While I am on the subject of upright bipedal canids . . .
I’ve noted that I have a strong interest in the lore of werewolves and their modern day cousin the Manwolf, ably researched by author Linda Godfrey. In my own research, I have come across a number of theories to explain the werewolf. While I wholly agree that the werewolf may, in some instances, be a creature of the Other Side and that much of the werewolf myth might be rooted in the hallucinations caused by ergot poisoning and/or cases of clinical lycanthropy, I completely disagree with author Nick Redfern when he states:
However we might (or might not!) term “the paranormal” or “the supernatural,” I’m inclined to conclude that these “things” – presumed by many to be shape-shifting werewolves – are actually nothing of the sort, but are entities in their own right that originate somewhere within those two unearthly realms.
While such an explanation does cover a lot of ground and certainly does explain some of the werewolf/Manwolf sightings detailed by people like Linda Godfrey, it does not fully explain the werewolf lore in which we are repeatedly confronted with the notion that a person is able to change into a wolf or a wolf like creature and then change back again (or actually be ‘stuck’ in that form for a while until released by magical means).
I would argue that there has to be some phenomenon that supports the multitude of stories that speak of this transformation and, indeed, describe very specific ways in which the transformation may be effected. From my perspective, in addition to incursions from the Other Side and madness of varying sorts, there is also a distinctly magical event that explains some of these tales.
John Michael Greer, in his fascinating book Monsters: An Investigator’s Guide to Magical Beings , gives us a working magician’s take on the werewolf:
In most cases of etheric projection, the etheric vehicle still retains the shape of the human body, just as it does after death. By certain techniques, though, the etheric vehicle can be reshaped into an animal form, and charged with etheric substance drawn from sources outside the body. If this is done in the right way, much of the animal’s power and perceptions will infuse the etheric vehicle . . .
Greer goes on to note that there are basically two ways this etheric projection can be accomplished. In one the subject is in deep trance and engages in a “more robust variety of out of body experience”. In the other variant though, we can see a definite source of the werewolf mythos that has a person changing from a human to a wolf. In this variant, the magician “formulates an animal body of transformation while remaining awake and active in his or her physical body. The body of transformation becomes a shell of etheric substance around the shapeshifter’s human form, adding its animal powers to the human capabilities of the shapeshifter”.
In other words, a person watching this formulation of “an animal body of transformation” might very well seem to see a human becoming a wolf or wolf like creature and the person who formulated this body of transformation would assume some very wolf like powers. While I have never experienced the formulation described here, in my Harner style neo-shamanic work, I have been overshadowed by the presence of Wolf and have had some very interesting sensory experiences as a result. Having done this, I don’t think it is a huge leap from being overshadowed by the wolf spirit’s presence to actually assuming a semblance of that shape and power. While I stress that we are not talking about an actual physical transformation here (the power outlay for something along that line would be enormous), such a Change would certainly appear real to an outside observer and would grant the werewolf some interesting powers.
In my opinion, we need to combine all these different “explanations” of the werewolf/Manwolf phenomenon in order to create a theory that expands to cover all exigencies of the lore and of modern day sightings.