The legends of werewolves vary according to who is telling the tale. At least in the movies that’s how it works. In reality, the legend of the werewolf dates back to medieval times in European culture. This spread to the New World with colonization. Belief grew in werewolves as it did in witches in the late Middle Ages.
Everyone knows about the Witch Trials but not everyone knows about the werewolf trials. You read that right! The first trials were in the 15th century. These trials spread throughout Europe over the next few centuries. Some witch trials also brought accusations of lycanthropy.
There are many theories as to what caused people to seem to transform into werewolves.
Bad ryeCongenital DefectsSchizophrenia Like the Salem Witch Trials, many believe the confessions attained in the “werewolf” trials were coerced. The case of Hans “the Werewolf”, is the most famous of all of these trials. Hans claimed he had been bitten by a man in all black. Afterwards he changed and began “hunting”. Naturally the man in black was believed to be the devil. Hans was sentenced to death without any evidence of any murders or injury to anyone. He was sentenced to death because they believed Satan worked his evil magic on him.
Not every werewolf trial ended in a death sentence but most of them did. Some in the most horrific manner. Fear can lead people to do many things. Fear of the devil was definitely prevalent in the sentencing for these trials.
We will never know for sure the exact cause for changes in each of these cases. They may not be one in the same. Hallucinations, psychiatric disorders, who knows? One thing is for certain. Werewolves do not exist.