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Howling at the Moon: Modern-day Lycanthropy

By Vaughan in Culture
Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 06:09:21 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

If the legends are to be believed, lycanthropy has been with us since King Lycaon was transformed into a wolf, in retribution for serving human flesh to Zeus during a dinner party in ancient Greece. Ever since, the werewolf has followed the human race through whispered tales and popular myth, stalking towns and villages from the Caucasus to Colorado. The popularity and seeming irrationality of these stories has been a traditional target for debunkers of the supernatural. Rationalisations of the werewolf myth have stretched from theories of rabies infection to ergot poisoning. More difficult to dispel has been the delusional convictions of people with clinical lycanthropy. Often submerged in intense psychosis, affected individuals report the feeling of transformation into various forms of animal, some experienced as so unusual, the animal has yet to be identified.


The werewolf, despite having lost some of its potency through its appearance in the unintentionally camp horror movies of the seventies and eighties, seems to retain much of its menace which has been the bane of rural communities for generations. The mythical affliction supposedly at the root of the human-animal transformation is lycanthropy, a supernatural condition variously attributed to bites from a werewolf encounter, drinking water from one of its footprints or perhaps any number of localised and idiosyncratic cultural transgressions.

As a medical syndrome, it remains much less of a legend than its cultural counterpart. Although a million miles from the 'silver-bullet and wolfsbane' clichés of the movies, it remains focused on the human-to-animal transformation experience. Unsurprisingly it is linked to the altered states of mind that accompany psychosis (the reality-bending mental state that typically involves delusions and hallucinations) with the transformation only seeming to happen in the mind and behaviour of the affected person.

A seminal study on lycanthropy from the famous McLean Hospital (temporary residence of both mathematician John Nash and poet Sylvia Plath) reported on a series of cases and proposed some diagnostic criteria by which lycanthropy could be recognised:

  1. A patient reports in a moment of clarity or looking back the he sometimes feels as an animal or has felt like one.
  2. A patient behaves in a manner that resembles animal behaviour, for example crying, grumbling or creeping.

According to these criteria, either a delusional belief in current or past transformation, or behaviour that suggests a person thinks of themselves as transformed, is considered evidence of clinical lycanthropy. The authors go on to note that although the condition seems to be an expression of psychosis there is no specific diagnosis of mental or neurological illness associated with its behavioural consequences.

It also seems that lycanthropy is not specific to an experience of human-to-wolf transformation. In fact, there is a small ark of creatures that have been reported as part of the shape-shifting experience. A recent review of the medical literature from early 2004 lists over thirty published cases of lycanthropy, only the minority of which have wolf or dog themes. Canines are certainly not uncommon, although the experience of being transformed into cats, horses, birds and tigers has been reported on more than one occasion, with frogs, and even bees, being reported in some instances. A 1989 case study described how one individual reported a serial transformation, experiencing a change from human, to dog, to horse, and then finally cat, before returning to the (perhaps rather mundane) reality of human existence after treatment.

More curious are the reports of people who experienced transformation into an animal only listed as 'unspecified', leaving the reader to wonder whether the patient claimed to be changing into a creature so obscure, it left the hospital staff baffled. Perhaps we should be encouraging psychiatrists to brush up on their zoology in case they are missing rare species in their consulting rooms.

Zoological problems aside, the question remains as to why people experience lycanthropy at all. Psychosis is certainly a strange fish, and the bizarre and uncanny are not unusual in this state. Nevertheless, simply defining it as just 'another type of weird' does not get us any further along the way to explaining its formation and development.

One important factor may be differences or changes in parts of the brain known to be involved in representing body shape. A brain scanning study of two people with lycanthropy showed that these areas display unusual activation, suggesting that when people report their bodies are changing shape, they may be genuinely perceiving those feelings. Body shape distortions are not unknown in mental and neurological illness, so this may help explain at least part of the process. One further puzzle is why an affected person doesn't simply report that their body "feels like it's changing in odd ways", rather than presenting with a delusional belief that they are changing into a specific animal. There is much evidence that psychosis is more than just odd perceptual experiences so perhaps lycanthropy is the result of these unusual bodily experiences being understood by an already mixed-up mind.

However, the contribution of culture should not be entirely ignored. Many of our day-to-day explanations are heavily influenced by our background and we often have neat cultural pigeon-holes which we slot unusual experiences into. For example, there are many explanations as to why we might experience seeing someone whom we know is already dead, including having an hallucination, misidentifying a living person, or perhaps seeing a supernatural 'replaying' of a traumatic event. Whether you believe in any of these explanations or not, the reality of the situation is likely to end up being communicated to others in terms of the neat cultural concept of 'seeing a ghost'.

Similarly, we have a large cultural resource when it comes to animal transformation experiences, as many societies have included this concept into myths, stories, or rituals. The natives of the Siberian plains had specific ceremonies to aid shape-shifting, including the preparation of a heady potion which used both opium and hemlock as ingredients. The Siberians were certainly not alone, and the desire to acquire animal abilities has permeated most, if not all, of the world's cultures. There have also been cases of 'feral children' seemingly raised by animals after losing their parents and many have been reliably documented in modern times. Psychiatrist Lucien Malson collected over fifty cases in his landmark book. More cases have surfaced since its publication in 1964, suggesting that some beliefs about lycanthropy might stem from unusual maternal relationships between humans and animals.

Of course, there is room to argue that supernatural myths could originate from people relating their experiences of what could be now classified as psychosis. In reality, the interaction between human experience and culture is difficult (perhaps impossible) to separate. Lycanthropy is no different. Whilst mainstream psychiatry assumes that someone who believes themselves to be an animal is mentally ill, someone who deliberately tries to accomplish the same with psychoactive potions and ritual is considered a shaman in many societies around the world. It seems context is critical even for the most unusual of beliefs.

