A werewolf is a mythical monster. It is a human who turns into a fearsome wolf-like creature during the full moon. There are characteristics that make werewolves special, and that allow a person to tell them apart from real wolves, such as the eyes, shape, and tail. When in human form, werewolves look and act like any normal human being, although they usually appear to be ill around nights when there is a full moon. When in wolf form, the werewolf does not keep the mind of the human, and it cannot resist attacking humans; the werewolf may attack their best friends. A werewolf can be killed with silver bullets. However, a werewolf cannot be killed by silver crosses or holy water, like vampires. When a werewolf dies, it turns back into a human. It is said that humans can be turned into werewolves by having been bitten by another werewolf. The name is derived from "wer" meaning man and "wulf" meaning wolf.
They were well known during the 1400s all the way to the 1600s in the Scandinavian countries. At that time people believed that werewolves obtained their powers from the devil. They started as a normal person like everyone else until they began to worship the Devil. The Devil gives the person the power to turn into a wolf and made promises, like keeping a herd of cattle safe in return for the worship. They believed that there were ways to keep werewolves away. Since werewolves worshiped the Devil, they feared God and people used the church for protection from them. These legends and stories are what we believe have arisen from porphyria. There are many different types of porphyria and each person's symptoms vary. Some types of porphyria cause excess hair growth on the body and face. These types of porphyria, we believe, might have been the cause to the werewolf legends.
The characteristics of a werewolf are pretty well known from modern day movies and books. Though they are exaggerated they are pretty similar to the folklore description. Here are some of their characteristics:
• They look like a combination of a wolf and a human--a human body but a wolf’s head. Sometimes they turn into a full wolf only bigger and stronger. • They have long hair and sharp teeth. They have thick eyebrows which meet together.
• They may run on all fours like a wolf, but may sometimes run up right.
• They howl at the moon. They eat raw meat.
• A full moon causes the transformation of the werewolf and also causes them to act more violently
• Hair exists on the palm of their hand.
• In some places the werewolf's third finger is longer than the middle finger.
• When transforming, a werewolf's hands & feet turn into paws and its ears become pointed.
• Howls replace the person’s voice.
• The eyes are the only thing that do not change during transformation into a wolf.
• Some Werewolves have short tails but others many not have one at all.
• They are more intelligent, dangerous, and fierce than a regular wolf.
• In human form a werewolf wears its skin inside out, meaning that its fur is inside of its body.