We may not often use the term ‘berserk’ to describe werewolves but, it certainly is quite fitting. The most fitting actually, seeing as how the term berserk actually stems from the legends of the Norseman. This legend contained warriors that were called the Berserkers. Berserk actually means ‘bear skin’ and these warriors were so named because they would cover themselves in the skin and fur of bears when they were about to go into battle. Among the Berserkers there was also a group known as the ‘ulfheddin’, which meant ‘wolf coats.’ This group of warriors would also don animal hide and fur but their choice of coat was that of the wolf’s. This latter group was also eventually just considered to be part of the Berserkers as well, as a general group that wore animal’s clothing. But, these masks and hides were much more than just a morale boost when preparing to fight.
It was said that when the Berserkers took on their clothing, they would actually inherit the character traits of that animal and that they would behave like wild dogs and mad wolves. Their wildness and their fierceness would actually take on superhuman form and they would no longer act like man but mostly like that of the animal fur and skin that they wore. Not only would they be much more powerful and fearless, the Berserkers would also gain incredible strength and would be oblivious to pain. The Berserkers were also a group that was known to never surrender or give up in a fight.
Whether the Berserker warriors were actual warriors that donned bear and wolf’s clothing to go out and fight is unknown, and the legend that they actually became that animal by wearing fur and skin is even more questionable. But the term that stemmed from this group of warriors does go to show that this Folklore of the Norsemen might run deep and shed new light on humans that become animal.