The Killer Origins of the Werewolf | Monstrum

Long before a full moon could transform a human into a beast, the werewolf was present across the literature, lore, and mythologies of ancient Europe. Whether a punishment for the wicked, a cure for the unlucky, or a blessing for the strong, the human to wolf shapeshifter is almost always violent. Real wolves posed a real threat to humans and their livestock, but how did these predators come to be associated with cannibalism, sorcery, and mental illness? The first in a two-part series, featuring werewolf expert and Gothic scholar Dr. Kaja Franck, this episode tackles the rise of the werewolf in its myriad of forms, looking at what happened when Christianity interceded and turned the werewolf into the embodiment of evil—a change that reached its devastating climax with the persecution and execution of accused werewolves. #werewolf #mythology #werewolftrials #MonstrumPBS

Written and Hosted by: Dr. Emily Zarka
Director: David Schulte
Executive Producer: Amanda Fox
Producer: Stephanie Noone
Illustrator: Samuel Allen
Editor: Ray Lux
Produced by Spotzen for PBS Digital Studios.

We would like to sincerely thank Kaja Franck, Ph.D. who was more than generous with her expertise and time. This episode would have been far less illuminating without you; we are in your debt.

The world is full of monsters, myths, and legends and Monstrum isn’t afraid to take a closer look. The show, hosted by Emily Zarka, Ph.D., takes us on a journey to discover a new monster in each new episode. Monstrum looks at humans’ unique drive to create and shape monster mythology through oral storytelling, literature, and film and digs deep into the history of those mythologies.


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Director of Manchester School of Samba at
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