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The animals trapped in human bodies Therians are neurological outliers

Shapeshifting. (Credit: John Jerome E. Ganzon/Pacific Press/ Getty)

Shapeshifting. (Credit: John Jerome E. Ganzon/Pacific Press/ Getty)


May 9, 2023   9 mins

Not long ago, I had a conversation with a man who feels in his bones that he is a bear. He is a therian: someone who believes from a young age that they are an animal trapped inside a human body. The dysphoria is so far from regular human experience that therians struggle to describe it. Ask them what it is like to be an animal and they will ask you, quite reasonably, if you can describe what it is like to be a human.

I first learned about therianthropy while talking to Kathy Gerbasi, a social psychologist who specialises in relationships between humans and animals. She has an interest in furries, a fandom that dresses up as anthropomorphic animals. Gerbasi conducted a survey at a furry convention that included the following two questions: “Do you consider yourself to be less than 100% human?”, and “If you could be 0% human, would you be?” Furries feel an affinity with animals, but that’s generally as far as it goes. So, when a few of her respondents answered yes to both questions, she realised that she was dealing with people who were fundamentally atypical.

Since then, Gerbasi has held several discussion groups with therians, who she describes as “very sincere”. “They look like people,” she says. “They mostly behave like people… But if you really talk to them, they’ll tell you that deep inside they are not a person.” My friend the bear, who goes by the sobriquet BearX, lives an improbably normal life. He is married. He has two children. His career in engineering has afforded him a nice house and a comfortable middle-class life. As he says: “If you didn’t know something was up, you wouldn’t know anything was up.”

When psychologists investigate an unusual pattern of behaviour, they look for common attributes that may help explain it, such as age, gender, class or geography. So far, Gerbasi and the handful of other psychologists who have studied therians have failed to find any. While researching my new book, I talked to therians in their teens and in their seventies, of female, male and undetermined gender. The only thing that can be said about almost all therians is that they realise at a young age that they are different in body and spirit from those around them. They feel “off”, separated from humanity, and this estrangement defines the rest of their lives.

“I had an internal sense as a kid that I was supposed to be bigger, heavier,” says BearX. “Later, I worked out that bears fit everything that I felt. It led me to think that maybe I was supposed to have been born a bear and there was some kind of cataclysmic failure in the universe’s sorting system.” Caesar, a communications technician in his mid-thirties who identifies as a coyote, remembers feeling “very animal” as a child. “Maybe the best way to put it is that humans think with their emotions or on a higher level of cognition, but the way I responded to a situation was more instinctual, not calculating.”

As they grow up, therians move from having a general sense of feeling not quite human to a more concrete awareness of the kind of animal they are: their “theriotype”. The most common theriotypes are predator species such as wolves and large cats. As with furries, culture plays a role here: jaguars are more common in South America, and foxes in Japan, whose folklore contains many stories of people being possessed by a fox. Mythical or fantasy creatures are no less valid, though their owners are differentiated in the community as “otherkin”. While researching, I spoke to a couple of dragons.

Finding your theriotype can be a struggle. Most therians make their decision only after a great deal of research and thought. The community encourages its members to be scientifically rigorous: outlandish claims that would give ammunition to sceptics, such as the idea that it’s possible to physically transform into an animal, are dismissed as “fluff”. On therian forums, moderators frequently rebuke contributors for promoting theories that would break the laws of physics, and they are quick to correct errors in morphological or behavioural descriptions of species, such as the suggestion that wolves have red eyes, or that all canines hunt in packs.

A peculiar and often alarming characteristic of being a therian is the feeling that you have phantom body parts. Blayz, a wolf-dog hybrid, lives with the permanent sensation of a tail that wags or droops on command. “Going around corners, I will alter the movement of my frame to keep my tail from getting caught in doors or swiping cups off the table,” he says. Caesar, the coyote, is often convinced he has outsized ears that he can manipulate like antennae. I spoke with a snow leopard — an American woman in her early twenties — who has been saddled with the full range of phantom phenomena. “Even as a kid, I remember feeling like I had a tail and telling people it was invisible,” she explained. “It’s as much a part of me as my arms and legs, really. I also have constant phantom paws and a muzzle, which can make eating and drinking funny sometimes. I’m likely to miss my mouth if I’m not thinking about it.’

To feel body parts where none exist is not as biologically improbable as it sounds. Studies of people born with missing arms and legs have shown that limbs that have always been absent can still be represented in the sensory and motor regions of the brain. The psychologist Ronald Melzack, an expert on phantom pain, proposed that the brain continuously generates a pattern of impulses that indicate that the body is intact and “unequivocally one’s own”, even if it isn’t. This pattern, which Melzack called a “neurosignature”, is genetically determined and characteristic of each individual. It is not inconceivable that someone born with an atypical neurosignature might experience a body that is out of kilter with the one they possess. So far, no one has systematically examined the brains of therians to see if their neural patterns reflect what they feel.

Therians who are acclimatised to their animal side often find their phantom experiences reassuring, since they confirm an identity they have been trying hard to accept. But it can be a let-down when they recognise they don’t have the superpowers they thought they did. When Caesar realises yet again that he cannot direct his ears to hone in on a distant sound, he has the sobering thought that what he is trying to do is “in direct conflict with my own biology”. Kathy Gerbasi, in one of her studies, asked a therian who felt they had “wings” what it felt like when those wings were fully out; they told her it made them frustrated because they knew they couldn’t fly. Many therians avoid looking in mirrors because it reminds them that they are not what they think they are.

Some psychologists believe that the distress suffered by therians is similar to the distress suffered by people whose sex at birth does not match the way they feel. The comparison is often made by therians themselves, a minority of whom are transgender as well as “trans-species”, as they sometimes put it. (Not all transgender people are comfortable with this analogy, fearing that it complicates the public discourse and undermines their movement’s drive for recognition.) The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.

For therians, “finding yourself” — that nebulous ideal promoted by the self-help industry — is obligatory. Although discovery may bring relief, it does not help with the bigger question: why am I this way? Science doesn’t provide many answers, so they can only speculate. Therianthropy may be a developmental response to early trauma or a childhood fixation on animals, or it may be a result of abnormal brain wiring. People of a spiritual inclination might think of it in terms of reincarnation or a “misplaced soul”.

