Sunday, 23 November 2014
We've done the Werewolf before, arguably the poster boy for all werebeasts. It's a man who under the light of the full moon becomes a wolf hybrid type thing. The moon rule is followed with all the lycanthropes (an erroneous term, since the term lycanthope can only be linguistically tied to the werewolf), regardless of whatever creature you turn into. But the moon thing is a relatively new invention. Though some werewolf legends talk about transformations under certain stages of the moon, werewolves were more often described as willingly transforming through magic, usually by wearing a pelt, part of a pelt, reciting a spell or applying a potion.
So it is with Werecrocodiles. The folkloric key to becoming a werecrocodile is usually either an incantation or the wearing of a fetish. Finding specific stories and legends is a bit tricky. I've found a lot of sites claiming that they appear in legends of Indonesia, Thailand, Zambia, Egypt and the Bakongo people. Basically anywhere where the crocodile is an apex predator. The person would transform into a crocodile and then lurk in rivers to eat people who wronged them / sexy bathers. Cannibalism is a recurring theme across the world when it comes to werebeasts.
There's the Thai legend of Krai Thong and Chalawan (which is also a Thai film), but I'm unclean whether Chalawan is a giant/demon who can turn into a crocodile or a demon crocodile that can take on humanoid form. In Indonesia, the magical incantation/formula to take on human form is said to be tiang maleh rupa, and those who use the spell are known by the same name. In the 88th chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, there's a spell invoking Osiris to give you the form of a crocodile, though the spells of the Book of the Dead are meant to aid the dead in the trials they face in the afterlife rather than affect still corporeal mortals.
Speaking of Egyptian mythology and Osiris and turning into crocodiles, you should totally buy Pantheon by Hamish Steele. It's a comic telling the creation myth according to the Ancient Egyptians. And boy I tell you I learned something from the book. Mostly that the Greek gods aren't the only ones with weird drama.