Wow, #50! That’s a lot! I wanted to do something very cool and different for the big five-O, but I kind of blanked on what to do. So here’s another werewolf fact, one that won the poll I ran on my Patreon. (Remember, all patrons including $1 patrons can cast votes in my werewolf fact polls! And also discuss and make suggestions/requests for future werewolf facts. You can also talk about them on my quiet little discord server.)
Thank you all for your continued support and interest in my little werewolf blog! I had no idea it’d take off like this. I’ve been struggling a lot lately, but I really hope to get back on track soon, have a schedule like I used to, and maybe even get my other folklore facts (vampires!) off the ground.
I also have bigger plans: publishing a werewolf folklore and history book of my own! Something I’ve wanted to do my whole life.
For now, though, let’s get on to the fact! This time we talk about werewolves and their offspring. Can you inherit lycanthropy? What are werewolf offspring like? Are werewolf puppies a thing?
For starters, there’s very little direct indication of inherited lycanthropy in folklore. There is, however, a little bit! Firstly, Montague Summers in his book Werewolf (sometimes republished under different titles) pretty plainly states that lycanthropy can be inherited. He’s not terribly specific about it, though. He doesn’t really specify what folkloric instance he’s referring to in this case – but bear in mind that, in his writings, Summers is always arguing that all these legends (werewolves, vampires, etc) are real and are all evil devil spawn. This doesn’t at all discount him as a source, as his research into history and folklore are among the best (more on that here), but it gives him a definite bias you have to read around. He could just be stating a personal belief that it’s inherited.
He does, later in the book, refer to one instance that I just talked about in the last werewolf fact, though! The people of Ossory were referred to often as “children of the wolf,” though that is obviously at least partially just a title. However, it’s specified that the “offspring” of the ancient Irish warrior Laignech Fáelad inherited his ability to turn into a wolf, and this apparently spread among all his people. It’s a maybe, maybe not, as it could be largely metaphorical, but either way, there’s precedent for inheriting lycanthropy.
So is lycanthropy inherited? Yes and no. For me, I’d personally prefer to go with yes. Why? It’s more fun.
Honestly, there’s not really a lot more indication other than this, though. It’s kind of not something that’s really brought up in folklore. Werewolf offspring in general aren’t really discussed.
We do, however, have some pre-Christian folklore and Christian beliefs regarding children themselves that indicate children are protected from things like transformations – whether seen as good or bad – and curses in general. This implies, of course, that even if lycanthropy is inherited, it’d only really start after childhood.
So, no, no “werewolf puppies.” Sorry. Do you really want a kid to undergo that, anyway? Eesh. We do have, though, of course, real-life cases of children raised by wolves. There are quite a few of those. But those aren’t werewolves, obviously.