Things That Go Bump In the Night: Why They Are Scary

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Werewolves are creatures that we find in many different cultures around the world. The most classically known origin story for the beasts comes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In it’s first book, Jupiter goes to Earth to observe humans after hearing of their evil nature. He reveals himself to the Arcadians who immediately start worshipping, all except their king, Lycaon. He does not believe the god’s immortality and seeks to put it to the test. Lycaon kills a messenger from another city and cooks him with the intent to force cannibalism on the god. Jupiter immediately sees through this attempt at trickery and casts a curse upon Lycaon, dooming him to change into the form of a wolf. The Metamorphoses details the characteristics of Lycaon’s transformation from human to wolf,
His arms descend, his shoulders sink away, To multiply his legs for chase of prey. He grows a wolf, his hoariness remains, And the same rage in other members reigns. His eyes still sparkle in a narr'wer space: His jaws retain the grin, and violence of his face” (Ovid).
This story gives us the origin of the lycanthrope, lykos, similar to Lycaon, meaning wolf and andthrōpos meaning man. Later in the Metamorphoses, there are accounts of men that roam the woods in the form of wolves.
The theme of lycanthropy as punishment for cannibalism is also present in the Native American culture, where they are known as Windigos. These creatures originally were human but due to cannibalism, they become an ice monster, with

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