King John of England a Werewolf?
A monarch – an actual king of England – a werewolf? After he died, King John of England became a werewolf (or at least that’s what the rumors say).
King John (aka “Bad King John”) was King of England over 800 years ago – from 1167 – 1216. The name should sound familiar to many as he was one of the most famous villains in literature – the evil king that Robin Hood rallied against. Much less known however are the werewolf rumors that haunted him after his death. It has been cited by some that King John was actually rumored to have been a werewolf. Some think that part of what started the rumors that he was a werewolf were that many people saw him as evil, and one of the creatures humans thought of as very evil at the time were werewolves. The idea that “Bad King John” was a werewolf was therefore very easy to spread. Others however, believe that there is some truth to the rumors, citing the following reports as evidence: they say that after the King’s death, people heard sounds coming from his grave; other people also claimed they actually saw him roaming the countryside after he was dead. It is interesting that he was rumored to be a werewolf and not a vampire. Today typically, post-death tomb noises and dead-bodies-rising-from-the-grave stories are related to vampires. In ancient folklore however, some werewolves were attributed with some of these characteristics.
So, did Robin Hood fight a werewolf?
Well, the odd thing about the reports about King John being a werewolf is that the King was only rumored to have been a werewolf after he died. If he was indeed a werewolf, then why didn’t these rumors haunt him during life? The fact that the stories started to spread after his death leads me to believe that the rumors did indeed actually start as a way to scare people (perhaps by his enemies), and that he was not in fact actually a werewolf either before or after his death.