Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Werewolf of Gedney Dyke
Few mythical creatures in the pantheon of world wide folklore have as much enduring popularity as the werewolf. Since the time of the ancient Greek’s stories of savage half-wolf-half-human creatures have persisted and even in today’s ultra technological age it is still possible to find vestiges of this ancient superstition in the more remote regions of France and Eastern Europe. The word “werewolf” is old Anglo-Saxon for man-wolf. In the folklore of medieval England these bestial creatures were closely associated with witchcraft and black magic. It was generally believed in these times that witches possessed the knowledge to prepare ointments which when rubbed on the skin enabled them to take the shape of wolves. Thus transformed they would then roam the countryside killing animals and any unfortunate human who crossed their path.
There are countless stories of werewolves in the folklore of France, Spain, and Eastern Europe, but in Britain the werewolf is a comparatively rare beast. This is possibly because wolves have been extinct in these isles for hundreds of years and consequently many dark tales associated with them have been lost to antiquity. However, in certain parts of Britain the werewolf legend faintly lingers. For example in Lincolnshire, as recently as the late 19th century, in a village near Northorpe, it was said that an old lame man reputed to be a wizard, was seen to change into a vicious canine creature and attack his neighbour’s cattle.

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