Sorry, Argentina's President Didn't Actually Adopt a Jewish Werewolf

Illustration for article titled Sorry, Argentina's President Didn't Actually Adopt a Jewish Werewolf

If you've been anywhere even remotely near a computer today, you've probably heard that Argentina's president recently adopted a young Jewish man to stop him from turning into a werewolf. And why not—it's internet gold! Also, as it turns out, not even remotely true.


According to the Washington Post, the story of the day is as follows:

A tradition holds that the seventh son of a family is doomed to turn into a werewolf — known as "el lobison" in Argentina — after his 13th birthday and will stalk the night in its beastly form, feeding on the dead and murdering all before it.... The fear of this werewolf-child was so pronounced that many seventh sons were killed after they were born, which started the practice in 1907 of Argentine leaders taking these children symbolically under their wing.

While, yes, seventh sons and daughters in Argentina are eligible to become the godson or goddaughter (read: not the adopted child) of the country's president, as The Guardian points out, Jewish werewolf-hood has no part in the tradition. Which is fairly evident from Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's tweets depicting the country's newly announced first Jewish godson.

Top translation: They brought me a menorah. They asked me to light it. Bottom translation: I didn't realize it, but their visit coincided with Hanukkah.


But, as The Guardian points out, this nice, totally innocuous event somehow got mixed up with an ancient, werewolf-esque myth called the lobizón:

But somehow, the story became entangled with the ancient legend of the lobizón(Argentina's equivalent to the European werewolf). According to some versions of the myth, the seventh son of the seventh son is particularly prone to fall victim to the curse.

Evidently, the chance meeting of a Latin American president with a colorful myth too good to fact-check proved irresistible – confirming as it did any number of stereotypes about erratic behavior from national leaders in the continent of magical realism.


In fact, the only connection between the two tales is that they center around seventh children. There is an actual, century-old tradition in which every seventh child born to an Argentinian family is eligible to become the president's godchild—a practice originating from Czarist Russia. The tale of the lobizón, on the other hand, started amongst Argentina's gauchos and has nothing whatsoever to do with the president's newly minted godson.

So sorry to burst your bubble, internet—no werewolf Jewish godsons this time. But hey, at least it got us talking about this again. [The Guardian]


Art by Michael Hession with help from Shutterstock and Michael J. Fox

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Captain Cupholder

I, for one, look forward to our first Jewish Werewolf president here in the U.S.