What is Lycanthropy and Where Did It Come From?

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore NA

The official definition of Lycanthropy? “A delusion that one has become a wolf,” or “the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic.” Basically, it’s the werewolf that’s become a common fixture in not just horror, but cinema in general. There’s something truly terrifying about this half-man, and half-wolf creature that brings bloodshed wherever it goes. Perhaps it’s the fact that this affliction usually happens to a helpless man – in the wrong place at the wrong time as he’s bitten by a mysterious creature and becomes a monster right before his own eyes. Or the fact that lycanthropy dates back to centuries-old folklore, and many believe that the wolfman isn’t just a symbol of cinema… but a real-life terror that walks among us. Here’s what you need to know about the phenomenon of lycanthropy. 

Lycanthropic woodcut of a village attacked by werewolves by Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 1512

Where did Lycanthropy Originate?

Where does the legend of lycanthropy, or werewolves, originate? It’s complicated. Like many mythical creatures, the werewolf is a widespread concept in European folklore… was a critical part of stories told throughout the Medieval Period. However, the witch hunt (literally) for werewolves began during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period alongside the witchcraft trials. According to Wikipedia, “the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now Switzerland in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century.”

Being accused of witchcraft is one thing, but accusations of lycanthropy were quite literally a whole other beast. While many believed that you could become a werewolf by being bitten by one, others believed that lyncathropy took place by sleeping under the full moon or eating the wrong type of meat. In her book “Giants, Monsters, and Dragons,” folklorist Carol Rose notes that “In ancient Greece it was believed that a person could be transformed by eating the meat of a wolf that had been mixed with that of a human and that the condition was irreversible.” Yikes. 

Accusations of Lycanthropy

While the accusations are featured in less textbooks and movies than those of witchcraft, they were very much alive for centuries. One of the best known cases is that of Peter Stumpp, who was accused of werewolfery, witchcraft, and cannibalism in the 16th century. Known as “the Werewolf of Bedburg,” he had a violent and brutal history of torture, murder, and eating everything from goats and lambs to human children. After a grotesque execution where he had flesh torn from his body, limbs broken in multiple places, and was beheaded before being burned… his lyncathropy story became one of the most famous in history.

That being said, Peter Stumpp was a special case. And like the Salem Witch Trials, it’s safe to say that most accused of lycanthropy were not actually werewolves. Or were they? Many genuinely believed that werewolves walked among us centuries ago… and they remain a common presence in the gothic fiction and horror genres. We all love a good werewolf movie, but it becomes a bit darker after learning the fascinating history of lycanthropy.

What Was the Inspiration for the Scream Movies & Ghostface Killer?

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Featured Scary Movies and Series

Is Scream Based On a Real Story?

“What’s your favorite scary movie?” Ghostface can be heard around the world by countless fans mimicking his famous catchphrase. Ghostface taunts his victims by telephone and with a voice changing device to help hide his identity (which ultimately changes every movie).  He then stalks and chases them with a scary looking dagger to ensure a violent death.  Ghostface is certainly one of the horror genre’s favorite slashers.

The Scream franchise did very well, with the first movie raking in more than $103 million in the United States alone (that’s great for an estimated budget of only $14,000,000)!  But where did the story get its start? What is the Scream movie origin and is Ghostface based upon a real life killer? Horror Enthusiast has dove deep to untangle some wires and figure the true origin of the Ghostface killer and Scream movies.

The Real Story that Inspired Ghostface & Scream

The Real Life Unnerving Murders

The writer of Scream, Kevin Williamson, created the story line surrounding his fascination with the Gainesville Ripper.  While watching a news story about the terror, he realized his very own window was open, and that he could be susceptible to the same horrible fate that had already befallen a number of people.  The horror script was born that very day as Kevin completed the first 18 page draft of what would be Scream. 

The initial script featured a young woman who was alone at home (where she should be safe), being taunted by a killer over the phone.  The woman would then be chased by the slasher, who would be a scary-masked villain with a knife. Shortly, Kevin had completed a full-length script for the movie. He even planned the concept of Scream becoming a franchise right away.  In addition to his full-length script, Kevin provided suggestions that outlined two possible sequels. 