From this wider perspective, lycanthropy is perhaps one aspect of a whole spectrum of experiences involving identification with animals. It may be a little more striking than the banality of Teen Wolf and perhaps coloured by anomalous activity in the brain, but it still gives us an insight into how the most extraordinary of experiences can reflect the society in which they occur.

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Howling at the Moon: Modern-day Lycanthropy | 80 comments (70 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Oh no (1.37 / 16) (#1)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 09:27:11 AM EST

Here we go on the otherkin thing again. Just when it had mostly died down...

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
Just because there are delusional people out there (none / 1) (#23)
by craigd on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 07:21:16 AM EST

doesn't mean that you can't believe you have some kind of animal spirit in you without being psychotic.

People with such diseases as lycanthropy, boanthropy (delusion that one is an ox), and other related forms have nothing at all to do with Otherkin - until you decided to bring that subject up.


A man who says little is a man who speaks two syllables.
[ Parent ]
Sorry... (none / 2) (#26)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 11:08:51 AM EST

but if you believe that you have some kind of animal spirit within you, then your most certainly are delusional. And probably psychotic as well, especially if you believe it enough to be diagnosed with lycanthropy or boanthropy by medical science.

Until there is concrete evidence presented for the existance of 'spirits' or 'souls', I will hold firm that people that believe in such things are somewhat delusional - the believe an extraordinary claim in the abscence of proof or the existance of proof the contrary.

Of course, some would also call that faith...

I think you see where this might be heading.


We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Yes, I do see where it's heading. (none / 1) (#39)
by Reynard on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 06:44:52 PM EST

If you believe, oh....say, that it's bad luck to walk under a ladder, you are clearly delusional and should seek treatment. Hardly.

Unless you are a dangerously cynical and critical person, you will accept little superstitions, even ones you come up with yourself, just because they seem to fit into your life and proving it right or wrong would be more troublesome than not.

You might well even accept big ones like "faith" or lycanthropy on the same basis.

We don't try to treat people who profess strong religious beliefs, unless they are being dangerous to themselves or others. It would be too much work and probably end up in a never-ending spiral of limiting freedoms. WHY, then, should we say different of other groups?

[ Parent ]

I think it's bad luck to walk under a ladder (none / 1) (#53)
by janra on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 02:26:49 PM EST

I've had quite enough stuff dropped on me by the person at the top of the ladder, thank you very much.
--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
I actually agree (none / 0) (#76)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Apr 20, 2004 at 11:49:48 AM EST

but there is a differnce between superstious (which everyone acknowledges are totally without merit), traditional beliefs (which are kind of like superstions but are kind of quaint to beleive, like Santa Claus or the Easter bunny), even religious beliefs (which are kind of a much more serious form of traditional beliefs) and the kind of behaviour discused here. And I'm talking about clinical delusions not the common everyday metaphoric ones. You know the difference between believing in a God as a means to be part of a community, to engender your moral compass and to give you personal hope and satisfaction and beleiving in a God that talks to you all the time and convinces you that you are special and above others and can do harm to people against their will. The former describes about 90% of Chritians, Jews, Muslims etc. The latter describes guys like David Koresh or any of the abortion doctor murders. It's pretty clear who needs treatment and who we need protection from and who we don't.

So in this case the differnce is between the people who think of themselves as having an animal 'spirit' because the physically look like an animal or show the anthropromophized 'characteristics' of a certain animal and those that believe they have an actual 'spirit' or 'soul' of a dead animal with in them and act like said animal. The former is a quaint instance of how humans like to press human qualities on animals and then place the animal moniker on humans that have those qualities and the other is a serious break from reality. Even if harmless, it is none the less clinically delusional.

I say live and let live, until you think you are a dog and bite my kids...
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

What is religion really? (none / 0) (#79)
by Noeshia on Wed Feb 01, 2006 at 12:23:07 PM EST

What of the case of those in which this totemic awknowledgement is a sort of religion?Is it any more or less wrong to be of an unamed shamanic religion or beleif then it is to be a baptist? Really I don't understand you here . . . Both are "harmless",but only one is stated as delusional.And they could be looked at as being the same.Especially by those in possesion of a totem it is seen as the same. I see it as the same. Let's be fair here.If followers of totems should be recommended a good phychiatrist,then so should every religious person on terra's soil. I'll get therapy for my religious beleifs in the wolf-mother totem if I see someone getting therapy to rid themselves of the delusions of their religion.
Which is better blood or chocolate?
[ Parent ]
What is religion really? (none / 0) (#80)
by Noeshia on Wed Feb 01, 2006 at 12:35:00 PM EST

Is religion then clinically delusional?
And what about those who see their totem as a form of religious belief?
Should we all be fair and get therapy for our religions?
Personally I'm too attatched to mine,couldn't get rid of my assumptions if I wanted to.Beleive me,I tried to beleive what my mother's church told me to,I was born to my natural beleifs and don't want to give them up.Why should I give up what makes me ME?
Life is never so simple as to go one way,hon.Look at the way water is,there is a big ocean,but not all water is in it.Though every stream and river eventually flows to this ocean,not all water IS the ocean.
May the soil under your feet be rich,and your internet never be disconnected.
Which is better blood or chocolate?
[ Parent ]
Why the interest? (2.00 / 7) (#3)
by LilDebbie on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 11:43:16 AM EST

Isn't "clinical lycanthropy" just a particular manifestation of disassociative disorder? Why does it matter if patients think they are animals some of the time instead of simply another person?

Eh, give the sociohistorical angle more treatment - it's vastly more interesting than nutjobs claiming to be werewolves because that's how they choose to label the voices in their heads.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Teen Wolf banal? Surely you jest! (1.50 / 4) (#7)
by iheartzelda on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 01:10:33 PM EST

+1

Now Teen Wolf Too, thats another story...

even more freaky (2.61 / 21) (#8)
by reklaw on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 02:11:10 PM EST

Some people believe in this God, right, who lives in heaven and created the world and stuff. They talk to him. Some of them even seem to believe he talks back.

I'm guessing your diagnosis would be psychosis?
-

Yes (none / 0) (#27)
by Zoshnell on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 11:54:49 AM EST

This is of course psychosis when you think anyone is talking to you. After all, we are in the Matrix and all that...
</grip on reality>
---------------------------------------------------- "I think there I am, I think." - Nordom The Modron
[ Parent ]
your post reminds me of a lyric (none / 0) (#35)
by banffbug on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 04:02:37 PM EST

a band called Atlas sang: "My God is so quiet, sometimes I don't hear him when he speaks loudly" which cuts to more than 2 minutes of silence.

[ Parent ]
My Vote (none / 0) (#70)
by cgp314 on Sat Apr 17, 2004 at 05:39:15 AM EST

My vote is yes.
American Weblog in London
[ Parent ]
What of a wiccan's "familiar"? /nt (none / 3) (#9)
by mcgrew on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 02:57:55 PM EST


-------
"Those who would give up, um, yada yada yada" -Anonymous Coward

lycanthropy is rabies (2.68 / 22) (#11)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 04:19:42 PM EST

lycanthropy (and vampirism and zombification) essentially has to do with mankind's fear of disease, specifically, rabies:

http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/rabies/symptoms.shtml


Prodromal phase: first symptoms of rabies
The early symptoms of rabies tend to be subtle, last 2 to 3 days, and include the following:
Change in tone of the dog's bark
Chewing at the bite site
Fever
Loss of appetite
Subtle changes in behavior

Furious phase: "mad dog syndrome"
The second phase of infection usually lasts 2 to 4 days and not all rabid animals experience it. Animals that enter immediately into the final paralytic phase are sometimes said to have dumb or paralytic rabies. Animals that spend most of their diseased state in the furious phase are sometimes said to have furious rabies. An infected dog may viciously attack any moving object, person, or animal; a caged rabid dog will chew the wire, break their teeth, and try to bite a hand moving in front of the cage. Rabid cats will attack suddenly, biting and scratching. Foxes will invade yards and attack dogs, cows, and porcupines.
They may show the following signs:
Craving to eat anything, including inedible objects
Constant growling and barking
Dilated pupils
Disorientation
Erratic behavior
Episodes of aggression
Facial expression showing anxiety and hyperalertness
Irritability
No fear of natural enemies (e.g., wild animals may not be afraid of people)
Restlessness
Roaming
Seizures
Trembling and muscle incoordination

Paralytic phase
The third and final phase of infection usually lasts for 2 to 4 days. Initial symptoms include the following:
Appearance of choking
Dropping of the lower jaw (in dogs)
Inability to swallow, leading to drooling and foaming of saliva (i.e., "foaming at the mouth")
Paralysis of jaw, throat, and chewing muscles
Paralysis then spreads to other parts of the body, the animal becomes depressed, rapidly enters a coma and dies.

additionally, rabies leads to hypersensitivity and irritability... to things like light (thus the shunning of the day, and the moving about at night) and strong odors (thus garlic)

http://www.angelfire.com/nj/woundedknee/vampires.htm

Not only do people with rabies have symptoms strikingly similar to the traits ascribed to vampires, but the vampire legend also originated in eastern Europe in the 18th century -- the site of a major rabies outbreak in the 1720s, according to the study.

Rabies, a virus usually transmitted via the bite of an infected animal, can be tricky to diagnose, the study's author, Dr. Juan Gomez-Alonso told Reuters Health in an interview. Symptoms usually do not appear for at least a couple of weeks, and by then the bite has healed. Once symptoms have appeared, antirabies treatment is ineffective, and the infection is most often fatal.

"Even now we miss diagnoses in cases of rabies," Gomez-Alonso said. Citing an example in his study, Gomez-Alonso describes a relatively recent case in which a man presumed to be a "wandering lunatic" was found to be infected with rabies during an autopsy. "These missed diagnoses probably happened much more commonly in the 18th century," Gomez-Alonso added.

A neurologist at Hospital Xeral in Vigo, Spain, Gomez-Alonso decided to investigate the rabies-vampirism connection after watching a vampire movie in 1981.

"I had never seen a vampire movie before and I was struck by the similarities," he explained.

There are many, Gomez-Alonso reports in the study. For starters, not only people, but dogs, wolves, and bats -- animals traditionally associated with vampires -- can be infected with the rabies virus. Because the virus affects the limbic system, part of the brain that influences aggressive and sexual behavior, people with rabies tend to be aggressive, may attempt to bite others, and are "hypersexual," he writes. Since rabies also affects the hypothalamus, part of the brain that controls sleep, many patients suffer from insomnia, and are up and about in the middle of the night.

Rabies causes hypersensitivity to strong stimuli, as well, so patients are often repelled by light, by bright things -- such as mirrors, and by strong odors -- including the smell of garlic. Rabies victims may vomit blood, Gomez-Alonso explains. And since the disease causes hydrophobia, or aversion to water, they do not swallow their saliva, which can froth at their mouths, flecked with blood.

