The eagle-eyed may have noticed that the letter S post should have gone up yesterday – yup I’m a day behind. It’s been a slightly chaotic week but hopefully after the shift today I have a nice lazy day tomorrow 🙂 Today though we’re talking superstitions around wolves. The wolf has been feared and persecuted by man probably more than any other animal, and only it’s intelligence and resilience has saved it from complete extinction. Yet has the wolf really done much to deserve this history and fearsome reputation?
The Black Plague, which devastated Europe in the Middle Ages, may explain much of the strained dynamic between wolves and humans. With corpses stacking up way faster than they could be buried or burned, it was only natural that wolves would gather at the edges of cities to feast on the dead. In doing so, whole generations developed a taste for human flesh and likely began viewing us as prey items. No doubt horrified, the highly superstitious people began spinning tales, contributing to already prevalent beliefs of werewolves, vampires, and ghouls.
While Pre-Christian and Pagan warriors wore wolf pelts to symbolise ferocity and to channel the spirit of the wolf, in Christian Europe it was believed that the wolf was either created by the devil or the actual devil in disguise. Ironically despite this wolf teeth or pelts were said to ward off evil. As well as wrapping someone in wolf skins to cure epilepsy or rabies, rubbing wolf’s teeth on an infant’s gums to alleviate toothache and teething pains, sleeping with a wolf’s head under the pillow to stop nightmares or insomnia and eating wolf’s meat to prevent ghosts haunting the person. With all these various body parts being in common use, it’s no wonder the poor wolf was nearly hunted to extinction! Hopefully we have a little more sense today and can appreciate this beautiful animal all in one piece.
Take care x