What Are Seven Percent Of Americans Doing Believing In Werewolves?

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What Are Seven Percent Of Americans Doing Believing In Werewolves?

Obligatory Teen Wolf

People believe some weird shit. Really, really weird shit. In fact, one could perhaps, ungenerously, describe my entire beat as "people believe some weird shit." And perhaps that is why I feel the need to bring a recent YouGov poll to your attention. Because according to this poll, seven percent of Americans believe in werewolves.

Perhaps even more disturbingly, Democrats (10 percent) are more likely to believe that werewolves exist than Republicans (4 percent). That concerns me, although it perhaps has more to do with the fact that belief in werewolves seems to skew younger, with 14 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds believing and only 2 percent of those 65 and older believing in them. Also Democrats are slightly more likely to believe in werewolves than in vampires, and what the hell is that even about?

Graph showing a poll of the percentages of people who believe in ghosts, demons, psychics, werewolves and vampires YouGov.com

Now, seven percent of Americans also believe in vampires, but we know who those people are. Some of us went to high school with them and the rest have at least seen them on talk shows. I mean, have you truly lived until some dude in a crushed velvet cape calling himself Lestat tries to get up on your shit at a New Wave night you didn't even want to go to?

Teen by day vampire by night with Jenny and her pals www.youtube.com

To my knowledge, there is not a subculture of people who believe in literal werewolves. Even the otherkin people who believe they are wolves are not like "Oh no, the moon is full! Better lock myself up in a cage like Seth Green on Buffy so I don't accidentally murder anyone!" At least as far as I know. I admittedly haven't read up on them in years, there could be new developments.

Belief in werewolves was very much once a thing — there were full-fledged werewolf trials all over Europe, in conjunction with witch trials, but you really just do not hear about people believing in them now. That being said, I did find a website (werewolves.com, natch) made by someone who apparently believes in them and fully plan on spending the rest of my day catching up on this shit.

The other findings in the poll were disappointing but less shocking. When I posted it to Twitter, people seemed surprised that Protestants (52 percent) were more likely to believe in demons than Catholic people (34 percent) were, although it makes total sense to me. Evangelicals are a lot more literal across the board, whereas there are Catholic people who think demons are simply meant to symbolize evil as well as those who believe there are literal demons that sometimes possess people, Linda Blair style.

There are also way too many people who believe in psychics (37 percent overall), which I would argue is more damaging than belief in ghosts or demons or even werewolves and vampires, simply because it is more likely to lead to those people being scammed. Sure — there are ghost hunters and exorcists scamming people — but those are a lot less common than psychics who promise to help people find their missing children or let them communicate with their deceased spouse all the while taking every dime they ever had.

Of course, we all have our things. I don't believe in anything explicitly supernatural, I do kind of believe in the malocchio (evil eye) to the extent that I think if you go around being secretly jealous of other people or trying to make others feel jealous of you by bragging a whole lot, it's going to eventually cause problems for you and those around you — just not in a mystical way.

Werewolves, however, ought to be a bridge too far for any of us.

Warren Zevon - Werewolves Of London (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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