The disease can also cause facial spasms, in which the lips jerk back over the teeth, in an animal-like snarl. Moreover, rabies is more common among men than women, as is vampirism, at least according to most vampire tales. Finally, rabies, like vampirism, can be transmitted via a bite, Gomez-Alonso writes. The infection, however, can also be transmitted via a scratch or across mucus membranes. Consequently, it can be contracted during sex with an infected partner, or by inhaling air in caves heavily populated by infected bats.

In addition to the medical evidence, Gomez-Alonso provides historical support for his theory. Digging through centuries-old European archives, he found records of a rabies epidemic among dogs, wolves and other animals in Hungary between 1721 and 1728, the time people first began to report sightings of "vampires." There were reports, for instance, of people "who have been dead for several years, or at least several months seen to return, to talk, to walk, to infest the villages to suck the blood of their close ones, making them become ill and eventually die."

Gomez-Alonso also found accounts of bodies, exhumed after burial, that appeared lifelike, and were filled with still-liquid blood. This also fits in with the rabies theory, he writes. When people die of collapse, shock or asphyxiation -- as is often the case with rabies -- their blood is often slow to clot. Moreover, the region of Hungary where the outbreak occurred is damp and cold many months of the year, significant because corpses take longer to decompose in the cold. "Their good appearance would also suggest the presence of saponification," he explains. "This process, characteristic of burials in humid places, transforms the subcutaneous tissues into a wax-like substance."

don't ask me about silver or holy water, but the greeks called rabies hydrophobia, literally, fear of water... why? the spasms and sensitivity of the throat in rabies means the poor victims of rabies can't even drink water ;-(

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrophobia

Hydrophobia is the fear of water, or of swimming. Usually mild cases involving fears of deep water, and not associated with general fear of the substance water.

Rabies was often referred to as Hydrophobia, because animals in the later stages of that disease have difficulty swallowing, and suffer from their inability to quench their thirst.

can you imagine what a human with rabies was like? (shudder)

before modern medicine, when rabies could spread unopposed through animal and human populations, without an understanding of what rabies was biologically, lycanthropy is a perfectly acceptable explanation of rabies

that's all lycanthropy is, that's all vampirism is: rabies, plain and simple

so all you goths out there? you want to be a REAL lycanthrope or zombie or vampire? go get bitten by rabid raccoon... but dudes, there really is no worse way to shuffle off this mortal coil than there is through rabies... what a nasty, nasty disease, my heart goes out to the poor real-life victims of rabies ;-(

you don't have to marvel at the wonder of lycanthropy or vampirism in legend, for fact is stranger than fiction, especially with rabies:

http://www.kcom.edu/faculty/chamberlain/Website/tritzid/rabies.htm

THE DISEASE:

    This is primarily a viral infection of non-human carnivores. Transmission to man is rare and is usually effected through a bite. Clinical evidence of involvement of the CNS appears after an extremely variable period of incubation. A deep-seated fear of rabies is almost instinctual despite the actual rarity of the infection in man, perhaps reflecting a primordial knowledge of the virtual certainty of death once disease is overt.

PATHOLOGY:

    The rabies virus is usually transmitted to man by a bite that implants saliva containing an infective dose of virus in muscle and near nerve tissue. The virus may undergo a limited amount of reproduction in the muscle cells at the site of inoculation. The virus travels along the nerves from the point of inoculation to the CNS. The dense concentration of sensory nerve endings in the head, face, neck and fingers accounts for the higher fatality rate observed when these areas are exposed. Similarly, the more extensive or severe the bite wounds, the higher the mortality, because more nerve tissue is exposed to an infective dose of rabies virus. After entering the CNS, the virus replicates in the neurons of the gray matter before traveling centrifugally along nerves from the CNS to invade a variety of organs and tissues. Humans and animals dying of rabies commonly exhibit characteristic cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in neurons of the brain; these are called Negri bodies. The presence of Negri bodies is pathognomonic of rabies infection, but their absence does not preclude the disease. In humans who have died from rabies, Negri bodies are prominent in ganglion cells, particularly in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Other changes also present in the CNS include edema, hemorrhage, congestion, and perivascular cuffing in all parts, but most severe in the pons and medulla. In the cranial, spinal, and sympathetic ganglia, there are actual foci of necrosis with neuronophagia and infiltration with lymphocytes. The severity of the histopathologic changes in the spinal cord often corresponds to the site of bite - for example, the lumbar cord is most extensively affected when the bite is on the foot. Gross changes are inconspicuous.

DIAGNOSIS:

    Where there is a history of bite by a known rabid animal and the bitten person shows typical symptoms, the clinical diagnosis of rabies is usually evident. In many instances, a history of exposure is lacking, and the diagnosis of rabies may be missed unless revealed by postmortem laboratory tests.

    The manifestations of rabies begins in man anywhere from 10-240 days after exposure. However, the incubation period is usually 30-90 days. The length of this incubation period is a function of:

    1.     The number of sensory nerves ending in the bitten area

    2.     The dose of virus

    3.     The severity of the bite wounds

    4.     The distance from the bite wound to the CNS

    There are three clinical phases of the disease:

    1.     Prodromal phase - the onset of clinical rabies in man includes 2-4 days of prodromal
            manifestations, most of which are non-specific. A low fever, malaise, headache, anorexia,
             nausea and sore throat are common. There may also be increasing nervousness, anxiety,
            irritability and depression and melancholia, with or without a sense of impending death.
            Hyperesthesia, an increased sensitivity to bright light and loud noise, excessive salivation,
            lacrimation and perspiration have been noted. The general muscle tone may be increased,
            and facial expression can be overactive. Dilated pupils, an increased pulse rate and shallow
            respirations are seen. However, by far, the most significant symptoms are abnormal
            sensations referred to the site of inoculation; noted by 80% of patients, these include pain
            (local or radiating), a sensation of cold, pruritus (itching) and tingling.

