Spooky Word of the Week: Lycanthropy

Many a man who is pure of heart
And says his prayers by night
May become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms
And the autumn moon shines bright.

Tonight, in honor of the full moon this week, our spoooky word of the week is lycanthropy.

Lycanthropy is a combination of two Greek words “lykos” (wolk) and “anthropos” (man).

The earliest use of the word that is known is from Europe in the 16th century when there was a hysteria of reports about murders and attacks attributed to werewolves. Sadly, many people in Europe were tried and executed because of this superstition, just as people who were erroneously thought to be witches.

Today, the use of the word lycanthropy is as a clinical term that describes a delusion in which a person believes they can transform into an animal. There are various legends of “were” animals in different cultures. But the most renown is surely the legend of the werewolf.

Enjoy this clip featuring the inimitable Maria Ouspenskaya.

About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.
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