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Totally Not a Werewolf

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Pictured: The Prince of Wolves and a Mutant. No werewolves here.
She couldn't tell a coyote from a werewolf? That was like looking at a Geo Metro and calling it a Hum-Vee.

When a Voluntary Shapeshifter's alternate form is mistaken for another monster by humans.

The lore behind werewolves is myopic at best. Some werewolves are Voluntary Shapeshifters, others are Cursed or infected with Involuntary Shapeshifting. Thus, it's easy to assume that if you see any character working and living a human life by day, but running through the woods and howling at the moon by night, then you should at least pack a Silver Bullet in case you run into them during a full moon... right?

WRONG. They're not that kind of werewolf. The Universe Bible defines the rules and requirements for being a "werewolf," and this individual doesn't fit the description of the creatures that bible ascribes the terminology to. But at least they'll forgive you — they must deal with this confusion all the time. Depending on the individual's demeanor, some may even play off the confusion.

A subtrope of Our Werebeasts Are Different and Not Using the "Z" Word, where multiple kinds of werewolves exist in a work but the word "werewolf" itself is only used in-universe to refer to one specific variety. Contrast Not a Zombie (where a person refuses to acknowledge the existence of zombies when confronted with one) and Actually Not a Vampire (where a normal person is mistaken for a supernatural monster).

If someone has to actually keep saying that they're "Totally Not A Werewolf", beware: They may also be Most Definitely Not a Villain, and one should consult Insistent Terminology (and possibly Suspiciously Specific Denial) for more details.

Should the Voluntary Shapeshifter be mistaken for the monster by other members of its own species, this may be due to the romantic phenomenon of Attractive Bent Species.

Examples of being mistaken for a werewolf:

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    Comic Books 
  • The mutant Wolfsbane from New Mutants, who had to be reassured she was not a werewolf, as they were considered to be demons where she was from and her wolf-like appearance caused her much self loathing.
  • Spider-Man. John Jameson, J. Jonah Jameson's son, may occasionally turn into a ferocious Man-Wolf, but he's not a werewolf. He's a guy who found an alien gem on the moon that's supposed to turn the bearer into a lupine Physical God, but it doesn't work very well in our dimension, making him lose control. He's also explicitly not bothered by silver, as one Wrong Genre Savvy opponent found out the hard way.
    • Inverted on one occasion in Captain America, when Cap, in the process of searching for the missing John Jameson (who'd been working as his pilot), assumed reports about a wolf-man in rural New England were about John and went to find him. It turned out to be an entire town of actual werewolves, resulting in the notorious Cap-Wolf story.
  • The X-Men once fought an entire team of wolf-like mutants calling themselves the Dominant Species, and managed to stop them from forcefully recruiting a teenage mutant named Wolf Cub. Unsurprisingly, Wolfsbane ended up mentoring him at the Xavier School.

    Fan Works 
  • Dusk in Dimensional Links can transform into a wolf by using his Cursed Stone at will. Practically everyone calls him a werewolf or says that he has lycanthropy, even though he points out that's wrong and he could literally have ended up with any other animal form.
  • Hiko in Vathara's Walk Through the Valley was mistaken for a werewolf by a member of La Résistance working with him at night because that's when he has Eye Colour Change change from blue to amber. He also possessed Absurdly Sharp Claws, which he used to tear apart the people who'd conquered Kwannon and their Mind Controlled collaborators, when he wasn't hacking them apart with a sword. Hiko wasn't a Forced Transformation victim or a Voluntary Shapeshifter, though; instead, he underwent a Metamorphosis into one of the more human-looking Catboys in fiction, leaving him with no tail or any visible changes to his ears. Oh, and werewolves were not said to be real in this universe.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, Priya initially thinks that Mei's giant red panda form means she's a werewolf and asks her bluntly if she is.