    2.     Excitation phase - the excitation phase begins gradually and may persist to death. It may be
            punctuated at any time by depression and paralysis. There usually are increasing anxiety,
            apprehension and a sense of impending doom. Although the tone of the somatic musculature
            is increased, there may be weakness of the muscle groups around the location of the bite.
            Cranial nerve malfunctions result in ocular palsies with:

            a.     Strabismus - failure of the eyes to follow one another in any movement. This is due to
                    incoordination of the extra-ocular muscles.

            b.     Dilation or constriction of the pupils that may be asymmetric and associated with:

                    (1)     Hippus (abnormal exaggeration of the rhythmic contraction and dilation of the
                              pupil, independent of changes in illumination or in fixation of the eyes).

                    (2)     Nystagmus (continuous rolling of eyeball)

                    (3)     Diplopia

            c.     Absence of corneal reflexes

            d.     Weakness of facial muscles

            e.     Hoarseness

            f.     Babinski and Chaddock signs

            g.     Papilledema

            There may be tachycardia or bradycardia (slow heart beat), cyclic respiration, urinary
             retention and constipation.

            Hydrophobia, the classical diagnostic manifestation of rabies, is an affliction of the excitatory
            phase of the disease. When the patient attempts to swallow liquids, forceful, painful
            expulsion occurs as a consequence of spasmodic contraction of the muscles of swallowing
            and respiration. Once experienced, the sight, sound or smell of liquids may provoke the
            syndrome. The ensuing choking may cause severe apnea (temporary cessation of breathing)
            and cyanosis. Death frequently occurs during the course of such a convulsive attack.
            Dehydration is a common consequence.

    3.     Paralytic phase - hydrophobia, if present, disappears and swallowing becomes possible,
            although difficult, as the paralytic phase sets in. A progressive, general, flaccid paralysis
            develops. Apathy shades into stupor, progressing to coma. There is urinary incontinence.
            Peripheral vascular collapse ensues and death follows.

            Definitive diagnosis of rabies depends on laboratory procedures:

            1.     Isolation of the virus from saliva, CSF, urine, nerve tissue

            2.     Fluorescent rabies antibody (FRA) test on brain tissue

            3.     Presence of Negri bodies

PROGNOSIS:

    Only 3 people have ever recovered from rabies. CNS sequelae are common.



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

+1 FP (none / 1) (#14)
by jts on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 08:12:40 PM EST

by virtue of your post. :)

[ Parent ]
It passed the staircase test, that's for sure /nt (none / 0) (#16)
by skyknight on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 10:34:00 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
The poor fox. (none / 2) (#17)
by cburke on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 10:35:46 PM EST

Crazy foxes attacking porcupines is kinda funny, though.

I don't think any serious LARPer could be put off by this revelation, though.  Think of the fun:  you could either pretend to be the fatally diseased man who thinks he's a wolf or the fatally diseased man that others mistake for a zombie after he's dead.  The role playing possibilities!

[ Parent ]

Weapons of the Nine? (none / 2) (#32)
by marcmengel on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 02:55:32 PM EST

The symptom:
However, by far, the most significant symptoms are abnormal sensations referred to the site of inoculation; noted by 80% of patients, these include pain (local or radiating), a sensation of cold, pruritus (itching) and tingling.
sounds remarkably like the description of the effects of the weapons of the Nine in the Lord of the Rings...

Of course, JRRT was borrowing heavily from legends which may have been originally based on rabies, as well.

[ Parent ]

behold the power of rabies (none / 0) (#33)
by circletimessquare on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 03:17:27 PM EST

it's effect on human imagination and human folklore more powerful than its biological effects!

the black death must be envious ;-P

rabies is a pretty weird, nasty disease... unstoppable spreading up the nerve fibres to the brain? causing a psychotic change... that makes you want to bite other people? wtf?

hey man, most viruses are content to do with a cough, shaking hands, sexual contact, or watery diarrhea to spread themselves... rabies, i officially nominate you as nastiest evil bad ass virus on the planet ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Not quite that simple (none / 1) (#56)
by ajs on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 05:32:48 PM EST

Yes, lycanthropy is widely attributable to rabies, but there are other sources: the anthropromorphicizing nature of human thought; epillepsy, various forms of insanity; and the fact that "dumb animals" would occasionaly do "smart things".

The misunderstandings of disease and afliction of various sorts are rather a long and complex list and I don't think you can point at any one and say "it's just disease x, pure and simple."

For example, most of the reason that Absinthe is now illeagal stems from a problem in France where French women were becoming quite fond of the stuff, and the sense was that this was leading to increasing incidents of women being publicly drunk (a no-no). Not through any organized process (that we know of) many doctors decided to attribute to this drink whose reputation was already tarnished, deaths of a nature that would have discredited a family even more. One such disease was Syphillus.

So you could say that "the belief that Absinthe can cause blindness, madness and death is just Syphillus", but you would be wrong. There are other diseases that helped in acquiring this false reputation and there have also been bad homebrews (just as there were in the 1920s in the United States) that involved the production of raw wood alchohol.

Nothing about history is simple, so when someone presents you with a simple answer to a complex historical phenomenon, you may begin by assuming they are mistaken, or at least only partially correct.

