Wulver with fish, artist unknown
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"On the edge o this world oor protector lies,
His form nae pleasing tae oor eyes,
He roas a beast o wolf an man,
Inside purer hert than oor clan,
Noble creatures withoot sin,
For innocents are spared by him."
~ The Wulver, Steve Ward, 2010
Unlike their European counterparts, Scottish werewolves, known as "Wulvers" (from the folklore of the Shetland islands), spend much of their time fishing and can be kind-hearted, often guiding lost travelers to nearby towns and villages. Taking pity on the needy by leaving fish on the windowsills of poorer families, the Wulver was spotted on a regular basis around Shetland up to the start of the 20th century.Covered in a layer of thick brown hair, and unlike the werewolf, the Wulver was believed to be in-between stage of man and wolf. never human in the first place. Respect your local Wulver!
The Scottish Werewolf
Werewolves (literally "man-wolves") are shape-shifting creatures with unusual speed, strength, reflexes, and senses. They can be found as fearsome subjects in countless books, films, and television shows in the modern era, from the horror classic, "The Wolf Man" (1941) to the more recent paranormal teenage romance franchise of "Twilight" (2008). However, the concept of men turning into wolves goes all the way back to ancient Greece.
In European folklore, it was believed that some humans were unwillingly transformed into werewolves through various means, including "being cursed; being conceived under a new moon; by having eaten certain herbs; by sleeping under the full moon on Friday; or by drinking water that has been touched by a wolf."
Scottish werewolves, known as "Wulvers" (from the folklore of the Shetland islands), unlike their European counterparts who were depicted as dangerous and malevolent, could be be kind-hearted.
The ancient Celts believed that the Wulver actually evolved from wolves - it was said to be symbolic of the in-between stage of man and wolf, and takes the form of a man with a wolf's head. A Wulver keeps to itself and is not aggressive if left in peace.
Wulver sightings occurred on a regular basis around Shetland, up to the start of the 20th century. They were often be seen sitting on a stone, fishing in a loch or river for their tea. The stones, called Wulver Stanes, are flat rocks located on the banks of rivers and lochs. Wulvers had a lot of patience, and could spend hours fishing until they made a catch.
The Wulver would often guide lost travelers to nearby towns and villages. There are also tales of Wulvers leaving fish on the windowsills of poor families or households with a sick individual. And the Wulver would also sit sadly outside the home of a terminally ill person.
For more on Shetland Wulver tales, click the fishing wulver below, "Salmon Run" 2012 from the werewolfcalendar.com site, with original artwork by Blotch.
Or to see the trailer for the original 1941 The Wolf Man film, click the contemporary Scottish werewolf in a kilt at the pub, artwork by furiarossa.