The Talegate Podcast has reached its Season One Finale! We are exactly half way in our journey West. Join us for our breathtaking, cliff-hanging Mid-Season Finale where we interview Little Red Riding Hood and discuss the origins of her own iconic fairytale, NOLA's own Lougarou or Rougarou, and werewolves at large!
After this episode, The Talegate Podcast will be taking a break from it's regularly scheduled full episodes each Tuesday while we regroup, research, write, and record the next second batch of content. That said, we will still aim to release SOMETHING each Tuesday to hold you over. If you want to continue supporting us in the mean time, please share our podcast with others, leave reviews on Apple Podcast, and listen to any episodes you missed! It would really mean a lot.
Little Red Riding Hood is voiced by actress, Melissa Fallin. You can follow Melissa on Instagram @missafallin, through her website, and on her Youtube channel.
Episode 12: Big Bad Wolves
FLORIDA MAN: Howdy folks, and welcome to The Talegate!
CHEESEHEAD: For those of you just joining us, we’re on a roadtrip across America to uncover the mysteries behind tall tales, fairy tales, folktales, fishtales, & urban legends, one interview at a time.
FM: We inherited a truck from our late Granny May and discovered that the crystal hanging off the rearview mirror was more than decorative. It’s a Dowsing Pendulum leading us to the good folks behind the tales we all grew up with.
CH: We accidentally stole a canopic jar belonging to the mummy of Pharaoh Ay, who placed a death curse on us. But fret not, Talegaters, because all we have to do was return the jar to the rest of the set by the next blood moon to break the Mummy’s Curse.
FM: We’ll ship it back to the museum soon and avoid having our souls forfeited to Anubis. Ain’t no thang. With that, I’m Harrison, the Florida Man.
CH: And I’m Aaron the Cheesehead. And tonight we are parked under the glow of a gorgeous fool moon, along the bayou in the outskirts of Baton Rouge, LA: where the humidity is almost as thick as the ladies.
FM: My kind of full moon.
CH: Ah, who am I kidding the ladies here are still in better shape than we are. Especially in the business end.
FM: Probably because they’re diet isn’t primarily liquid bread. But before we get down to business, what we drinkin’ today, Cheesehead?
CH: Today we’re drinkin’ “VooDoo American Pale Ale” by Tin Roof Brewing Co, brewed right here in Baton Rogue.
FM: Largest brewery in town, too. [sip] Tastes like an APA if ever one there was. Shame though, cause they retired their Imperial Black Ale that I was really hopin’ to try.
CH: What’s so special about that IBA?
FM: It was called Rogarou, named so after the legendary werewolves that haunt the bayous of Louisiana. Also the name of the bog boi we hope to learn more ‘bout tonight.
CH: That’s right! We met up with a nice fellow at the bar named Lou who overheard us trying to track down a werewolf and was kind enough to meet us here at midnight to give us the scoop!
FM: Exactly. So, here we are: parked as fuck, sippin’ on beer, and waiting on our man, Lou to arrive. [low grow, bushes rustling] Hold up, you hear growlin?
CH: Of course I got my growler. Never leave the truck without it.
FM: Nah, growlin. Good call though, I gots my growler here too. But you see them glowin’ peeper’s out there? I think that might be Lou.
CH: Oh. Uh, hi there, Mr. Lou! You can come on out of the bushes. We don’t bite.
LOU GAROU: Are you the boys from the bar earlier.
CH: Absoltutalootly! Florida Man and Cheesehead from The Talegate Podcast, dontcha know. We were hoping you’d be kind enough to join us for a little interview.
LOU: Let me...chew on it for a moment.
FM: Sure, man. Chew all you gotta. Whoa, what big ears you have.
LOU: My ears? You think they’re big?
CH: Oh yah. And what mighty large eyes you have!
LOU: Shut up! Ladies are into big eyes!
FM: And damn, what a mighty big snout you got there.
LOU: And now you’re calling my nose big? Fuck you! ...bucha assholes. Just made this a whole lot easier.
CH: Made what easier?
[Painful transformation sound; snarling]
FM: Jumpin Jesus, he’s-he’s a werewolf!
CH: And I thought his features were big before...
LOU: God damnit. Just ask me about my teeth already.
