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Shape-shifting, a common theme in mythology, folklore, and cults that want to scare their members, describes the change of one thing into another. