Lycanthropy alive in Babylon: The existence of archetype

A. A. Younis, H. F. Moselhy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Lycanthropy is the belief in the capacity of human metamorphosis into animal form. It has been recorded in many cultures. Apart from historic description of lycanthropy, there has been several case reports described in the medical literature over the past 30 years. Method: We identified eight cases of lycanthropy in 20 years, mainly in the area of Babylon, Iraq. Results: The most commonly reported diagnosis was severe depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms. The type of animal that the patients changed into were mainly dogs (seven cases) and only one case changed into a cow for the first time to report. Conclusion: Lycanthropy delusion is a rare delusion but appears to have survived into modern times with possible archetypal existence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-164
Number of pages4
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cow
  • Delusion
  • Lycanthropy
  • Severe depressive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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