CH: Oh, right. Ah… My, what large teeth you have!
LOU: All the better to EAT YOU WITH!
[Roars and rushes forward]
FM: Ah shoot!
FM: Well shit, Cheesehead, ain’t mean to shoot him literally. Must say though, you got impeccable aim.
CH: Florida Man, it wasn’t me.
FM: Then just who the hell was it?
RED RIDING HOOD: It was I.
FM: Whoa, hey there kiddo!
CH: Holy Roshambo-li! There’s a young woman in a red hoodie standing on the roofing of our truck.
FM: Ain’t safe up there, little lady.
CH: What my cousin means is, thank you for saving our lives. Did you shoot him good and dead?
RED: Dead? Why of course not. I’m just taking him to live on a farm in the countryside.
CH: Ah geez, that sounds real swell.
FM: She’s white-lying ya, man. My parents used that line on us a bunch as kids when our pets died. That wolf ain’t livin’ on no farm. You do look mighty familiar though, ma’am. Red hood and what not.
RED: My name is Red. Founding member of The Little Red Sisterhood.
CH: Wowzers. What are you, a group of monster hunters?
RED: Something like that. Our trio fights against the supernatural evils which plague our world. Each of us Sisters have our own specialties.
CH: And I’m guessing yours is werewolves?
RED: Yes, the bad werewolves, anyway.
FM: You implyin’ there’s such a thing as a good werewolf? Sounds bonkers.
RED: No need to be rude. I myself am an agent of lycanthropy.
FM: Wait, you’re a werewolf?
RED: Usually takes one to kill one. How else do you think I snuck up on him like that ? Or, for that matter, the two of you?
CH: Good point. But since you killed our original guest, would you care to join us for an Interview? It’s the least you could do.
RED: I just saved your life and you’re guilt tripping me? I suppose my evening did just cleared up so I have a little time to spare. Can’t give you too much of my time, though. Bodies like his need to be...properly disposed of.
FM: Ew, you eat your own kind?
RED: First off, I can’t ingest anything infected by silver, which my bullets most certainly are. Second, that’s cannibalism--ew. And third, the girls and I usually stick to good old fashioned incineration. You know, if it isn’t broke.
FM: I noticed you said, “the girls,” and not your pack. Don’t wolves run in packs?
RED: Some do. I happen to be a lone wolf.
CH: But you said you had family.
FM: Yea! Them Little Red Sisters of yours.
RED: Though I prefer the name Red, I’m perhaps known more commonly as Little Red Riding Hood--call me that and I’ll kill you. I was bitten by a werewolf at a very young age and have used these centuries of immortal living honing my skills for the greater good.
CH: So you’re not here to kill us. That’s a relief.
RED: Often in my company is Greta, the Witchhunter and a white witch herself. She’s an immortal like me. Perhaps a little more than that--inquire further and I’ll kill you. And finally, Vanessa Helsing, vampire hunter extraordinair who--
CH: Is am immortal vampire herself?
RED: Uh, no. Not at all, actually. And it’s super rude to interrupt me in the middle of speaking. Or is that how you treat all of your guests?
CH: Uff-da, my apologies.
RED Accepted. Now, to correct your little misstatement, no Vanessa is not a vampire. Nor is she Even immortal.
FM: Kinda seems off brand. Why don’t she just turn full vampire and live forever as a badass vampire slayer like you and Greta are to Werewolves and witches?
RED: Because, Greta and I retained humanity and our true forms far more than we are shape-shifted. For Vanessa Helsing, becoming a vampire is something she can’t turn off. She be would be restricted to a diet of warm, fresh blood for the rest of her days. Hard to be a hero with that kind of appetite.
RED: Not to mention she would be rendered useless in the daylight hours.
CH: True. So, where exactly are the other two ladies of The Little Red Sisterhood?
RED: Well, Greta is at a convention. I would be in attendance with her, but the event is strictly for witches and wizards. Anyone else would hexed or turned into confections on sight.
FM: Yikes. And Miss Helsing?
RED: Vanessa. And she is on maternity leave for the time being. Van just had her second child.
FM: Two kids, huh?
RED: To keep the vampire-slaying genes going, the Helsings always strive for two children--an heir and a spare. In her case, little Han and Juan Helsing. Cute pups.