  • While the Animorphs are Voluntary Shapeshifters thanks to alien technology, in Megamorphs #3, they meet some German soldiers and can distinctly make out one calling Cassie a "werewolf."
    • On another occasion, she morphs into a wolf at an amusement park and gets seen mid-transformation. Fortunately, she happened to be in the park's haunted house, so the people just assumed it was All Part of the Show.
  • The Cloak Society has Kirbie, who is often referred to as a "werewolf," though technically it's just that Animorphism is her power and "wolf" happened to be the first transformation that she got. She can also turn into a bird, with Lone Star theorizing that she'll get more forms as time goes on. She did find herself Involuntary Shapeshifting a lot when she was younger, though.
  • Divine Blood Novels: As one of the ridiculous questions she has to discuss with her opponent Eija Semezou is asked whether she prefers vampires or werewolves. She protests that the layman's terms are too vague for a response. Some of the local goths mistake Eija and Hel for various supernatural creatures. They're actually underestimating.
  • Bligh from The Dogs objects to be called a werewolf, preferring to be thought of as a kind of "half-dog" (or "dawg," as he says it. The other characters that are changed into this form, Andrew and Cody, acquiesce to the title. Lampshaded when Stephen, Andrew's brother, asks them if they changed because of a full moon. (They didn't.)
  • The Dresden Files has at least five completely different magical creatures that could be classified as "werewolves," not one of which works in horror movie fashion. Getting them mixed up can potentially be fatal. The trope is averted because they're all referred to as werewolves and there is no Insistent Terminology.
    • The unstoppably destructive loup-garou, a person cursed to turn into a wolflike demon. If you don't have its one, specific weakness handy, run.
    • Hexenwulfen, people using an addictive Artifact of Doom to turn into a wolf. Merely human when separated from the artifact, but beware Bad Powers, Bad People. Because of its druglike effects, even someone who starts out with the best of intentions doesn't stay that way long.
    • Lycanthropes, people who can channel animal spirits, including those of wolves, but don't actually transform. Badass Normal and crazy, but basically human. Not to be confused with the Real Life delusion that one is a werewolf.
    • Actual werewolves, magic-users who know only one single Voluntary Shapeshifting spell. More dangerous than a real wolf because they have a human's mind, but they don't have the self-control issues of the previous types.
    • At least one wolf who can turn into a human at will.
  • Played with but mostly averted in InCryptid. Waheela transform into giant wolflike monsters (or transform from that into human, depending on your point of view), but they are definitely not werewolves (for one thing, they're a separate species, and can't turn people by biting them), and aren't mistaken for werewolves (since the protagonists by and large know the difference). Actual werewolves (which appear in a later book) are caused by The Virus and can infect any mammal.
  • In Bruce Coville short story "Little Monsters," the protagonist finds little statuettes of monsters that turn out to be real creatures Taken for Granite. The one that looks like a werewolf, however, is actually their pet dog. During the full moon, he turns into a vaguely humanoid "wolf-man" creature.
  • Mercy Thompson: The titular character is a walker, not a werewolf. Even if she does hang around with them a lot.
  • In the Discworld novel Reaper Man, when newly-revived zombie Windle Poons is introduced to the Monster Mash of the Fresh Start Club, he assumes the hairy and wolf-like Brother Lupin is a werewolf. Lupin corrects him, he's a wereman. Every full moon, some of his hair falls out and he starts walking on two legs.
  • This Is Not a Werewolf Story: Raul knows a magic formula to voluntarily change into a wolf. As the title suggests, he hates the term "werewolf," because in his mind that implies tropes that don't apply to him (like being a Wolf Man with no control over himself, the full moon thing, etc.) There are no "real" werewolves to compare him to, though we eventually learn that there are various other shapeshifters who turn into different animals.