-- Aaron Sherman <ajs@ajs.com>
[ Parent ]

erm (none / 1) (#58)
by circletimessquare on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 07:04:17 PM EST

your point is correct about life... but misfired on this particular topic

lycanthropy is simply the effects of rabies on human creativity and fear in pre-modern medicine societies

that's it, end of story

and then you bring up absinthe?! wtf?!

absinthe is bad because wormwood and thujone kills your liver and kidneys

that's it, all of your obfuscating interesting subremarks are great talking points at dinner parties but dude: wormwood kills your liver, absinthe kills your liver, end of story, YES IT'S THAT SIMPLE, SORRY

so thank you for all of the loopy interesting dinner conversation, but please know a stone wall of logic when you come across it, thanks ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Symptom check (none / 0) (#78)
by trejkaz on Fri Apr 23, 2004 at 01:54:46 AM EST

Dilated pupils
Disorientation
Erratic behavior

Come off, that could be any given raver on an all-weekend pill bender.



[ Parent ]
+1FP (1.35 / 14) (#12)
by RandomLiegh on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 06:08:57 PM EST

What the fuck do I care? It's not my website.

---
Thought of the week: There is no thought this week.
---
How could you resist (none / 2) (#13)
by livus on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 08:01:02 PM EST

mentioning Otherkin??!!

Also, if your hypothesis is corect how do you account for the fact that there are human/animal shapeshifter tropes in a wide variety of disparate cultures?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Hallucinogenic compounds. (nt) (none / 1) (#69)
by Zerotime on Sat Apr 17, 2004 at 01:13:40 AM EST



---
"You don't even have to drink it. You just rub it on your hips and it eats its way through to your liver."
[ Parent ]
Psychosis makes sense to the psychotic (3.00 / 10) (#15)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Apr 12, 2004 at 09:44:09 PM EST

You wrote:

One further puzzle is why an affected person doesn't simply report that their body "feels like it's changing in odd ways", rather than presenting with a delusional belief that they are changing into a specific animal.

Until a psychotic person has had enough treatment to understand that their experiences are delusional or hallucinatory, the experiences usually make sense to the one who experiences them, so they don't call them into question.

I wrote in Hearing Voices:

(One might or might not have a visual hallucination of someone actually doing the speaking - the voices are often disembodied, but for some reason that doesn't make them any less real to those who hear them. Usually those who hear voices find some way to rationalize why the speech does not have a speaker, for example by believing that the sound is being projected to them over a distance via some kind of radio.)

I think in the case of lycanthropy, the sufferrer has feelings and thoughts that are somehow like an animal's experiences, and the sufferrer invents the notion of actually being an animal in order to rationalize these experiences.

But such rationalization happens at a subconcious level.

I mention elsewhere in my article that being self-aware enough to know that paranoia is a delusion doesn't make the paranoia go away. Being so aware can help make the paranoia more tolerable, but one still has the feeling of being watched. I would expect this to be the case for other sorts of delusions.

As for thinking one's body is in an altered form, try a Google search for "body dysmorphic disorder". It is most commonly found as the root of eating disorders, but it also drives people to seek treatment from plastic surgeons, to correct problems in body shape that are imaginary.

I first learned about BDD from a fellow who asked about on the Usenet news. He had something wrong with his eye, and sought help from doctor after doctor, only to find that the doctors could not see what he was talking out. Finally a doctor referred him to a psychiatrist to get treatment for BDD, which led the fellow to ask about it on Usenet.

It was clear from his post that he didn't feel he had BDD, but that there really was something wrong with his eye, something which he was quite mystified that the doctors could not plainly see.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Well, someone had to say it... (none / 0) (#31)
by spasticfraggle on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 02:33:58 PM EST

but that there really was something wrong with his eye, something which he was quite mystified that the doctors could not plainly see.

Perhaps there was something wrong with the Doctor's eye.

Cue Twlight Zone music... ^_^

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

What about those that say they are animals? (none / 3) (#22)
by Vesperto on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 06:17:25 AM EST

I think they call themselves otherkin or something. Just goofs or is the same part of the brain affected? If so, how differently?
_____________________________
If you disagree post, don't moderate.
Not a Premium User.
re (none / 0) (#24)
by MarkShaney on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 09:03:22 AM EST

Many lycanthropes consider themselves as otherkin.

[ Parent ]
Just goofs (none / 0) (#29)
by CodeWright on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 01:21:40 PM EST

But not harmless goofs.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
why not harmless? (none / 0) (#30)
by Battle Troll on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 02:17:32 PM EST


--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
DUH! (none / 2) (#37)
by CodeWright on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 05:06:43 PM EST

Because they bite people.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
ugh (none / 0) (#38)
by Battle Troll on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 05:11:31 PM EST

They do?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Yes. (none / 1) (#40)
by CodeWright on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 06:53:37 PM EST

It's what they do.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
how tasteless /nt (none / 1) (#45)
by Battle Troll on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 09:27:02 AM EST


--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Well.... (none / 1) (#47)
by CodeWright on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 12:56:02 PM EST

...if it was tasteless, one would presume that they wouldn't be so insistent about the tasting, wouldn't one?

