Creatures of Folklore Part 1: Werewolves, Psychology and Schizophrenia
Wolves are beautiful and strange creatures, belonging to the canine (dog) family. They are extremely family oriented and travel in packs. The interesting fact is that physiologically we share many mental diseases with the wolf. For example rabies is extremely hard for someone to contract from an animal. However in history there have been 3 cases were human beings became rabid. As well within wolf hierarchy if a member of the family becomes diseased of the mind it will display these types of behaviors; killing pups, eating alone, and killing for sport/enjoyment.
The reason I bring this up is to shed light on human mental sickness as well. Murderers and serial killers share this view towards others lives. They prey on younger weaker members of their species and find pleasure in watching others suffer.
Take Schizophrenia for example, it is one of the most well-known and studied disorders. There have been multiple studies and a lot of evidence produced that show 3 stem roots of what may cause this mental illness. The first being genetics (inherited) – (Kendler, 1983; Gottesman & Shields, 1972). Secondly an over supply of a neurotransmitter called dopamine (Davis, 1974). This research suggests that schizophrenics have too much dopamine and that this dopamine over-stimulates their brains, causing schizophrenic behavior (Crow, 1983). This also may be the reason why certain individuals react to narcotics with psychotic and schizophrenic episodes. Third; chemicals within the blood (Wagemaker and Cade, 1977). Within this study they treated a schizophrenic woman for a physical disorder by filtering her blood through a dialysis machine. To their surprise, her schizophrenic symptoms almost disappeared after this treatment. When dialysis was tried on three other schizophrenics, their symptoms were also reduced after a short period of time.
My point is being schizophrenic does not mean you are a serial killer or murderer. Simply put it means you suffer from a mental illness. Being psychotic and being schizophrenic are two completely different disorders. That being said another encouraging direction of research has been on brain structure. Images of the brain of schizophrenics have uncovered abnormalities in the frontal lobes. That why they use to give people lobotomies, a practice that has long been outlawed.
Your asking yourself what does this have to do with werewolves? Let’s tell the story of the werewolf. On a full moon Henry is bitten by a creature that walks on hind legs howls at the moon and has the head of a wolf. He goes on a killing rampage and in the midst murders his entire family including his mother and his sister. His father is nowhere to be found and presumed dead as well. The full moon passes and he returns to his true form: a man. They capture Henry and put him into a psychiatric ward. They tell him of all the terrible misdeeds which he had done and he has no recollection of any of these events.
This is important because many people admitted to mental hospitals around the world claim that they are werewolves. In popular culture many interpretations of this legend of folklore have made it to novels/films and comics. There is a reason why this tale has been passed on from generation to generation. It’s a story with a moral and lesson to be learned from it. Don’t take for granted the power of your brain.
Compare this story to the boy who cried wolf. A little farmer boy, who has inherited his father’s farm, wakes one morning to a wolf eating a chicken. He runs into town crying, “Wolf!” The town’s people come to his farm and there is no sign of a wolf. They leave and call the boy crazy. For a week there is no sign of the wolf and the boy continues with his farm work, until one morning he finds the same wolf eating one of his pigs. He runs to the village and cries to the towns people “Wolf!” They go to his farm and there is no sign of a wolf. They leave and call the boy crazy yet again. One of them even goes as far to say there is no wolf, stop crying wolf! The boy exclaims but I am less one chicken and less one pig. A young girl stays behind and believes the boys story. The boy and the girl kill a lamb and leave it out for the wolf to eat. The wolf eats the lamb and leaves portions of its carcass behind. The boy and girl return to the village and tell the towns people that there is a wolf and they even show remnants of the lamb carcass. The town’s people laugh and call the boy and girl crazy. One of them even goes as far as to say: “We came to your farm twice and there was no sign of a wolf! You are crazy!” The boy and the girl leave and go back to his farm. A week later the wolf shows up to the village and eats the mayor. Many people misinterpret this story and the expression “Don’t cry wolf.”
In closing in native culture it is believed that we (Abenaki) came from wolves (Malsum). We are all distant relatives to these beautiful and strange creatures. Remember to respect your mother earth and honor your father sky. Monsters are real but they are not animals, and the lesson that can be taken from the story of Henry and the boy that cried wolf is when someone cries wolf you listen. The truth about the story of the werewolf is that Henry’ did not commit those crimes it was his father who bit him and murdered his mother and sister. Leaving Henry to pay for his father’s misdeeds. Henry was not the monster but no one believed that he was bitten by this creature of folklore (The Werewolf).