Werewolves of Livonia


Livonia Werewolves is a case of a mass hysteria that happened in Europe during the Medieval Inquisition.  The Livonia has a strong belief with werewolves.  1600 is also the peak of the Medieval Inquisition where random of people suspected to be performing witchcraft was brought to trial.  Around 31 people were brought in front of the court due to damaging properties while reportedly taking the form of a wolf.

Based on Livonian lore and legends, the werewolves marched after the Christmas day and for 12 days they will continue to take the form of a wolf.  Hey believe that their human persona is in some kind of a trance and their werewolves form was forced by the devils to terrorize the land.

The event was documented by Casper Peucer in his work entitled Commentarius de Praecipibus Divinationum Generibus

At Christmas a boy lame of a leg goes round the countryside
summoning the Devil’s followers, who are countless,to a general conclave. Whoever remains behind, or goesreluctantly, is scourged by another with an iron whip tillthe blood flows, and his traces are left in blood. Thehuman form vanishes, and the whole multitude becomewolves. Many thousands assemble. Foremost goes theleader armed with an iron whip, and the troop follow,firmly convinced in their imagination that they are transformedinto wolves. They fall upon herds of cattle andflocks of sheep, but they have no power to slay me. Whenthey come to a river, the leader smites the water with hisscourge and it divides, leaving a dry path through themidst, by which the pack go. The transformation laststwelve days, at the expiration of which period the wolfskin vanishes, and the human form reappears.”

The recorded dividing of the water was said to be the devil’s form to mock the parting of the Red Sea.  There is also this case described by Olaus Magnus where one of the servants of a well known family in Livonia turned into a wolf.  The dogs of the family ran after the wolf and managed to pluck one of his eyes.  The next day, the servant returned in human form with a missing eye.

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