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Werewolf Lore: The Varulv

Werewolves in Sweden and Norway are called the ‘Varulv’. Eastern Europe is particularly rich with werewolf folklore, unlike England, where wolves were hunted almost to extinction. The Varulv almost has its own mythology, though in many ways it is similar to the traditional werewolf lore we’re so used to hearing about. He’s half man, half werewolf, hairy, sharp teeth; you know, the usual. But similarities end there; for one thing, the affliction is not brought on by biting, or violence.

In much of the Varulv lore, the creature become a werewolf voluntarily, with the use of a certain article of clothing, such as a belt, like that described in one of the oldest werewolf stories, ‘Peter Stubbe’s Magical Belt’. In Northern and Central Sweden, live the indigenous Sami people, –called pejoratively ‘Laplanders’, which is the more common, though offensive term. The Sami were generally self-supporting nomads, and, like gypsies, were regarded with much suspicion. Many locals believed that Sami people could turn you into a werewolf, or were werewolves themselves.

There are even modern prejudices regarding the Sami and werewolves; some theories speculate that porphyria can be traced back to the Sami people, and it was them who spread the disease to the rest of the world. The Sami are not Romani, like gypsies, but instead, lived more like the indigenous people of North America.

The Varulv has a variety of methods for transformation, though the belt method is most traditional in Swedish folklore, and many ways for being cured as well. In some instances, one can just say to the varulv “You are a wolf.” There is also a much more grisly method; eating an unborn fetus. Also interesting, that the Swedish believe only “a man of faith” can become a werewolf, –as in, the ‘People’s Faith’, which is describes as the belief in the rules of folklore, belief in a shared world between the corporeal and the incorporeal.

There are several references in Swedish folklore texts, the the native Varulv was a beer drinker; the Swedish werewolves have a difference in their behavior. For example, a werewolf who changes voluntarily is more often the savage beast portrayed in horror. The varulv bitten, or changed against his will, attaches himself to mankind. The reference to beer drinking may be related to these gentle werewolves who tried to live as men, eating only cooked food, and drinking beer, –never murdering or slaying cattle.

Olaus Magnus, a Catholic Archbishop in 1490 claimed that werewolves were able to transform by drinking beer and singing an incantation; this is supported by many examples of werewolf lore from Russia. Russia’s folklore is very similar in some regards to Sweden’s; the two countries are linked by the indigenous Sami people mentioned above. Folklore and cultural beliefs of the Sami could have easily been filtered slowly to the rest of the native population, in both Sweden and Russia, creating the obvious links and shared beliefs we see today in their mythology.

Olaus, who as mentioned above, claimed that werewolves preferred beer and by drinking beer could transform to his wolf shape. In several passages from his book, he talks about the indigenous peoples to the Nordic region; –these were the Sami. Piecing together various legends, folklore, and superstition, Olaus made significant discoveries about the cultural beliefs of the “indigenous people” he refers to. Olaus supports the theory that the varulv is not a creature tied to geography, –instead, it comes from Sami culture. Also, the Sami, often mistaken for gypsies, may be responsible for the popular image of the gypsy appearing to warn people of the varulv.

29 replies on “Werewolf Lore: The Varulv”

Robert you are so lucky with the last name of Varulfur. My biological father’s last name is Wallen which is Swedish. So I hope and wish that maybe there may be some Sami blood in my veins.

So what if I told you that we dont need a piece of clothing? Its just one simple task that makes us become what I am today. But of course you bags of meat dont know what im talking about. You just make up stories for peoplle to try to become us, and they end up dying. Well good luck to you and your stories.

Yo ‘Alice’, little more respect here. No need to be insulting other readers. Just because you call yourself a werewolf doesn’t give you carte blanche to be rude.

and what alice is your method in become a werewolf being bitten by a wild mutt and you can’t control your turniing for your powers with the moon?

im trying to be one, and im going to try the beer with blood method, and i can’t find any clearness. does it has to be normal blood? or wolf blood? or werewolf blood? plz let me know?

Hey Nelis! Hopefully you did not try it coz that is really stupid and will only leave a bad taste in your mouth, anyway this is just some lore and nothing ells…..and no they don’t really exist anymore..I have been doing studies about all sorts of lore and one thing I concluded is that….I’m only chasing wind… sorry if I sounded rude…

Please do not mind Alice she has a wicked tongue and does not speak for all of us. Young pups are heard to control when they are out on their own, but it seems to be our only way of survival. Man has become to malevolent towards the creatures like us and some of the younger generation seems to think all you need is a push back. I formerly apologize for this one, my friends, she means well. anything you wish to know i will happily explain.

Nicholas, what can you tell me that I do not already know? There must be something that I’m missing! Well if you someday see this, leave a reply.

do you know the second word for werewolf or that on a new moon a werewolf loses all his power or that it’s the moon and the bite that turns you that’s why it’s better to get bitten on a full moon

Hi, Leon and people.

