Portrait of a Werewolf and the Transformation Process
A composite portrait of a werewolf can be sketched from centuries of stories. In human form they had bushy eyebrows that met over the bridge of the nose. Their blood-red fingernails were long and Almond shaped; mouth and eyes were always dry and thirsty. Long and narrow ears were laid back on heads. Their skin was rough, scratched and hairy with yellowish, pinkish or greenish cast. In addition to such physical features, the werewolf also displayed certain psychological traits. They generally preferred the night and solitude, had an inclination towards visiting the graveyards and were known to dig up corpses and feast upon them.
The transformation was achieved by any of the following methods:
Curse: An ill fated man could become victim of witchcraft or fall under curse of evil spirits. The person then would involuntary turn into werewolf.
Bitten by Werewolf: Another common believe was that any one could become one if saliva of an werewolf could find a way to blood stream; might be from bite or scratch.
Putting on Wolf Skin: Most easiest way of becoming werewolf; however, there have been debates concerning effectiveness of the method. An evil minded person could put on hide of a dead wolf and become a werewolf. In case the complete skin was unavailable, a belt or girdle of wolf hide would supplement it.
Occult or Devil Worshiping: An wicked person can start worshiping the Devil and surrender his soul to it. The Devil then would grant him the power to become an werewolf. In some cases it could be any evil spirit answering to devotion.
Magic Salve or Ointment: A good number of recorded cases mentions a potent salve or ointment with which werewolf would rub their bodies for transformations. The compositions of those ointments were different, but generally contained plant ingredients like nightshade, belladonna and henbane. Pig fat, turpentine and olive oil were used as solvent for them. Later when the distillation of spirits was perfected, alcohol served the purpose.
Rituals: Evidence of ceremonial rituals are often mentioned in the werewolf cases. The rituals were mainly any combination of the voluntary methods of becoming a werewolf. First the afflicted man would locate an isolate place and trace a big circle on the soil. On the center of that circle he made a fire and prepared his magic ointment. ( After rubbing his body with the ointment, he would wear the wolf hide and concentrate on prayer to the Devil. At the end of the process the man turned into a wolf and ran in quest of prey.