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Benandanti Werewolves

October 12th, 2009 § 48

Benandanti werewolves are unique because they are not only a particular type of werewolf, they also carry with them their own unique legend and myth. In fact, the myth of the Benandanti werewolf dies out sometime around 1610, when the Benandanti werewolves become the very things that they had spent their time in the Underworld defeating.

The original Benandanti werewolves claimed that they were beings that stayed in human form during the day but at night went to the Underworld to defeat evil beings, namely witches. These wolves did not so much change shape but leave one shape to take on another. During this time they would ensure that the paths from the earthly world to the Underworld were secure, they would heal the sick, and of course, fight off evildoers, the Malandanti.

The Benandantis’ fight with the Malandantis occurred mainly on four different nights of the year. These different nights and different times coordinated with the times of year for planting and harvesting crops. When they weren’t spending their time protecting and healing their villages, or fighting off the Malandanti, Benandanti werewolves were thought to leave their human forms at night to meet with other Benanadanti werewolves.

Throughout the years the Benandanti werewolves always maintained an anti-witchcraft position. However in 1610 a group of Benandanti were brought under Inquisition and they were found guilty of committing acts of witchcraft and in fact, of being witches. Some say that the Benandanti was in fact made up of many packs of werewolves long ago. However these same believers feel as though they must have sadly lost their battle with the Underworld witches, and that it was these same witches that assumed the Benandanti name and were found guilty at the Inquisition.

In 1692 however, a man by the name of Thiess came forward as a werewolf and was said to be of the Benandanti kind. Of course, the tale of Thiess is a story all unto its own, and brings with it many different twists on the Benandanti legend. But many believe that if someone such as Thiess could come forward as being a Benandanti werewolf, when they were all thought to be extinguished as witches, that perhaps there must be more of this kind…

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48 Responses to Benandanti Werewolves

  1. moonlight says:

    I had never heard of Benandanti werewolves before, they sound awesome. Very facinating article, thanks for posting it :)

    • Thomas says:

      You probably never heard of them because the Benandanti are not werewolves. These article (and many others) mixes the Italian tradition of the Benandanti, who could leave their bodies in the shape of animals (but these could just as well be butterflies), with a Livonian case of a benevolent werewolf called Thiess. There are similar traditions in other parts of Europe and e.g. there are similar tales of leaving the body in animal shape among nordic gods but these shapes were not restricted to the wolf-shape so if at all these “beings” should be called shapeshifters or beast-men but not werewolves.

    • jessica says:

      i whould love to be a werwolf and evry body else but do you know that thay eat animals and people.

      10yers old ;]

      • Beth says:

        Sweetie, we don’t eat people. Although werewolves do need more protein than humans, some of us are actually capable of being healthy vegetarians. I am one of them. We just need to be more careful about our diets than humans do and we need more exercise so a lot of us work out.

        Two questions. One, why do you want to be a werewolf if you think we eat people? And two, you realize many humans kill and eat animals too, right?

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  4. justin calderon says:

    I am a werewolf dont tell anyone but i have 1 question i cant controll my self i kill at night and i get reail angry what do i do i am afraid i will hurt someone oh and i am a benanadanti

    • tabitha says:

      hey im 12 yrs old and i whant 2 be a benandanti werewolf like u justin calderon,can u turn me into one?

    • Feliciano says:

      I’m afraid that you are mistaken. All of you. You cannot be turned into one, your are born. The sign of being marked is if you were born with a caul over your head(like a membrane from the womb). If you were and haven’t had the “dreams” then it’s more of a matter of waking yourself up in sleep. IF you were marked.

      Second, Justin Calderon, if you are indeed a licantropo(basic Italian werewolf), then fine, but you are definitely NOT a Benandanti. The very name Benandanti means “Good Walker(s)” and they fight witches to protect their village. They are not evil and do NOT kill.

      • Elizabeth says:

        I’m a werewolf I’m NOT kidding I was born as one
        Fighting witches is really scary
        Yes there is such thing as a werewolf

        • Rosaline says:

          Dear Elizabeth , I do not mind if you claim to be the highest known rank of werewolf but keep it to a minimum many people do not believe even though we try to warn them away from harm. I’m the last of my kind…. I am so sorry all these people posting what they are saying …. Are lying one a were WOLF does not tell everyone what they are its against code and Two I pity humans wanting to be like us . Do you people really think its fun…. IT IS A LIVING HELL JUST TO WAKE UP….. Never wish to be more then what you are You should never force love to be like us … Its sad because i want to be a normal human ……

          Sincerely Rosaline

    • cassie says:

      cool u r!!!!!!!! i would luv to be one but i act like one the reason im not one is becuase my mom won’T let me be one & she says she allready has a dog we don’t need another one that wht she says!!!! >:(

  5. moonheart wolf says:

    Please turn me into 1 to
    have any tips 4 me

  6. rey says:

    please can someone turn me into a werewolf

  7. gavin says:

    they are not myths I saw one with my own eyes

  8. angel says:

    So werewolf’s are real? I would really hate to have to fight a warewolf every full moon, I wouldn’t know if thay were real cause I am always inside on a full moon. So if thay are real its going to be a total hell hole,if thay are real I am vary afriad cause of all the research that I have done on them,it all started when I was watching TV when teen wolf came on,and so thats how it all started.

    the end.

