W is for Werehyena

W is for Werehyena

Originally, I wasn’t going to do Werehyena because I thought it was too similar to Werewolf. However, in my research I found that that is not the case.

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Werehyenas are believed to originate from East Africa, the East, and Eurasian Cultures. “Unlike werewolves and other therianthropes, which are usually portrayed as being originally human, some werehyena lore tells of how they can also be hyenas disguised as humans.[1]

In Ethiopia, it is traditionally believed that every blacksmith, whose trade is hereditary, is really a wizard or witch with the power to change into a hyena. These blacksmith werehyenas are believed to rob graves at midnight and are referred to as bouda[1] (also spelled buda).[2][4] They are viewed with suspicion by most countrymen. Belief in the bouda is also present in SudanTanzania and Morocco where some among the Berber people regard the bouda as a man or woman who nightly turns into a hyena and resumes human shape at dawn.[1] Many Ethiopian Christians characterize Ethiopian Jews as being bouda, accusing them of unearthing Christian corpses and consuming them; the commonality of blacksmithing as a traditional profession for Jewish men in Ethiopia may be a reason for the connection between the two beliefs.[4]

Al-Doumairy, in his Hawayan Al-Koubra (1406), wrote that hyenas are vampiric creatures that attack people at night and suck the blood from their necks. Arab folklore tells of how hyenas can mesmerise victims with their eyes or sometimes with their pheromones.[6]

Persian medical treatise written in 1376 tells how to cure people known as kaftar, who are said to be “half-man, half-hyena,” who have the habit of slaughtering children.[5]

The Greeks, until the end of the 19th century, believed that the bodies of werewolves, if not destroyed, would haunt battlefields as vampiric hyenas which drank the blood of dying soldiers.[1]” 7


  1.  Woodward, Ian (1979). The Werewolf Delusion. p. 256. ISBN 0-448-23170-0.
  2. Tylor, Edward Burnett (1920). Primitive culture. John Murray. p. 301.
  3. Massey, Gerald (2007). The Natural Genesis – Vol.1. Cosimo, Inc. p. 73. ISBN 1-60206-084-3.
  4.  Salamon, Hagar (1999). The Hyena People: Ethiopian Jews in Christian EthiopiaISBN 0-520-21901-5.
  5. “The Magicality of the Hyena: Beliefs and Practices in West and South Asia”. Asian Folklore Studies, Volume 57, 1998: 331–344. June 2008. Retrieved 23.
  6.  Mounir R. Abi-Said (2006). Reviled as a grave robber: The ecology and conservation of striped hyenas in the human dominated landscapes of Lebanon.
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werehyena

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