Benandanti Werewolves

Some of you might remember the account of Thiess that happened in the year 1692 wherein he claimed that he was a werewolf. But not the type of werewolf that caused destruction and torment; they claimed that they are the hounds of God that wage a war on the devils and witches.

These types of werewolves are called Benandanti Werewolves.  Benandanti means good walkers. They are those who have the ability to leave their bodies and transform into a werewolf.  This type of werewolf was particularly found in Italy.  They said that the war usually lasted for three nights. During this time, the Benandanti Werewolves would protect the crops and livestock of the villages against the witches.  The werewolves use iron bar as their weapon while the witches use their broom sticks.

When Thiess presented his case, the judges were astounded on his claims.  It was actually the first time that the inquisitor heard of such a case.  They always knew that the werewolves are abomination of the devil.  They also said that the souls of the Benandanti werewolves went to heaven after they die.  They said that they are werewolves who preserve the abundance of Earth.  Similar werewolves are also living in Russia and Germany.

They were however still given a light punishment for practicing paganism which is against the teachings of the church.

Here is an excerpt on the Night Battle of Carlo Ginzburg:

“The present research now establishes...the positive existence at a relatively late date (from c. 1570) of a fertility cult whose participants, the Benandanti, represented themsleves as defenders of harvests and the fertility of fields...This belief is tied to a larger complex of traditions (connected, in turn, with the myth of nocturnal gatherings over which female deities...presided)...In the span of a century, as we shall see, the Benandanti were transformed into witches and their nocturnal gatherings, intended to induce fertility, became the devil's sabbat, with the resulting storms and destruction.”

At around 1640, there has been an interesting turn out of events as the Benandanti werewolves confessed that they are indeed witches.


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