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
I knew it was a joke (none / 1) (#48)
by Battle Troll on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 01:29:31 PM EST

When I cracked it.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
As did I. (none / 1) (#49)
by CodeWright on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 01:32:46 PM EST

Which is why I was so obliging in pursuit of your malodorous prey.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
I'm confused /nt (none / 1) (#50)
by Battle Troll on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 02:16:52 PM EST

Malodorous prey?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
By any sane measure... (none / 1) (#51)
by CodeWright on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 02:19:07 PM EST

...your odious jest in reference to taste could only hope to elicit the most feeble of deprecatory chuckles. I obliged you.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
odious? /nt (none / 1) (#55)
by Battle Troll on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 04:47:35 PM EST


--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Look... (none / 1) (#57)
by CodeWright on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 06:21:45 PM EST

...just because you're marking your territory doesn't mean I have to sniff your butt.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
confused again (none / 1) (#60)
by Battle Troll on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 08:12:38 PM EST

You are a very abstract character.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
"You are a very abstract character" (none / 0) (#61)
by CodeWright on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 11:14:49 PM EST

Says the fellow renowned on k5 as the sole proponent of a forgotten saga of a forgotten people.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
pbpr (none / 0) (#62)
by Battle Troll on Thu Apr 15, 2004 at 08:23:02 AM EST

renowned on k5

I devoutly hope not.

the sole proponent

Many other people have commented on the saga in my .sig, from gzt to haflinger.

the sole proponent

The Byzantine Empire is hardly a 'forgotten people.'
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Look. (none / 0) (#63)
by CodeWright on Thu Apr 15, 2004 at 10:47:40 AM EST

Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to help you find the rebels' hidden fortress.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
the rebels' hidden fortress? (none / 0) (#64)
by Battle Troll on Thu Apr 15, 2004 at 01:46:45 PM EST

Are they rebels against liberalistism or against the Byzantine Empire?

that ancient religion

Adequacy.org only went down about two years ago. If that's ancient history for you, you must be a bug of some sort. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

The Story of O (none / 0) (#65)
by CodeWright on Thu Apr 15, 2004 at 03:14:20 PM EST

We are talking about rebellion of the soul.

As the esteemed cleric Thomas Jefferson once said, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."

Even in your own personal Idaho of blasphemy and idolatry, you should realize that the decadence of Byzantium is the source of all liberalistism -- hence the deconstructionist solidarity of the sado-masochists...

...which brings us, however unfortunately, to inadequacy. The less we say about that the better.

As for your amateur entomological accusations, I can only say that my esteemed colleague Zorak voted for Kodos.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
ugh (none / 0) (#66)
by Battle Troll on Thu Apr 15, 2004 at 09:06:44 PM EST

the decadence of Byzantium

That always frosts my brownies. Decadent compared to whom? The West during the Dark Ages? Pagan Russia?

'Decadent' sounds to me like a taunt from people uncertain about their own civilization, rather like a hick saying "Whydja wanna go to New York with all them gaybos when yuhve got everthing a mayn could want raght here in Buttfuck, Nebraska?" Why don't we ever hear about "technologically advanced" Byzantium, or "never forgot about Aristotle" Byzantium or "lasted for 1000 years more than the Western Empire" Byzantium or "minting-gold-coins-while-Charlemagne-could-only-manage-silver-pennies" Byzantium?

Face it, you bought the McCoys's side of the story at face value.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Jeepers buddy (none / 0) (#67)
by CodeWright on Thu Apr 15, 2004 at 10:22:54 PM EST

Here we were having a friendly game of random stupidity and you get your panties in a knot?

Would it help if I said that Western Christianity has been pagan heresy since et filioque and the Great Schism?

I've got nothing against the Basileus -- heck, some of my best friends varang'ed around with Harald Hardrada.

Methinks he doth protest too much.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
a peace offering (none / 1) (#71)
by Battle Troll on Sat Apr 17, 2004 at 04:00:59 PM EST

Sa sa-m vine, câteodata, dorule
Sa sa-m vine, câteodata,
Sa dau cu cutit un piatra,
Sa dau cu cutit un piatra, dorule.
Sung during opening credits, Tavernier's Capitaine Conan, by Crina Muresan.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
ever see /Capitaine Conan/? (none / 0) (#74)
by Battle Troll on Sun Apr 18, 2004 at 11:26:44 AM EST


--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Yes... (none / 0) (#75)
by CodeWright on Mon Apr 19, 2004 at 01:08:51 PM EST

...but not quite sure why that's relevant?

WWI, Bulgaria, Bolsheviks, what?

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
This is why (none / 1) (#72)
by Handyman on Sat Apr 17, 2004 at 06:12:27 PM EST

Zach Parsons wrote an insightful article over at Something Awful (I can hardly believe it myself, either).

Basically, he explains that the Internet allows people with these strange ideas to "shut themselves off from the mainstream," thus validating themselves and believing that the "normals" are the ones with the problem. I have no qualms with an active fantasy life, but to be unwilling to recognize that ones' beliefs are, at the very least, "abnormal," is ignorant, and perhaps even dangerous, IMHO.

--
Never be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor.
[ Parent ]
well she turned me into a newt! (3.00 / 5) (#28)
by sja8rd on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 01:21:31 PM EST

...i got better.

burn her anyway! (none / 0) (#42)
by fleece on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 09:03:54 PM EST





I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
[ Parent ]
Maybe (none / 1) (#34)
by ShiftyStoner on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 03:26:35 PM EST

 Maybe, the budist are right.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
supersized plz with a side of supernatural powers (none / 1) (#36)
by banffbug on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 04:20:35 PM EST

What about animal association? A person sees an animal and infers a meaning from their appearance. For me, it's crows (cousin of the raven). Not that they have any meaning, a crow is the meaning, if that makes any sense. But I do get a "I'm but a grain of sand on the ocean floor" feeling of connectedness every time I encounter one. In fact while downtown yesterday 2 large flocks passed me directly overhead, and my face twitched.

