Many countries and many cultures have their own werewolf or shapeshifter myths and folklore. There are countless ideas and theories all on this one topic (all of which are awesome). One ancient idea was that of donning animal skins in order to get that animal’s powers, as I mentioned in the Native American post. But the Native Americans weren’t the only ones that held this belief.
The idea was that putting on the skin/fur of an animal, be it wolf or other critter, would cause the wearer to adopt the traits of the animal. These pelts would supernaturally develop into a second skin, transforming the wearer into that particular animal. This belief was once very common in Iceland and Norway.
Back in the day there was a group of men know at the eigi einhamr (meaning “not of one skin”) in Norway and Iceland. People believed that these men could take on any form they choose, whether it be animal or human; they could also take on the attributes of the creature. You see, when these guys took on the form of a wild animal, their strength and power increased, and sometimes so did their other abilities such as sight and smell. If that wasn’t great enough, these shapeshifters also choose when and where they would shift, they had perfect control over it (meaning the full moon didn’t force it).
This is how they brought on the transformation – they would first throw the animal skin over their body, their essence or soul would then take on the form of the animal, leaving the body limp and dormant. Other methods involve using spells and incantations, along with special ointments.
The only way to tell these transformed men apart from natural animals is by their eyes. Their eyes are the one thing they can not change since they remain human eyes, not animal eyes.
And there you have it, the skin donning eigi einhamr. I have to say that out of all the werewolf myths and legends out there this is one of my favorites for sure.
One of the writers for werewolves.com, as well as vampires.com.