The Gainesville Ripper

Danny Harold Rolling is the Gainesville Ripper, a serial killer responsible for murdering 5 students in the Gainesville, Florida area, as well as 3 others in Louisiana.  Rolling is the initial inspiration  (although somewhat loosely fit) for the plot horror enthusiasts all know as the Scream movie today.  Rolling was a gruesome killer, mutilating his victims after raping them and even decapitating one body. He would also pose his victims in sexually provocative positions before leaving the scene. Hardly Ghostface, however, nonetheless the Gainesville Ripper would scare Kevin Williamson so bad he’d come up with the basis for a truly scary plot with a real-life feel. 

Rolling was put to death by legal injection in 2006.

Where Did the Ghostface Mask Come From?

ghostface masked killed from the movie scream

The Ghostface mask was discovered by Wes Craven himself as he were hunting for filming locations.  He noticed the mask hanging on the wall of one of the rooms within a possible film house and knew it was a perfect fit.  The mask could not be exactly similar as he could not obtain the rights and so he had one made to resemble the mask as closely as possible based upon a photo he took.

Where Did the Ghostface Cloak Come From?

Ghostface was designed, originally, to be cloaked in a white robe, not a black robe.  The costume only changed to a black robe after the crew realized he resembled a member of the Ku Klux Klan when wearing white.

Where Did the Title “Scream” Come From?

Scream was originally going to be called “Scary Movie.” This is super ironic, as that title would later be used for a parody that pretty much featured the Scream franchise. The (now more famous than ever before in light of their sexual harassment scandles) Weinstein Brothers decided to rename the film to Scream towards the end of filming.

What Made Scream More Interesting?

Scream was (basically) the first horror movie that featured characters who understood horror movies existed and even referenced real-life horror movies throughout the film.  With characters that understood how people die in horror movies and the common mistakes to avoid…it made the audience feel as though anything could happen.

Additional Inspirations

There is a lot of inspiration behind Scream that appears under the surface, as well.  Scream script writer, Kevin Williamson, had been a huge horror movie fan his entire life before beginning the Scream script. He loved popular horror franchises Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Prom Night, and many others.  His passion for these films is evident via a number of references and obvious homage throughout the Scream movies.

Scream Still Scares Even Today

painting of ghostface from scream

Ghostface today is still a very popular slasher horror icon.  He makes several appearances throughout popular media (other movies included, even comedies like ‘Scary Movie’).  And almost everyone knows who Ghostface is, or has seen at least one Scream movie.  He is even a very popular Halloween mask choice more than 20 years after his first cinematic appearance (the original Scream being released in 1996).  And very recently, more interest slasher favorite, Ghostface, has spawned a rebooted Scream franchise in form of a TV series. The TV series first aired in June of 2015, but is currently three seasons strong.  The third season has yet to air (begins in March of 2018). 

Whether on the big screen or on TV, one thing is clear: Ghostface is here to stay and wants to know what is your favorite scary movie?

When the Bandage Man Finds You

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

The sky was drowning the Oregon Coast during the summer in 1932, that Monday–August 4th–had brought two unexpected inches and it looked as if they were going to get at least that many more before nightfall. Harvey glanced up at the dark and angry storm-clouds overhead, his dirty rain-streaked face bore an unfortunately stern look. Harvey paired up with Jack, both men were large and burly and their capabilities with the equipment had never failed them before. They had a few special jobs to take care of in Section 8 and one of them to take down a particularly massive pine. Their hands were both slick with sweat, rain, and grease; halfway through the trunk, their saw bucked suddenly as it hit a knot. Harvey’s glove slid clean off as he scrambled to control the blade at which point he lost his footing. The saw raked him hard against his left cheek and then his torso–then–everything went black.

