The story would have us accept that the lycanthropy of Classical and Mediaeval folklore is a culture-specific manifestation of a mental illness, inflicting people with the subjective experience of transformation into a wolf -- or some other animal associated with danger and power -- which they take for real.
The authors believe that this is because of what different cultures associate with...evil. Many of the people with lycanthropy believed firmly that the devil had done this to them, and of course the devil would turn them into a beast that is usually considered EVIL. Like wolves, which have been associated with Satan since the middle ages, or snakes, which go all the way back to Genesis [...]. So the authors suggest that the idea of werewolves might arise from people suffering from lycanthropy, and believing that they had been transformed into the evil thing which they most feared.Believing? Not real? Go argue with the Library Pixies and try explaining this subjective-experience theory to them. Also Boing Boing stole our woodcut.
I know that movieOf course our immediate response at the Riddled Scriptwriting Workshop was to begin work on the pilot episode of Zoanthropy Psychiatrist. Each week's episode would bring another form of animal-themed psychotic delusion for the protagonist to cure with the help of sympathetic listening, a deep understanding of every crevice of the human psyche, and heroic doses of Thorazine.
Wacky hijinks are sure to ensue when you consider all the possibilities, conveniently available in review papers!
one unaccountable omission** from the list comes to mind. Also they didn't mention cows:
If only there were a psychiatric label for the delusion that one is transforming into Santa Claus, to provide the same blogs with a theme for Christmas posts.
We are left wondering why the Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica has become the go-to- journal for so many of these case studies. It is as if the Scandiwegians had a cultural tradition of skinwalking.
---------------------------------------------------------* What is the correct collective term for a group of collectives?
** The story has a happy ending!