In psychiatry, therianthropy is often erroneously considered to be synonymous with clinical lycanthropy — a condition related to schizophrenia, where delusions and hallucinations convince a patient that they have transformed into an animal. In her book Unthinkable, Helen Thomson describes meeting a lycanthrope who periodically believes he has turned into a tiger; her interview with him was cut short when he suddenly started growling and threatening to attack her, a relapse his doctors blamed on his failure to take his anti-psychotic medication.

But therians are not delusional or psychotic. Their animalistic feelings are a perpetual feature of their lives and are not alleviated by medication. They are aware, often to their profound disappointment, that they can never transform into animals. The medical profession’s impulse to diagnose them as lycanthropes has less to do with clinical evidence than the age-old tendency to pathologise behaviours and conditions that challenge social norms. The most we can say about the medical status of therians is that they are neurological outliers — hardly a signal of illness.

In 2019 Helen Clegg, a psychologist at the University of Buckingham, led the first comprehensive investigation into the well-being and mental health of therians. She recruited 112 across a broad range of ages, genders, ethnicities and species. Among them were wolves, foxes, dragons, birds, a snake, a shark and a couple of dinosaurs. Clegg’s team found that a disproportionate number of them had been diagnosed with autism (7.69%, compared with 1.5% in the general US population), though it is not clear how the two conditions could be linked. They also found that, compared with a control group, many therians struggle with relationships and social skills. This could be due to cognitive factors, or it could be because social taboos around therianthropy make it difficult to talk about. When you are forced to hide your true nature, communicating with others can be a challenge.

Their study also noted that many of the therians displayed “schizotypal” personality traits, such as a tendency to have unusual perceptual experiences. But these therians mostly found their experiences enriching rather than distressing. Clegg suggests that this is because they have found a way to integrate their fantastical thoughts into a coherent narrative that allows them to make sense of the way they feel. The therians in Clegg’s study scored just as highly as non-therians on several standard measures of psychological well-being, including personal growth, purpose in life and self-acceptance. The researchers concluded: “The findings suggest that therians are functioning well.”

Azi, a Mexican wolf living in Tennessee, experiences altered states of consciousness around 30 times a day. Therian friends of his told me that his experience is more extreme than anyone they know — for much of the time, he is more wolf than human. When we initially corresponded, he was apprehensive, fearing negative publicity; when we finally spoke via video call, he was open, eloquent and precise. His perceptual changes arrive suddenly and can pass just as quickly. When they happen, he says, “the human part of me is turned off. Mentally, I’m gone. The wolf mindset is running this body… It’s very dissociative.” He often finds himself growling, snarling, down on all fours, walking on his toes or, if the opportunity presents itself, chasing deer. It can be physically exhausting. Towards the end of our video call, my cat Cecil jumped up onto my laptop and started nuzzling the screen. Azi looked away and appeared to disengage for a moment. When I asked him about this, he admitted that as a wolf, few things are more inflammatory than being stared at by a cat. He has to contend with provocations like this whenever he goes out in public — a loud noise, a fleeing animal, a bothersome human. He must always be on his guard to stop himself shifting to wolf.

The reality of therianthropy can be hard to live with. Elizabeth Fein, a clinical psychologist who has worked closely with Kathy Gerbasi, observed that acceptance of therianthropy often brings sadness or a sense of estrangement. “It’s like, ‘I’m always going to be different, I’m always going to be kind of separate from humanity. I’m never going to have the right body.’” The scale of the challenge that therians I interviewed face in trying to reconcile their human bodies with their animal minds may be partly a function of the culture in which they live. In the West, for much of the past two millennia, we have considered ourselves distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom, elevated by cognition, intelligence, language, morality and culture. The Christian God granted humans “dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth”, and philosophers from Aristotle to Kant have emphasised our superiority over nature.

But over the tens of thousands of years of human existence, the line separating us and other has not always been so well-defined. Many cultures recognise animals as ancestors. A popular Tibetan creation myth maintains that people are descended from a meditating monkey, while in Turkic mythology people originated from a she-wolf named Asena. Meanwhile, stories about people who “shape-shift” between human and animal form have persisted throughout recorded history.

A world in which animals were treated as human and humans were treated as animals would be a lot easier for therians to live in. Their experience and their psychology are so different to most people’s that they often feel profoundly isolated. “Our lives would be immeasurably improved if people accepted it, if it wasn’t considered strange,” BearX told me. Thankfully, therians have each other. The community’s origins lie in the Nineties message boards of an online werewolf fan group called alt.horror.werewolves, and it has since evolved into a vibrant network of discussion forums and advice boards, with thousands of active participants.

Therians do disagree — about the causes of therianthropy, the distinction between therians and otherkin, and whether it is appropriate to discuss the sexual feelings some therians have towards animals. Nevertheless, Caesar the coyote told me that his introduction to the community was “unquestionably one of the happiest moments of my life: finding out that you’re not alone”. Blayz, who spent years trying to figure out his strange canine sensations, came close to dismissing them as “the delusions of a madman, nothing more than a side-effect of mental illness”. When he discovered that he wasn’t the only one who felt this way, it was revelatory. “So many of my own experiences and conclusions were echoed by this group of real people out there in the world.”

“Therians are really weird,” one of the coyotes says to me in a moment of exasperation. But in certain cultures, and in certain eras, they have been regarded as less weird — and among other therians, their behaviour is absolutely normal. Most therians want to be accepted by the wider world. In the meantime, it’s reassuring for them to always be accepted by their own. Life looks different when you’re part of a pack — whether you’re a bear, a coyote, a leopard, a dinosaur or a dragon.

 

This is an edited extract from Fans: A Journey Into the Psychology of Belonging, out 11th May.


