Monster Monday: Wulver

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Wulver.

The Werewolf Howls, Weird Tales, November 1941
The Werewolf Howls, Weird Tales, November 1941

A wulver is a werewolf-like creature in the folklore of Scotland’s Shetland Islands. It has the body of a man and the head of a wolf and is covered in short fur. It doesn’t shapeshift. A wulver lives alone in a cave, or sometimes in an abandoned building or graveyard and is rarely seen except when sitting on a rock by a river fishing for its dinner.

Unlike other werewolves, wulvers are gentle, benevolent creatures. They lead lost travelers to safety, and they often leave fish on the doorsteps of poor families on the verge of starvation. Sometimes they perform the same favor for families with a gravely ill family member. In some legends, a wulver will appear near the house of someone who is terminally ill, looking forlorn. A wulver will not harm a human except in self-defense.

“Wolf’s Tooth”

Wolf's ToothThe job of an agent for the Serbian Bureau of Strange Occurrences is to prove monsters don’t exist. Sometimes that means having to kill the monsters first. When the residents of a remote village begin ranting madly about wolves, agents Petar Lukić and Pavle Vahović are sent by the Bureau to find the cause before the panic spreads, but they soon discover the hysteria might cover a sinister secret.

BUY: amazon

“Wolf’s Tooth” is a Serbian steampunk mystery

Wolf's Tooth“Wolf’s Tooth” is out today! Introducing Petar and Pavle, agents for the Serbian Bureau of Strange Occurrences:

The job of an agent for the Serbian Bureau of Strange Occurrences is to prove monsters don’t exist. Sometimes that means having to kill the monsters first. When the residents of a remote village begin ranting madly about wolves, agents Petar Lukić and Pavle Vahović are sent by the Bureau to find the cause before the panic spreads, but they soon discover the hysteria might cover a sinister secret.

Monster Monday: Psoglav

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Psoglav.

Cynocephalus, Hartmann Schedel (1493)
Cynocephalus, Hartmann Schedel (1493)

A psoglav is a demonic creature in the folklore of Serbia and Croatia. It has the head of a dog (psoglav means “dog head”), the hind legs of a horse, teeth of iron, and one giant eye.

I lives in caves or other dark places away from the sunlight. The psoglav eats human flesh, sometimes digging up fresh corpses.

Monster Monday: Werewolves of Ossory

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Werewolves of Ossory.

Depiction of the Werewolves of Ossory, from Topographia Hibernica by Gerald of Wales
Depiction of the Werewolves of Ossory, from Topographia Hibernica by Gerald of Wales

The Werewolves of Ossory are werewolves in Irish folklore. Ossory was a medieval Irish kingdom. Its kings were said to be descended from Laignech Fàelad, a werewolf warrior. The legend may have it origins in the kerns, roaming bands of warriors who lived by raiding. Many warriors wore wolf skins and when they went on raids, they were said to “go wolfing.” In later accounts, they gained the ability to actually change into wolves when raiding.

In some legends they left their human bodies behind. Any injury sustained while in the shape of a wolf would appear on the human body. Also, the human body couldn’t be moved, or the warrior would be trapped in wolf form.

Later legends after the Christianization of Ireland began take on a moralistic tone. In these stories, the warriors are cursed and are forced to take on the form of a wolf either every seven years or for a period of seven years.

Monster Monday: Loup-Garou

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Loup-Garou.

Eighteenth-century engraving of a werewolf attack
Eighteenth-century engraving of a werewolf attack

The loup-garou is a version of the werewolf legend popular in French-speaking areas, particularly in Quebec and Louisiana. Loup is the French word for “wolf,” and garou comes from an Old French word for “werewolf.” A person can become a loup-garou through a variety of means. A person who turns his back on his Christian duties and falls under the sway of the Devil is said to become one. A person can also become one through witchcraft. In addition, if a person is attacked by a loup-garou but survives, then the victim will become a lou-garou for 101 days, transforming at night and reverting to a human during the day. If he goes all 101 days without anyone finding out, then the curse will be lifted, but if anyone discovers his secret, the curse becomes permanent.

A loup-garou appears as a powerfully built man with the head of a wolf. It stalks fields and forests and in Louisiana swamps, looking for victims. A loup-garou can transform at will and is not subject to the phases of the moon. It also retains its human intelligence. Cutting a loup-garou will make it revert to its human form.

Monster Monday: Pricolici

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Pricolici.

Weird Tales, September 1942
Weird Tales, September 1942

In Romanian folklore, a pricolici is a type of undead werewolf. Unlike a traditional vampire, a pricolici comes back in the form of a wolf or a giant dog. It is said that in life a pricolici was a violent or particularly evil man who comes back specifically to cause havoc. In some legends a pricolici was a werewolf in life.

A pricolici is larger and stronger than a normal wolf. It hunts alone at night. It attacks silently and usually targets solitary travelers.

Monster Monday: Snegurochka

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about Snegurochka.

Snow Maiden, Victor Vasnetsov (1899)
Snow Maiden, Victor Vasnetsov (1899)

Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden, is a character in Russian folklore. There are many different variations on her story. One of the most popular is that she is the daughter of Spring and Winter. She is curious about mortals and grows fond of a shepherd. She is unable to love, however, because her heart is frozen. Her mother takes pity on her and grants her the ability to love, but as soon as she does, her heart warms and she melts.

Eventually, Snegurochka came to be associated with Christmas. In her modern version, she is the granddaughter of Ded Moroz (“Father Frost” in Russian), and she helps him give out presents at Christmastime. In the Soviet era, Ded Moroz and Snegurochka were part of New Year’s celebrations.