In Norwegian folklore, the werewolf or “varulv” is a type of shapeshifter or “hamløper”. Another type of shapeshifter is the “mannbjørn”, or man bear. It was once believed that certain people could transform into a wolf or a bear, but it was usually because this ability was due to a curse given to them by Trollmen. Norwegian werewolves don’t have the same characteristics as werewolves of literature or movies, in that they don’t need the moon to change, in order to change they put a wolfskin on, and silver isn’t a deterrent.
The Norse sagas though have had a big influence on werewolf folklore in Norway, especially with stories of people who can turn into something else. Of course, this is more of a magical power versus a curse placed on them. Vikings were very obsessed with wolves, as well as, people who could become them and even had them as symbols representing their society. Some Viking warriors would growl and howl in battle and even attack each other in their frenzy and would wear furs of wolves or bears.
On the second half, we reviewed the 2022 film Viking Wolf, directed by Stig Svendson. It is about a teenager who witnesses a grotesque murder at a party in her new town, and after hiding a small wound she received during the attack, begins having strange visions and bizarre desires.
Join us on episode 159 to hear more about the legendary Norwegian Werewolves!