Werewolves in Medieval History

E. C. Ambrose

A print from 1589 shows the story of a witch/werewolf, Peter Stumpf (shown in wolf form attacking a child in upper left) who is caught and punished as shown. A print from 1589 shows the story of a witch/werewolf, Peter Stumpf (shown in wolf form attacking a child in upper left) who is caught and punished as shown. Whether you’re more Team Jacob or “Werewolves of London” you know that werewolves are hot right now (both in sales, and apparently, in sex appeal). But their prevalence in the Urban Fantasy genre might obscure their long history. My eyes were opened to this history by a talk at the International Congress on Medieval Studies a few years ago, in a session promisingly titled “Hybrids and Monsters.”

Gerald of Wales, in a 12th century geography of Ireland, tells the tale of a devoted and devout werewolf couple living like wolves, but with the hearts of Christians. When the wife is dying, the husband goes out at great risk to bring back a priest to administer the last rites. Some of my…

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