The Legend of the Werewolf dates back to the beginning of recorded history. For as long as men have been writing, there have been documents that pertained to "Were-beasts" of some sort all over the world.
Perhaps the most famous from the ancient world comes from Greece, and the story of Lycaon (or Lycaeon), King of Arcadia. Written by the Roman Poet Ovid in the "Metamorphoses" around 6 AD. Lycaon, who lived before the "Great Deluge", decided to test the divinity of the gods and was said to have served the flesh of either his slaughtered child, Nyktimos, his grandchild, Arkas., or a Molossian captive to the gods at a banquet. When Zeus discovered what was done, he was furious, overturning the table, destroying the fifty sons of Lycaon with lightning and turning Lycaon himself into a wolf. After this, the gods of Olympus were so angry that they sent the "Great Deluge" to destroy mankind. (A Greek history of the Great Flood, mentioned in the Bible and by cultures around the world. Another story for another time.) Hence, the history of the word Lycos, or wolf.
Until the first century AD, there were some who worshipped in the secretive cult of Zeus Lycaeus. They believed one could transform from man to wolf with the sacrifice of human flesh.
The legend, however, did not stop in the 1st century. In 16th century France, where the Werewolf is known as Loup Garou, the fear of Werewolves was so great that people were executed for Lycanthropy along with those who were being executed for Witchcraft. There are also a number of stories, even in our modern day, of Werewolf and Werewolf type creatures.
1958 - A story from Fate Magazine told the story of Mrs. Delburt Gregg of Greggton, Texas. On a July night in 1958 Mrs. Gregg reported being awoke from sleep by the sound of scratching on the screen of her bedroom window. Upon looking out into the night, she saw nothing in the darkness until a flash of lightning from an approaching thunderstorm illuminated a "Huge, shaggy, wolf like creature with yellow eyes" glaring back at her. In her statement she continued that the creature darted into the bushes of her yard. She retrieved a flashlight and shown it on the bushes where the creature had sought cover. When it emerged, to her surprise, it was not a creature, but the tall dark figure of a man who hurried off down the road into the darkness. (Yeah, I know, Mrs. Gregg in Greggton, TX sounded fishy to me, too. So I checked into it. As of this writing, there are 35 residents living in Greggton, TX with published phone numbers and addresses, so the story is very possible.)
1970 - In Whitewater, New Mexico, a group of Teenagers reported seeing a fast moving figure along the side of the road. believing it to be a prank, they got closer to identify what or who it was. After nearing the creature, they realized it was no schoolmate. The boys sped off down the road with the creature in pursuit. One of the boys drew a shotgun from beneath his seat and shot at the creature. In all of their police statements, they reported believing the creature had been hit because it stopped pursuing, but all were too scared to go back and look.
1972 - In Ohio, from the months of July to October, numerous sightings throughout the state reported seeing large, dark, hairy creatures who had dog or canine like features but walked upright like a man. The similarities were astounding as they stayed the same from report to report.
These are but a few stories, but possibly the most famous location for sightings of Werewolf like creatures, is on Bray Road in Dalavan, Wisconsin. A number of reports of large man/wolf creatures with canine features, large fangs and glowing eyes have been made throughout the years in this area and in Michigan as well.
So the question remains, are Werewolves real? We know there is a psychological condition of Lycanthropy, were people believe themselves to be Werewolves, but are there people who suffer from a true form of Lycanthropy, that have the ability to turn from man to creature? Some have believed werewolves to be witches, who possess the power of shape shifting. Other have believed it to be a curse on a family bloodline or individual. Some stories also point to the possibility of people who are deeply involved in Satanism, having sold all out to the Devil, that are granted such powers.
Is it possible that some of these sightings are actually of the famed Bigfoot creature? Could the two be the same?
There are many questions that can be asked with very few answers. Given the stories and legends throughout history, I would have to say that the possibility is real, though until someone who actually is a Werewolf comes forth and proves it to be so, we may never know.
Some other interesting reading on the subject: