In folk-tales and legends lycanthropes are persons who can transform or shift themselves into a beast form. This transformation is generally into a werewolf form but it also refers to any sort of human to animal metamorphosis.
They are humans imposed with a mysterious and supernatural virus that permits them to assume the powers and acquire the features of a particular species of animal. Though werewolves are the most common lycanthropes this term is now used to denote any person who has the ability of transition between the form of human and animal and has the potential to pass on its shapeshifting capacity to its offspring.
Forms and process of transformation of lycanthropes:
Generally lycanthropes can assume three different types of forms i.e., human, animal and the half-man-half-beast form. There is both a pure beast form and a half- beast form. Some can assume an inter-bred form that is anthropomorphic with animal characteristics or just metamorphose part of the body like growing claws in the place of fingers. This in fact is an intensely painful and violent process. It requires a great deal of energy. It involves tearing up of tissues and flesh, splitting of skin, decrepitating and remolding of bones and reshaping of muscles. Immediately after transforming into animal form they have to feed and collapse into a state of unconsciousness before returning to the human form. The state of unconsciousness is just quite a natural process as the body reconciles the pain and subjugates tiredness.
Time and duration of shapeshifting:
Normally shapeshifters stay in their animal form for a matter of eight to ten hours before they collapse and regain back their human form. However lycanthropes that spend an extended period of time in the animal form cannot completely shift back to their normal form. As a result some of the lycanthropes retain their fangs, or voice or limbs or eyes that resemble animal form even when they are in human shape. The duration of the transformation also depends on the age and ability of the lycanthrope. Powerful lycanthropes can metamorphose very rapidly and smoothly while weaker ones may even take several minutes to break down and re-shape.
Powers and abilities of lycanthropes:
All lycanthropes possess improved strength, resilience, speed and senses when compared to humans. They are gifted with enhanced physical strength and vigor. They even have the power to lift a car over their heads. They are far more resilient than humans and can withstand gunshots and blades. Though they are much faster than humans they possess a naturally animalistic grace in their movements and strides. Their sense of hearing and smelling is rather amazing. They can hear a person’s pulse rate by just standing nearby, they need minimal light to see and can even trace by scent. They also inherit enhanced healing powers. However they require very high temperatures to heal and recover.
There are many forms of lycanthropes like the werewolf, werelion, werebear, werespider, weretiger, wererodent, werehyena, werefox and many more to say. The legends that encompass these creatures are varied as their forms. However, lycanthropes when compared to humans have a very short life span and live a life of secrecy.