CH: Noticing a trend there. You got any little scamps of your own?
RED: Me? Hah, lord no.
CH: Any particular reason?
RED: Wow, you’re really coming at me with that? Okay, just imagine for a moment: I’m pregnant. And a werewolf.
FM: Sure, but little wolf babies would be cute though. Ain’t you ever seen the anime movie, Wolf Children?
RED: I did, in fact. It was beautiful and made me cry, but what do children being cute have to do with my personal life choices? Newsflash: wolves, on average, are giving birth to 4-to-6 pups a litter. To which, I say, “fuck that.”
FM: [Whistles in astonishment]
CH: Yah, I didn’t even think about that. Think you’ll ever have a change of heart though?
RED: Do strangers usually question you about what decisions you make with your bodies?
CH: Ah, no. No they don’t.
RED: Or constantly harass you about having children or judge you for not wanting any?
RED: Well, after centuries of dealing with human patriarchies and literal alpha males, let me tell you that it gets old and it’s invasive as fuck. So ask a woman that again and--
CH: You’ll kill me. Duly noted. And again, my sincere apologies again.
FM: Shit, we get more woke every day.
RED: Oh, I’m not done yet. One thing a lot of men tend to forget about reproduction is that a women’s window for having children is limited. I was born in the 11th century, so you do the math.
FM: Pardon, but math ain’t really my subject.
RED: Neither are manners.
PART 2: Little Red History
CH: Before we shove our foot any deeper in our mouths, how about you tell us a little but about your own story? The tale of Little Red Riding Hood?
RED: Sure, let’s get this out of the way. The earliest variant of my story put to ink was Le Petit Chaperon Rouge, by French author Charles Perrault in his 1697 anthology Histoires ou Contes du temps passé.
CH: And pretend, for a second, we don’t have a clue what any of that means.
FM: Sounds like you just listed a bunch of fancy wines.
RED: Le Petit Chaperon Rouge: Little Red Riding Hood. Histoires ou Contes du temps passé: Stories or Tales of the Past. In other words, fairy tales. Fables. A proto-Mother Goose, for lack of a better term.
CH: So that’s the earliest version of your tale?
RED: No, my story has been drilling stranger danger into the terrified minds of children for centuries. Charles Perrault was simply the earliest known author to have published it.
FM: So you’re French?
RED: I know French.
FM: I know some French, too.
RED: I swear, if you’re about to say curse words or sing Lady Marmalade, I will most certainly kill you.
FM: Welp, Aaron, it’s been good knowin’ you. Good luck that Mummy’s Curse.
RED: Oh mon Dieu. I never said I was French, I said I spoke French. I did live in France for a long spell now, as it was my primary base of operations. Now I travel the world on the hunt for predators like the one you just encountered.
FM: Sure, but you said the first version of your story was French at least.
RED: What I actually said was that an French author was first to put my story to the pen, only with certain liberties.
FM: What kind of liberties?
RED: Well, I’m not French, for one. My story actually dates back to 11th century Belgium . I wasn’t wearing a red hood, but a red baptism tunic. There was a wolf though, so he got that part right at least.
CH: So what we know about you from these stories aren’t accurate, is that what you’re saying?
RED: All in all, my story has evolved over the centuries and is a tale told world wide. But for all of it’s embellishments, most versions are more or less accurate at their core.
CH: I heard that the story of Little Red Riding Hood may have its origins in Asia. So is that
not true then?
RED: It is and it isn’t. Fact is that there are 58 known variations of my fairy and all of them include a young female protagonist facing a big bad creature. Only sometimes that creature is a big cat, other times an ogre.
FM: Hot dang, didn’t know all that. All them creatures crossdress as grannies, too?
RED: Haha, no, no. Not all of them. The story, The Wolf and the Kids, for instance has a misleading title. It’s about a wolf impersonating a mother goat to trick her kids into becoming her dinner.
CH: Got some serious Three Little Pigs and Billy Goats Gruff vibes.
FM: Sounds more like The Wolf and the Seven Kids by the Brothers Grimm.
RED: Yes, that’s because the Brothers basically just rewrote The Wolf and the Kids. The Grimm version of my actual tale, or at least closest to it, is called, Little Red Cap. It has everything Mother Goose taught you besides the infamous line, “My what big teeth you have.”