Michael Bond is a writer specialising in human behaviour. He is a former editor and reporter at New Scientist. His latest book is Fans: A Journey Into the Psychology of Belonging.

michaelshawbond

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Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Why are we taking these immature narcissists seriously?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Well, quite. ‘Loonies’ was a perfectly good word, but use it at work and you’ll get cancelled. Now it’s ‘outliers’. So, ‘outliers’ will become the new pejorative.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

I also wonder how many mind altering substances some of the interviewees have imbibed.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

I don’t mind sticking with ‘loonies’ as long as it offends the woke scum.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

You obviously don’t realize that saying nasty things about other people just reveals your own nasty mentality that you feel the need to project onto others.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

You obviously don’t realize that saying nasty things about other people just reveals your own nasty mentality that you feel the need to project onto others.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

I also wonder how many mind altering substances some of the interviewees have imbibed.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

I don’t mind sticking with ‘loonies’ as long as it offends the woke scum.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Perhaps for the same reason we take men, who now want a gynecologist exam, seriously. If anything goes, anything will go.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Because you knows and I know that we’re seeing the beginnings of the next craze. Before you know it, there will be tweetmobs of wolf people howling down authors who limit their stories to human characters, demanding their own bathrooms and their own Furry Studies degree programs in the three or four liberal arts colleges that still dare to stay open.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alan Gore
Harkon Grimm
Harkon Grimm
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Gore

There is no “next craze”, this stuff is old, older than you and I.
And we already have a Furry study degree programme, we just call it “engineering” 😉

Harkon Grimm
Harkon Grimm
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Gore

There is no “next craze”, this stuff is old, older than you and I.
And we already have a Furry study degree programme, we just call it “engineering” 😉

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

It’s ludicrous. Are we meant to take this seriously ?

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Are we sure this isn’t another of those Pluckrose / Lindsay / Boghossian hoaxes?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

If only!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

If only!

Dulle Griet
Dulle Griet
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I’m guessing a lot of therians think they’re bats, because therianthropy sounds like a bat byproduct to me – the kind that accumulates underneath a bat colony.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Well, quite. ‘Loonies’ was a perfectly good word, but use it at work and you’ll get cancelled. Now it’s ‘outliers’. So, ‘outliers’ will become the new pejorative.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Perhaps for the same reason we take men, who now want a gynecologist exam, seriously. If anything goes, anything will go.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Because you knows and I know that we’re seeing the beginnings of the next craze. Before you know it, there will be tweetmobs of wolf people howling down authors who limit their stories to human characters, demanding their own bathrooms and their own Furry Studies degree programs in the three or four liberal arts colleges that still dare to stay open.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alan Gore
Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

It’s ludicrous. Are we meant to take this seriously ?

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Are we sure this isn’t another of those Pluckrose / Lindsay / Boghossian hoaxes?

Dulle Griet
Dulle Griet
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I’m guessing a lot of therians think they’re bats, because therianthropy sounds like a bat byproduct to me – the kind that accumulates underneath a bat colony.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Why are we taking these immature narcissists seriously?

J Mo
J Mo
1 year ago

“The comparison is often made by therians themselves, a minority of whom are transgender as well as “trans-species”, as they sometimes put it. (Not all transgender people are comfortable with this analogy, fearing that it complicates the public discourse and undermines their movement’s drive for recognition.) The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.”

Trans people don’t like the analogy because it’s on the nose and don’t want their preferred narrative being ‘complicated’ by dissenters. Because you cannot change ‘gender’ (weasel word) or s*x.

And how would Caeser the coyote know how a human thinks?

Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
1 year ago
Reply to  J Mo

Also, it is not possible to change sex any more than it is possible to change species.

Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
1 year ago
Reply to  J Mo

Also, it is not possible to change sex any more than it is possible to change species.

J Mo
J Mo
1 year ago

“The comparison is often made by therians themselves, a minority of whom are transgender as well as “trans-species”, as they sometimes put it. (Not all transgender people are comfortable with this analogy, fearing that it complicates the public discourse and undermines their movement’s drive for recognition.) The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.”

Trans people don’t like the analogy because it’s on the nose and don’t want their preferred narrative being ‘complicated’ by dissenters. Because you cannot change ‘gender’ (weasel word) or s*x.

And how would Caeser the coyote know how a human thinks?

Drew Gibson
Drew Gibson
1 year ago

‘Neurological outliers’? How can this condition be anything other than a psychological disorder? As such, it deserves our sympathy but certainly not our affirmation. They are not ‘animals trapped in human bodies’. They are human beings with real problems
‘Therians are not delusional.’ Really? Unless ‘delusional’ has a technical meaning that I’m not aware of, how can they be anything else?

Last edited 1 year ago by Drew Gibson
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew Gibson

A trans chipmunk is a chipmunk! You had better get in line.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew Gibson

As with the trannies, the vast majority of them will just be attention-seekers.

Persephone
Persephone
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew Gibson

Yup. It sounds like a lot of undiagnosed autism. That’s why they felt from an early age as though they were fundamentally different from everyone else around them, and the meaning they made of this sense of difference and alienation was so off. And no, you cannot change your sex just like you can’t change your species.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew Gibson

A trans chipmunk is a chipmunk! You had better get in line.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew Gibson

As with the trannies, the vast majority of them will just be attention-seekers.

Persephone
Persephone
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew Gibson

Yup. It sounds like a lot of undiagnosed autism. That’s why they felt from an early age as though they were fundamentally different from everyone else around them, and the meaning they made of this sense of difference and alienation was so off. And no, you cannot change your sex just like you can’t change your species.

Drew Gibson
Drew Gibson
1 year ago

‘Neurological outliers’? How can this condition be anything other than a psychological disorder? As such, it deserves our sympathy but certainly not our affirmation. They are not ‘animals trapped in human bodies’. They are human beings with real problems
‘Therians are not delusional.’ Really? Unless ‘delusional’ has a technical meaning that I’m not aware of, how can they be anything else?

Last edited 1 year ago by Drew Gibson
Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

It seems, therians, like people who believe that they have lived past lives are never something humdrum. You’ll, I bet, never find a therian fruit fly, dung beetle, slug or crab ( NOT of the sea going variety). I, myself, believe that I am a bull elephant, which, trust me, has caused no end of surprises, or issues, as I attempt to mount my chosen mate. Attempts, likewise, to procreate with my ‘actual’ species (elephants) has left them distinctly unimpressed, as if I was hardly there at all. Not all sexual encounters are quite so disappointing though, my friend Catherine (she’s really Great), is also a fellow (is that a misgendering ?) therian, only she believes herself to be a horse, and being a powerful, wealthy, sort of individual has gone to some lengths, as it were, to ensure that she is ‘fully’ fulfilled.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Indeed. Just like all those people with ‘former lives’ in which they were all princesses or mighty warriors, but never downtrodden peasants.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

If you were a descendant of slaves in a former life, would that get you a place in line at the reparations tent?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

If you were a descendant of slaves in a former life, would that get you a place in line at the reparations tent?

