As sensible, scientifically minded grown ups, we all know that there are no monsters under our beds, right? Right?
In mildly horrifying news, it turns out that a whole host of movie monsters and legendary creatures do indeed stem from real life cases and there's plenty of anecdotal and scientific evidence to prove it. Furthermore, a select few legends that originally had no scientific basis at all have actually gone on to inspire modern day copycats in chilling cases of self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, find a cushion to hide behind and then immediately abandon the cushion for a large melee weapon with which to defend yourself from these very real monsters. Upholstery and duck down can't save you now but youve got a chance with a few stakes and perhaps a loaded pistol.
But perhaps the most terrifying truth of all is not just that these creatures could be out there right now. Its that you could spontaneously become one of them yourself without warning. Youre not even safe in your own company anymore.
The idea of werewolfism, or lycanthropy, dates all the way back to Ancient Greece, when historian Herodotus described a tribe known as the Neuri who allegedly transformed into wolves once a year. This and various other wolfman myths persisted throughout history, peaking in 17th century Europe where superstition and paranoia resulted in many people being tried and killed for being werewolves.
It would be fair to assume that these individuals were actually no more wolflike than you or me because, you know, theres no such thing as a werewolf, right? Wrong. Sort of. Youd be right in thinking that a human being cannot literally transform into a wolf whenever a full moon rises. However, there are two well documented medical conditions that the ironically unenlightened people of The Age of Enlightenment might think warrant being put to death.
The first is hypertrichosis, which is characterised by excessive hair growth (pictured). The patients entire body can be covered in a thick layer of hair, affecting women as often as men. The condition has a genetic cause but can also be acquired later in life as a symptom of other conditions including cancer and anorexia. In addition to suddenly becoming covered in hair, an individual may acquire a delusional disorder known as clinical lycanthropy in which they truly believe they can transform into an animal. They have vivid hallucinations or false memories of transforming for a period of time and they may engage in animal-like behaviours such as growling, howling, walking on all fours and changing their diet.
So, while its a pretty unlikely combination, its perfectly possible that a person could live quite happily into their adult life and then spontaneously begin to grow hair all over their body, followed by episodes of disturbingly wolflike behaviour. Theres your real life werewolf. If it came to defending yourself though, you could probably kill them with a regular copper bullet. No need to start melting down the family silver just yet.
Peter Austin initially joined WhatCulture as an occasional contributor to our Film, Gaming and Science sections, but made the mistake of telling us that he'd been making videos in his bedroom for over a decade. Since then he's been a vital member of our YouTube team and routinely sets the standard for smart-casual wear in the office.