CH: So let’s recap the story for our listeners real quick: Little Red Riding Hood, or Little Red Cap, was sent by her mother to check in on her grandmother who lived across the forest. Red was given a basket of goodies to drop off and was warned:
RED: “Go straight to Grandma's house. Don't dawdle along the way and please don't talk to strangers! The woods are dangerous.” I promised her I’d be careful, but alas, I spotted some gorgeous flowers along the hike and couldn’t help myself.
FM: The a wolf appeared beside her and asked, in his friendliest voice, “damn, what you doin’ way out here, girl?”
RED: “"I'm on my way to see my Grandma who lives through this forest. She’s in a cottage by the brooke.” I noticed how late it was getting and excused myself from the wolf, wanting to make it to Grandma’s house before sundown.
CH: Ah, but the cunning wolf took a shortcut to Grandma’s house and knocked on the door. Assuming it was her granddaughter, Grandma invited the wolf in...only of to be wolfed down by the mean ol’ beast in one huge gulp.
RED: I arrived at the house, taken aback by the grotesque, bloated shape of Grandma. I asked, “Grandma, are you okay? You look Ill.”
FM: “Oh Granny’s got that cold. You know how it is.”
RED: “But Grandma! What big ears you have.”
FM: “Better to hear you with.”
RED: "But Grandma! What big eyes you have!”
FM: Better to see you with, baby girl!”
RED: Baby girl? Ugh--“But Grandmother! What big teeth you have!"
FM: "The better to eat you with, my dear!"
CH: He swallowed Little Red Riding Hood whole, just as he did her grandma. Only, Little Red didn’t go down without a fight. She screamed and punched and kicked, which was part of the wolf’s plan to lure in the next victim.
RED: Only, my screams were heard by a nearby axeman instead. As the Axeman entered the cottage, the wolf tried to retreat, but, alas, his belly was too big. The woodsman sliced the wolf open and freed Grandma and me.
FM: Moral of the story is always carry an axe!
RED: No, the moral of the story was for kids to stay on the right path and not talk to strangers.
Part 3: Lycanthropy:
CH: So you were eaten alive by what was presumably a werewolf.
CH: And that’s what turned you?
RED: Yes. Problem was, that the wolf’s sharp teeth snagged a chunk of my leg as I was swallowed, unwittingly turning me the latest lycanthrope by the light of the next full
FM: Lycanthrope, huh? That mean the same as a traditional werewolf or is there a difference between terms?
RED: Oh we have many titles that mean more or less the same thing. Some are more scientifically grounded, others are in layman’s terms, while others still are very regional, such as our title here in Louisiana.
CH: And what’s that one?
RED: The cajun term, Rougarou and Lougarou are most often associated with werewolves of the bayou. The Navajo call us mai-cob. We are also known simply as werewolves, lycanthropes or lycans, shapeshifters, wolfmen, dogmen, puppy people, hombre-lobo, and Big Bad Wolves.
FM: Weren’t there Viking berserkers who were werewolves, as well?
CH: The Ulfhednar are the viking warriors you’re talking about. They were berserkers who wore dark-dyed wolf pelts to envelope themselves in the spirit of the animal. Though they may have believed their spirits were united with that of wolves, the vikings themselves never took on any physical attributes as far as I know.
FM: Where did the whole idea of these big bad wolves come from?
RED: The first example of human transformations into wolves dates back to The Epic of Gilgamesh around 2,100 BC, if you want to get technical. But I couldn’t consider this a case of classic lycanthropy.
FM: I know Romulous and Reamus were wolf kids, yea? Datin’ back to ancient Rome.
RED: Getting warmer. The Arcadia region of Ancient Greece worshipped a unique form of Zues, the mightiest of their pantheon. They called him “Lycaean Zeus” meaning, “Wolf Zeus.”
CH: A bearded werewolf with the power to lightning-bend sounds as cool as it does terrifying.
FM: Sounds more like a villain from Nickelodeon’s Avatar.
RED: It was believed by Plato and Socrates that a protector of Lycaean Zeus’s shrine had a taste of human entrails and became an evil wolfbeast as a result.
