When one thinks of werewolves, one typically thinks of a man afflicted with a transformational curse. It's true that most historical werewolf tales feature male shape-shifters, but there's also a rich female werewolf mythology ripe for exploring. In fact, there are numerous female werewolf stories throughout history that are just as terrifying as the most disturbing tales of men becoming wolf-like. These lady lycanthropes rival "real-life" werewolves such as the vicious serial killer Peter Stubbe and the Wolf of Ansbach that attacked humans and livestock in 1685.
Interestingly, werewomen and witches were often thought to be the same thing. If the legends hold any truth, lady werewolves are potentially far more powerful than their male counterparts. After all, combining the powers of a witch and a werewolf into one package makes for a formidable opponent. Therefore, it's no wonder that historical accounts of werewolf women are typically filled with bloodshed and lots of fear. Let's examine these intriguing stories to discover the most badass female werewolves in history!
In 1591, a report was printed out of Augsburg, in what is modern day Germany, that the Duchy of Jülich was attacked by female werewolves. Dubbed the She-Wolves of Jülich, 300 women shape-shifted into wolves and terrorized the local area. It was reported that at least 94 people died, along with numerous horses and livestock.
Ultimately, the town captured 85 of these werewomen and they confessed to a combined 94 murders. If the legend is true, all 85 She-Wolves were executed for their crimes. Of course, this was a time when sensationalist headlines were catching on and ultimately in the story the report only actually alludes to one village woman confessing to the crimes and implicating 24 others.
In Argentina, people have long believed that the seventh son of every family is doomed to become a lobisón (werewolf). The seventh daughter is said to become a witch. When a lobisón attacks a victim, male or female, most die but a few are transformed into lobisóns themselves. This has supposedly led to female lobisón who roam Argentina, spreading the lobisón curse.
The indigenous people of Tlaxcala, Mexico, tell tales of female werewolves in the form of tlahuelpuchi, which is a sort of shape-shifting witch or vampire known to morph into a dog, coyote, or some other animal after sunset. Parents were especially terrified of tlahuelpuchi because children were their primary target. Unless a child was properly protected, they were at risk of having their arms, legs, and necks brutally bitten. The female shape-shifters would reportedly drink a child's blood until they died.
Like their male counterparts, female werewolves wake up in human form to face the moral implications of their nightly crimes. An Irish tale from the 12th century showcases the softer side of these savage beasts. A werewoman and her werewolf husband were cursed to be lycan for seven years. His wife near death, the husband werewolf sought a priest to give his dying wife her final wish, to receive absolution for her crimes. Her dedicated husband found and convinced a priest to help and proved his wife's humanity by pulling back her hide. Beneath was an elderly woman and the priest agreed to perform the viaticum.