How Did the Belief in Werewolves Influence the Crime and Literature of 16th Century Europe?
"Lycanthropy... 1 : a delusion that one has become a wolf 2 : the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic," (Webster's). Today, the idea of humans transforming into animals seems absurd. No sane person could ever believe such fairy tales of times long gone. In 16th century Europe, however, the belief was widespread. Accompanying the wave of satanism that swept Europe after the Middle Ages, a fear of werewolves influenced many aspects of life. Werewolves were believed to roam the countryside, searching for victims to quench their bloodthirsty desires. How did lycanthropy influence the crime and literature of 16th century Europe? An outbreak of werewolf-related crime began: numerous murders occurred, by people who truly believed they were werewolves, and outlaws and bandits took advantage of the widespread fear and dressed as wolves to frighten their victims. …
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