  • In The Twilight Saga, a local group of Magical Native Americansnote  can turn into wolves at will (or accidentally when under emotional stress), during which they keep their human minds. They're called "werewolves" through three different books, but near the end of the final one, Edward suddenly explains that they're actually "shape-shifters," while this world apparently includes actual "werewolves" who fit the modern perception (full moons, etc.) more closely. Arguably comes off as an Ass Pull, since this basically just makes it so that a werewolf-hating member of the Big Bad Duumvirate doesn't have an excuse to kill them all.
  • Early on in An Unattractive Vampire, Amanda mistakes the ancient vampire Yulric Bile for a werewolf, and insists on this identification even after he's been shot with a silver bullet and spritzed with wolfbane to no effect; she only changes her mind when he transforms into a bat. It quickly becomes clear that current pop culture is so saturated with overly-attractive Anne Rice-style vampires that nobody knows quite what to make of Yulric, who Looks Like Orlok at the best of times. As a result, Yulric is often mistaken for just about anything other than a vampire, which becomes especially annoying to Yulric when modern vampires mistake him for a mummy.
  • Wolf from the Wolf & Raven Shadowrun short stories was originally intended to be a werewolf, until the author was told that Weres in that Verse are animals who assume human form, not vice versa. The character was therefore re-written as a human physical adept with an intense — sometimes too intense — spiritual bond to the Wolf totem.
  • In Wolf in Shadow Rhian can transform into a wolf and people assume that she is a werewolf. Actually, her ability comes from an ancient Celtic brooch which is infused with the power of the sorceress/goddess Morgan le Fay who was the queen of shapeshifters. A character more familiar with supernatural matters concludes that this more closely resembles demonic possession and derives from ancient elf/fae magic. Werewolves are said to exist in that universe but their characteristics are not discussed. Ironically, a Totally Not a Vampire character assumes that she is a powerful witch who found a way to use wiccan magic to shapeshift. Totally Not Vampires are referred to as "suckers". While they feed on life energy contained in human blood and are damaged by sunlight, they are quite different from stereotypical fictional vampires. The people who have to fight them use insist on the name "sucker" to remind everyone of the differences.
  • Oddly inverted in A Wolf in the Soul. Greg fits the standard werewolf tropes a lot more than do the species of werewolves described in the mythology, of which he is not a member.
  • Wolven: Protagonist Nat gets a new dog, Woody, who later transforms into a boy. Woody explains that he's a "Wolven," meaning that he's born with the ability to shapeshift (at first randomly, later more purposefully), while "werewolves" are born as humans before getting that ability by getting bitten by another werewolf.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens all the time in Doctor Who, although it is possibly a subversion. The Doctor has admitted to making up some of the technobabble because they don't want to say "It's magic", so a "Lupine Wavelength Hamaevoform" fits the Not Using the "Z" Word aspect of this trope in "Tooth and Claw".
  • Grimm has "Blutbaden" which are wolf-like Wesen; the term used to refer to creatures on the show.
  • In Power Rangers Jungle Fury, the 'werewolf' is their mentor, a Wolf Style master, whose energy was out of balance due to an attempt to rip the wolf spirit out of him by the Big Bad a few episodes prior. Once he gets better, he becomes a wolf-themed Ranger. (He wasn't the series' first "werewolf," but they were Not Using the "Z" Word back in Power Rangers Wild Force; Zen-Aku was called 'the wolf beast' until they knew his name.)
  • Supernatural introduced "skinwalkers", who can transform into wolves (or dogs, at least) and are distinct from the actual werewolves who do transform with the lunar cycle, but into humans with evil eyes and bad teeth. However, they do share a number of characteristics, including the ability to infect people by biting them, and an allergy to silver. Not very surprising, then, that the brothers thought they were hunting a werewolf when they started looking into the skinwalker.
  • True Blood: Sam's not a werewolf, he's a shifter, thank you very much. Werewolves genuinely exist—and yes, they're different. He's not a big fan of werecats either.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Tyler notices Caroline's abnormal strength and speed and accuses her of being a werewolf like he is. She laughs and reveals that she's a vampire instead.
  • The main character, Maddy, of Wolfblood is very insistent that she, her family and Rhydian are not werewolves, they are Wolfbloods.