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Indeed. Just like all those people with ‘former lives’ in which they were all princesses or mighty warriors, but never downtrodden peasants.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

It seems, therians, like people who believe that they have lived past lives are never something humdrum. You’ll, I bet, never find a therian fruit fly, dung beetle, slug or crab ( NOT of the sea going variety). I, myself, believe that I am a bull elephant, which, trust me, has caused no end of surprises, or issues, as I attempt to mount my chosen mate. Attempts, likewise, to procreate with my ‘actual’ species (elephants) has left them distinctly unimpressed, as if I was hardly there at all. Not all sexual encounters are quite so disappointing though, my friend Catherine (she’s really Great), is also a fellow (is that a misgendering ?) therian, only she believes herself to be a horse, and being a powerful, wealthy, sort of individual has gone to some lengths, as it were, to ensure that she is ‘fully’ fulfilled.

Tina Lennon
Tina Lennon
1 year ago

Utter madness. We even have a name for them!! Next we will be affirming them and adding their missing tails!! I despair of this world that we are encouraging mental illness. Social media and the therapists and scientists have a lot to answer for.

Harkon Grimm
Harkon Grimm
1 year ago
Reply to  Tina Lennon

The very designation “Therian” is older than social media. Humans who believed themselves to be animals or attempted to turn themselves into animals are as old as written history.

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Harkon Grimm

True but now it will be come the next “right”, the next fad.

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Harkon Grimm

True but now it will be come the next “right”, the next fad.

Harkon Grimm
Harkon Grimm
1 year ago
Reply to  Tina Lennon

The very designation “Therian” is older than social media. Humans who believed themselves to be animals or attempted to turn themselves into animals are as old as written history.

Tina Lennon
Tina Lennon
1 year ago

Utter madness. We even have a name for them!! Next we will be affirming them and adding their missing tails!! I despair of this world that we are encouraging mental illness. Social media and the therapists and scientists have a lot to answer for.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago

I’m reminded of the Monty Python sketch about men who thought themselves Mice – dressed like Giant Mice, felt irresistible cravings for cheese and met in secret.

How did this nonsense become a “thing”? that social scientists study? that someone has to take seriously and write about?

I agree with comment questioning whether this is April 1.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Who is funding it? How much did Unherd pay for the article? There is a glut of ‘academics’ desperate for novel research projects.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aphrodite Rises
Edward Yurco
Edward Yurco
1 year ago

Unherd is increasingly herd.

Edward Yurco
Edward Yurco
1 year ago

Unherd is increasingly herd.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Yes.
Monty Python looks more and more prescient every passing week – eg King Arthur in the Holy Grail,
Dennis the Peasant: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
Arthur: Be quiet!
Dennis the Peasant: You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!”

Angelique Todesco
Angelique Todesco
1 year ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

Oh that is just so perfect, my goodness Monty Python went to utterly absurd ‘it could never happen’ lengths, yet here we are fulfilling more and more of their ridiculous plot lines. I wonder if that is how Nostradamus started out.

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

One of my favourite MP scenes! Thanks for sharing.

Angelique Todesco
Angelique Todesco
1 year ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

Oh that is just so perfect, my goodness Monty Python went to utterly absurd ‘it could never happen’ lengths, yet here we are fulfilling more and more of their ridiculous plot lines. I wonder if that is how Nostradamus started out.

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

One of my favourite MP scenes! Thanks for sharing.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

thanks for reminding me of that Monty P – God that was funny

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Imagine the money to be made in the future with animal affirming surgeries? The aardvark affirming surgery would be very expensive, however.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Who is funding it? How much did Unherd pay for the article? There is a glut of ‘academics’ desperate for novel research projects.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aphrodite Rises
JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Yes.
Monty Python looks more and more prescient every passing week – eg King Arthur in the Holy Grail,
Dennis the Peasant: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
Arthur: Be quiet!
Dennis the Peasant: You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!”

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

thanks for reminding me of that Monty P – God that was funny

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Imagine the money to be made in the future with animal affirming surgeries? The aardvark affirming surgery would be very expensive, however.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago

I’m reminded of the Monty Python sketch about men who thought themselves Mice – dressed like Giant Mice, felt irresistible cravings for cheese and met in secret.

How did this nonsense become a “thing”? that social scientists study? that someone has to take seriously and write about?

I agree with comment questioning whether this is April 1.

Stephen Philip
Stephen Philip
1 year ago

” a disproportionate number of them had been diagnosed with autism… though it is not clear how the two conditions could be linked.”
The link is clear, in light of your next sentence –
“They also found that, compared with a control group, many therians struggle with relationships and social skills.”
Struggling with relationships and having poor social skills is practically the definition of autism. I suspect that people who struggle the most have a combination of narcissism (the desire to be the centre of attention) combined the inability to achieve such an outcome, except through extremely unconventional behaviour of some kind.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Philip

I agree. People on the autism spectrum have a tendency to get fixed ideas, fixations, monomanias.

Also, even if it isn’t full-on, as in clinical, narcissism, there’s definitely self-aggrandisement at play. Their fantasy selves are all animals that could be considered magnificent in some way – strong, large, powerful, majestic. Even the non-existent ones are always dragons and gryphons etc.

Nobody seems to have an inner gerbil!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Funny.Or a laughing Hyena or a …………

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Funny.Or a laughing Hyena or a …………

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Philip

I agree. People on the autism spectrum have a tendency to get fixed ideas, fixations, monomanias.

Also, even if it isn’t full-on, as in clinical, narcissism, there’s definitely self-aggrandisement at play. Their fantasy selves are all animals that could be considered magnificent in some way – strong, large, powerful, majestic. Even the non-existent ones are always dragons and gryphons etc.

Nobody seems to have an inner gerbil!

