internet is a vast, unknowable place. The parts you and I interact with
on a daily basis are a very small sliver of what’s actually floating
around out there. The web can go deep, and it can get dark.
In the deep corners of the internet, a video game exists. It’s called “Sad Satan,” and it’s a horror game unlike any other I’ve come across. Sad Satan
cannot be bought at GameStop, nor can it be downloaded digitally via
traditional storefronts like Steam. It can only be downloaded via the
tools that can access the hidden depths of the internet, like Tor.
a Greek mythological story, Arcadian King Lycaon wanted to see if the
supreme god Zeus was all-knowing, so he murdered a small child and
served the roasted, dismembered pieces on a dish to the Olympian ruler. A
furious Zeus, upon discovering the ruse, turned Lycaon into a wolf and
killed his fifty sons with lightning bolts, restoring the slaughtered
child to life. This story is said to be an origin tale of a now
worldly-known mythological creature, one that has permeated through the
legends and fairy tales of many cultures, especially European folklore.
medieval times the concept or idea of the Werewolf - said to be a man
with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf-man hybrid after being placed
under a curse or being bitten by another werewolf - has terrified
generations of people all over the world. From movies in the 20th
century such as ‘Werewolf of London’, 'The Howling’ and its numerous
sequels and 'An American Werewolf in London’, the creature has been
depicted as being of a malevolent nature, needing to satisfy a thirst
for human blood. In more recent times, the creature has been depicted in
more heroic or romantic roles, such as characters from the television
series 'True Blood’, and 'Twilight’ and the 'Underworld’ series of
films, who are all able to be more “in control” of their wolf selves and
However, do werewolves exist, or have they existed at one point? And what is the reality of such creatures, away from the stories attributed to it in pop culture?
some ways, the werewolf perhaps did exist. For example, in the
Scandinavian Viking Age, the first king of Norway, Harald I, was said to
have had an army of men who wore wolf coats. They were called the
Úlfhednar, and were said to be vicious in their killings - some
attributing their victories due to the possibility they were
“channelling” the spirits of wolves in order to enhance their
effectiveness in battle.
During the 14th and 15th Centuries,
accusations of werewolvery became just as common as accusations of
witchcraft, and the two have become entwined together since then, as it
was believed the two (witches and werewolves) were agents of Satan. On
October 31st,1859, a German farmer was executed after a trial lasting
many months, which was one of the most famous werewolf trials in
European history. His name was Peter Stumpp (or something similar), and
he was a well respected, wealthy farmer in his local community. However,
he had hidden a dark secret, one that came out after hours of
relentless torture inflicted upon being caught.
Stumpp is said to
have confessed that, when he was 12, he began practicing black magic,
and one day apparently successfully managed to summon the Devil himself.
He further claimed the Dark One gave him a “magic belt” that allowed
him to change into “the likeness of a greedy, devouring wolf, strong and
mighty, with eyes great and large, which in the night sparkled like
fire, a mouth great and wide, with most sharp and cruel teeth, a huge
body, and mighty paws.”
Since that fateful day it was said that
over the next two decades Stumpp became known as the “Werewolf of
Bedburg”, and was responsible for the gorging of flesh of a number of
animals, including humans. He finally confessed to the murders of 14
children and 2 pregnant women and their fetuses. He also killed his own
He was charged with murder, incest and cannibalism,and
along with his teenage daughter (who had also been his lover), was
sentenced to death. He was put on a Breaking wheel (a torture device
used for capital punishment during the Middle Ages) and flesh was torn
from his body. Several limbs were broken with the blunt side of an
axehead and then he was decapitated. He was not the first so-called
Werewolf to be executed during the next few years, and perhaps was one
of the first to be labelled with the condition called Lycanthropy.
is the name given to the mythical condition of supernatural origin
where a man can physically transform, or shapeshift, into a wolf.
Clinical Lycanthropy, however, is a psychiatric disorder that involves
delusions that the sufferer has, or will, or is, a non-human animal. It
is very rare, and the disorder is believed to be a “cultural
manifestation” of Schizophrenia, as many of the symptoms, including
delusions and hallucinations, fit the DSM-IV Criteria for schizophrenic
behaviour. Strangely, the condition is not only limited to delusions of
being a canine-like animal, such as a wolf or dog. In some instances
sufferers are transforming into cats, hyenas, foxes, horses, birds and
insects. On rare occasions, reports have been made of patients claiming
to be multiple animals at different times, and sometimes reports of an
“unspecified"animal are made.
This, however, has not stopped many
accounts, especially over the last century or so, of people having
encounters with real-life wolf-men or werewolves. Many of these reports
are made in North America, but can these accounts be just the result of
the observation of possibly an abnormally sized wolf or canine, or are
some men really able to transform and shapeshift into giant bi-pedal
wolves, with a bloodthirsty appetite?
(Interested in more? - look up ergot and lycanthropy)
By Marvels and the Macabre with Matty 2014
Main Pic: The wolf from Ginger Snaps (one of my favorites) Inset left: Zeus turning Lycaon into a wolf. Inset Right: Woodcut of a werewolf attack in 1512.