  9. Kaitlin says:

    Please. I won’t to be one even though i’m 7 and i’m in second grade. I dont tell anyone but I will make one I guess. I beg you
    ! A female one of corse. See? Even girls want to be one.

  10. tashaun ross says:

    werewolves are awsome i even want be one thats why iwatch teen wolf chrystal reed is hot tyler posly is lucky

  11. lindsaybradham says:

    can you tell me how to become a werewolf? i wold like to know.

  12. noelia says:

    love to be one i no every thing of each werewolf

  13. dylan says:

    my greatgrandama and greatgrandpa was from venice italy they were both have benandanti / werewolf ive seen theim in action its scary

  14. werewolfs were out side my window howling all night it was very cool

  15. i do not like people killing werewolfs they do not no how speical they are some are hot to

  16. snow wolf says:

    snow werewolfs are so hot becuse they are worth life I am a big werewolf lover Is any body one here

  17. snow wolf says:

    I would love to be a werewolf mostly a grey and white one

  18. hannah jayne resture says:

    Does anyone know, what is significant about the 22nd of September, and has something to do with werewolves? Some weird shit happened on that date, and I’m really freaking out. I need to know! Can anyone help :/

  19. yasser says:

    i want to be a werewolf a wihte one

  20. Kolin,And Kiera says:

    Wolves are so awsome me and my sister kiera are alpha wolves secretly so do not tell anyone that we are real wolves, thankyou.

  21. annadelarosa says:

    Im a caulbearer and ive only ever turned to a vampire in my dreams and got chased by vampires-no werewolves -so i assumed that we are vimpires too :)

  22. dontrell says:

    thier are three types of were-wolves omega,baitons, and most alpha if you mess with it you die. but if you kill oneyou become one.

    • Beth says:

      As much as it would be awesome if Teen Wolf were real (because all the werewolves seem to be gorgeous and, girls, unless you’re gay or asexual you have totally fantasized about what would happen if you and Tyler Posey were alone together. Yeah, you know you have :) ), I can confirm that it’s not. They got the facts wrong. Sorry to disappoint, dontrell.

  23. esmirellda says:

    i have a spell that i found on the computer and im gonna see if it will work.im gonna try it tonight

  24. i think its true to me
    so peace my name is Emmanuel harper im 7 so bome

  25. Rosie says:

    I would love to be a werewolf but a good one,like riddean and maddie in wolfblood if u wanna watch it go to the kids channel at the CBBC. anyway I believe that werewolf’s are real and if u wanna become one sleep in the middle of a open field on a full moon trust me I’ve been researching all day.

  26. A.J. Siville says:

    Is it true that werewolves hate anything silver?

  27. A.J. Siville says:

    Including silver bullets?

  28. Beth says:

    I am part benandanti on my dad’s side but I don’t really get a lot of benefits from that side of the family because it’s really far back. I’m really territorial and protective and have dog-style (no sex jokes, plz) high-frequency hearing and smell. I have really good instincts and I don’t like crowds because I find humans overwhelming in large doses.

    My eyes kind of freak people out…I’m also part storm nymph and demon (we’re mixed with like fifty million species in my family and everybody ends up totally weird because of it, but luckily all the non-human strains of blood are diluted enough that so far, none of our doctors have really noticed. Much.) so they’re an intense, piercing bluish gray that glows at night and changes color according to how I’m feeling. They seem to look right through people and when I’m angry or determined they look kinda feral, like a wolf on the hunt.

    I love the smell of meat and peanut butter just like a dog, but as far as my dietary needs are concerned my fairy blood is more prevalent – I’m semi-vegetarian and eat mostly fruit and dairy.

    Like a wolf, I feel most at home when I’m moving through nature (running or biking) with my “pack”, that is to say the people that would be my pack if I were a regular wolf, the people that I think of as family even if we’re not technically related and the people I’m most protective of. I’m fascinated with wolves and werewolves and with moonlight…I’m nocturnal, which makes it really hard to get up on time the morning after a full moon.

    Anyway it’s good to be here and I’m looking forward to hearing all of your stories.

    • February Zarren says:

      I thought that stories about werewolves is just only imagination….
      Im fascinated about werewolves people who are shape shifters and
      they fight evil ones.