Stephen Philip
Stephen Philip
1 year ago

” a disproportionate number of them had been diagnosed with autism… though it is not clear how the two conditions could be linked.”
The link is clear, in light of your next sentence –
“They also found that, compared with a control group, many therians struggle with relationships and social skills.”
Struggling with relationships and having poor social skills is practically the definition of autism. I suspect that people who struggle the most have a combination of narcissism (the desire to be the centre of attention) combined the inability to achieve such an outcome, except through extremely unconventional behaviour of some kind.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I’m going to disagree with the majority of comments. I welcome this article by Unherd, which provides an insight into a neurological condition with historical precedent, and therefore worthy of study and discussion.
The links with transgenderism are interesting, since there’s nothing inherently wrong with someone feeling they’re a different gender to the body they were born with, providing they’re not trying to impose their wish to lead a different life on other people, thus trampling on their rights. Similarly, why not just live and let live with therians, providing they’re not going around attacking anyone; indeed, most of them seem to be leading otherwise exemplary lives.
Many of the comments are just childish, and rather than asking Unherd to do better, i’d suggest those who comment unintelligently should do better.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Why did you say “neurological condition” instead of “psychological condition” (or better yet “spiritual condition”)? I think this choice of words is highly significant – and tells us much about the civilizational path that has gotten us to this point.
And of course there’s something “inherently wrong” with feeling like you’re in the wrong body (sex- or species-wise). It generates negative outcomes for the individual and those in relationship with him.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

To feel body parts where none exist is not as biologically improbable as it sounds. Studies of people born with missing arms and legs have shown that limbs that have always been absent can still be represented in the sensory and motor regions of the brain. The psychologist Ronald Melzack, an expert on phantom pain, proposed that the brain continuously generates a pattern of impulses that indicate that the body is intact and “unequivocally one’s own”, even if it isn’t. This pattern, which Melzack called a “neurosignature”, is genetically determined and characteristic of each individual. It is not inconceivable that someone born with an atypical neurosignature might experience a body that is out of kilter with the one they possess. So far, no one has systematically examined the brains of therians to see if their neural patterns reflect what they feel.
Humans have evolved from much more ancient creatures, as you well know. Rather than seeking to dismiss the inherent neurology which evolved alongside physical characteristics, i prefer to maintain a “spirit” of enquiry. We have a coccyx, for example, which is the remnants of when we had tails. Those who feel as if they have tails may be experiencing a leftover neurological effect from the part of the brain where the sensation of having a tail developed.
I found the knee-jerk dismissiveness of something far from fully understood within many of the responses unintelligent, it’s as simple as that.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Or is the coccyx the precursor to our future tails?
There was a time when otherwise well-functioning members of society reported seeing wood nymphs and sprites as they wandered the dark forests of England. It wasn’t advances in neurology that ended that phenomenon, and it won’t be advances in neurology that end this one.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Do you know that for a fact?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Do you know that for a fact?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I agree, Steve.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Or is the coccyx the precursor to our future tails?
There was a time when otherwise well-functioning members of society reported seeing wood nymphs and sprites as they wandered the dark forests of England. It wasn’t advances in neurology that ended that phenomenon, and it won’t be advances in neurology that end this one.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I agree, Steve.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Or her.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

To feel body parts where none exist is not as biologically improbable as it sounds. Studies of people born with missing arms and legs have shown that limbs that have always been absent can still be represented in the sensory and motor regions of the brain. The psychologist Ronald Melzack, an expert on phantom pain, proposed that the brain continuously generates a pattern of impulses that indicate that the body is intact and “unequivocally one’s own”, even if it isn’t. This pattern, which Melzack called a “neurosignature”, is genetically determined and characteristic of each individual. It is not inconceivable that someone born with an atypical neurosignature might experience a body that is out of kilter with the one they possess. So far, no one has systematically examined the brains of therians to see if their neural patterns reflect what they feel.
Humans have evolved from much more ancient creatures, as you well know. Rather than seeking to dismiss the inherent neurology which evolved alongside physical characteristics, i prefer to maintain a “spirit” of enquiry. We have a coccyx, for example, which is the remnants of when we had tails. Those who feel as if they have tails may be experiencing a leftover neurological effect from the part of the brain where the sensation of having a tail developed.
I found the knee-jerk dismissiveness of something far from fully understood within many of the responses unintelligent, it’s as simple as that.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Or her.

T Bone
T Bone
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Let me ask you this- Why is the language used by transitioners virtually identical to the language of Post-Modern Gender Philosophers like Judith Butler?

Could it be that exposure to Gnostic-Hermetic Ideologies plants the seed in someone’s mind or do we have to automatically dismiss the notion of learned performativity and simply affirm?

The Gnostic Doctrine outlines that as the result of a cosmic accident, humans are trapped in an evil material world in a body they didn’t want and only those with Gnosis (absolute knowledge) understand this mystery. But the Gnostics are nihilistic with no plan. The Hermetics on the other hand use Alchemy to transform the Is into the Ought. The Marxists and “Applied” Postmodernists all use the Hegelian principles as a form of Praxis to transcend the hopeless material world to bring it toward universal Oneness.

Could this play any role or should we just assume all those “trapped in bodies” have never run into a therapist that studied these doctrines?

Last edited 1 year ago by T Bone
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well said – I am disappointed with many of the comments on here, I expect better of Unherd readers. This is clearly a genuine dysphoric condition and, as I understand it, is far far older than the transgender issue. I found the article fascinating – about a group of people I had no knowledge of, outside the kink groups of “furries” and “otherkin”. These people seem remarkably well adjusted, given their dysphoria, especially compared to many trans people who never seem to be happy whether they have transitioned or not. At least therians seem to understand it is impossible to actually become the animal they feel an affinity to, and there was nothing to suggest any of them would want surgery.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I agree, Steve.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Why did you say “neurological condition” instead of “psychological condition” (or better yet “spiritual condition”)? I think this choice of words is highly significant – and tells us much about the civilizational path that has gotten us to this point.
And of course there’s something “inherently wrong” with feeling like you’re in the wrong body (sex- or species-wise). It generates negative outcomes for the individual and those in relationship with him.

T Bone
T Bone
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Let me ask you this- Why is the language used by transitioners virtually identical to the language of Post-Modern Gender Philosophers like Judith Butler?

Could it be that exposure to Gnostic-Hermetic Ideologies plants the seed in someone’s mind or do we have to automatically dismiss the notion of learned performativity and simply affirm?

The Gnostic Doctrine outlines that as the result of a cosmic accident, humans are trapped in an evil material world in a body they didn’t want and only those with Gnosis (absolute knowledge) understand this mystery. But the Gnostics are nihilistic with no plan. The Hermetics on the other hand use Alchemy to transform the Is into the Ought. The Marxists and “Applied” Postmodernists all use the Hegelian principles as a form of Praxis to transcend the hopeless material world to bring it toward universal Oneness.

