Argentinian President Christina Fernández de Kirchner has just adopted a 21-year-old man as her godson. This is a tradition that dates back more than a century, and it's to prevent the stigmatization of a family's seventh son — who, according to legend, turns into a werewolf-like demon. Update: This has been debunked.
Image: Wikipedia, Woodcut of a werewolf attack, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1512
The creature, el lobison, was said to reveal itself after the boy turned 13. Upon changing form, it would supposedly feast on dead flesh and unbaptized babies. And anyone who got bitten would inherit the curse.
As the Independent newspaper reports:
Fear of the lobison was so rife in 19th Century Argentina that some families abandoned or even murdered baby boys – an atrocity that sparked the unusual Presidential practice of adoption, aimed at stopping the deadly stigma.
Starting in 1907, the tradition was formally established by a decree in 1973 by Juan Domingo Peron, which also extended the practice to baby girls.
Even now, reports of dog-like creatures attacking livestock continue, as does the tradition.
Seventh sons or daughters—now much rarer than 100 years ago— gain the President as their official godparent as well as a gold medal and full educational scholarship.
The young man, Yair Tawil, is the first member of a Jewish family to be "adopted." As part of the celebration—described in tweets to the her 3.4 million Twitter followers—the president participated in the lighting of a Hanukkah menorah.
Update: This widespread story today is apparently false — seventh sons and daughters are eligible to become the godson or god-daughter of the Argentinian president, but this has nothing to do with any werewolf tradition. More details over at our sister site Gizmodo.