    Tabletop Game 
  • World of Darkness: Vampires, werewolves, Pooka changlings, Devourer demons and mages all had powers which could let them turn into wolves. So what happened if you put one of each on a stage to perform this trick in front of mortal witnesses? The vampire gets the expected mundane reaction (and the vampire Men In Black on his tail, most likely), the werewolf drives witnesses into hallucinations and denial, the changeling leaves all but the least banal of viewers remembering it as a vague dream, the demon won't be able to pull it off because the collective disbelief of the viewers blocks the use of the transformation and the mage explodes because the universe doesn't like people turning into wolves.
    • Chronicles of Darkness too. Changelings, Vampires, Prometheans, Sin-Eaters, and Mages can all access powers that allow them to turn into a wolf or other animal, in addition to the actual Werewolves.
    • Don't forget Changing Breeds; that book contained rules for werewolf-like transformations... including wolves.
    • Then Skinchangers reveals you also have Skin-Thieves, basically people who turn into wolves by wearing a wolf skin. They are no way related to true werewolves, who in fact usually despise them.

    Video Games 
  • In Bloodborne, the Beasts in Yharnam are often being mistaken with Werewolves thanks to their furs and wolf-like appearance. They are, in truth, a hybrid species of various creatures infected by the blood of Great Ones distributed by the Healing Church, and some are Body of Bodies artifically created by the School Of Mensis for their rituals. They are more close to zombies rather than Werewolves.
  • In City of Heroes, the War Wolves of the Fifth Column and the Council were created through scientific means. They are immensely strong, and howl like wolves, but they aren't actually werewolves.
  • When the 2005 trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was released, fans and reviewers quickly attached a 'werewolf' label to the depiction of Link being transformed into a wolf. Nintendo did respond saying that only the 'wolf' part was accurate; Link's transformation was revealed to be a Fisher Kingdom effect caused when Link is exposed to the Twilight Realm.
  • Quest for Glory IV has the gypsies, whom the superstitious townsfolk think are werewolves. Their leader laughs at the idea, saying "Cross my palm with silver; you'll not see me flinch!" The hero has some experience with this, having befriended a tribe of Leopardmen in the previous game.
  • Inverted in World of Warcraft with Worgen druids, who are actual Worgen, but can shapeshift into other animal forms through druidic spells unrelated to their natural lycanthropic abilities.
  • A dialogue option in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines allows you to mistake Beckett for a Werewolf in your first face-to-face meeting. He finds it funny. Unless you're a Gangrel; instead your character fanboys over his power and asks if he can teach you that discipline.

    Visual Novels 
  • Lugh Beowulf from Witch on the Holy Night is a nature spirit who can transform into a golden wolf. He was discovered by a tribe of werewolves who saw him as a saviour who would revive their race. When they discovered that he was not a werewolf, he was ostracized and sold to Touko Aozaki.

  • Sorcery 101 distinguishes werewolves from wolf-demons, which are sort of the opposite: supernatural wolves that can assume a mostly human form.
  • Spinnerette has a rather long arc starting out with both the heroes and the villains chasing something that appears to be a werewolf. The heroes end up catching a three headed guardian of the underworld. The villains run into an Eldritch Abomination the former was trying to hunt down. There wasn't a single werewolf involved in the story, unless we count one of the heroes.
  • Wilde Life has a main character, Cliff, who has been able to instantly change into a wolf for as long as he can remember; he can think and speak normally in both forms. Oscar asks if "werewolf" is the correct term, and Cliff admits that he has no idea, but that it's what he's always used. They keep saying "werewolf" even after learning that Cliff is technically an "animal person," and that not all of the others are wolves.
    • On a related note, Word of God says that Barbara's "kids" aren't animal people, they're normal dogs that she transforms with her own magic.
    • There are also the rougarou. In Real Life they're considered a variant of the werewolf legendnote , but the comic treats them as different from animal people. They're created through a curse, do lose their human minds, and they're stuck as monsters forever.

