Detroit Heart of Darkness
The traces left are indeed numerous enough, and though perhaps like the dodo or the dinormis, the werewolf may have become extinct in our age, yet he has left his stamp on classic antiquity, he has trodden deep in Northern snows, has ridden rough-shod over the mediævals, and has howled amongst Oriental sepulchres. He belonged to a bad breed, and we are quite content to be freed from him and his kindred, the vampire and the ghoul. Yet who knows! We may be a little too hasty in concluding that he is extinct.
Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould
Formed in the early days of man, around the time of fire. Along with the hope of civilization, the universe gave form to the fear of the uncivilized. The werewolf is the savage reflection of civilization. Primordial man controlled powerful, if crude, rituals, and this led to the creation of these monsters. Whether some fallen and insane “angel” gave man the spell to do this, or man discovered it on his own, or simply subconsciously created the Werewolf, it is unknown. The circumstances of the “first werewolf” are obscured, as werewolves are nearly as old as man.
“The story of Adam and Eve is to some the story of a fall, the story of curiosity leading to the mistake that robbed humanity of our enlightened innocence. But in some interpretations, the exile from Eden is a metaphor of the dawn of consciousness. The Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is the signifier of the dawning awakening of human language and thought. Eden is the animal state. In eating of the Fruit – in gaining knowledge – humanity must leave behind Eden and can never return.
The example of the werewolf gives the lie to that particular part of the story. Either way, the exile from Eden ends in enmity. Adam and Eve are barred from ever coming back by an angel bearing a flaming blade, and from then on, they suffer and die without ever really being in communion with the world.
Right from the beginning of history, that hostility between the human and the animal expressed itself in a fear of the animal world. The accusation of shape-shifter, so often cognate with “vampire” and “witch” was leveled at those we most feared. Our enemies were, more than anything, shapechangers, both in the transitive and intransitive senses of the term: they changed their own shapes, and they changed the shapes of others. And yet, to take the form of the animal was a divine characteristic, too. The gods represented the forces of nature." (Hunter: The Vigil – Spirit Slayers 27)
The Neuri share the customs of Scythia. A generation before the campaign of Darius, they were forced to quit their country by snakes, which appeared all over the place in great numbers… It appears that these people are magicians. A story doing the rounds among the Scythians and the Greeks who live in Scythia tells how every Neurian turns into a wolf for a few days, once a year, and then turns back into a man. I do not believe the tale. But they tell it, and they swear that it is true.
Herodotus, IV. 105
The skinchanger is one who transforms into a creature at will with the help of a magical skin, fur, or other wearable article. Tales of such abilities date back before Greek and Roman times. Perhaps they started when savage man sought to gain the power of the animals he saw all around him or hunted at night, who knew freedom like he could not. We have always worn the teeth and fur of animals to gain some of their strength – their fearsome aspect, their warmth. We have since lost the ability to borrow more than the physical power, but some still know these secrets. Spread through the world are tales of shamans and witches who still know this secret.
The True Werewolf
The more we try to control our bestial nature, confine it, organize it into neat rows on supermarket aisles, we find that it erupts and in increasingly less controllable ways. Some scientists believe that the swine flu is a natural by-product of the modern inclination and ability to immunize disease. Each strain risks mutating into an uncontrollable epidemic. The werewolf is the heart of the world given bestial form. And as forests disappear it seems that the disease of lycanthropy and other shapechanging diseases gets more rare, but more powerful – some say, like any disease. True werewolves have an infectious bite, a terrible wrath, and incredible power in their curse. The horror they have inflicted on the collective psyche has defined the urban tale of the werewolf.
The Lunar Curse: All celestial bodies pull on one another and draw at each other’s hearts. Our moon and world are no different. It is said that the moon pulls on the werewolf particularly powerfully. The more full it is, the more the beast of the werewolf goes mad, like an animal caged. Some even say they draw strange powers from the light of the moon, or perhaps its pull.
Generals of a Twisted Angel
The infamous French witch hunter Pierre de Lancre tells of an incident in 1603. It began in Bordeaux:
three young girls, who were tending their parents’ flocks, found their dogs in a state of some distress. Following the animal, they came upon a strange-looking red-haired boy of about thirteen. His teeth were filed to points, his hands were large and knotted and his fingernails were more or less talons. He told the girls that his name was Jean Grenier and he was the son of a priest. He adopted an attitude of cocky arrogance, which isn’t really all that surprising, given his age. He described Hell to the girls, and said it was the home of his master, the man who had given him the skin of a wolf. He said that on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays, he and nine others would wrap wolf-skins around themselves and would hunt for blood and flesh. Grenier maintained that his favorite food was the flesh of little girls: their meat was sweet and tender, and their blood ran warm. The girls, frightened by the glee with which he told them these things, and by the unnatural sound of his laughter, ran in fear. They told their parents.
(Hunter: The Vigil – Spirit Slayers 33)
What happens when your father dies, and you know no mother; you are left alone to care for an enormous house and all of its plants and animals? The cat your father loved so much. The dog you and he took for walks. Some might leave or let it all go untended – perhaps free the old pets. But some loved this house and its memories so much, some loved the dream so much, they can not let go. But they may grow to hate these plants and animals – and hate the dream that turned to dust in their hands. One such angel let go its old charge to care for the world and instead taught man, one of God’s little pets, the secrets of lycanthropy. A beautiful gift. A return to a primordial state where man was animal, and animal was man. And the madness that came with such a gift, if it threatened to destroy this little world – well then the angel would finally be truly free…
As of yet, unknown, but hunters will add information as they learn the nature of the werewolf…