Vaughan Bell, at the ever entertaining Mind Hacks blog, points to a new study of clinical lycanthropy – the delusion that one can change into an animal – that cites 20 new cases of the uncommon condition in the Iraq.
Bell gives the entire abstract, which I'll reproduce here:
Lycanthropy alive in Babylon: the existence of archetype.
Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2009 Feb;119(2):161-4; discussion 164-5. Epub 2008
Younis AA, Moselhy HF.
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.
That's right: a werecow! Indie horror filmmakers, get those scripts a grinding!
I couldn't find a picture of a were-cow proper for inspiration, so here's two wall-mounted robotic cow tongues created by Korean artist Doo Sung Yoo.