Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Eldritch: Halloween 011

Yay for emotional triggers! I was glad when folks noticed that Faith was occasionally showing little bits of wolfy traits now and again in Layline, like the slight, momentary claws when she was freaking out about how ‘monsters’ and humans could end up mating, or the little fangs she had when Todd first showed up, and such. I hoped it would give folks a wee little head’s up for when this (finally) happened.

And, as usual, I have a wee bit of extra info for you, on werewolves and emotions. Now, in terms of old folklore, I’ve yet to really come across much in terms of emotions causing werewolves to shift (Though, parallels between berserker rages and werewolves can be drawn, of course).

However, there is some nonfiction context here, from a criminal case in 1988-9. Within Bordeaux, France, a horrible murder took place, and a twenty-eight year old male, along with another male and a female friend were suspects. As it turns out, the young man beat the victim to death in a ‘wild rage,’ using nothing more than his bare hands. This, in and of itself is not that unusual for a violent homicide.

It wasn’t until the prison psychiatrist Professor Michel Benezech saw the man did things get interesting. The man told the doctor “When I suffer an emotional shock, I feel myself undergoing a transformation… I have the impression of becoming a wolf, as I look at myself in the mirror, I can see myself transforming.”

Thinking this was made up on the spot, his female friend was questioned, and she commented that in their relationship, he often howled like a wolf, and slept lightly, like a wild animal. He had even bitten her on several occasions. Curiously, his arms were covered in scars, a trait similar to Pierre and Georges Gandillion, werewolves of Jura, who in turn matched Paulos Aegina’s description of a lycanthropist pretty well.

The man in custody, after much study, was finally diagnosed with medical lycanthropy. And while the focus of stories about this fellow focus on his horrible behavior, his admittance that his delusional transformations can be triggered by emotional shock is the part I find most interesting, as you can all certainly tell by now.

Please also read:

The Beast Within --Adam Douglas
The Secret life of Ghosts and Werewolves --BBC Television

The Book of Werewolves --Sabine Baring-Gould
Werewolves, Witches, and Wandering Spirits --Kathryn Edwards
The Werewolf in Lore and Legend --Montague Summers
A Lycanthropy Reader: Werewolves in Western Culture --Charlotte Otten

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