From the 1941 classic film The Wolfman (see video clip below) to Michael Jackson's music video for "Thriller," from Harry Potter's Professor Remus Lupin to Jacob Black in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, the ancient symbol of the werewolf continues to play an active role in modern storytelling and carries a great deal of mythological meaning.
The term werewolf is most commonly believed to derive from the Old English wer (also were), meaning "man," and wulf, meaning "wolf" or "beast." The word lycanthrope, another term for werewolf, comes from the ancient Greek lykánthropos, meaning "wolf" (lükos) and "human" (ánthropos).
Though there are many variations on the werewolf story, these folkloric creatures are commonly recognized as humans who (either by curse or by infection) have the ability to transform into wolves or wolf-like creatures at the onset of a full moon. Often ruled by animal instincts, they kill and feast on human flesh.
Some of the earliest ...