    Web Original 
  • Techwolf of the Whateley Universe looks like a seven foot tall werewolf all the time. He's not. He's just under a curse. And Bloodwolf can transform into a werewolf shape because he's a mutant: he's an Avatar who has captured the spirit of the werewolf. However there are real werewolves out there. And Paige has been turned into a werecat. (Werecougar, specifically…) In fact, most of the local Native American tribe who own the land Whateley is on are were-folk of various kinds. There is also a wolf-were, Lupine (she is a wolf spirit who incarnated into a human body), who is also a mutant and hence a student at Whateley.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Ben 10 episode "Benwolf", Ben is attacked by a Loboan alien named Yeenaldooshi (After the Navajo word for a Skin Walker) matching the description of a legend from a local Navajo community, and the previously unknown "collect DNA" function of his Omnitrix activated, slowly transforming him into a duplicate of it. The cast drew the obvious false conclusion.
  • One Halloween episode of Gargoyles had a mysterious wolf-like animal roaming through the city every night, and Goliath is seen researching werewolves as a possible cause. It turns out it's actually Fox, whose engagement present is an Artifact of Doom. Her fiance Xanatos has no fewer than four plans to get it off of her.
  • Timberwolf from the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon is one of these, especially when first captured. Lampshaded by Bouncing Boy:
    -looks at some scratches on Lightning Lad from Timberwolf-
    Bouncing Boy: Hope you don't turn into one of those things.

Examples of being mistaken for other monsters:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Arystar Krory from D.Gray-Man is an Exorcist who unknowingly gained an Innocence that takes the form of fangs and compels him to drain the blood of Akuma. Since most of the Akuma he attacked were in human form, he thought he had become a vampire who was killing helpless humans.
  • In Hellsing, the Major commands a legion of vampire Nazis. One would thus assume that he's a vampire, too. He's not; he had a chance for an Emergency Transformation, but saw surrendering his humanity as an intolerable show of weakness. He's still alive and young is because he's a cyborg, and thus, he says, merely a man who seems like a monster. Most would agree that he qualifies as a "monster" regardless.
  • Shaman King has Boris Tepes Dracula, a descendant of the original Dracula whose family use shaman powers to mimic vampires. Specifically he uses blood as a medium to channel bat spirits, forming a cloak which can split into bats. When he bites someone he absorbs more blood into the cloak while injecting some back in - since this blood is still under his control he can then use the victims as People Puppets.
  • In Soul Eater, witches are humans with the power to change into animals. Blair is an animal with the power to change into a human. It actually makes a huge difference, as Maka and Soul just needed Soul to eat one witch's soul to become a Deathscythe, but eating Blair's soul instead made them lose all the progress they'd made so far.

    Comic Books 
  • In one arc in Fables, the characters' Masquerade is threatened by a journalist who, being Wrong Genre Savvy, assumes that their near-immortality means that they must be vampires.
  • The Marvel Universe has plenty of vampires. Morbius differs from the rest by his scientific origin (combined with DNA of a vampire bat), and the fact that he is very much a living being. How much this trope applies varies depends on the writer.
  • DC comic The Movement had Christopher, AKA Burden, a young gay man whose extremely religious parents thought he was possessed, resulting in his emerging shapeshifting powers creating him a demon-looking alt form. It took a while before before he accepted the fact that neither his shapeshifting or his orientation made him possessed.
  • Street Fighter vs. Darkstalkers: Rashid enters Anakaris' tomb believing it to be an alien ruin, and mistakes him for an alien despite him being actually a mummy. Donovan Baine also mistakes Akuma as just another Darkstalker, but he is just a superpowered human martial artist that looks demonic.
  • X-Men: Mutants frequently end up being mistaken for various supernatural creatures. For example, Nightcrawler may have a forked tail and his teleports smell of sulfur, but he's no demon. Storm and her tribe thought she was a goddess until Professor Xavier found her and explained what mutants were. The inverse happens as well, with anyone with super powers being mistaken for a mutant until their origin is known to the public.