CH: Ew, why would they even have entrails to begin with? I guess he was a glorified security guard of Zeus’s shrine, so it was probably the remains of fallen trespassers, amiright?
RED: You are not. There is written evidence suggesting that cult members of this wolf-god minced human flesh into their sacrificial meat to Zeus. The protector of the shrine was just too tempted for a taste of it. After all, it was good enough for Zeus.
FM: And boom, the curse was born!
RED: Possibly. Another story goes that a group of brothers were set on luring Zeus to Earth by a plate of subpar offerings. The cause to their effects were to have all but one of the brothers slain by lightening.
RED: Not as harsh as what happened to the boy who lived. Zeus painfully transformed the brother’s body into a wolf/man hybrid in what many believe to be the first real case of lycanthropy. As least as it is known in modern times.
CH: Then who the heck is Romulus and Reamus?
FM: Uh, they were the fellas who founded Rome, right? Twins, I think.
RED: They were twins and they are involved in the myth of Rome’s conception, however their story was first told prior to Rome. It was more or less adopted into a foundation myth where a woman named Rhea Silvia gave birth to twin sons despite a vow of chastity placed upon by her father, the king.
FM: Well now, sounds like a certain king is paranoid about having replacements.
RED: Correct. But they were no ordinary boys, no. They were fathered by none other than God of War, Mars.
CH: At least until Kratos shows up.
RED: The king found the twins and had them placed into a river to drown, only they floated downstream towards the sacred fig tree where they were nurtured and raised by a shewolf.
RED: And a woodpecker.
FM: Wait what?
RED: And a woodpecker. That part of the story often gets omitted, but it makes sense. Both are sacred animals to Mars.
FM: If you say so.
CH: So eventually herdsmen find the two Wolfpecker demi-gods and boom, Rome was built!
RED: Rome wasn’t build in a day and there is a whole lot more to this story, but I won’t divulge. Time is precious and I’m afraid I have wasted quite enough here.
CH: We got so much more to unpack here though! You are so far the only werewolf we’ve come across.
LOU: Not true. I’m-I’m not quite dead yet.
FM: Oh hey, Lou. You still with us?
LOU: Yea, but wish I wasn’t. Silver buckshow is still radiating unholy pain my throughout my body. On top of that, I find all of this...whatever it is you’re doing, rather boring. You’re the infamous Red Riding Hood, right?
RED: Sure am.
LOU: Just thought you’d have better aim.
RED: [frustrated sound]
[pump and shoot]
LOU: Thank you for putting me out of my misery-uuuugnggghhh.
FM: So the media has shown several different forms for werewolves over the centuries. What all kind of forms do you take?
CH: Yah, like, do you have to be on all fours, or can you walk like people do?
RED: Actually this is very good question. See, when you’re first bit, you heal up rapidly but nothing else happens until the next full moon.
FM: What happens under a full moon?
RED: Have you ever seen American Werewolf in London?
FM: ‘Course, that’s actually one of my favorite horror movies.
CH: Oh, that transformation was top notch, and created by master of creature effects and design, Rick Baker.
RED: Yes, almost makes me think he consulted an actual werewolf on that one. Anyway, it’s basically like that. You’re doing fine, feeling great, and suddenly you feel like you’re on the surface of the sun. You start burning up. Your bones pop and snap, your skin stretches like pizza dough--itchy as hell, let me tell you--and, finally, you sprout hair from every corner of your body.
CH: Sounds horrifying!
RED: The worst part is the feeling your coxis bone elongate into a waggable tail while your nose dampens and ears stretch above your head into the shape of arrows.
FM: Because it’s painful?
RED: Not even. It’s because you’re suddenly punched with senses you’ve never felt before. Humans rely so much on sight. To have that suddenly dulled while sound and scent burst through your perception like heated kernels.
CH: Ah geez, I never even considered the toll it would take on you to suddenly take on a whole new set of sensory receptors.
RED: I still get PTSD over it sometimes.
FM: Damn. No wonder werewolves are so ornery. But hey, imagine if you weren’t slammed with your new senses… then you’d be an unaware-wolf.
RED: Ugh. You begin on all fours with an insatiable hunger and that’s what you follow--your hunger. You can’t help it, you must hunt. You must feed.
