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7 spooky things you didn’t know about werewolves


They look like regular people during the day, but when the moon is full, they turn into a hairy — and scary! — monster! When the full moon disappears they turn back into a person. Meet the werewolf.

Werewolf syndrome

Photo from the late 1800s of Fedor Yevtihiyev who had the medical condition

Fedor Yevtihiyev, who had hypertrichosis. (1864-1904)

There are about 50 people in the world who have a medical condition called hypertrichosis, which causes an unusual amount of hair growth all over the body. It's also known as werewolf syndrome because the person resembles the mythical werewolf.


closeup of wolfsbane flowers

Photo credit: Shotaku on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Werewolves dislike the smell of a plant called wolfsbane and will stay away if it's nearby. They also hate to be around objects made from silver or iron.

Becoming a werewolf

wolf stepping into a pond covered in algae

Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-ND

Folkore and customs around the world describe many different ways that a person can become a werewolf, including a family curse, being bitten by a werewolf, witchcraft and spells or even drinking water from a wolf's paw (you probably shouldn't try this last one anyway).

Spotting a werewolf

closeup of fake paw with red nails

Photo credit: Boogeyman13 on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

All throughout history, people have come up with lists of werewolf symptoms to look out for, most of which can be explained scientifically today:

  • Paces around the room as the sun goes down.
  • Has reddish, sharp nails.
  • Has animal-like strength.
  • Has a single, long eyebrow instead of two.
  • Is pale and very tired the day after a full moon.
  • Has eyes the colour of the sun.
  • Tends to fly into a rage before a full moon.

Famous werewolves

still from Harry Potter movie showing Remus Lupin holding a wand

Harry Potter Wiki

  • You might have heard of famous Hogwarts School of Wizarding teacher Remus Lupin, who became a werewolf in his childhood after being attacked by one. He had a special potion that allowed him to keep his human mind whenever he transformed into a werewolf.
  • Back in the 1980s, the original Teen Wolf found out that being a werewolf runs in the family when he transformed into a werewolf at school. Lucky for him, it made him super popular!
  • If you're into comics, you may have run across John Jameson who discovered a magical gemstone on the moon that turned him into a werewolf villain known as Man-Wolf whenever the moonlight shone on it.

Did you know?

  • The word werewolf means manwolf. It comes from the early English word wer (meaning "man") and wulf (meaning "wolf").
  • A group of werewolves is called a pack or a route.