    Fan Works 
  • Aziraphale and Crowley in Good Omens are an angel and demon respectively, but in some fanfictions are mistaken for other supernatural beings.
    • In this Good Omens fanfiction, the demon Crowley is mistaken for several supernatural creatures.
    • In The Godfather of Soho, a pair of Irish mob bosses mistake Aziraphale not only for one of the Fair Folk, but as another mob boss. Their dad also figured that Crowley was an evil spirit of some sort, and in the sequels Crowley takes advantage of this by subtly implying that he's a Dullahan, just to mess with them.

  • Animorphs has at least three books where the protagonists, who turn into animals with alien technology, go to other parts of the world (the Amazon, Inuit territory and the Australian desert) and get mistaken for the local culture's version of shapeshifting spirits.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Shrieking Shack is said to haunted by violent ghosts, accounting for the banging sounds that have been heard by the villagers. It was actually the werewolf Remus Lupin, who as a student used the house to transform while he studied at Hogwarts.
  • Lumbanico The Cubic Planet: When the main characters see Aralia getting out of an oak tree and walking among the flower beds surrounding her house-tree, little girl Mela mistakes her for a fairy, and Aralia herself has to explain she is only a regular woman.
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci: Agathe is mistaken for a fairy for Ted when she flies through his bedroom's window wearing a winged suit. After some initial muddle (Ted addresses to her in English because he assumes fairies must come from Ireland, and Agathe, who does not speak English, nods to be polite), Agathe has to explain she is a regular human girl who happened to find a magical outfit.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • A werebat from Ravenloft's Children of the Night: Werebeasts made a point of dressing and acting like a vampire to throw off potential monster-hunters.
  • The World of Darkness has were-spiders, of all things, imitating vampires (helped by both being blood-drinkers).
    • Similarly, the Risen also pass themselves off as vampires.
  • Chronicles of Darkness:
    • This tends to happen pretty often in Hunter: The Vigil. Hunters are for the most part poorly informed about the supernatural, many of them have completely incorrect belief on it (The Malleus Maleficarum and the Long Night are both convinced every single supernatural creature is either a demon or connected to the Demons, and Les Mysteres believe them to all be connected to spirits), and there are plenty of monsters who don't even fit any of the established categories, so confusion between multiple types is common occurrence.
      • Slashers mentions that many particularly wild Mutants slashers are occasionally mistaken for demons or werewolves.
      • It doesn't help either that most supernatural species come themselves in a wide variety of subspecies, and an archetypal mythological monster can sometimes match the descriptions of several subspecies from different species at the same time.
      • Want werewolves? The Protean discipline, Beast Changelings, certain Prometheans and some Mages can all look like wolves. All these powers are different in nature and come from different sources.
      • Want Hot as Hell? Daeva, Fairest Changelings, some Spirits, Galateids, siren-like Beasts, and some demons.
      • Want a traditional devil? Aside from demons, you have the Luiferge (who are explicitly descended from demons, but not the ones ''The Descent is about), some Beasts, some Darkling changelings, the Maeljin spirits, Abyssal entities, and vampires can pull off a good impression if they need to.
      • Want a mummy? You don't even need Arisen- Osirians are basically mummy Prometheans.
      • Want vampires? Leechfinger Changelings, and some Ridden are possessed by blood-drinking spirits (leech spirits, for example). There's also several 'vampire-like' entities that still use Blood Potency and feed from humans (like Aswang and Kuei-jin), but have different powers and weaknesses.
      • Want mages? Forget the game about them, every splat has some form of ritual magic, though the specifics vary.
    • Heroes from Beast: The Primordial have a similar problem to Hunters; seeing how they usually have to learn about the supernatural from scraps, and the creatures they hunt, Beasts, can appear as any form of mythological monsters, many of them initially assume all supernaturals are Beasts. One of the Heroes provided in Conquering Heroes, Micheal Bellinger, occasionally hunts down supernaturals who turn out to be unrelated to the Begotten, usually causing him to leave disappointed in the middle of the fight.
    • Amusingly enough, fangame Dragon: The Embers has the Werewolves, of all people, being the one making this type of mistake. A frequent reason they end up fighting Dragons is because they mistake them either for spirit invaders or people possessed by them, both things they fight on regular basis. The game also mentions that more than once Hunters have mistaken a Dragon for a Vampire and tried to Kill It with Fire - a good tactic against Vampires, who burn like dry kindling, but just an annoyance to Dragons.
    • In other fangame Princess: The Hopeful, it's very common for Hunters to mistake Princesses for another kind of "witch". Hunter: The Vigil – Dark and Light reveals its still subject to debate amongts hunters if they even are just another subtype of witch or another kind of supernatural being entirely.
      • An example can also be found on the antagonist lists for Princesses. Among the differents Creatures of the Darkness the Hopeful fight, there are two kinds, the Mnemosynenote  and the Cataphractoinote , who frequently get mixed up because they are both completely human-looking and capable of controlling lesser Darkspawns. Making such a mistake actually is quite dangerous, since a key difference between the two is that Mnemosyne are Squishy Wizards, while Cataphractoi have a very powerful One-Winged Angel form.
    • In other fangame Genius: The Transgression, one of the main reason Geniuses have a hard time dealing with supernaturals is because of this trope: Mania, the energy they get their power from, occasionally ends up creating beings called Manes, which are physical manifestations of discredited theories, and can occasionally give birth to strange creatures such as dinosaurs, nazi sorcerers, aliens and even a specific representation of angels and demons. Because of this, it is somewhat difficult for them to figure out which supernaturals are Manes, and which ones are entirely different creatures born from another source.
      • Similarly, because both Mages and Geniuses are human-looking supernaturals capable of bending the laws of physics and gaining their powers through a form of Enlightenment Superpowers, it's not unusual for Geniuses to mistake a recently awakened Mage for one of them, and for Mages to mistake a recently Inspired Genius for a Mage. The Scholastics and the Free Council have an agreement specifically created so they can exchange members should that sort of thing happen.
    • Here's a question for you: what's a demon? There are three separate answers. Mage: The Awakening has the defining entities of Pandemonium, which are essentially "philosophical" demons that torture sinners to absolve them of their sins. Demon: The Descent has the Unchained, who are defectors from the plans of the God-Machine. The sourcebook Inferno has the demons of the Inferno, who are classic tempter-and-corrupter demons (this last group may be the source of the Maeljin and are canonically the ancestors of the Lucifuge). None of these have anything in common with each other, powers- or purpose-wise.