FM: Is it part of the curse? Bloodlust?
RED: No, it’s more like you’re a wolf now and trying to find something immediately comforting: food. And to answer your question, when you are new to lycanthropy, you are basically learning to walk again. When you’re a wolf, you’re stuck on all fours.
CH: Yea, our buddy Lou over there was on all fours when he transformed. Before you killed him, anyway, so he must have been pretty new, er no?
RED: More than likely. Honestly, I have no idea how long this particular Lou fellow has been a lycanthrope.
LOU: Since last April. Uh...April 15th to be precise. It all happened during my 36th birthday party…
LOU: Uuuughhh….for real this tiiiiimmmee.
CH: Uh, where were we?
RED: New werewolves are stuck on all fours and in a mindset of complete confusion, displacement, and a craving for meat--preferably alive. Over time--in my case, several millennia-- you start to become more aware and accepting of your curse.
FM: Yea, man. Gotta love yourself for who you are. Can’t help the cards you’re delt, but it’s on you how you handle it.
RED: Exactly, exactly. You can even learn to harness your ability, full moon be damned. You learn to transform when you want to transform. And the more you learn to adapt to your abilities, the more you can mold then into your own. You can reposture yourself, walk bi-pedal, even hold objects.
Part 4: Culprits
FM: While there ain’t no doubt that real werewolves have been lurking among us for centuries, can’t all the demonizing stories be true. What do you reckon some of the culprits are behind the wrongly-accused and misinterpretations?
RED: Ooo, that is a great question. We can start with a very obvious, at least to me, being an 11th century country girl. For most of humanity’s time on earth, farming, herding, and hunting was the way of life for the lower class.
CH: Oh, no doubt wolves would be a huge problem for shepherds, farmers, and what have you. And even if your occupation lay elsewhere, most affordable land was often out of the kingdom-proper, right?
RED: Right. Our livelihoods were on the line each and every day, and wolves were the absolute highest threats.
FM: More than bears?
RED: Wolves work in packs to separate and disorganize our herds and flocks, which makes them far more threatening than the more solitary canines like coyotes and foxes. Pack hunting made them even more formidable to us than bears.
FM: I worked on a farm up the road as a kid and we always had trouble with foxes and coyotes. I can’t imagine a pack of them, muchless a pack of wolves.
RED: Wolves would terrorize our coops and pens unlike any other beasts. Dig up and soil our crops. Not to mention the threat of rabies they carried.
FM: So what you’re saying is, that so many stories of Big Bad Wolves were almost propaganda against your greatest natural foe.
RED: They were the greatest foe to our livelihood, not so much on a personal basis. Honesty, wolves are extremely timid when it comes to encountering people.
CH: Still, I wouldn’t want any wolves near my house, timid or not.
RED: Let’s be clear, wolves are innocent and just trying to live the same as we were. We were the ones on their turf. Hard to blame animals for being animals.
CH: But you had to do what you had to do for the survival of yourself and your family, so you can’t really blame yourself either.
RED: And I don’t.
FM: So it’s pretty understandable why so many wolves were antagonists in early fables, myths, and folktales, but what about the human-transformations? Werewolves? That idea of people morphing into canine form had to come from somewhere.
RED: Well catching rabies from a wolf, or any wild creature, is an assault on the central nervous system. It would cause anyone affected to hallucinate, salivation, and even instill a fear of water. All were believed to be part of the transformation into wolf-men.
CH: Ay chihuahua. Poor people, just needed a vaccine.
RED: Back then the vaccine was death, no way around it.
CH: Woof. And speaking of woof, I’d imagine that Hypertrichosis lanuginosa would raise a few eyebrows as well upon any poor person born with this affliction.
FM: Mind explaining what Hypertrichosis something something is? For our audience, of course.
CH: Today it’s almost a claim to fame: “Wolfboy” and “Dogman.” They found success through the circus, sideshows, and even Ripley’s Believe It or Not. It’s a disease that causes extreme hair growth, covering most of the body’s surface area. You essentially look like Lon Chaney Jr from Universal’s 1941 horror classic, The Wolfman.
RED: He’s right. Ironically, silver, of all mediums, has historically been used to treat these ailments, not punish them .
