For countless years people have been sitting around the campfire indulging in tales of mythical, shape-changing animals. These macabre creations scare and inspire alike. They chase us through our nightmares. In these dark winter nights, they play tricks in their heads.
We are equally fascinated by the idea that humans turn into animals, or therianthropy. The transformation scene from An American werewolf in London remains an iconic representation of this otherworldly change. Such a horror reminds us of our own animal roots.
At present, most cultures see change of form and Therianthropy as the work of overactive imaginations or the remnants of a superstitious past. As some of the entries in this list will show, shape-changing demons and therianthropes are not in the back mirrors of all cultures.
Go to Japan and you'll find The landscape is riddled with statues of creatures that uncover unusually large testicles. These ceramic sculptures are representations of Tanuki – small, raccoon-like animals that are common in Japanese folklore. (Actual Japanese raccoon dogs are also referred to as Tanuki.)
The Japanese legend speaks of a tile maker who had become rich from a dancing teapot. It was said that the kettle was a shapeshifting tanuki. These mythical creatures were raccoon dogs who used their shape-changing abilities to reward the friendly deeds of strangers.
The story begins with a Shinto priest repairing an old teapot. He puts the kettle on a hot stove. The priest is horrified when the object suddenly springs from arms and legs. "Ouch!" Shouts the Tanuki. The priest believes the kettle is cursed and passes it on to a local tile manufacturer. Now, in the possession of a new master, the shapeshifter hits a deal. It promises to serve as a man's "dance cauldron" in exchange for his kindness and respect.
It is said that some Tanuki have a much darker side. In the story of "Farmer and the Badger", a Tanuki shifter destroys a rice field of a Japanese farmer.  The farmer catches the mischievous animal and vows to turn it into tanuki soup. But the farmer's wife takes pity on the Tanuki and lets him flee. In an act of revenge, the Tanuki murders the woman and turns her into soup. The Tanuki then transforms into the farmer's wife and tries to get the farmer to eat a bowl of his lover's delicious remains.
The story becomes even stranger. An angry hare – one of the peasants' friends – takes an exception to the horror show. The hare punishes the Tanuki with a series of tricks. The hare hurls a bee nest on the Tanuki, sets it on fire and thwart him in a boat race.
It was once believed that fairies, elves or witches would kidnap human children, replacing them with their own weird offspring. The original babies were either raised by the mythological creatures or given as a sacrificial gift to the devil.
While the variable takes the form of a small child, there are obvious signs that an exchange has taken place. It was said that attempts to change would speak with greater wisdom than expected from a normal child. They also liked to dance, drank and ate. However, despite their voracious appetite, the creatures often showed stunted growth.
Changelings are common in European folklore and may even have pre-Christian roots. The first documented case of change was described by the Bishop of Paris, William of Auvergne in France in the 13th century:
They say they are thin and always moaning, and such milk drinkers do not provide enough milk to feed. These seem to have stayed with their nurses for many years and then flown away or disappeared. 
The "eggshell brewery" was widely used for confirmation of the presence of a bill of exchange. The child was put in front of a blazing fire. A row of eggshells was filled with water and set on fire. The display was enough to impress the changer and exclaimed, "I saw the acorn in front of the oak tree: I saw the egg in front of the white chicken: I have never seen the same thing!"
Parents who felt they were the victims of change swaps that took extreme measures. It was assumed that the fairies would return the original baby if the variable were harmed. This meant that the "fake children" were often burned, beaten or starved to death.
In reality, "switching" was probably just a sick child. The parents probably confused simple childhood illnesses like autism or birth defects like spina bifida with superstitious manifestations.
A mythical fairy of Celtic folklore, the Pooka, is a dark-haired creature that takes on a variety of forms. The name comes from the Old Irish word for "goblin" puca . Legend has it that the Pooka used their form-changing powers to transform themselves into cats, rabbits, horses, ravens, goats, goblins and even humans.
The motives of the Pooka are mostly unclear and show both malevolent and benevolent intentions. According to some folklorists, the Pooka usually comes to chaos at night. These smart rogues abandon their hilltops to roam the countryside, destroy fences and spoil crops.
The most common form is that of a black horse with golden eyes. The horse gallops in remote areas and looks for a suitable rider. Those who do not answer the creature's calls have no choice but to watch the horse destroy their earthly possessions.
It is said that the Irish King Brian Boru once tamed the mythical beast. He led the Pooka out of his own tail with a bridle.  The king rode the Pooka until she was completely exhausted. He promised the creature to leave both Christians and Irish in peace. The Pooka, however, was granted a slight concession. It was still allowed to play devilish tricks against unsuspecting drunkards and malefactors.