  • Played for laughs in A Very Potter Sequel. While Remus Lupin is very obviously a werewolf, even more so than in Harry Potter canon, other characters who see his transformation call him everything from a zombie to a gremlin.

    Video Games 
  • A frequent point of comedy (and irritation) for Lady Zozo in Code of Princess, who gets called a "zombie" by just about every bad guy she meets. She constantly has to remind them that she's Not a Zombie, but a necromancer.
  • In Threads of Fate, when Rue transforms himself into a harmless Pollywog to sneak up on some bandits, the girl he rescues assumes that the Pollywog is his true form, and it takes a while for Rue to correct this mistaken first impression.

  • Inverted in El Goonish Shive: Sarah (because of her own bitter experience) and Elliot assume that Grace's transformation is the result of some Tedd's experiments. Oops...
    Grace: What was it? The monster.
    Susan: It used to be human. Some people use magic to try and achieve immortality by turning themselves into parasites. The immortals call them aberrations, and... [beat] You know what? Screw it, it was a vampire.
    Grace: Really?!
    Sarah: A vampire?!
    Susan: No, not really, but it was a monster that used to be human, hypnotized young women and sucked blood out of their necks. It doesn't matter what I say, you two are going to hear 'vampire.'

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Not A Werewolf, Actually Not A Werewolf, Our Monsters Are Defined, Not That Kind Of Werewolf, Our Monsters Arent Like That