"Seven years is a werewolf's natural span but if you burn his human clothing you condemn him to wolfishness for the rest of his life "

 

The once widespread belief in werewolves means there are a plethora of fascinating superstitions concerning their existence.  A common perception is that it is only possible to transform into a werewolf during a full moon, but there are many tales of transformation happening at will.  Being bitten by a werewolf - as with vampires - could result in the victim becoming one himself; other sources describe lycanthropes stripping naked and putting on a wolfskin belt in order to become the wolf.  It was also said that the Devil could bestow this power on people who wished to become his accomplices.  Being conceived or born on Christmas Day, or on the night of a full moon, could curse an infant to wolfishness when he grew up.  Wolfsbane was attributed to both causing lycanthropy, and defeating it.  The idea of a silver bullet being the only way to kill a werewolf arose from fiction, not folklore; some old beliefs held that mistletoe, rye and moutain ash were good for protection, but otherwise, it was down to hunting equipment and quick reflexes.