Pooka can occasionally show a more caring side. Some of the superstitious parts of Ireland believe that the Pooka reveals prophecies and warns people against evil fairies. They also reward acts of kindness by helping out with manual labor.
Skinwalkers were once normal members of the Navajo and Ute tribes. But after embracing the dark magic and witchcraft, these former tribesmen walked a different path.
The skin converter wraps itself in the skin of the animal he wants to become. These Therianthropes can be bears, wolves, owls, coyotes and crows. According to Navajo mystics, the Skinwalker takes on the characteristics of this animal. For example, a tribal shaman could become a wolf to gain speed and agility.
To become a Skinwalker, a medicine man must commit an act of evil, such as killing a close family member or friend. These shameful shamans are permanently banished from Navajo life. They are in the Navajo language yee naaldlooshii : "He continues on all fours."
Cutaneous runners are often expelled for necrophilia, murder or robbery. They also play sadistic jokes about others. They plant fragmented fingers in houses to attract apparitions and hunt frightened motorists in the night.
But the secret weapon of the Skinwalker seems to be "corpse powder". The powder releases convulsions and lets the recipient's tongue fall out.  With such vast knowledge of spiritual medicine, the Navajo people blame Skinwalkers for death, illness and hunger.
Popularized in Korean folklore, kumiho (aka gumiho ) is a nine-tailed fox with a penchant for young men. The kumiho is actually a demon who tries to lure men to death by forming a seductive woman. The Demon Fox uses a magic stone to extract the soul of his victimized victim. In some versions of the story, the fox rips out the liver or the heart. This can happen while the demon is performing sexual acts.
In "The Jewel of the Fox's Tongue", a Face Dancer kumiho kills 99 disciples who drain their human energy.  Consistent with similar tales of Kumiho the fox only needs one more soul to reach heaven. Her last victim, however, has exceeded her. The fox tries to absorb the boy's energy by rolling an enchanted jewel (19459005] yeowu guseul ) over his mouth. He looks through the fox's trick and swallows the jewel. This gives him great wisdom. He sees no choice but to collect his roommates and chase the fraudulent kumiho .
The Korean word for "fox" yowu has negative connotations. It is often used to describe women who are cunning and manipulative. Tales of kumiho aim to promote Confucian principles and warn Korean women against sexual deviation.
The Aztecs believed that animal spirits are related to the life energy of each individual. The essence of this spirit was determined by the Mesoamerican calendar. Wizards who had the power to become animals and were born on certain days were called naguals. The Olmecs and the Maya considered the naguals to be stealthy night stalkers drinking blood to innocent mortals. Other reports indicated that they could control the weather and create bizarre illusions.
The historian Antonio de Herrera wrote one of the earliest accounts of these mysterious figures. He argued that the devil would take the form of a "lion, tiger, coyote, lizard, snake, bird, or other animal" to deceive the Mayan tribesmen of Cerquin, Honduras. Herrera spoke of a tribesman desperately trying to reach the wealth of his ancestors who embraced nagualism. After a sacrificial ritual in which he devastated a dog or a poultry, the man slept. Talking animals fulfilled his dreams and gave the following prophecy:
Go hunting on such a day, and the first animal or bird you see will be my form, and I will be for all Time your companion and nagual stay. 
This prophecy was probably the work of an intoxicating plant called Peyote ( peyotl ). His hallucinogenic qualities were often confused with supernatural divination.
The legend of the nagual lives on in many parts of rural Mexico. Recent sightings indicate that the animal has now become wilder and looks like a big dog or wolf. The naguals were blamed for missing persons, stolen property, damaged property and dead cattle.
4 Madame Pele and the pig's child
Madame Pele is an ancient deity who played a major role in shaping Hawaiian islands. Therefore, it is no wonder that Pele plays such an important role in Hawaiian culture. In the shops you will find souvenirs. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park displays a large painting of the goddess. And there is a volcanic rock formation called Peles Chair.
The shape-changing goddess is also known by the name of Pelehonuamea or "the one who shapes the holy land". The locals claim that they have seen their goddess in the form of a white dog or a beautiful woman.
Legend has it that Madame Pele was born in Tahiti. However, she was forced to flee after seducing her sister's husband – a wise decision, given that her sister was the goddess of the sea. The journey took her to the islands of Hawaii, where she used a divining rod ( pa`oa ) to create a series of huge pits of fire. These pits represent the many volcanoes in the region.
