Robert Schoch: Werewolves Are Actually Humans Who Form Psychic Connections to Animals through Drugs
Regular readers will remember geologist Robert Schoch, who has spent more than two decades advocating for the existence of a lost civilization that carved the Great Sphinx of Giza at the end of the last Ice Age. Since then, Schoch has grown increasingly fringe in his views, arguing at various times for a global pyramid-building culture, the catastrophic destruction of said culture by solar bombardment, and that the Easter Island moai are remnants of an Ice Age civilization. He also started a nonprofit, Oracul, to help fund his flights of fancy, and like many fringe figures, he now runs for-profit “ancient mysteries” tours of ancient sites. Anyway, he apparently now believes humans have psychic powers.
In a new article published in Dark Lore 9 from Daily Grail Publishing and made available online, Schoch explores the concept of lycanthropy, though with no particular depth. He collects a number of werewolf stories, ranging from ancient Greece to nineteenth century Africa. He does not seem to have much by way of training in anthropology, ethnography, or the Classics, so he offers little more than summary and speculation. He starts by discussing the story of Lykaon, the ancient Greek mythic king who was turned into a wolf for feeding a disguised Zeus human flesh. He attributes the story to Hesiod, though he doesn’t seem to know the primary sources, or the differences among the ancient writers, or the views of Classicists. The story, and the lycanthropic belief attached to it, is found in Hyginus (Fabula 176), Apollodorus (Library 3.8), Pausanias, (Description 8.2.6), Plato (Republic 565d), and, in a different context, Pliny (Natural History 8.34). Nicolaus of Damascus has a brief mention, preserved in later sources (Frag. 43, ed. Müller), and Plutarch (Moralia 2.1.300) discusses it, too. Allusions appear in poetry, as well.
Christian authors condemned the pagans through reference to the Lykaon myth, including Clement (Protrepticus 184.108.40.206), Arnobius (Adversus Nationes 4.24), etc. Several medieval and Byzantine authors give versions of the story as well, though their views aren’t important here.
You’ll notice that Hesiod isn’t on the list. That’s because Hesiod doesn’t tell the story in the surviving texts. He is mentioned in Pseudo-Eratosthenes’ Catasterismi 8 in connection with the Lykaon myth, and Strabo (Geography 5.2.4) says that Euphorus used Hesiod as the source for his discussion of Lykaon. A scholiast on Germanicus’ Latin version of Aratus’ Phaenomena agrees. Schoch, in working from secondary sources, thinks we have Hesiod’s version, but we don’t know what it would have contained in its details, only in general outline.
Because Schoch is apparently working from secondary research, he similarly doesn’t know that Classicists have poured over this material for centuries and have determined, as Walter Burkert famously argued in Homo Necans, that the myth of Lykaon and the ritual of wolf transformation given by Pliny, represent a mythic expression of an old ritual of hunting magic, whereby young men were initiated into the ranks of warriors or hunters as symbolic “wolves,” before returning to civilization to marry several years later. Over time, the original ritual decayed into a superstitious belief that men literally became wolves.
Regardless of whether you buy the argument, it would have benefited Schoch greatly to know that such arguments exist rather to simply dismiss the story as “traditional folklore” of animal transformations that “cannot be taken literally.” His hope, though, is that we will see the story as confirmation that we can explore lycanthropy as more than mere delusion. To that end, he introduces stories of werewolves in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for which no sources are given. (Perhaps the print edition lists sources not published for the online version?) I wasn’t able to trace them all. One story, that of Capt. H. H. Shott, who claimed to see hyena tracks give way to those of humans in Nigeria, implying that the hyenas became men, can be found in Charles Fort’s 1932 book Wild Talents, and Schoch must have gone back to Fort’s source, Cornhill Magazine of October 1918, for the quoted text, which does not appear in Fort. I don’t need to remind you that articles from popular magazines aren’t really a reliable source for proof of were-beasts.
Schoch wants to have it both ways, however, arguing that the “scientific” explanation (?) that the hyenas were really men dressed in hyena suits (!) would be impossible since Capt. Shott could not have mistaken a man for an animal, but also that the alternative—a belief in were-beasts—is “difficult” to believe.
Therefore, Schoch argues that people who believe that they have become werewolves are on drugs. Specifically, hallucinogens. But this doesn’t mean they’re crazy. Instead, he argues that taking drugs, particularly ayahuasca (yes, Graham Hancock’s favorite mind-altering substance—the one he thinks puts him in contact with divine beings), allows people to form psychic connections with animals and/or the future. Here he writes of ayahuasca under its name of yagé:
As we noted previously, there have been instances wherein users of yagé exhibit lycanthropic behavior. Could it be that this is due, at least in part, to a true telepathic rapport established with genuine wild beasts? Or might a person simply receive information telepathically from others (or from one’s future self, which is one explanation of precognition as there is evidence that the future can influence the past and present to some extent), but perceive in their own mind (or rationalize) that they are “seeing” and receiving information through the eyes of an animal?
He bases this on secondhand tales of psychic premonitions recorded by Rafael Zerda Bayón in the first two decades of the twentieth century, when Zerda Bayón studied the drug and alleged that during experiments in a remote location, one subject reported that his father died and his sister was ill. This “fact” could not be confirmed until a letter arrived announcing the death and his sister’s cure. Reading between the lines, we note that the subject said his sister was sick when in fact she was healed, meaning that he knew of her illness when she got sick, earlier. We can similarly infer that he knew his father was terminally ill, and there is no indication that his supposed premonition happened at the exact time of his father’s death. Therefore, this is no evidence for psychic power, as Schoch thinks.
