When most people think of werewolves, the images that come to mind are of Lon Chaney Jr., covered with hair--or perhaps a more modern interpretation, such as the violent wolf-headed anthropomorphic monsters from "The Howling" or "An American Werewolf in Paris". But there are those who take a very different view of what a werewolf is. Setting aside the modern typecasting of a human who turns into a man-eating monster when the moon is full, instead they approach the possibility of shapeshifting with an air of reverence for the animal, and a deep sense of spirituality.
Wolves are far from the only animals that people are supposed take on
the shape and mentality of--there are legends of shapeshifters in every
part of the world, mainly concerning the primary large predators of the
region, but not always. Mythology and legend abound with tales of humans
turning into hares, swans, deer, boars, horses, foxes, otters, and many other
animals. So what has all of this to do with modern weres?
A few additional notes: In light of some recent television documentaries, I thought it would be a good idea to dispell a few myths.
First, while there is overlap between the "Were" and "Furry" communities, and some would consider weres to be lifestyle furries, weres are not always (or even usually) part of the furry culture. They are not as interested in furry artwork (if at all), nor in costumes, or other activities associated with the fur community. Were and furry events are not often much, if at all, alike.
Weres are not at war with the vampire community, and the entire tale about weres and vampires having some sort of legendary association where the weres were serving the vampires and then rebelled, is complete and utter bunk. It did not happen, and there is no evidence to suggest that this is even a legitimate myth/legend from the region it's purported to be from. Weres or vamps who claim that this enmity exists are deluded, highly misinformed, or fakes. In general, relationships between the were and vamp communities are congenial, if somewhat distant. Under the larger umbrella of the Otherkin community, good will and friendships among members of the various sub-communities abound, and it's not impossible for weres to BE vampires as well. Most otherkin, weres included, find it easier to get along with other 'kin, even 'kin of another type, than it is for them to get along with "ordinary" folks.
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My Were-Related Sites
I run another site dealing with topics relating to weres and therianthropy. This is a listing of books about animals and shapeshifters, that includes short descriptions of what the book is about, and allows people to rate the books they have read via a poll. There are also links to Amazon.com when the book in question is still in print. I don't expect this to be any sort of a money-making endeavor--most weres are likely to find the books at their local used book store. But if they cannot, Amazon.com's prices are discounted, and they will have a direct link without the need to look up the book on their own.
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