From Team Jacob Fans, to the San Antonio “teen Werewolf” culture (claims of teen werewolves also apparently occurred in the media in 2003 from Brisbane Australia), a fascinating side of werewolves is their interpretations by modern culture.
But what does it really mean when claiming to be a werewolf or having a deep fascination for them?
Is it dangerous?
Certainly anything taken to extreme can be dangerous but what about werewolves in particular?
Historically, there has been the occasional serial killer claiming to be a werewolf and many more who like in the infamous witch trials, were unfairly branded werewolves and executed. One theory of the origin of the word werewolf refers to the word Varg which historically meant outlaw or outcast as well as wolf. There have also been tales of outlaws being able to turn into wolves which along with the occasional delusional murderer could form some basis behind at least the continuance of the werewolf phenomena.
Varg was also the name taken by Varg Vikerns a Black Metal Musician who was convicted of murder as well as arson for the killing of fellow Black Metal Musician Euronymous and the burning of several churches . Wolves and werewolves appear to play at least a minor role in Black Metal culture symbolism along with other ancient Norwegian beliefs.
While this connection may appear tenuous, writings about the ideas and beliefs similar to many within the Black Metal music community can also be found on the web pages of the “Werewolf Cathedral”.
Claiming to be “The first True Werewolf Religion and Secret Society” this group’s beliefs appear to be a worrying mix of dark magic practices, pagan beliefs with strong Satanic influences.
It is this type of cultural influence that can lead werewolf fans from a harmless hobby or lifestyle choice to something much worse.
Fortunately unlike the Vampire subculture, I could not find any references to a werewolf obsession turning deadly by otherwise average people. Even the controversial Wolfie Blackheart and her dog skull turned out to be more about an obsession with taxidermy than werewolves. Wolfie was not convicted of any crime and it was declared the dog was already dead when Wolfie took the head.
While the majority of werewolf fans enjoy the movies and trivia and move on, there will always be those with a deeper fascination who wish to identify more closely with the wolf and werewolves.
This could mean a variety of things depending on what is the draw to the werewolf.
But to put a positive turn to this search I would suggest looking at the real wolf for inspiration over movie magic and darker interpretations of werewolf culture as exemplified by the Werewolf Cathedral.
In 1988 a “Wolf Credo” surfaced and has been used and promoted by many wolf enthusiasts and at least one business leadership essay. It has been attributed to Del Goetz for whom I could find no information but the Credo goes like this:
Respect the elders
Teach the young
Cooperate with the pack.
Play when you can
Hunt when you must
Rest in between.
Share your affections
Voice your feelings
Leave your mark.
© Del Goetz
Wolves have always been a fascinating blend of fierce freedom and comforting organization for they are wild creatures who appear to follow a very familiar family oriented social structure. As such they can serve as positive archetype in which to build a modern werewolf culture with very ancient roots.
Given such a long and fascinating history, it is unlikely the werewolf will ever lose its place in human culture aside from the occasional respite after a particularly badly made werewolf movie. However the rise of obsession as seen with vampires turned deadly (i.e “vampire” murderers such as Allen Menzies or Roderick Ferrell) certainly lends the need for caution in the werewolf community.
About the author:
Paul Glendenning is an environmental and animal advocate as well as an aspiring writer whose fascination with werewolves and other creatures of the night may stem from the fact he was born on Halloween.