Fact and Fiction
In movies and television shape shifting usually involves a person physically transforming into an animal or beast. Sometimes the person looks like an animal and other times it is a combination between a human and an animal. When in human form they still maintain some of the characteristics of the animal they change into.
In old legends and myths it was common for the shapeshifter to take off their clothes and put on the skin of an animal. A person would transform into a werewolf after putting on wolf skin. Another common method was rubbing the body with a magic ointment or consuming a magic potion. In reality there were magic ointments and magic potions. However by magic I mean hallucinogens.
Even today some people lick toads or eat magic mushrooms to alter their state of mind. People have been getting high and hallucinating long before the drugs people use now existed. There were also the hunters that acted and looked like animals. They used the hides of animals to disguise themselves. Shapeshifters are sometimes called skinwalkers. This method could help hunters get closer to their prey. There were also people like shamans that wore animal hides during rituals and people that wore animal hides to keep warm. Some animals were just thought to be a humans in animal form because they appeared to be intelligent.
People transform themselves on a regular basis. They may lose some weight, gain muscle, shave, grow long fingernails, dye their hair, change their clothes etc. I have less fat and more muscle than I did a 2 months ago. So I look different. It is fairly easy to change your appearance. You can also change your skills and physical abilities. However I do not think it is possible to physically transform into an animal like a wolf. If you want to change your skin so you look like an animal you can use a costume.
What you can do is go through a mental transformation and take on the attributes of an animal. Change your thoughts, behavior and your energy. The change is more mental than physical.
One way to transform yourself is to move and act like the animal you want to become. If you wanted to become an ape you could move like an ape with your knuckles on the ground and pound your chest. Your posture, breathing and the way you move effects your state of mind. In some styles of martial arts the movements are partially based on the movements of animals. Two of the most common are the tiger and crane styles. Besides the movements they also take on some of the mental characteristics of the animal.
Another way is to use visualization. With this method you imagine yourself becoming the animal. Try to use as many senses as possible and act like the animal in your thoughts. It is not just about seeing yourself as an animal but about focusing on what you want. You can do this while sitting down in a relaxed position in a quiet environment where you will not be disturbed. Wearing a costume is not necessary but it may help you with the process.
I do not really want to act like or look like an animal but I like using it to exceed my limits. To shapeshift I visualize an animal or person and think about the attributes I want. For example I may visualize an ape or werewolf and think about how strong it is. Then I imagine I am using its body to perform the task.
Changing I Can't To I Can
One of the best uses of shapeshifting is changing I can't to I can. Shapeshifting can be used to exceed your current mental and physical limitations. Become more confident, stronger, faster etc. using your imagination. It does not really matter if the creature is real. What matters is that it possess something you want. I like using strong animals like an ape or wolf and temporarily enhancing my physical abilities. If you want to do some quick tests try boosting your own strength or speed.
I did some experiments with running, lifting weights and lifting my body weight with my arms to prove the effectiveness of shapeshifting. You can prove it to yourself by trying it.
© 2012 Michael H
Michael H (author) from Canada on June 21, 2012:
When I did it I focused on the power. Maybe you need practice. You could start by thinking of being an angry person. Your breathing and emotional state should change.
real werewolf on June 20, 2012:
I tried thinking of being the wolf but it didn't work...