Could this play any role or should we just assume all those “trapped in bodies” have never run into a therapist that studied these doctrines?

Last edited 1 year ago by T Bone
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well said – I am disappointed with many of the comments on here, I expect better of Unherd readers. This is clearly a genuine dysphoric condition and, as I understand it, is far far older than the transgender issue. I found the article fascinating – about a group of people I had no knowledge of, outside the kink groups of “furries” and “otherkin”. These people seem remarkably well adjusted, given their dysphoria, especially compared to many trans people who never seem to be happy whether they have transitioned or not. At least therians seem to understand it is impossible to actually become the animal they feel an affinity to, and there was nothing to suggest any of them would want surgery.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I agree, Steve.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I’m going to disagree with the majority of comments. I welcome this article by Unherd, which provides an insight into a neurological condition with historical precedent, and therefore worthy of study and discussion.
The links with transgenderism are interesting, since there’s nothing inherently wrong with someone feeling they’re a different gender to the body they were born with, providing they’re not trying to impose their wish to lead a different life on other people, thus trampling on their rights. Similarly, why not just live and let live with therians, providing they’re not going around attacking anyone; indeed, most of them seem to be leading otherwise exemplary lives.
Many of the comments are just childish, and rather than asking Unherd to do better, i’d suggest those who comment unintelligently should do better.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

For both the people who believe that they are bears, and the people who believe that they are the other ‘gender’, the most simple and pragmatic response would be, ‘No you’re not’. Neither are possible, so should not be indulged. ‘Cruel to be kind’ might be unfashionable but sometimes it is necessary.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

For both the people who believe that they are bears, and the people who believe that they are the other ‘gender’, the most simple and pragmatic response would be, ‘No you’re not’. Neither are possible, so should not be indulged. ‘Cruel to be kind’ might be unfashionable but sometimes it is necessary.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 year ago

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. What a load of codswallop.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago

Try both. Laugh like a hyena, cry wolf, and crocodile tears. The experience might give you a clue about your real self. In extremis, if none of these works, give yourself a good wallop, and you might find out you’re really a cod.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago

Try both. Laugh like a hyena, cry wolf, and crocodile tears. The experience might give you a clue about your real self. In extremis, if none of these works, give yourself a good wallop, and you might find out you’re really a cod.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 year ago

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. What a load of codswallop.

Grace Note
Grace Note
1 year ago

I found this really interesting and a little moving in places. Yes, I’ll be mocked by some commentators but … They are not demanding we affirm their beliefs and some aspects, the phantom tail/wing/whatever are not dissimilar to recognised neurological issues that amputees, for example, deal with. Mostly, these are people who are aware of their oddness and just looking for others like them. Yes, I’m amazed that this is a thing but when compared to transgenderism at least they all understand that whatever they feel/believe they are, as one “coyote” put it, really weird.

I’m not surprised that the trans community don’t want to be aligned with them, not least because they, therians, are accepting of their beliefs, not demanding we accept them and not hating on others for getting their species wrong.

Last edited 1 year ago by Grace Note
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Grace Note

Well said – I think I have found maybe three comments on here, excluding my own, that are not either nasty, childish or just plain silly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Exactly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Exactly.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Grace Note

Well said – I think I have found maybe three comments on here, excluding my own, that are not either nasty, childish or just plain silly.

Grace Note
Grace Note
1 year ago

I found this really interesting and a little moving in places. Yes, I’ll be mocked by some commentators but … They are not demanding we affirm their beliefs and some aspects, the phantom tail/wing/whatever are not dissimilar to recognised neurological issues that amputees, for example, deal with. Mostly, these are people who are aware of their oddness and just looking for others like them. Yes, I’m amazed that this is a thing but when compared to transgenderism at least they all understand that whatever they feel/believe they are, as one “coyote” put it, really weird.

I’m not surprised that the trans community don’t want to be aligned with them, not least because they, therians, are accepting of their beliefs, not demanding we accept them and not hating on others for getting their species wrong.

Last edited 1 year ago by Grace Note
Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Is it April 1st?

AL Tinkcombe
AL Tinkcombe
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

What else? The piece has to be a sendup. Maybe the editors missed the deadline and decided to drop it in anyway. Kudos to the Herd for some brilliant riffs!

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Tinkcombe
AL Tinkcombe
AL Tinkcombe
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

What else? The piece has to be a sendup. Maybe the editors missed the deadline and decided to drop it in anyway. Kudos to the Herd for some brilliant riffs!

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Tinkcombe
Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Is it April 1st?

Bob Downing
Bob Downing
1 year ago

I am not surprised that one study classed therians as having some form of autism. People with some degree of autism also exhibit feelings of being “different”, social awkwardness and so on. Neurological sciences are busy trying to keep up with each other, and haven’t yet agreed on what to call autism. Recognition is still a long way off, and general understanding even further away. Throw both into the melting pot along with gender and “identity” (etc) and we’re talking about a whole different type of medical science, as significant as the difference between ‘normal’ physics and quantum physics.
One day it will be routine to diagnose an autistic, transgender therian (using quite different wording!), but only when “post-modern science” has stopped fighting for little bits of fame and glory, and resumed the calmer behaviour of the Enlightenment.

Bob Downing
Bob Downing
1 year ago

I am not surprised that one study classed therians as having some form of autism. People with some degree of autism also exhibit feelings of being “different”, social awkwardness and so on. Neurological sciences are busy trying to keep up with each other, and haven’t yet agreed on what to call autism. Recognition is still a long way off, and general understanding even further away. Throw both into the melting pot along with gender and “identity” (etc) and we’re talking about a whole different type of medical science, as significant as the difference between ‘normal’ physics and quantum physics.
One day it will be routine to diagnose an autistic, transgender therian (using quite different wording!), but only when “post-modern science” has stopped fighting for little bits of fame and glory, and resumed the calmer behaviour of the Enlightenment.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago

This piece is frankly desperate. Also: ‘The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.’ Not a true opposition. The trans extremists do not claim to be changing gender, but changing sex. Which is no more possible than changing species.
More fundamentally, why is this piece of tenth-rate pseudo-psychology (‘therians are not delusional’) on UnHerd? I expect quality thinking on here, not jargon, fad and shallowness.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coralie Palmer
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

