Werewolves were humans suffering from a curse called Lycanthropy, that caused them to transform into a lupine creatures, particularly during full moon nights.
- "It acts on pure instinct. No conscience, predatory and aggressive."
A person became a werewolf when they were bitten by another werewolf and survived. It did not matter if the original werewolf was transformed or not at the moment the bite took place. Scratches did not change a person, nor was the condition genetically passable to offspring.
From the point of being bitten and on, the victim transformed into a lupine creature and remained so from sunset to sunrise during the three nights of the full moon, or alternatively from moonrise to moonset, depending on species. It should be noted that a newly-bitten werewolf would not transform until the falling of the next full moon night, even if the bite was received during a night of the full moon itself. When transmuted, the human side of the psyche was completely dormant, taken over by a feral predatory mentality that knew only the hunt.
- "They're suckers for that whole sexual heat thing. Sense it miles away."
- ―Gib Cain[src]
Werewolves were capable of sensing strong emotions, sometimes from miles away, and were attracted by sexual heat. Even in human form, their sense of smell remained enhanced enough to track and distinguish between the scents of individual people, even being able to smell if someone was afraid. They could also perceive the presence of other werewolves and had a primal, physical attraction to one another.
The psyche of a newly-bitten werewolf remained separate between the human self and the feral side. The traumatic and painful experience of the transformation caused the werewolf to lose memory of it, until some sort of evidence provided conscious knowledge of the person's condition, such as waking up naked in a different place from the one in which the transformation took place.
Even after the werewolf acknowledged its condition, he or she retained no memories of whatever action they might have taken during the transformation. The lupine beast, completely dominated by instinct, was incapable of recognizing loved ones or friends. It did, however, retain some of its intelligence, being able to recognize certain words and reacting to them, often violently. The wolf side also exerted influence on the basic instincts and impulses of the werewolf while in human form.
As the time a person has been a werewolf lengthened, he or she would begin to retain memories of the time spent in wolf form. Prior to this phase of the werewolf's life, it was also possible for the werewolf to exert certain influence on its actions during the feral phase.
Silver was the most effective way to kill a werewolf, but other severe injuries wre enough to do the job as well: Oz was able to kill Veruca by tearing into her throat with his fangs, and during the battle against Twilight's army members of Monroe's pack were seen lying dead with (regular) bullet wounds riddling their chest. Like vampires, werewolves could be affected by drugs (such as Haldol) and tranquilizers (such as Phenobarbital), although the exact dosage required for both cases was never specified. A tranquilizer meant for Oz was once used on Giles without any lasting ill effect, so whatever the dosage was, it wasn't lethal to humans. Tranquilizers were sometimes employed to restrain free-roaming werewolves without injuring them.
The werewolf curse was impossible to cure as a whole: once a person had been bitten, he or she could not be unmade a werewolf. However, it was possible to control the transformation. During his first visit to Tibet, Buddhist monks taught Oz meditation techniques that they combined with herbs in his diet, along with chanting and charms. After this he was able to roam about under a full moon in apparent ease and comfort. However, with this technique intense negative stimulation such as great physical pain or overly stressful social situations could trigger the transformation, even during the day.
Returning to Tibet a second time, Oz and Bayarmaa found a second, more wholesome way to refrain from turning into a werewolf during the full moon, based on the original Tibetan religion Bon. This time, rather than bottling up the wolf, they allowed the energy of it to flow out of them and into the world around them: "the wolf is pulled into the earth." This technique took about a year to get right and consisted, among other things, of connecting with the land with their own mortal bodies. Later it was revealed the necessary chants that were part of the method were actually an invocation of wrathful goddesses Ekajati, Remati and Vajrayogini dwelling deep inside the earth, who accepted the werewolves' offering of their power in exchange for the deities' protection.
Psychological and Social Issues
While some werewolves tried to hold their animalistic impulses in check, other werewolves believed that their human side was merely a disguise, a cage for their true selves, and did not restrain in any way. Whether a werewolf chose to embrace its condition or not depended on a number of social and psychological factors and couldn't be solely blamed on the influence from the bestial side of the werewolf psyche.
