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Werewolf, Lucas Cranach the Elder [1512] (Public Domain Image)




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Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) was a Vicar in the Church of England in Devon, an archaeologist, folklorist, historian and a prolific author. Baring-Gould was also a bit eccentric. He reputedly taught classes with a pet bat on his shoulder. He is best known for writing the hymn 'Onward Christian Soldiers'.

This book is one of the most cited references about werewolves. The Book of the Were-Wolf takes a rationalistic approach to the subject.

The book starts off with a straightforward academic review of the literature of shape-shifting; however, starting with Chapter XI, the narrative takes a strange turn into sensationalistic 'true crime' case-studies of cannibals, grave desecrators, and blood fetishists, which have a tenuous connection with lycanthropy. This includes an extended treatment of the case of Giles de Rais, the notorious associate of Joan of Arc, who was convicted and executed for necrosadistic crimes. Margaret Murray had a controversial theory about this subject.

Nevertheless, the first ten chapters of this book constitute an essential work on the subject of werewolves. This etext was scanned at sacred-texts.

Title Page
Chapter I. Introductory
Chapter II. Lycanthropy Among the Ancients
Chapter III. The Were-Wolf in the North
Chapter IV. The Origin of the Scaninavian Were-Wolf
Chapter V. The Were-Wolf in the Middle Ages
Chapter VI. A Chamber of Horrors
Chapter VII. Jean Grenier
Chapter VIII. Folk-Lore Relating to Were-Wolves
Chapter IX. Natural Causes of Lycanthropy
Chapter X. Mythological Origin of the Were-Wolf Myth
Chapter XI. The Maréchal de Retz.-I. The Investigation of Charges.
Chapter XII. The Maréchal de Retz.--II. The Trial
Chapter XIII. Maréchal de Retz.--III. The Sentence and Execution.
Chapter XIV. A Galician Were-Wolf
Chapter XV. Anomalous Case.--The Human Hyæna.
Chapter XVI. A Sermon on Were-Wolves