But here we are having read the article and commented on it. These stories are certainly seductive and compelling like a train wreck. A must read, and Unherd knows what sells.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

But here we are having read the article and commented on it. These stories are certainly seductive and compelling like a train wreck. A must read, and Unherd knows what sells.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago

This piece is frankly desperate. Also: ‘The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.’ Not a true opposition. The trans extremists do not claim to be changing gender, but changing sex. Which is no more possible than changing species.
More fundamentally, why is this piece of tenth-rate pseudo-psychology (‘therians are not delusional’) on UnHerd? I expect quality thinking on here, not jargon, fad and shallowness.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coralie Palmer
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

This extremely idiotic trend for using “they” to refer to a single person – person, deluded or not – makes my teeth itch. He, she, or the person’s name. That’s it.
As for the substance of the article, people are free to believe anything they wish about themselves. The rest of us need not be involved.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

To my mind, it smacks of the Royal ‘we’. I am more than one. We are not amused.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

We’re involved if we lose our job over getting a pronoun wrong.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

… which actually means getting a pronoun right.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

… which actually means getting a pronoun right.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

But you are involved because you read all about it and commented.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

To my mind, it smacks of the Royal ‘we’. I am more than one. We are not amused.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

We’re involved if we lose our job over getting a pronoun wrong.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

But you are involved because you read all about it and commented.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

This extremely idiotic trend for using “they” to refer to a single person – person, deluded or not – makes my teeth itch. He, she, or the person’s name. That’s it.
As for the substance of the article, people are free to believe anything they wish about themselves. The rest of us need not be involved.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

It’s crazy, but no more so than legions of grown men crying with joy because a group of 11 millionaires managed to push a pig-skin ball into a net. etc etc etc

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Quite true. Or dressing up as an animal on Sunday, paying $500 to get in and spending $12 on a pint of lite beer to watch 11 over sized men chase after an oval pig skin in freezing weather.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Yes it is. Considerably more crazy.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Quite true. Or dressing up as an animal on Sunday, paying $500 to get in and spending $12 on a pint of lite beer to watch 11 over sized men chase after an oval pig skin in freezing weather.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Yes it is. Considerably more crazy.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

It’s crazy, but no more so than legions of grown men crying with joy because a group of 11 millionaires managed to push a pig-skin ball into a net. etc etc etc

Keith Payne
Keith Payne
1 year ago

Interesting comments, a lot very quick to sharply and somewhat unkindly judge. If therians want to go quietly about their business feeling not quite human, that’s fine by me. We are a diverse species and long may it remain so. Until some AI nutters change us into robots or we die out, we remain Homo sapiens, an animal – one that is very good at absorbing the feelings of other beings.

Keith Payne
Keith Payne
1 year ago

Interesting comments, a lot very quick to sharply and somewhat unkindly judge. If therians want to go quietly about their business feeling not quite human, that’s fine by me. We are a diverse species and long may it remain so. Until some AI nutters change us into robots or we die out, we remain Homo sapiens, an animal – one that is very good at absorbing the feelings of other beings.

Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
1 year ago

“The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.”

Well you can change your gender, yes, because gender is a made-up thing. You can’t change your sex, though, any more than you can change your species.

I’m really starting to be embarrassed by my diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder… this sort of nonsense has taken a fast hold in the ‘autism community’ (which is a nonsense in itself, actually, that a pack of terminally online ‘activists’ can claim to speak for a diverse section of the population).

Last edited 1 year ago by Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
1 year ago

“The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.”

Well you can change your gender, yes, because gender is a made-up thing. You can’t change your sex, though, any more than you can change your species.

I’m really starting to be embarrassed by my diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder… this sort of nonsense has taken a fast hold in the ‘autism community’ (which is a nonsense in itself, actually, that a pack of terminally online ‘activists’ can claim to speak for a diverse section of the population).

Last edited 1 year ago by Lucy Browne
Vincent R
Vincent R
1 year ago

This is meant as parody, right?
Nowadays it can sometimes be hard to be sure

Vincent R
Vincent R
1 year ago

This is meant as parody, right?
Nowadays it can sometimes be hard to be sure

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
1 year ago

“a disproportionate number of them had been diagnosed with autism (7.69%, compared with 1.5% in the general US population)”.

I would suggest that this is a massive underestimate. As with trans identifying individuals, the underlying sentiment is often a sense of ‘otherness’. The feeling of being ‘different’ can be interpreted according to whatever (ironically) is socially/culturally sanctioned at the time.

Hopefully the medical establishment will show less enthusiasm for transforming people into animals than they did for transitioning children with ASDs from one sex to the other.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
1 year ago

“a disproportionate number of them had been diagnosed with autism (7.69%, compared with 1.5% in the general US population)”.

I would suggest that this is a massive underestimate. As with trans identifying individuals, the underlying sentiment is often a sense of ‘otherness’. The feeling of being ‘different’ can be interpreted according to whatever (ironically) is socially/culturally sanctioned at the time.

Hopefully the medical establishment will show less enthusiasm for transforming people into animals than they did for transitioning children with ASDs from one sex to the other.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
1 year ago

Sounds like the conflation of disassociation and delusion.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
1 year ago

Sounds like the conflation of disassociation and delusion.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago

This was a really interesting article – I had never heard of therians, although I have heard of otherkin and furries, both of which I believe to be some kind of kink rather than actual dysphoria. I am not sure why some of you are so doubtful about these people – they clearly differentiate from many trans people in that they acknowledge that they are not really animals and can never become an animal, regardless of the fact that they display more animal traits than the average human. We are, after all, descended from animals so why should this kind of dysphoria be so hard to believe? I am glad they have a supportive community around them – it must be incredibly difficult to feel that you are in the wrong body, my main issue with a lot of trans people is my lack of belief that they really do think they are in the wrong body, as opposed to it being autogynephilia or some similar sexual kink. All humans still display at least some animal traits leading back to our more primitive ancestors – we would never have survived as a species if we did not have these traits.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago

This was a really interesting article – I had never heard of therians, although I have heard of otherkin and furries, both of which I believe to be some kind of kink rather than actual dysphoria. I am not sure why some of you are so doubtful about these people – they clearly differentiate from many trans people in that they acknowledge that they are not really animals and can never become an animal, regardless of the fact that they display more animal traits than the average human. We are, after all, descended from animals so why should this kind of dysphoria be so hard to believe? I am glad they have a supportive community around them – it must be incredibly difficult to feel that you are in the wrong body, my main issue with a lot of trans people is my lack of belief that they really do think they are in the wrong body, as opposed to it being autogynephilia or some similar sexual kink. All humans still display at least some animal traits leading back to our more primitive ancestors – we would never have survived as a species if we did not have these traits.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nikki Hayes
Kevin Hansen
Kevin Hansen
1 year ago

The guy who thinks he is a bear – anyone want to guess where he goes to do a number 2?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Hansen

The Vatican.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Hansen

The Vatican.

