Other online avenues were utilised for the expression of other-than-human and interspecies identities, such as mailing lists for discussions and the text-based virtual world game (a MUD or Multi-User Dungeon) Furry MUCK for role-playing, but a major hub for social networking amongst animal-identifying persons at this time was Usenet.
The organic outgrowth of a spiritual movement from conversations amongst werewolf fans on AHWW is further a demonstration of the powerful and productive nexus formed of popular culture, metaphysical belief, and the communicative medium of the Internet.
The word “therianthrope” combines the Greek for “beast” (), and it is classically used to describe such hybrids as depicted in prehistoric art and ancient myth.
Creatures that appear to blend both human and animal features can be traced back as far as the Aurignacian period of Europe (ca.
The hierarchy of Usenet that AHWW utilised was created for “alternative” topics, those not covered by the mainstream categories.
As one of the earliest platforms for online discussion, Usenet bulletin boards quickly became a hotbed for religious dialogue (Helland 2007), and the unmoderated alt.The classic (1941), wherein the hapless Larry Talbot falls prey to a gypsy curse transmitted by the bite of a Romani werewolf, was perhaps the first popular reference to the pentagram and silver as symbols and talismans associated with lycanthropy.The 1942 psychological thriller and sexuality (women’s), as the hexed heroine Irena cannot allow herself to become aroused for fear of transmogrification.Modern Therianthropes, such as Wolf Van Zandt (2010) who has constructed a Therian Timeline stretching from the prehistoric to the present, may regard such precedents as indicative of a history of other-than-human identifying peoples; however, the community as it exists today only came about in the early 1990s, with the advent of the world wide web.There are several comprehensive timelines and histories of Therianthropy that have been compiled by members of the community (House of Chimeras 2015; Wolf Van Zandt n.d.; Orion Scribner 2013).However, with such a long history in the West, the legendary figure of the werewolf retained supremacy as the shapeshifter of preference.Not only did werewolf fandom provide the impetus for the creation of the online community from which Therianthropy would grow, but the wolf has consistently been the most common theriotype in the Therianthropy community.Film and fiction of the first half of the twentieth century found new and creative ways to reiterate the notion of human-animal transformation as an analogy for the dangers of foreigners, sexuality, and other such “uncivilising” forces and ensured that the mythos of therianthropy would continue to grow (Bourgault du Coudray 2006).In the first significant example from Hollywood, the 1935 , make-up artist Jack Pierce designed his werewolves to appear predominately anthropomorphic even in their transformed state, emphasizing the hybridity of the wolf-man monster that would become central to its depiction in following years.In 1992, a newsgroup, alt.horror.werewolves or AHWW, was founded on Usenet for those interested in discussing werewolf-themed fiction, films, and mythologies.From this unexceptional beginning emerged the first known collective of Therianthropes, people who self-identified as superficially human, but animal at their core.