His eyes were coated thickly with dried blood as he made an attempt to open them, he barely registered the paramedics looking down at him as they bounced along the wet roads of the old coastal highway. Half-way to blacking out again, Harvey heard a loud thud, then darkness overtook them all as the ambulance was swept off the highway in a mudslide. The rescue crews came around the next day when they could finally reach those who had not made it back the night before–they uncovered the lifeless bodies of the driver and paramedics, but Harvey’s body was never recovered. In an official capacity he was reported as a missing person, but presumed dead from all of the injuries he had sustained.


It wasn’t the best night to be on an unfamiliar highway, the patches of fog which only seemed to break for torrential downpour. The onslaught of rain smacked heavily against the windshield suddenly which disturbed Lee out of her uneasy sleep. Her eyes were wide and dark as she searched the gloomy scenery from the passenger seat as if to figure out where they were.

“Hey, you okay?” Mason, Lee’s boyfriend, gave her a sideways glance and a playful jostle to her knee.

“Huh? Oh,” she blinked and swallowed as if that would help clear the fog in her mind. “Yeah, just got a bit startled is all,” the rain was drowning out the sound of the weather forecast and it proved impossible to hear over the extra static on the radio. All she could see out of her water-streaked window were the outlines of trees made possible by the dingy high beams of their old shaky single-cab. “Where are we anyway?”

“Well I think we’ll be coming up on highway 26 in a little while, so according to GPS we’re just outside of Cannon Beach?” Mason didn’t sound sure, but with a quick look at the phone on his dashboard showed him that he was way off course. “Wait… that’s not right. Let me just pull off the highway real quick…”

Headlights in the fog
Photography by Will Swann

Mason saw a side road that led off the narrow highway and realized too late that it wasn’t well maintained as the truck listed hard to the side into a pothole. The two of them heard a loud pop just as they went careening towards the trees. He stomped so hard on the brakes he was surprised he didn’t break the pedal—but it only took the couple a moment to realize how close they had just come to serious injury. The two looked at each other breathlessly before they both burst into that uncontrollable and slightly inappropriate happy-to-be-alive laughter. Lee hung her head in her hands and her laughter turned into a groan.

“Of course, this is what happens on our first road trip together,” she pulled out her phone to call roadside assistance and Mason grabbed a flashlight then hopped out of the driver’s seat to check how much damage there was. From Lee’s perspective, it looked as if Mason was just shaking his head in disbelief, while the rain soaked him down to the bone.

“Did they say how long it would be for a tow?” Her waterlogged beau climbed back into the cab after a while, clicked the flashlight off and sighed.

“Well, there’s a problem, since we don’t know what road we’re on, all I could tell them is that we were on our way into Cannon Beach when our GPS started acting up and we pulled off—I’m not sure how much they heard, I had to repeat the policy number four or five times because the reception here is terrible. I don’t think anyone is going to be able to find us for a while,”

Mason cursed under his breath, “did you bring the blankets up here at the last rest stop we made?” Lee nodded and pulled her part of the seat forward to pull them out of where they had been stashed. Mason was already shaking from the chill that ran through his body as he pulled off his wet shirt and pants in an attempt to dry off with one of the blankets.

“I don’t like it here Mason,” Lee’s voice trembled a bit, her knuckles whitened from the vice-like grip she had on the second blanket. “It feels like we’re being watched.”

“Baby, we’ll be alright, we’re right outside of a town, if it weren’t raining we could probably walk—”

“—I am NOT walking anywhere! That’s the kind of thing that gets you killed in horror movies,” she huffed and Mason reached over to push her thick dark hair out of her eyes, an unyielding expression had overcome her.

“Come here, you whiner,” Mason smiled and pulled her over to him, “we’ll be alright, we’re not walking anywhere. We’ll have to stay here until morning though if the tow truck isn’t able to find us.” Lee’s lips returned to their pout and she leaned into him, “In fact, I think this is pretty great—it almost feels like we’re going parking,” Mason laughed, a devilish grin spread wide across his face and he snuck a kiss from her.