Kevin Hansen
Kevin Hansen
1 year ago

The guy who thinks he is a bear – anyone want to guess where he goes to do a number 2?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

Why several comments disappeared? Particularly ones questioning that this really is a thing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

Why several comments disappeared? Particularly ones questioning that this really is a thing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alphonse Pfarti
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Slicing off private parts is so last week. “No Medicaid funding for tail grafts, no peace!”

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Slicing off private parts is so last week. “No Medicaid funding for tail grafts, no peace!”

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago

“…except furries daddy, they are just weird”.
“Yeah they give everyone the creeps, all my friends think they are scary and unsettling”.

From the mouths of my children.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Have you come across many “furry daddies”? I’ve never even seen one.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Have you come across many “furry daddies”? I’ve never even seen one.

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago

“…except furries daddy, they are just weird”.
“Yeah they give everyone the creeps, all my friends think they are scary and unsettling”.

From the mouths of my children.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

I’m curious to know if when the Therians identify as an animal if it’s the same sex animal as they are a human.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

I’m curious to know if when the Therians identify as an animal if it’s the same sex animal as they are a human.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago

Poor Gregor Samsa, he just *thought* he was a roach

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago

Poor Gregor Samsa, he just *thought* he was a roach

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

If these peopleclaimed to be Napoleon or Julius Caesar, we would simply dismiss them as deluded fantasist.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

How does he react to being in the woods? Is he a Catholic?

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
1 year ago

What a crock of shite! But at least it made me laugh:

“In her book Unthinkable, Helen Thomson describes meeting a lycanthrope who periodically believes he has turned into a tiger; her interview with him was cut short when he suddenly started growling and threatening to attack her, a relapse his doctors blamed on his failure to take his anti-psychotic medication”

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

Has there been a change in the editorial cadre at Unherd?

lin sampson
lin sampson
1 year ago

so i live in south africa on a very small income. i had to choose between the Spectator and unherd for subscriptions, can only afford one. i chose, to my everlasting chagrin Unherd, too many silly stories, few really well known writers, f**k.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago

It feels like a version of those medieval dancing crazes in which thousands bopped themselves to death

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago

It feels like a version of those medieval dancing crazes in which thousands bopped themselves to death

Marie Krylova
Marie Krylova
1 year ago

Are bears aware that they are bears? Do coyotes think about being coyotes? I’ve encountered quite a few of both, and most of them are primarily concerned with rummaging through your trash and stealing your chickens.
They aren’t delusional and should be taken seriously? In that case, BearX has obviously been habituated to humans and therefore it’s the responsibility of the Department of Wildlife to relocate or euthanize him. And shame on his wife for letting a dangerous animal into the house with children present.
Shooting coyotes (the vicious little pests) is legal in most U.S. states year round. Azi the Mexican wolf should avoid the Northern Rockies, as they just opened up wolf hunting.
I kid, of course. These people have never encountered a wild animal in their lives. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that there are very specific behaviors attributed to each of these animals. Bears don’t get engineering degrees; they forage, reproduce, and die. Has this guy even tried to sustain himself on a diet of raw elk, moths, and berries? Or does he dig through the trash while his wife screams at him and tries to bear spray him?
It’s notable that they want to be accepted by the wider world, i.e. people, and not the animals they claim to be. Don’t try to convince me you are a bear. Go convince the mama grizzly with two cubs. Good luck with that.

Marie Krylova
Marie Krylova
1 year ago

Are bears aware that they are bears? Do coyotes think about being coyotes? I’ve encountered quite a few of both, and most of them are primarily concerned with rummaging through your trash and stealing your chickens.
They aren’t delusional and should be taken seriously? In that case, BearX has obviously been habituated to humans and therefore it’s the responsibility of the Department of Wildlife to relocate or euthanize him. And shame on his wife for letting a dangerous animal into the house with children present.
Shooting coyotes (the vicious little pests) is legal in most U.S. states year round. Azi the Mexican wolf should avoid the Northern Rockies, as they just opened up wolf hunting.
I kid, of course. These people have never encountered a wild animal in their lives. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that there are very specific behaviors attributed to each of these animals. Bears don’t get engineering degrees; they forage, reproduce, and die. Has this guy even tried to sustain himself on a diet of raw elk, moths, and berries? Or does he dig through the trash while his wife screams at him and tries to bear spray him?
It’s notable that they want to be accepted by the wider world, i.e. people, and not the animals they claim to be. Don’t try to convince me you are a bear. Go convince the mama grizzly with two cubs. Good luck with that.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
1 year ago

“The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.” IS it obvious, though? How is it any different? Given enough mutilative surgery and drugs, isn’t the fiction of being “trans-species” no more difficult to maintain than “trans-sex”?

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
1 year ago

“The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.” IS it obvious, though? How is it any different? Given enough mutilative surgery and drugs, isn’t the fiction of being “trans-species” no more difficult to maintain than “trans-sex”?

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago

“The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.”
Ah…no you can’t – on both counts. Both are complex mental health conditions, delusions if you will. Saying you are the opposite sex or a cat, doesn’t make it so. If you lop off your breasts or sew on a tail, neither will alter the underlying mental health conditions or make you happy. No thought, word or action will change your gender or make you an animal.

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
1 year ago

“The obvious difference is that while you can change your gender, you cannot do anything about your species.”
Ah…no you can’t – on both counts. Both are complex mental health conditions, delusions if you will. Saying you are the opposite sex or a cat, doesn’t make it so. If you lop off your breasts or sew on a tail, neither will alter the underlying mental health conditions or make you happy. No thought, word or action will change your gender or make you an animal.

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago

Enough of this please. Mental illness need not be further glorified.

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago

Enough of this please. Mental illness need not be further glorified.