"If you talk to the animals, they will talk with you and you will
know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them,
and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys."
~ Chief Dan George
In the years 1850-1900, more than one million wolves were killed because of superstitious beliefs in Europe and surrounding countries. That’s equivalent to almost 550 wolves killed daily. These superstitions included the devil, healing powers, good fortune, and good luck.
One of the most famous superstitions about wolves is the idea of a werewolf. A werewolf can be described as a human being who has changed into a wolf, or is capable of assuming the form of a wolf, while retaining human intelligence. They are imagined to have incredible strength, as well as nocturnal vision and an increased sense of smell. They are immortal and can regenerate flesh. This may be where the superstition of wrapping yourself in wolf hide will stop you from having seizures came from, as well as rubbing a wolf’s tooth on a baby’s gum to alleviate tooth pain.
"The gray wolf was the first animal to be domesticated out of the wild, long before the cow, horse, or goat. Its direct descendant is classified as Canis lupus familiaris, better known as the common dog, which, despite its wide subset of breeds, is almost genetically identical to the wolf." ~ by Christopher Ketcham
Wolves were also used as healing medicines. In Europe during the Middle Ages, wolf liver was used to reduce the pain of childbirth and a wolf’s right paw would be tied around a sore throat to stop the swelling. Another common remedy was the meat of the wolf to cure sore shins.
Luckily, some people revered wolves, which may have contributed to saving them from extinction. These life saving beliefs viewed wolves as wise and powerful, and worth protecting. People saw them as an instinctive hunter, and a teacher.
"The wolf is neither man's competitor nor his enemy.
He is a fellow creature with whom the earth must be shared."
~ L. David Mech