Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that you'd kind of like to be a werewolf. Yeah, okay, I know. Sprouting fur at every full moon, sometimes uncontrollable blood lust...possibly not the ideal situation. But come on, now. There's also the superhuman strength and agility, the beauty of being able to run, truly wild, in the moonlight. And hey, speaking as one who writes about them, becoming one of the vampires' hairier counterparts sends your sex appeal quotient right through the roof. Um, not that I'm biased about that, or anything. So trust me, for today, you wanna wolf out. It's Halloween. It's...festive:-)
So now that we've got that out of the way, the most obvious and pressing question is simply this: how? If you believe the old stories (and wow, after a quick perusal of the fabulous internets, there are a LOT of old stories), a person looking to be a werewolf, or lycanthrope, has quite a few options. Some are...let's just say they're less than appealing. Still, when a girl wants fangs and claws of her very own, she's gotta do what she's gotta do. So here's the breakdown:
1.Curse/witchcraft/pact with the devil - Hundreds of years ago, people were fairly convinced that witches were able to use certain salves and ointments (now thought to have been hallucinogenic, surprise surprise) to transform into wolves and go off on people-eating, mayhem-making trips across the unsuspecting countryside. These witches would also sometimes curse people they didn't have much use for (often nobility, and again, SO shocking) with lycanthropy. Poor, tortured, noble souls, doomed to be werewolves...it's the stuff of romance, I tell you. This would be a more difficult route to use for your own personal transformation, though, unless you're a witch or an astoundingly obnoxious heir to some title or other. Then again, you could just do as the real baddies reportedly did and seek out the devil himself to make a little deal. Yeah, I'm with you...next option!
2.Get bitten - The "infection" of lycanthropy was once believed so strong that even eating food brought to you by a werewolf would turn you. It's now generally agreed upon, however, that it's gotta involve the sharp, pointy teeth. Biting is a straightforward method, I'll give it that. The problem is, of course, finding a werewolf to bite you when he's not in a mood to just tear you limb from limb. Being a total romantic, I like the notion of getting the big, furry hunk to fall in love with you first. But no matter what, and no matter how gentle Mr. Tall Dark and Furry is, it's going to be ouchie. And since wolves mate for life, you'd better be sure:-)
3.Go to the Balcanic Peninsula, find the lycanthopous flower, and eat it. Warning: the flower is tough to find, smells faintly of death, and is offensively white and sticky. Er, yum.
4.Wear a wolf belt. Just go out and find the skin of either a wolf or a hanged man (hanged man's skin is better, naturally), and make a belt. If you get this far without arousing the alarmed suspicions of your loved ones and/or getting tossed in jail, adorn it with the signs of the zodiac, decorate the buckle with seven tongues, and cinch that baby to the ninth hole. Shazam, you're a wolf! Just unbuckle to transform back. If you can figure out how with those claws, that is.
5.Be a seventh son. This would be something you can't really control. Trying to force your parents to adopt older siblings doesn't count, sorry.
These are the biggies, but with werewolf lore so widespread and varied, some other ideas cropped up occasionally. Some people believed that drinking water from the footprint of a wolf would turn you. Some believed that sleeping outside beneath the full moon on a Friday would suffice (I came close in my wilder days, though, and while I may have ocasionally howled at the moon, I don't think I ever actually grew fur and a tail). Oh, or you could eat the brains of a wolf. Say it with me: EW.
So there you are, a veritable buffet of options for the lycanthropically-inclined. Since the heroes I write happen to be of the "big, hot, and Scottish" variety, I'll take a bite from them any day over snacking on some oh-so-yummy wolf brains! I'll admit, I've bent the rules for them...they're hereditary werewolves, and they can shift whenever they want. But even in my skewed version of werewolfism, the transition from human to wolf can only be achieved by getting that one, delicious, dangerous bite. Some pieces of the lore are just too perfectly suited to romance to change.
If anyone knows of any other ways to become a werewolf, let's hear them...they're sure to be interesting! Otherwise, if you've got a favorite werewolf-centric story (or romance!), please share. Happy howling!