The below article, entitled “Lycanthropy”, comes from the August 25 1849 edition of Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal. The piece treats werewolves as a western equivalent to the ghouls of the Arabian Nights, and suggests that tales of vampires, werewolves and ghouls stem from a single psychological source. In making this argument, the author discusses the familiar rogues’ gallery of alleged vampire Arnold Paole, alleged werewolf Jean Grenier and probable necrophile François Bertrand, the last of these being the main case study.
The article is an example of how broad the concept of clinical lycanthropy was during the nineteenth century. Today, the term is used in a stricter sense to refer to people who believe that they have the ability to transform into animals. As this article shows, however, the concept was once associated with a broader range of bestial compulsions. Had Bertrand’s corpse-violating crimes taken place today, then he would likely be described as ghoulish; I can also imagine tabloids likening him to a vampire, given his fondness for cemeteries and coffins. But I rather doubt that people would equate him with a werewolf.
WHOEVER has read the ‘Arabian Nights’ Entertainments’ will be acquainted with the words goul and vampyre. A goal was believed to be a being in the human form, who frequented graveyards and cemeteries, where it disinterred, tore to pieces, and devoured the bodies buried there. A vampyre was a dead person, who came out of his grave at night to suck the blood of the living, and whoever was so sucked became a vampyre in his turn when he died.
Both these persuasions have been rejected by the modern scientific world as altogether unworthy of credence or inquiry, although, about a century ago, the exploits of vampyres created such a sensation in Ilungary, that they reached the ears of Louis XV, who directed his minister at Vienna to report upon them. In a newspaper of that period there appeared a paragraph to the effect that Arnold Paul, a native of Madveiga, being crushed to death by a wagon, and buried, had since become a vampyre, and that he had himself been previously bitten by one.