The Japan Times
January 17, 2002
By David McKie
Researchers find werewolf fears 10,000 years ago
They were created to trigger our most primitive fears — by depicting half-human, half-animal monsters that hunted the living.
But these horrific creatures differed in one crucial way from the warped humanoid beasts that fill the high school corridors of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or the werewolves and blood-sucking monsters that populate horror books. These creatures were painted by Stone Age peoples more than 10,000 years ago and represent some of the world’s oldest art.
The surprising discovery that werewolves are as old as humanity is the handiwork of researchers who have carried out a major analysis of the world’s ancient rock art sites in Europe, Africa and Australia.
“We looked at art that goes back to the dawn of humanity and found it had one common feature: animal-human hybrids,” said Dr. Christopher Chippindale, of the museum of archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University in England.
“Werewolves and vampires are as old as art, in other words,” he said. “These composite beings, from a world between humans and animals, are a common theme from the beginning of painting.”
Why do we have such a fascination for werewolves and other monsters? Is it because it helps us express our deepest fears? All those years ago you can understand why they were thought to be real and feared, it helped them explain so many things they didn’t understand. But now all these years later we still need and want them around, some hope they really do exist.
What about you? Would you like to see some wild beasties running around come the next full moon?
Have a great rest of your evening!