Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pentagrams and Werewolves, not a part of tradition

So we all saw "The Wolfman" with Lon Chaney Jr. and sort of felt sorry for the guy. He seemed nice enough and didn't really want to hurt anyone while he was a wolf. It made for a good story line. Before he became a werewolf though, when he came back "home" to make a visit to Talbot Castle, he went into a little antique shop to do a little shopping (where a pretty girl was working) and bought a silver wolf headed cane with a pentagram. It really was a beautiful piece, the kind I wish I could happen upon on one of my flea market expeditions.
Anyway, that's probably where the notion of pentagrams and werewolves being tied together began. In the movie, The "werewolf" could identify his next victim because he would see a pentagram on their head, face or hand, that no human eye could see.
The truth is that all of this has been concocted by the scriptwriter and has no part in traditional folklore.
Just so you know, pentagrams are pretty, but have no part in the werewolf legend.


Tanya Shelton said...

Glad that was brought up. But, it leaves me with a question. In some of those same old movies we watched were there was a vampire & a werewolf, What was the deal with the vampires cain scaring off the werewolf? Is that movie magic too or is there some traditional lore in there? With the "Underworld" movies there is the "link" between vampires & werewolves in that the werewolves once protected the vampires. Anything in the lore to that one? Very curious! I love both

Kathie said...

Thanks for your comment. In old times....mostly in the slavik folklore,the two form of "night stalkers" never really met up with each other. That gets confusing because in most popular fiction and movies of our time, werewolves are depicted as slaves of the vampire. Not true. Vampires are cold, dead and drain the living of their blood and life force. They represent death, obviously.

Werewolves on the other hand, although vicious and at times uncontrollable killers, are alive. They are wolves. Living, breating, bursting with strengh and muscle wolves. There are differences in the lore as to how werewolves are "created". Some say that the werewolf can only transform under the power of the fullmoon and cannot control that power. Other legend states that the man within the wolf does not need the full lunar phase and can control his transformations. This type of werewolf has the ability to protect loved ones and so to mate (and wolves have only one mate for life) and to therefore be the "do-gooders" of the supernatural world. This kind of beast with its immense size and strength would certainly not need to be in servatude to a vampire although some vampires can be shape-shifters too if they are old and strong enough.

Tanya, I hope that answers your questions, if you have any more, or any other thoughts, just yell (or howl!) and thanks again for writing. Don't forget to enter out contest. It ends on the 11th!

SuzannaSinister said...

I have a question.
Since Silver is the werewolf's bane is there any way to protect them from silver...
I have searched for something on the subject but can only find the usual information on how to kill the werewolf but nothing on how a werewolf might protect himself from silver.

Kathie said...

Hi Suzanne,

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to answer you...I only just saw your question! As far as I can understand it, and as far as I can dig up from old lore, the only way a werewolf can protect itself from silver is for the human to wear a charm of some sort at all times somewhere on his or her body that will at lesson the power of the silver when the come in contact with it when in wolf form.
The must keep in mind however that it these charms are only as good as the person who makes them and I've only heard of them in lore.
I don't know if that was any help or not but there isn't a lot out there on the subject. Thanks for writing.

Snazz said...

Actually, silver is a very recent development in its association with werewolves, most likely deriving from the Scottish belief that silver was a good weapon against witches. Silver wasn't actually used against werewolves until after the late 19th or early 20th century, and even then the first instance of it was totally nonlethal: a man shot a silver button over the heads of two werewolves, and it simply transformed them into their human shapes.

For this sort of thing, I would very highly recommend The Book of Were-Wolves, by Sabine Baring-Gould (originally published in 1865). It's the foundational literature on which most werewolf knowledge is based today.

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