“You’re terrible,” she teased between his kisses before they finally lost all words and the sensual, playful kisses turned into clumsy, feverish fumbles—reminiscent of their teenage years. Lee pulled the second blanket around them as the windows began to fog up; the rush from their accident and subsequent stranding had turned into an insatiable lust for one another. Mason had Lee’s shirt halfway unbuttoned when they both felt it—the whole bed of the truck leaned heavily to one side and then bounced back.

“What the—” they both sat up to look out into the bed of the truck, “can’t see anything,” Lee used her sleeve to wipe the foggy window clean and immediately screamed in terror. There were red luminescent eyes looking back at her through the window, through a strange mask—no, not a mask, they were bandages. Mason fumbled with the flashlight to see what she had seen, but by the time he shone the flashlight through the back window there wasn’t anything to see. Whatever it was, Lee was inconsolable and babbling about red eyes.

Screaming in the dark

“Lee!” He shook her, “LEE! Listen to me! What did you see?”

“Mummy,” she squeaked out between sobs, “red eyes,” it was like her throat closed after that and she couldn’t find words to explain—the truck shifted again, the front end of the car sunk slowly down and they could hear the metal bending under something heavy. Mason tried to shine the light through the windshield, but the heat inside of the cab made the windows impossibly opaque. He had never had a reason to not believe what Lee said, but he didn’t know how to process her claims. Before he could even reach up to the windshield to wipe it off, someone—or something—began pounding on the windshield and roof of the truck.

“We’ll be okay,” his voice was soft, “we’ll be okay,” his voice got lower, “we’ll be okay.” Mason began to choke as a stomach-turning stench wafted in through the vents—it was the unmistakable smell of rotting flesh—the pounding continued for a few minutes and Mason held Lee protectively, she whimpered and ducked her head into his arms. It sounded like whatever was banging on the truck had moved back to the bed and Lee jumped at the sound of when it began beating the glass of the back window. Then it all stopped, but Lee couldn’t bring herself to look up.

The glass behind Mason’s head shattered as a bloodied and bandaged hand smashed through and grabbed him by the hair. Screams erupted from both of them and Mason attempted to beat away the bandaged arm with the flashlight he still had in his hand. Lee scrambled backward; blood-curdling screams propelled her through the door after she fumbled for the handle. Her body fell like a ragdoll out of the cab of the truck and she landed hard on the muddy ground. Frantically she grasped for footing in the slick and unforgiving earth below her, she caught a brief glimpse of the broken silhouette of the thing as it pulled her boyfriend out of the broken back window. It was strangling him; she could see him gasping for air through his broken cries for help.

Mason’s body went limp and Lee couldn’t find her voice to scream anymore, but she had wasted her opportunity to get away, frozen in place as she watched her boyfriend die before her eyes. Disbelief left her body as adrenaline pumped deafeningly through her and she scrambled back toward the highway at a sprint. Lee thought she saw lights coming through the fog, but a filthy bloodstained hand covered her mouth and yanked her backward.


It was nearly daylight when Larry pulled slowly on to Bandage Man road—he’d been searching for these tourists all night after his company received a call for a tow, but he’d been told it was garbled and all they knew is that they had been on their way into town.

“That damn pothole, I told ‘em it’d cause a problem sooner or later,” he moaned to himself as he navigated around the lake that had formed within it overnight. Once he caught sight of the truck he frowned, the passenger-side door was wide open—that was strange—and one of the back windowpanes looked as if it had been busted out. Larry stepped out of his rig and hollered, “Hello?” No response. He noticed as he walked up to the driver’s side of the truck that there was blood on the freshly broken back window, along with a lingering odor he couldn’t quite place. When he finally saw that there was no one in the truck, his heart began to race wildly—he knew as soon as he saw that ripped and bloodied bandage on the seat what had actually happened here, nearly a hundred years after Harvey, the Bandage Man, had met his brutal end.

Bandage Man of Cannon Beach, Oregon

Since we’re dedicated to supplying you with creative inspiration and all of your lore needs, we suggest you take a look at our encyclopedia entry on this particular haunting.

If you happen to have any first-hand encounters with Bandage Man or know a story that you grew up with, comment below and give us the details!