Name a culture somewhere on Planet Earth and more than likely the werewolf stalks its folklore, from African and Asian tribes all the way up to the classic (and confusing) Altered Beast of Sega Genesis.
This is a good article to read for the layman who doesn’t know that much about werewolves outside of what he may have seen in movies, and has a curiosity to learn more. It’s not going to provide much in the way of new facts or esoteric knowledge for the specialist, though, which I am, and probably you are too. (If you frequent this site, um, frequently, then you probably have more than a passing familiarity with the dreaded and beloved lycanthrope.) The article traces the archetype from its beginnings with the story of King Lycaon in Greek mythology and lays blame at the feet of those old stereotypical scapegoats, the diseases of rabies and porphyria. It also suggests that our ancestors in primitive hunter-gatherer societies, by dressing in wolf skins and dancing around for ceremonial purposes, instilled the image of the werewolf in the human psyche.
I have to take exception with one statement made, though. To quote: “Why is [the werewolf myth] so widespread? Do we humans just innately fear turning into beasts? Not quite . . .” Afraid you’re wrong there, hoss. That is EXACTLY what it means. Lycaon and all the rest, that’s just window dressing.