I don’t know if werewolves are true, I really doubt they are, but something inside me screams to me that they are, and I (brace yourselves for the stupidity of this) could be one.

I’m insanely good with animals, almost to the point where I could say I understand them, and other various things. If anyone has anything that could help me or anything, please do.

Honestly don’t treat this as another joke, i think i sound mental saying this, but it bugs me all the time; and i needed to say it somewhere.

Thank you for your help.

i would say follow your gut or in this case your senses i have a strong connection to dogs and i believe i might be a werewolf i just typed this in 10 seconds

When I was younger several people commented that I seemed to be as much like an animal as human if not more so. My ears are pointed and I am very hairy, even on the edges of my ears. I was very farsighted. The eye doctor said I saw clearly at 40 feet what others saw at 20 feet. And bright light hurt my eyes. I used to prefer dimly lit rooms and going out at night instead of the day. Then there is my hearing. I have a hearing disorder whose name I could never remember, or pronounce if I knew it. Basically my hearing works on a slightly different range than most people. I can not hear lower pitched sounds most people here but I can here higher pitched sounds not audible to most others. Some of these can even be painful to me while those around me hear nothing. When you ad to this that my diet consists mostly of meat and very few veggies and that I get along better with dogs than I do with most people, it is little wonder that I picked up nicknames like Wolfie and Graywolf. Does this mean I’m a werewolf?

some people i know have a hearing problem. but the real question is 2 things do you turn on the full moon and what about claws and eye color do they change

So with all the posts how does one become a werewolf. With diabetes and horrid double vision figure that if I had a choice on a cure to my body a wolf would be amazing.

every time i go up and down stairs i go on all fours and some times my eye color changes and I’m very hairy
does this mean I’m a werewolf some one please reply

Well these are amusing. So much is fantasized now days. I come from a few long and very powerful lines. There are quite a few packs here but for the sake of peace of mind and the sake of the religious nuts. My mate is from two long lines as well and has stepped up as Alpha. As far as becoming one, only once heard of being created. I was in high school and got into a scuffle with one of my friends. He hit me and busted my lip, after the punch i caught him and bit (Was a pup and still too a degree still am) our blood mixed. But for the most part we are born. Much like the loup graoup. There are still a few signs we look for, heighten sense, time loss, increased hungry during the full moon. Our pack has adapted to blend with the humans. We’ve lost all physical signs. The only physical sign left is our eyes. Depending on our moods, they change. But upon pain and anger we let the true self out. I work at a job with my mate and one of pack. The moons get difficult with the more but we are 10 adults strong but only 4 cubs. Our young are the most precious source we have now due to a discrepancy on breeding. I have one cub, one of our betas has two and we have the other beta is expecting his first. All of us have different backgrounds, my alpha and his brother were raised together. One beta was raised on his own, the other just came to not knowing his lineage. The females are all the same as the second beta. I however discovered and learn from a motley crew. My original pack held every type of being from almost every legend. I learned to work with vampires, demons, demi gods and even our own kind. WE had to band cause we lived in Alaska. The land is hard to begin with but nothing like louisiana. I can smell the human who know and want our kind dead.

Amy, you are in Louisiana? Im in Florida. I see that you learned to get along with other legends and mentioned them in Alaska. Do you know any vampires in Florida? I would love to talk to one as I have questions about their regenerative abilities.

Yes I am. Unfortunately, down here creatures of the night don’t blend, so i don’t know any covens. The ones i have an alliance with are very cut off from the covens here and do not know of the hate that is so freely placed. Most of their regenerative abilities are gained from ingesting trace amounts of blood. The ones i was around adpated just like our pack and have very little need for blood anymore. They mainly feed from aura and energy, easier to get away with i assume. I had a few chapters written in a book but sadly my computer doesn’t work atm. If and when I get it back I will post a link.

I cannot explain how much I love werewolves or how much I would give to be one. Please, if there’s anybody out there that would be kind enough to share with me the truth and even better, the gift, I would literally be forever in your debt. I spend time in the woods at night, especially on full moons just looking at the sky.and every time I just wish I was turning. Please Someone, show me, turn me, help me. I’m sure there’s a way that if you are caring, or interested in helping me we could figure out a way to meet. I’m begging, thank you.

I am from a bloodline that comes from Sweden. Unfortunately my family chose to keep it a secret. You are very much correct we are born. But to those who do come from such bloodlines will never full understand. I have been looking for others. I have band together with a witch for the last 8 years she has helpede tremendously

Oh great some wackjobs in the comments section that claim to believe or be werewolves….
Yeah, not surprising since this article doesn’t seem to be no good as well.
Not only do they make the mistake to assume its normal in actual werewolf folklore to pass the condition on via bite (which no lore prior to the advent of cinema ever stated) and considered that these here doesn’t bother at all to mention a source for its information I am not even remotely inclinded to belief even one word of it.

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