Lycanism, or lycanthropy syndrome, is typically a bandwagon effect displayed through intense admiration for werewolves, often stimulated by pop culture media. The most extreme form of lycanism, is clinical lycanthropy.

Influences[edit | edit source]

Cultural influences may heighten expressions for human-animal transformation, a theme found in Native American lore, European legends, and popular culture. When the stimulation of pop-culture is coupled with neurological conditions such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, certain mental events may persist-where a person believes they have the ability to transform into another being. Although some people cannot help their mental state entering into an altered state of consciousness, other cultures purposefully pursue altered states through drug use.

Clinical lycanthropy[edit | edit source]


A study on clinical lycanthropy from the McLean Hospital reported on a series of cases for observation:[1]

  • A patient reports in a moment of lucidity or reminiscence that they sometimes feel as an animal or have felt like one.
  • A patient behaves in a manner that resembles animal behavior, for example howling, growling, or crawling.

In a neuroimaging study of two people diagnosed with clinical lycanthropy, the parts of the brain that stimulate proprioception ("one's own will") and body image had displayed unusual activity, where the patients may have been genuinely perceiving feelings of bodily transformation.[2]

Drug use[edit | edit source]

In a 2009 study, in the consumption of the drug MDMA (Ecstasy), a man displayed symptoms of paranoid psychosis by claiming that his relatives had changed into various animals such as a boar, a donkey and a horse[3][4] (Compare with therianism, or therianthropy).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Lycanthropy: alive and well in the twentieth century". Psychol Med 18 (1): 113–20. February 1988. doi:10.1017/S003329170000194X. PMID 3363031. 
  2. Moselhy HF (1999). "Lycanthropy: New Evidence of its Origin". Psychopathology 32 (4): 173–176. doi:10.1159/000029086. PMID 10364725. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  3. Nasirian et al. (2009). "Rare Variant of Lycanthropy and Ecstasy" Template:Webarchive. Addiction and Health 1: 53–56.
  4. Nejad, A. G. (2007). Belief in Transforming Another Person into a Wolf: Could it be a Variant of Lycanthropy? Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 115: 159–161.
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