elect of all the devilish hosts-wolves, vampires, satyrs, ghosts!”

With evil intent, a man traces two circles in flat ground according to an age-old formula. When he has completed the second circle, he will build a fire of pine of larch and black poplar, then will suspend an iron cauldron from the tripod. Into this he will drop four or five of the following ingredients; opium, poppy seeds, aloe, henbane, hemlock, parsley, solanine (an extract of night shade), and asafetida, a gum resin. After stirring all the components together in the cauldron, he will start the fire and allow the contents to simmer. When flames leap up, he will begin his incantation: “Elect of all devilish host, I pray you send hither, the great gray shape that makes men shiver. Come! Come! Come!"


Having removed his clothing and put on a wolf-skin girdle, the initiate now rubs his entire body with a hallucinogenic salve. Such ointments, which were absorbed through the skin, were made from ingredients as varied as camphor, aconite, aniseed, opium, poplar leaves, bat’s blood and root, mixed with the rendered fat of a cat.
Before the ointment begins to take effect, the man breathes in the intoxicating fumes floating from the bubbling cauldron, which prepare him mentally for the next stage of his strange ritual.

Under double influence of the fumes and salve, the man falls to his knees, imploring the spirit of the unknown to bestow on him the power of metamorphosis. With his hands raised, he intones these words; “I beg, I pray, I implore thee-thee unparalleled Phantom of Darkness-to make me a werewolf——-a werewolf!” Within the man’s hallucinogen-charged mind, a male-volent form has already begun to reveal itself. He feels as if his own body is changing, growing hairier, his nails lengthening into claws his words resound into night: “Make me a man-eater. Make me woman eater. Make me a child-eat. Make me a werewolf!” 

Fully transformed, at least in us own mind, the werewolf bounds off into the darkness have vowed “heart, body and soul” to serve the powers of evil, he is fated now to wander each day between sunset and sunup in search of human flesh. But however strong and meaning he thinks himself, he knows that even as a werewolf he will be vulnerable, hence the must chant as a charm the final words of the transformation ceremony: “Melt the bullet, blunt the knife, rot the cudgel, strike fear into man, beast and reptile so they may not seize the gray wolf, nor tear his from his warm hide. My word is firm, firmer than sleep or the strength of heroes.”

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WereWolves-Portrait of a Werewolf and the Transformation Process

December 4, 2005

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Portrait of a Werewolf and the Transformation Process


 

From centuries of stories, a composite portrait of a werewolf can be sketched. In human form they had bushy eyebrows that met over the bridge of the nose; blood red fingernails were long and Almond shaped. Their mouth and

eyes were always dry and they were often thirsty. Ears were long and narrow, laid back on their heads. Their skin was rough, scratched and hairy. It often had a yellowish, pinkish or greenish cast. In addition to such physical features, the werewolf also displayed certain psychological traits. They commonly preferred the night and solitude, had an inclination towards visiting the graveyards and were known to dig up corpses and feast upon them.

 

The transformation was achieved in numerous ways. The most common ritual was practiced on nights when the moon was full. First the afflicted man would locate an isolate place and trace a big circle on the soil. On the center of that circle he made a fire and prepared his magic ointment. (The compositions of those ointments were different, but generally contained plant ingredients like nightshade, belladonna and henbane. Pig fat, turpentine and olive oil were used as solvent for them. Later when the distillation of spirits was perfected, alcohol served the purpose.) After rubbing his body with the ointment, he would wear the wolf hide and concentrate on prayer to the Devil. At the end of the process the man turned into a wolf and ran in quest of prey.

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Werewolves-Greek Mythology and Werewolf

December 4, 2005

Greek Mythology and Werewolf


Greek mythology also testifies to the existence of werewolves. God Zeus once disguised himself as a traveler and sought for hospitality in the court of vicious Arcadian King Lycaon. The King recognized the god and tried to kill him. He served him human flesh. God

 Zeus caught the terrible trick and did not eat. Outraged, He destroyed the palace and condemned Lycaon to spend rest of his life as a wolf. This mythology originated the word “Lycanthrope” which is used to describe the werewolf phenomenon. (Greek lykos – wolf, and anthropos – man.)

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WereWolves-Origin of the Werewolf Legend

December 4, 2005

Origin of the Werewolf Legend


Werewolf legend originated from the countryside around German town Colongne and Bedburg in 1591. At that time Europe was under the dark shadow of ignorance and superstitions. Towns were underdeveloped and people lived near woods. The fear of wolves was like a nightmare. Their attacks were so frequent that people even

 feared to travel from one place to another. Every morning, countryside people would find half-eaten human limbs on their fields. They tried their best to kill those bloodthirsty

creatures. But one day the inhabitants of the German town Colongne and Bedburg made a horrible discovery that altered the history of wolf killing.
An age-old pamphlet describes those shivering moments vividly. A few people cornered a wolf and set their dogs upon it. They attacked it with sharp sticks and spears. Surprisingly the ferocious wolf did not run away; it stood up and turned into a middle-aged man. They could recognize the wolf shaped man; he was Peter Stubbe of the same village. This Peter Stubbe was the first werewolf mankind has ever faced with.

Stubbe was put on the torture wheel where he confessed 16 murders including two pregnant women and thirteen children. The history behind his downfall was rather strange. He had started to practice sorcery when he was only 12 and was so obsessed with it that he even had tried to make a pact with the Devil. Wearing a magic girdle he started to attack his enemies, real or imaginary, for revenge. After several months, he took the guise of a wolf and continued his evil with more brutality. In the wolf form he used to tear up victims’ throats and suck warm blood. Gradually his thirst for blood grew and he roamed around fields in search of prey. 

The savagery of his crimes was beyond imagination. Once two men and a woman were walking along a road that went through the forest he used to hide in. He called one of them. The man did not return for a long time and the second one followed his trail. He also disappeared into the forest. The woman fled from the area. Later, two mangled corpses were recovered from the forest, but the woman’s body never reappeared. It was believed that Stubbe had devoured it all. Young girls who played together or milked the cows in the fields were his frequent victims. He used to chase them like a hound, catch the slowest one, rape and kill her. Then he would drink hot blood and eat tender flesh from her body. Stubbe committed the most gruesome crime upon his own son. He took his son to a nearby forest, cracked the poor child’s skull and ate brain.

No punishment could match the magnitude of Stubbe’s crime. He was put on the torture wheel and his flesh was pulled off with red-hot pincer. His arms and legs were broken, and finally he was decapitated. His carcass was burned to ashes. As accessories to his misdeeds, his daughter and mistress were also burnt alive. 

The Magistrate of the town Bedburg built a grim monument remembering the ghastly incident.Workmen put the torture wheel atop a tall pole with Stubbe’s head above it. His head was structured with the likeliness of a wolf. Sixteen pieces of yard long wood pieces were hung from the rim of the wheel to commemorate the poor souls of his victims. The words of Stubbe’s trial and execution spread across the lands. His brutality, their ways and atrocity were beyond human experience. His ferocity was readily related with the behavior of wolf. People started to believe that such creatures with the shadow of wolves were living among them. They named them Werewolves.

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