Werewolves, also known as a Lycanthropes (Greek: λυκάνθρωπος: λύκος, lukos, "wolf", and ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos, "man"), is a mythical creature. Werewolves are former humans that take on a wolf-like form and/or behavior, usually during a full moon. Werewolves can take on their wolf forms either on purpose or due to a curse placed upon them and/or due to a bite or scratch from another werewolf. These creatures also are known to have abilities that exceed those of humans and regular wolves. The werewolf is mostly held as a creature from European lore, however, because of the growing terror of such a creature, its legend was spread throughout the world many years ago. A great example of this is the use of the werewolf as both a divine and demonic figure by Native American tribes. Werewolves are not to be confused with Lycans, which are a more human version of a werewolf. A Lycan is half-wolf, half-man, and, unlike werewolves, they can control their changing time and are aware of their actions when in wolf form. A werewolf is a cursed creature who cannot choose when to change and instead becomes a werewolf during a full moon and becomes a savage creature that kills everything in its path.


Greek Mythology

Werewolves are not common in Greek mythology, however there are notable werewolf-like characters such as Lycaon. Lycaon was a king of Arcadia, who after testing Zeus, was turned into a werewolf-like creature by the latter.

Points of Interest

Full Moon

  • Werewolves are said to reach their peak potential during a full moon.
  • A second theory is that humans that are cursed to become werewolves transform unintentionally and without any warning and lose all human reasoning during a full moon.


  • In most legends and works of fiction (mainly from the 19th century), werewolves are depicted as being vulnerable to silver, particularly in the form, of bullets and blades.

Modern Usage

Lycanthropy, which is the name given to the ability of a human being to transform into a werewolf, is used as the name for an illness in which the patient believes he or she is or has transformed into an animal, and therefore behaves like one. This illness is commonly known as Clinical Lycanthropy to differ it from the term used in folklore and legends.

In Popular Culture


  • Professor Remus Lupin from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a werewolf and transforms into it near the end of the book. Remus is featured in other books, but doesn't turn into a werewolf in them.
  • The Twilight book series features werewolves as recurring creatures throughout the series.


  • The 1998 film Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf features Shaggy transforming into a werewolf and must win a race against other monsters to become human again.
  • Werewolves appeared in Big Top, Scooby-Doo!.
  • Professor Remus Lupin appears in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • In the 2012 film and it's 2015 sequel, Hotel Transylvania featured 2 werewolves with lots of kids.
  • The Twilight movie series based off the book series of the same name features werewolves throughout the movies.
  • Werewolves appear as antagonists in the Underworld franchise. They are referred to as lycans, however, and are viewed as a sub-species of immortals alongside the vampires. Their lycanthropy is also a genetic virus rather than a supernatural phenomena. Their abilities are identical to the werewolves of lore, but unlike them, older and powerful lycans are able to shapeshift at will, without the need of a full moon, but are still vulnerable to silver and fatal dismemberment.
  • Stephen King's "Silver Bullet" film featured a werewolf that was antagonistic towards a paraplegic boy and his sister and uncle.


  • A werewolf appeared in the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Werewolf.
  • The werewolves are main and recurring characters in the fantasy-procedural drama TV series Grimm. In the show, the werewolves are referred to as Blutbads.
    • The werewolf known as Monroe is a main character appearing in all of seasons 1 and 2 of the show.
  • A werewolf appeared as a form taken by the Fiend in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
  • Werewolves are recurring creatures in Supernatural.
  • The X-Files features a werewolf-like creature from Native American mythology called a Manitou in the first season of the show.
  • Teen Wolf features werewolves as the main creatures of the show as the protoganist of the show is a werewolf.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Red Riding Hood/Ruby is a werewolf, a fact she initially did not know and tried to hunt the wolf that was killing people in her village. Red learnt she was a werewolf when she killed her boyfriend Peter.

Video Games

  • In Scooby-Doo! First Frights, werewolves were enemies, presumed real because the Witch Queen was real and used them in a boss fight.
  • In The Order:1886 features werewolves as the main enemies of the game and they are referred to as Half Breeds.
  • Bloodborne features werewolf-like creatures called Scourge Beasts as enemies.
  • In the video game series Killer Instinct, a character by the name of Sabrewulf is depicted as a man afflicted by Lycanthropy and always in the form of a werewolf. He joins a tournament hosted by Ultratech in hopes of getting a cure to his affliction should he win the tournament.