CH: Now, did hysteria ever play a role in werewolf-accusations like they did in the Salem Witch Trials? Yanno, one person has a problem with another or thinks something suspicious, claims they’re a witch--or in this case, wolf-- and the poor sap burns for it?
RED: This did happen sometimes, but there is another culprit associated with lycanthropy that is often overlooked, though it has found more of a spotlight in modern psychology circles. That being “clinical lycanthropy.”
FM: What the flippin flop is Clinical Lycanthropy? Like some walk in clinic for puppy people?
RED: It describes people who undergo a delusion-induced metamorphosis into other animal species. They growl, scratch, become quadrupedal, the works.
FM: That’s really a thing? Damn, the mind is a powerful, terrifying thing.
RED: Dr. Jan Dirk Blom found that, since 1850, 56 cases of this phenomenon have been found. 13 of these cases involved human-to-wolf transformation specifically.
CH: Uff-Da! And on top of all this, there are legit werewolves prowling the wilderness and towns to look out for as well.
RED: Oh, there are were-lots of things. Bears, sharks, even gators.
FM: You know any personally? I’d love to get bit by a were-gator! Once I learn to walk on two legs again, I’d be a straight up dinosaur! The Florassic Man!
CH: Ooo, and I could be a were-badger! Move over, Bucky, there’s a new bi-pedal badger in town! Honestly, though, I can’t do a headstand to save my life. Gotta work on that.
RED: In all honesty, you both would likely get yourselves killed before before you fully learned to control your powers. Either by townsfolk or me.
FM: Yikes. What’s the strangest case of the weres- that you’ve encountered?
RED: I met a muted boy named Will...who I nicknamed “Will Wolf.”
RED: He was very cute and very sweet. I have him tagged and I still visit him from time to time.
FM: What, he an old flame?
RED: Not really the tree I bark up.
FM: Right, right. And I won’t ask ya more ‘cause you’ll kill me.
RED: Seems I can teach an old dog new tricks.
CH: So you said you met Will as a boy? What’s so special about him?
RED: Will Wolf was born a regular wolf. As a pup he wandered too far from his den as his mother slept, just as a de-transforming werewolf crossed his path. Descending back into human form, though still feeling the insatiable hunger of beast-mode, the werewolf bit poor little Will. Only the wound he endured wasn’t fatal.
FM: Whoa! So Will is a wolf who became a were-human?
Part 5: Werewolves in Pop Culture
FM: Pretty far out.
CH: I’ll be gosh-darned. So we’ve talked about your past and the origins of Little Red Riding Hood, you enlightened us on the history of were-wolves, and discussed afflictions of those wrongfully accused of lycanthropy. But one thing I would like to delve into before we go is your role in pop culture.
RED: Okay, sure.
CH: Werewolves have been presented in script, on stage, film, and games. Do you have any favorites or least favorites?
FM: Yea, you said American Werewolf in London was pretty spot on for the transformation. How did the wolf itself shape up in terms of accuracy?
RED: He acts about right for a brand new werewolf, but his form is very broad and squat. More like the dimensions of a bulldog than a wolf, really. Wolves are pretty lean, small-chested creatures build for speed, not power. Jacob from Twilight is closer to our initial form, it pains me to say. Just a big ol’ hungry wolf with an appetite.
CH: What about the bi-pedal form?
FM: I always imagined fully matured werewolves would look more like the one in Cabin in the Woods or Dog Soldiers.
RED: Cabin in the Woods is pretty accurate. Both are, really. Upright, pointed ears, very very quick and powerful. Those were a bit more bloodthirsty than one might be by the time they become a bi-ped though. Unless they’re just being an ass, which is actually pretty common. Hence, my job.
FM: Best werewolf fight?
RED: Oh, Love, Death, & Robots, most definitely. Anyone who hasn’t at least seen that clip, it’s on Netflix. Check it out.
CH: Favorite Werewolf movie?
RED: Easy. Ginger Snaps. It’s a coming of age story dealing with the physical and hormonal hardships every teenage girl has to face, disguised as a werewolf film. The effects are great as well. Ginger can be a real bitch, but it’s hard not to identify with what she’s going through.
CH: Worst Werewolf?