Schoch quotes an anthropologist, J. H. Hutton, to the effect that a villager in British India claimed that he could tell where his pet leopard left its half-eaten kills during the night, and they were always there. Hutton never saw the villagers retrieve the animals, but took the village chief’s word for it. He also didn’t check to see whether the villager was killing the animals himself to stage his psychic show. Schoch, however, doesn’t care about whether reasonable explanations might exist.
Schoch says that to doubt such stories is “the close-minded view of the arch-skeptic and debunker,” and he therefore concludes from a few more similar accounts that “lycanthropy” is really what happens when someone takes hallucinogens and psychically projects himself into the body of an animal. It gives me great pause to see a “scientist” refuse to attempt to falsify his own claim. It makes me doubt his ability to find a lost Ice Age civilization for similar reasons.
10/27/2016 12:24:56 pm
Shock doesn't even seem to have read Summers' The Werewolf. Not exactly a great researcher on the subject.
10/27/2016 01:18:35 pm
Doubting stories lacking any evidence is not a sign of being an arch-skeptic or debunker, it's merely the reflection of intellectual maturity and the development of critical thinking skills.
10/27/2016 02:14:30 pm
Werewolves, like other beasts in the forest, represent a fear of the unknown more than actual creatures. They're great Halloween monsters.
10/27/2016 02:18:45 pm
Correction, foxes are canids. They're related to dogs, lupis and candis.
10/27/2016 07:41:57 pm
The story of Zeus being fed human flesh also relates to the theme of Arcadia via Arcas who is part of that story. Later the de Vere family or German Weir family identified with this symbology which also involves some interpretations of Beowulf. Ultimately Arcas tells us the story of the value of the Pole Star through time. This is actually what "Et in Arcadia Ego" is referring to. It is also linked to the Merovingian value of the Bear or Ursa Minor and Major. The Pole Star is included in Ursa Minor and Bootes is the "Shepherd of Arcadia" imo.
10/27/2016 08:56:25 pm
>>>The story of Zeus<<<
10/27/2016 09:49:56 pm
I am referring to how later people valued the myths you are talking about. You can follow the Bear/Arcas imagery from Constantinople to Ravenna to Septimania where the Rennes le Chateau mystery illustrates all of these concepts as interpreted later. It all has a Greek cultural relation via Constantine. I especially enjoy the tale of Zeus battling the Typhoeus. This leads one to the origins of the Delphic myth and Delphi itself. Delphi was likely a copy of an earlier Phoenician place with the same exact story. Pan is also related to the story of Zeus and the Typhoeus and Arcadia. Too much to relate here.
10/28/2016 05:07:20 am
What you referred to in your first message was the mythology developed out of the Priory of Sion mythology. " HRH Prince Nicholas de Vere von Drakenberg" was a charlatan just like Laurence Gardner. Except that de Vere had to self-publish.
10/27/2016 08:48:40 pm
Anthropologists have known about how priests high on hallucinogens believe they become animals or birds.
10/27/2016 09:08:06 pm
"Metamorphosis, a transformation into an animal or spirit, is characteristic of a great deal of native South American religion. Shamans transform themselves into animals for their journeys. Through music, dance and ritual structures, groups of performers are transformed into groups of animals and spirits. Amerindian religious experience is frequently achieved through altering perception by means that include deprivation, narcotics, hallucinogens, and long periods of activity, such as singing and dancing. Altered states are interpreted as the transformatiom of humans into more powerful beings."
10/27/2016 09:21:27 pm
"Was the werewolf phenomenon really a matter of delusion - or drug-induced hallucination? Modern physicians have diagnosed the lycanthrope as suffering from a range of mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, psychosis, hysterical neurosis and psychomotor epilepy. Scientists have found a chemical association for lycanthropy. Hallucinogenic plants and grain infected by fungus had caused many of the symptoms similar to those displayed by so-called lycanthropes."
10/28/2016 02:12:48 am
Surely this is a new definition of lycanthropy, after all the term refers to the "fact" that the person's own body has turned into physical wolf, fangs, fur and all, or really believes that this has happened, this seems to me the whole point and has never merely meant a "psychic" link
10/28/2016 04:55:26 am
You're referring to Hollywood and Hammer films !!
10/28/2016 05:00:35 am
Actually, the common notion of Lycanthropy, what Tom was referring to, is a classic example of literalised myth.
10/28/2016 10:32:49 am
I knew TM would like this topic.
10/28/2016 11:06:29 am
>>>using as references an English book
10/29/2016 01:17:44 pm
TM really should have his own blog where he or she can rant all day about the same stuff everyone else is ranting about, but think it is important somehow to his or her heart's content.
10/30/2016 09:59:39 am
When I first saw Schoch's program on the Sphinx, I thought the idea had possible legs. Not the post Ice Age civilization, but the the Sphinx was older than previously thought based on the nature of erosion and the mis-proportioned head. Subsequent Schoch appearances, however, have shown his total lack of credibility. That's the way it is with these guys, Wolter included. At first, they give the impression of being reasonable, but the more you see them, the more obvious their "kookiness".
10/30/2016 10:33:43 am
And yet, importantly, there are several details missing here... wolves are relevent to Ancient Greece through Apollo as well, the wolf slayer, from where the word lyceum comes from. And there's the Roman connection, Lupercalia, when young initiated men would dress in a goatskin thong which they used to ceremonially 'mark' young women they desired by whipping off the goatskin thong and flaying them with it. The origins of St Valentines Day.
10/30/2016 11:30:14 pm
I haven't seen Wolfen with Albert Finney and Edward James Olmos in quite a while. Might see if it's on Amazon Prime. I didn't know it was a documentary until I saw Schoch's theory. Learn sometin' new every day.
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