A geographical approach to werewolf legends results in the identification of a major werewolf area, stretching from mid-Germany into the Netherlands and Belgium-despite profound differences in the intensity of collecting the legends. Within this area there were people who were experiencing nightly encounters, especially with back-riding werewolves, and they advised each other about how best to overcome the beasts. Migratory legends, such as the Werewolf Lover/Husband and the Hungry Farmhand, show a different distribution: they exceed the boundaries of the core area but adhere to the national border between Germany and the Netherlands. As is the case with the nightmare, the meaning of the werewolf metaphor turns out to be sexual: "werewolf" denotes a sexually deviant man.
Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date2007

ID: 373694