RED: Hah, easy… Harry Potter. The movie version, anyway. I mean, what even was that?
CH: Right? He looked like Gollum with that mangy imanciated frame and awkward hunchback.
RED: The lycans in Underworld were pretty ridiculous as well. I do like how they could transform at will and held on to their human consciousness though. They weren’t just monsters, you know? But the idea of a werewolf/vampire hybrid is ridiculous. In fact this recurring theme of werewolves vs vampires is also ridiculous.
CH: What’s so ridiculous about it?
RED: They both share a similar food supply, but ingesting too much of each other’s blood is deadly. Wolves wouldn’t want to bite a vampire and vampires surely would never suck out blood from a werewolf.
FM: Plus, I’d imagine yall both could potentially kill each other, but for what? Extremely high risk for little-to-no reward. Unless it’s political? I know in the book series, The Dresden Files, the vampire courts are split into three: the red, black, and white, and are super political in their affairs, but the werewolves… not so much. More gifts of nature, really.
RED: Hm. Is that series any good?
FM: I like it. Not perfect, and definitely has some bits I didn’t care for, but a fun series overall. Honestly though, the book with the most werewolves in it, Fool Moon, is by far the worse of ‘em. Least in my opinion. Just really convoluted compared to the others. It was the first sequel though, so the books definitely gained traction thereafter.
RED: Well then. Maybe I’ll check them out. I have a lot of downtime during the hunt. Hurry up and wait, yanno?
FM: I do know. Both of us hunt, too.
CH: Yah, but Florida Man is heavier on the guns. I’m more into bows.
RED: I respect that. Both are powerful tools if you know how to use them.
Part 6: Farewell
FM: Welp, reckon we gotta check into our room before too late, but I learned a lot. Thank you so much for sticking ‘round with us Talegaters and shootin’ the shit.
CH: Yah, it was awfully kind of you to hang out with us. Think we could keep in touch?
RED: Sure. Why not. The girls would get a real kick out of you two. Vanessa loves your style of humor and Greta, well, she literally likes to kick things.
FM: Aw, Vanessa likes our type of humor?
RED: Sure, lowbrow comedy really cracks her up.
RED: Here’s our card should you ever find yourself in need of our assistance. Though, next
time, it won’t be free.
CH: Hopefully by then we’ll actually have money. Bye now, Red!
FM: Yea, see you ‘round!
RED: Awooo Revoir!
FM: Thank you all for joinin’ us here on the Talegate! For any art, questions, or stories of your own, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Instagram @TheTalegatePodcast for photos, cast info, updates and more!
CH: Be sure to tune in every two weeks for our next interview and listen to our Dashboard Chats: the mini episodes which we record on the road during the weeks in between.
FM: Til then, See Ya Later, Talegaters!
[pack up, drive off.]
LOU: There they go. Well, don’t worry about ol’ Lou none. Buckshot missed every vital organ. Guess I’ll just...hang out here and slowly die.
LOU: [sniffs] Whoooo’s there? I see you approaching from the woods! Is… Is that a witch’s hat I see?
WITCH IN THE WOODS: Looks like someone’s been a bad boy.
LOU: Who are you? What do you want?
WitW: Me? Oh, I’m just a simple witch in the woods.
LOU: And what do you want with me? Just let me die in peace.
WitW: I think I brought the right herbs to absorb most of the silver coursing through your veins. You might even recover if I act quick enough.
LOU: Recover? What would you require in return?
WitW: Oh, just a favor. When the time is right.
CH: Ope. Can’t believe I just drove off without my mic like that.
FM: It’s all good, man. We got it now. s’all that matters.
CH: Wait a second...where did Lou go? His body is missing!
FM: Red said she was takin’ him out for incineration.
CH: Yah, but Red totally left without him.
RED: [panting] Enfin! I was in such a hurry to get rid of you two that I forgot to collect the bounty. No. Nonononono. Where’s the body??
FM: Thought you took it?
CH: Hey lookie here! A second set of footprints next to where his body laid. They go that way!
RED: Zut alors! Looks like I’m back on the hunt. You two have my card, right?
CH: You betcha.
RED: You just go on then and leave this to me then. Contact me if anything follows you.
FM: And what do we do in the meantime?
RED: Play your little exit song.