Info (2.80 / 5) (#41)
by Dresen on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 08:31:40 PM EST

This happened to me, for nearly a year when I was about 16. Not long afterwards I wrote this. I presented my tenuous theories in pretty strong words (as adolescents are wont to do), but I cautiously stand by them for now (i.e. pending clarification). If I were to write it again then I would link it more to mental illness, both in my case and generally.

It may seem hyperbolic in places, but the experiences were strange and beautiful to the point of transcendence and beyond the point of normal speculation, I think. It felt "extra-" or "hyper-" real in a way that can't be explained. Well, I suppose that's ultimately something that's 'private' to me, then. :) Feel free to pose questions, though, about that or anything else.

-===-
Forgive people.

Curious about treatment (none / 0) (#68)
by RadiantMatrix on Fri Apr 16, 2004 at 03:50:37 PM EST

You say this (lycanthropy) happened to you for about a year.  I'm curious, did you then or since seek any type of medical or psychoanalytical diagnosis?  Given the suggested link to psychosis, I'd be interested to know if you received therapy, and why you decided to seek (or not to seek) it.

----------
I don't like spam - Parent ]

non-psychotic lycanthropy (none / 1) (#43)
by gdanjo on Tue Apr 13, 2004 at 09:05:20 PM EST

To have the "heart of a lion", the "eyes of an eagle", or even "scared like a chicken" are the abstract beginnings of lycanthropy. Using external references to convey feelings is natural, and using external references to help guide your behaviour is a consequence - we do it all the time, with pop idol worship, copying our parents, even smiling as a baby through mimickery. This all happens subconsciously - not in the sense that it evades our attempts to understand them; but in the sense that they occur as natural consequences of active existence. We are all "copy cats."

In fact, external reference is the only means of communication available to us - and the only means of understanding other people. It's not hard to see how this can get 'out of control' in a person's mind such that they are both influenced by the inward behaviour-projection, and at the same time reaslise that it is something 'external' that is influencing them - stuck somewhere between conscious role-playing and perfect normality (perfect control and understanding).

It's good to see that science is beginning to admit that these things are 'real' - when someone says something is happening to them, brain scans show that it actually is. Perhaps this is the path towards understanding things like the belief in God, which scientist sometimes see as a direct attack on them - a conspiracy to deny their 'truth' - instead of the very personal but very real event that the person experiences.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT

mimicry (none / 0) (#52)
by janra on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 02:25:31 PM EST

even smiling as a baby through mimickery

Blind babies smile too.
--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]

but (none / 0) (#59)
by gdanjo on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 08:04:40 PM EST

Blind babies smile too.
Babies that are not blind cannot see very well. This does not mean that the baby does not mimick. Visual stimulus is the most obvious form of 'behaviour entanglement' to us because it comes so natural (it's so passive), but to a baby visualisation, I'm sure, is quite complex and baffling. Sounds, touch, context, etc. are all far more important at this early stage.

The question is: if the mother does not smile or laugh to the baby (and does not do the other things that come with this behaviour, like gentle touching, stroking, singing, etc.), will the baby know how to smile?

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Fucking Furries! -NT- (1.66 / 6) (#44)
by batkiwi on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 04:24:43 AM EST



Small Print (none / 2) (#46)
by bugmaster on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 10:59:10 AM EST

This article has been brought to you by Tellus (tm). Tellus (tm): we're listening.

Tellus (tm) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pentex (tm). All rights reserved. Pentex: creating products for a better tomorrow. Pentex is hiring ! Learn about new exciting career opportunities in security enforcement, R&D, legal, and other areas. Pentex: join us.
>|<*:=

'furries' and clinical lycanthropy (3.00 / 4) (#54)
by janra on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 03:32:57 PM EST

I wonder if the relationship between "furries" or "otherkin" and clinical lycanthropy is kind of analogous to the relationship between people who claim to remember past lives and those who have multiple personality disorder...

I mean, the people who claim to remember their past lives are nearly always somebody important, influential, interesting, or "cool" in their previous life.

"Furries" or "otherkin" are, as far as I've seen (which admittedly isn't much), nearly always interesting, strong, or "cool" animals or mythical creatures.

People with MPD don't always have important other lives.

People with lycanthropy, as mentioned in the article, aren't always interesting animals.

So, related but not related, if you get what I mean. People who delude themselves vs. people who have an actual anomaly in their brain structure, even if the superficial symptoms have some common elements.
--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.

Deluded? (none / 0) (#73)
by A synx on Sat Apr 17, 2004 at 08:21:56 PM EST

The relationship between furries and otherkin, and lycanthropes is one of overlapping subsets.  Some lycanthropes I'm sure approach the furry lifestyle to come to terms with their own problems.  Some lycanthropes are just plain nuts, and a doctor watched them capering around and howling, and said "They must think they're an animal!"  Most furries though are neither deluded, nor lycanthropes.

As for delusion versus brain anomaly, I think anything that happens in hardware can be simulated in software.  ;)

People with MPD are simply people with multiple personalities who somehow lost communication with each other (due to a broken brain, or delusions).  They aren't possessed by spirits from past lives or anything, so shouldn't have any relation to people who think they remember their own past lives.

The closest generality between a lifestyle and a mental disease you could say is, "People with imagination are one step away from insanity," which is true for the most part.  :)

[ Parent ]

lycanthropic music (none / 0) (#77)
by senderista on Wed Apr 21, 2004 at 03:16:59 PM EST

Ulver's Nattens Madrigal (The Madrigal of the Night) deals with a man's descent into lycanthropy and is the single greatest black metal album ever recorded.


"It amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone, or is a leader of nations." -- Jean-Paul Sartre

Howling at the Moon: Modern-day Lycanthropy | 80 comments (70 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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