  29. ann says:

    teen wolf my Favourite movie I am the wolf :D

  30. Beth says:

    You know what really sucks? Some states are making hunting wolves legal. Not only is that a totally f***ed up thing to do because HUMANS DO NOT NEED TO HUNT WOLVES…but hello, there’s the little fact that since werewolves actually exist (um, walking, talking evidence much?) they could be hurt or killed if human hunters see them and mistake them for normal wolves and shoot them. Wolves, whether supernatural or not, are beautiful creatures and deserve to be protected. So please, if your state is one of those legalizing wolf hunting, help protest this. Not only is it horribly cruel to hunt wolves…but since a lot of people here have werewolf blood themselves, our families could be in real danger. Please, wolves are an intelligent and sentient species and they’re our pack…yes, ours. With werewolves and their hybrid descendants almost extinct, we need to have each other’s backs. And those of our fully wolf brethren.

  31. Beth says:

    Is it possible for a werewolf hybrid to be successfully vegetarian???

    I’m trying to be fully vegetarian to support animal rights but I keep relapsing. After one day, I ate a piece of chicken, and last night, my parents brought home buffalo wild wings leftovers. The smell was getting to me and I ate two pieces of chicken. It’s really hard and I hear the meat cravings are supposed to stop after a few months but is that just for humans and faeries? I mean it wasn’t even the meat it was the barbecue sauce and cheese, but the werewolf side of my nature is really strong considering how far back it is and wolves ARE carnivores. So what do I do? And for others who are mixed-species with human, werewolf, and faery who are trying to be vegetarian (unless I’m the only one because what are the odds of this happening twice) HOW do you do it?

  32. Adam says:

    Hey so this story interested me so much that I started writing a teen fiction/werewolf book about these supernatural creatures. I’m on Wattpad and if you want to read what I have so far look up Quest Forgiven. I put a twist on the story but am using this as my outline. Thanks for the summary.

  33. Adam says:

    Actually I’m started from the past, before the Benedanti werewolfs. Its a series.

  34. Beth says:

    AJ, it’s kind of true that we don’t like silver, but that’s mostly because our senses are so sharp that strong smells, like strong-smelling metal (and yes, metal has a smell. And it hurts my nose), and loud or really high noises, like metal crashing against metal or dog whistles, are painful. Also, metal cutlery tastes gross. Beyond that, I’ve never had any problems with silver or any kind of metal but I could be biased because my werewolf blood is pretty diluted, I don’t even shift. But I am a werewolf and amateur folklorist, so yes, I would know. And a silver bullet/stake through the heart would kill anyone, not just werewolves.

  35. Beth says:

    Here’s a nice piece of irony for those of you who’ll be joining me in howling at the moon this week: the full moon this month is called the “Wolf Moon.” :)

    I was feeling weird at school today (I’m a high school senior), like really hyper and also craving meat…but I’m a vegetarian. (Yeah, yeah, a vegetarian werewolf, laugh it up). And my senses were going nuts, I mean usually they’re better than a human, obviously, but I could hear and smell EVERY SINGLE THING around me – sort of like on Wolfblood when they’re using eolas. In science, everyone around me was talking and I guess to them it was just a normal volume, but it practically made my ears bleed and I couldn’t hear myself think. Then the teacher asked me a question, she almost seemed to be screaming, and I was so freaked out and overwhelmed that I almost fainted. And for some reason it smelled strongly of Kool-Aid (after some investigation, I discovered a kid across the room with a bottle of Kool-Aid, but it was pretty watered down and shouldn’t have smelled nearly as strong as it did). Plus, the light from the microscope – which wasn’t that strong – was hurting my eyes. Any noise or smell or bright light bothered me, my claustrophobia and hatred of crowds were crazy, I freaked out if anyone so much as brushed against me. I started wondering if it was a magical thing and if tonight is the full moon. So when I got home, I looked it up and dicovered it’s this Thursday. Jeez, three days away and already this is worse than PMS! (Which is saying a lot, because apparently HUMAN PMS sucks, but, um, werewolf PMS? Yeeaaah…way worse)

    But at the same time, the folklore geek in me was fascinated. After all, lately my senses and instincts had been stronger, I’d been getting amazingly stronger and faster, I’d been dreaming about wolves maybe ONCE A MONTH (um, duh), and my stamina and metabolism had been going nuts. Not to mention, I, an 18-year-old girl of just-above normal height and normal weight, needed more protein than the average grown man. Of course, I’d gotten FMS (my li’l pet name for what happens to us wolfies right before a full moon) before, but it was stronger than ever. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?! Is it a puberty thing? Why is it so strong when my werewolf heritage is so far back (I’m a little less than 1% werewolf)? Did any of the rest of you experience this? Is it affected by how much human blood I have?

  36. Saška says:

    bloody Merry is super monster:)

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