- Both Oz and Nina, after learning of their condition, sought out ways of restraining themselves during their transformations in order to protect people, especially their loved ones.
- Veruca, unlike Oz, relished in her werewolf condition, believing it to be her true self. She refused to be locked up during her transformation and let her instincts and impulses dominate every one of her actions, whether in human or in lupine form. She believed that doing what comes naturally is good and desirable, even if these impulses included killing.
- McManus originally tried to protect people from himself. He abandoned his family and tried to remain away from people. Eventually he gave up and returned to populated areas. Unlike Oz or Nina, he lacked the support necessary to cling on to his humanity.
- Monroe originally came to Oz's retreat in Tibet to be cured, suffering terribly from his condition. However, after going back into the world he got tempted and no longer followed Oz and Bayarmaa's teachings properly. He soon held beliefs similar to those of Veruca and became the leader of a group of werewolves who shared his views, believing that the wolf side was the best part of them.
- The existence of other werewolf packs was mentioned. These groups seemingly also held similar beliefs to those of Veruca and sometimes kidnapped young werewolves to increase their ranks.
On the side of humans, reaction to the existence of werewolves was extremely varied:
- Gib Cain hunted down werewolves in lupine form to skin them and sell their fur. He didn't care that his victims were humans for the rest of the month.
- The Scooby Gang and the Angel Investigations team argued that werewolves couldn't be held accountable for their actions in lupine form. They did make an exception to this belief when it came to werewolves who, knowing of their condition, did not seek any method of restraint, regarding these individuals as they would have regarded common vampires and demons, or at least dangerous humans.
- Certain parties and individuals held werewolves as abominations and sought to eliminate them.
- Paranormal sporting groups captured werewolves to hunt them down in events, similar to fox hunting in England.
- Werewolf flesh was considered a delicacy in certain circles. Werewolves were captured, cleaned, restrained and served alive, as the particular sub-species of werewolf coveted for its meat, Lycanthropus Exterus, would revert back to human form after dying.
- After catching a werewolf, doctors and researchers of The Initiative regarded and treated it the same as they would a common demon: they experimented on and researched it freely, not hindered in the least when it turned back into a human being and were told said person was actually a student at the above UC Sunnydale. The human was eventually locked naked into one of their cells, no different than any other demons they had obtained. This event forced Riley Finn to realize the full extent of the Initiative's corruption and caused him to leave the group.
There were more than one species of werewolf. Nina Ash contracted lycanthropy from a breed of werewolf never seen before in North America called Lycanthropus Exterus. Thus Nina was a different species of werewolf to that of Oz and Veruca.
The more common werewolf was smaller, with a heavy coat of fur, and while still very dangerous, didn't have a large mouth or canine set of teeth. The Lycanthropus Exterus on the other hand walked on two legs, had longer, more powerful arms, was larger and sported a more canine-like head and fangs. It was unknown if the varying breeds had different strengths and weaknesses, or if their differences were mostly cosmetic.
- Nina Ash
- Nathaniel Osborne
- Evan Royce
- Brandon Thilbault
Behind the Scenes
- The appearance of common werewolves is altered without an explanation in "Beauty and the Beasts". In "Phases", werewolves are depicted as wolf-headed hairy humanoids that walk on two legs, while in the next episode, werewolves are depicted as more ape-like in appearance, walking an four legs and sporting a more humanoid face. In Retreat, werewolves are again shown more wolf-like, with a wolf-like muzzle, and are depicted as both biped and quadruped: they stand and walk on two legs and run on four.
- In "Phases", it is stated by Gib Cain that he is only able to skin werewolves when they are dead, and in "Wild at Heart", Veruca remains in werewolf form after being killed. However in "Unleashed", it is stated that werewolves must be eaten alive as when killed they revert to their human form. One possible way to explain this contradiction is that common werewolves do not revert to human form after death, while the Exterus species does.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 "Phases"
- ↑ http://www.atpobtvs.com/41.html#404
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Retreat
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 "Unleashed"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "New Moon Rising"
- ↑ "Lovers Walk"
- ↑ "Living Conditions"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 "Wild at Heart"
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Beauty and the Beasts"
- ↑ "The Zeppo"
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 "Smile Time"