Madame Pele finally settled in Hawaii and founded Kilauea, the island's most active volcano. Today's volcanic activity is more pronounced when Pele is angry. It is therefore not uncommon for the local islanders to make offerings to calm their moods.
In 2018, many locals celebrated the outbreak of Kilauea. The event triggered a series of earthquakes and destroyed many houses. "My house was an offer for Pele," said retired teacher Monica Devlin. "It's an impressive process of destruction and creation, and I was lucky enough to take a look."
The goddess was romantically persecuted by another shapeshifter – the demigod Kamapua & # 39; a (aka Hog Child).  Kamapua & # 39; a could turn into fish, plants and a powerful human-pig hybrid. Madame Pele was beaten back by the daughter-in-law's advance and attacked him with a flood of fire. In the ensuing battle, Kamapua & # 39; a led an unstoppable army of pigs to defeat Pele and her relatives.
Terrifying reports of a robbery demon have spread in some parts of Africa. One of the Bantu tribes of Kenya, the Kikuyu, calls this evil hunter the ilimu . Some tribal members say ilimu takes the form of a healthy man. Others claim that he looks more like a deformed village elder, with one of his feet sticking out of his neck.
According to Kenyan folklore, ilimu is a carnivorous terror that can be molded. Move yourself into a replica of another human being. To achieve this, ilimu must steal the hair, nail piece or blood of the target. 
The demon can also have a number of animals, mostly lions. Some African tribes attribute lion attacks to the activity of ilimu asking medical people for solutions.
In 1898, the British Empire coordinated the construction of a railway bridge over the Tsavo River. Near the site, a large warehouse was built for thousands of Indian workers. This was an ideal hunting ground for a pair of highly intelligent lions – the Tsavo Man-Eaters (also known as "The Spirit and the Darkness"). The duo worked together to outwit their prey. During a series of nocturnal skirmishes, the lions negotiated through the artificial traps and fortresses of the camp. They then aimed at the slumbering workers who abducted them into the undergrowth.
These attacks lasted months, forcing hundreds of workers to flee. The news of demon tigers had spread like wildfire in the camps. The overseer of the bridge project, Lieutenant Colonel John Henry Patterson, spent weeks chasing the animals. But they were too smart to fall victim to the many and varied traps of Patterson. After several direct encounters, Patterson shot the Man-Eaters. Incredibly, one of the lions took nine bullets before succumbing to his injuries.
On the Indonesian island of Bali, the widow Widda Rangda rules. She uses a huge cult of child-eating witches to terrorize the island's superstitious population. Together they are known as Leyak .
During the day, the Leyak mingle with the masses. Only after sunset does the Leyak reveal its true form. They spend their nights desecrating tombs and searching for body parts that they can steal. These organs are used to create a magic brew that gives Leyak its shape-changing power. Leyak can turn into monkeys, goats, lions or other animals.
If this was not bizarre enough, Leyak can tear off his own head. It then flies around and the entrails hang in the wind in search of food.  While the creature enjoys almost every animal, it favors the blood of mothers and their newborns. The Witch Army once waged a war against the King of Good Spirits, a lion-like animal named Barong. Rangda cast a spell over Barong's warriors, forcing them to throw themselves at their own swords. But the great guardian prevented this massacre by making his people invincible. Barong used his mighty powers to overcome the witch's widow and restore balance to Hindu Island. The events of this battle are proudly presented in Balinese ceremonial dances.
Many communities in the Caribbean still believe in black magic ( obeah ). It is not uncommon to see citizens with protective amulets designed to fend off evil beings called Jumbies. Trinidad and Tobago are no exception.
The people of the West Indies Nation fear a shapeshifter called Lagahoo (also spelled "La Gahoo".  Derived from French folklore, the Lagahoo is a muscular man with a coffin for a head Lagahoo feeds on the blood of livestock, and less often on humans, while the Lagahoo spends much of its time acting like a weight-lifting carrier, transforming the beast into a multitude of animals, including a centaur.
Fighting the Lagahoo is not an easy task, it must be caught and beaten with a sacred stick for nine days During this rather unforgiving process, the creature will turn into a multitude of animals and finally into a cloud of smoke
The French equivalent of Lagahoo, the werewolf Loup Garou, is not quite so stalwart It is enough to simply throw rice grains in the air to stop this stupid blank in its tracks. Since Loup Garou appears to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, the creature must spend the rest of the night counting every grain of rice.