Saturday, October 22, 2005

Lycanthrope!

Sarah Lewers of the Guymon Daily Herald writes that werewolf myths date back to ancient Greece.

Grecian myths hold the Arcadian king Lycaon served the god Zeus human flesh in an attempt to kill him. Zeus, the Greek's most powerful god, recognized the trick and condemned Lycaon to live the rest of his life as a wolf.

The term “lycanthrope,” used to describe werewolves, derives from the Greek “lykos”, meaning wolf, and “anthropos,” meaning man. Werewolves are literally “wolfmen.”


True?

A rare genetic disorder causes uncontrolled hair growth all over the body, even on the face. The disorder is called congenital hypertrichosis and is exceedingly rare.

It is caused by a recessive gene on the X chromosome and may present in either gender.

Congenital hypertrichosis may be accompanied by overgrowth of the gums, skeletal malformations and retinal disease. These aspects of the disorder may help explain the odd appearance of the so-called werewolves of medeival times. The strange stature, peculiar eyes, excessive hair growth and malformed dental characteristics of these “werewolves” could be attributed to the rare medical condition.

According to an article by Abby Van Voorhees, M.D., the first documented case was in 1648 and occurred in the family of Petrus Gonzales. The article says Gonzales, his two daughters, one son and a grandchild were afflicted. Since then, there have been more than 50 cases described, according to Voorhees.

There are modern sufferers of the affliction.


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