Lycanthropic disorder

Case reports

Examples of lycanthropy are only now being linked to schizophrenia  having very few cases to study in our present institutions makes this disease difficult to study in-depth.

In the Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal in 1975, psychiatrists Frida Surawicz and Richard Banta of Lexington, Kentucky, published their paper , Lycanthropy Revisited, in which they presented two case studies of contemporary werewolves.

Their first case, that of Mr. H., obliquely supported Dr. Mary Matossian’s hallucinogenic hypothesis in that he had ingested LSD before he saw himself changing into a werewolf.  He saw fur growing over his hands and face, and he craved flesh and blood.  Even after the effects of the drug had supposedly worn off, Mr. H. still believed himself to be a werewolf.  He was treated as a paranoid schizophrenic, treated with antipsychotic medication, and after about five weeks, released from a psychiatric unit.

Surawicz and Banta’s second case study was that of  a  thirty-seven-year-old farmer, who, after his discharge from the Navy, began allowing his hair to grow long and began sleeping in cemeteries and howling at the moon. Although there was no indication of drug abuse or misuse in Mr. W.’s case, he was freed from his delusion after treatment with antipsychotic medication.

Psychiatrist Harvey Rosenstock and psychologist Kenneth Vincent discussed their case history of  a forty-nine-year-old woman who underwent the metamorphosis into a werewolf in their paper, A Case of Lycanthropy,  published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1977.

Although she finally was admitted to a locked psychiatric unit and received daily psychotherapy and antipsychotic drugs, she still beheld herself as a wolf woman with claws, teeth, and fangs and believed that her werewolf spirit would roam the earth long after her physical death. 

Medical personnel would manage to get the woman under control until the next full moon.  At that time, she would snarl, howl, and resume her wolflike behavior. 

She was eventually discharged and provided with antipsychotic medication, but she promised to haunt the graveyards until she found the tall, dark, hairy creature of her dreams.