Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with this look at Canadian werewolf lore.
THE WERWOLVES (sic) (1898) – Written by Honore Beaugrand, this story features fairly unique werewolf lore. The tale is not structured in a traditional way but instead expands upon accounts of lycanthropy in campfire tales as if they really, truly happened.
A modern comparison might be with those far-fetched tales of the supernatural from supermarket tabloids or online Creepypastas. The pretense of reality adds to the fun.
Set in the very early 1700s The Werwolves treats readers to a pack of Iroquois lycanthropes rampaging around Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. These werewolves are much more intelligent and gregarious than many other such monsters.
They operate in a pack to steal away victims and even dance around a fire in their wolfmen forms howling and chanting before devouring their victims.
These Canadian variations also look much different than readers might expect: they have the heads of wolves and the tails of wolves but the rest of their bodies remain human after their nocturnal transformation.
Other bits of business in the story:
** A soldier stationed at Fort Richelieu is in danger of being thrown in the stockade for being drunk on duty for shooting at shadowy Iroquois he sees on night duty. No trace of them can be found but it becomes clear they were not ordinary Iroquois but werewolves.
** Twenty-four Canadian trappers besieged and attacked by the native werewolf pack. At first the monsters are immune to the bullets fired at them by the trappers but ultimately the Canadians are inspired to scratch a crucifix in each of their musket balls. That solution lets the men kill the man-beasts and drive off the survivors.
** Another way of killing wolfmen north of the border is to carve or brand a crucifix into their lupine foreheads.
** A helpful tip: Any Catholic who has been to Confession and taken Communion within the past seven years is safe from being turned into a werewolf, even if they survive an attack from one.
** A female werewolf wants to avenge herself on her cheating Canadian boyfriend. He chops off one of her arms when she is in wolf-woman form and later, in her human amputee form, she tortures the man to death.
The Werwolves will probably not appeal to anyone searching for more structured tale-spinning and to our 21st Century eyes it often seems amateurish. If you don’t mind digging through outdated language and dull patches – and I don’t mind – it’s a nice change of pace for Halloween reading.
FOR A NEGLECTED WEREWOLF NOVEL SET IN 1790s NEW YORK STATE CLICK HERE
FOR ISABELLA OF EGYPT, FEATURING A GOLEM, A MANDRAGORE, A LIVING DEAD MAN, A GYPSY WITCH AND A JEWISH SORCEROR CLICK HERE
FOR MORE HALLOWEEN ITEMS CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/halloween-season/
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