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…