Lycanthropy and Clinical Lycanthropy are often mistaken for one another.
Lycanthropy is the supernatural act of transformation of a man to a wolf. This is often shown in folktales. Lycanthropy, though truly may not be able to truly 'transform' believe in 'spiritual shift shaping'. with there soul being able to transform into, have transformed into, or are a non-human animal. According to recent polls, 86.26% of otherkin identify as a lycan, wolf, werewolf or something else wolf-related.
Some Otherkins have used the term Lycanthropy for identifying as a wolf, or wolf therian/kin. There are also some Otherkins who identify as werewolves or lycans specifically, and DO NOT believe they can phsycially shift. They believe it is either spiritual, psychological, or perhaps both. Werewolves and lycans differ from each other. Werewolves, in English mythology, are people who have either been cursed, bitten, or scratched by another werewolf, and are forced to transform during a full moon. They appear more human-like than wolf-like. Werewolves were also referred to as 'lycanthropes', meaning 'wolf-man'. Lycans are from Greek mythology. The Greeks suggested that lycans were naked men who ran through the streets, baring their teeth at anyone in their path, and were also described with 'madness' and 'lunacy'. Stories about the lycans were passed along, and they became men who transformed into wolves. Lycans, however, were much smarter than werewolves, looked more like wolves than they looked like man, and were bipedal with a man-like posture. Lycans can also transform/shift any time they want, whether it is night or day.
- Lycanthropy is a 'clinical disorder' as explained below. Movies and pop culture have bridged this word to a mythical being who transforms into different animals, many times at the full moon. In terms of Otherkin, this is related to myths and legends of men transforming into different animals under certain circumstances, most often the full moon. This belief is most commonly known as the legend of the "werewolf." Hollywood has taken this to the next level in the multitude of werewolf movies (like Underworld where the werewolves are even named "Lycans"). However, in the otherkin community, physical shapeshifting is something largely considered fictional. No evidence has ever been put forward to support the transformation of a Human being into any other type of animal.
- Due to Lycanthropy being a clinical diagnosis as shown below. The terms, "Therianthropy" or "were(insert animal here)" are more appropriate for use when discussing this belief or phenomenon. Please do not repeat the mistakes of Hollywood.
Clinical lycanthropy is defined as a rare psychiatric disorder which involves a delusion that the affected person can or has transformed into an animal, or that he or she is an animal. Its name is connected to the mythical condition of lycanthropy, a supernatural affliction in which people are said to physically shapeshift into wolves. Clinical lycanthropes are VERY dangerous, as they will often become extremely aggressive and will harm others.
Known Types of Lycanthropes
As physical shapeshifting is something of much debate, the only type of shifting in which the body may appear to have completely changed is spiritual or auric shifting. In these types of shifts, the practitioner may be able to make their energetic body appear as a completely different species or in a completely different form. Thus, to people who can see or otherwise sense the practitioner's energetic body, it may appear that the individual has physically changed form.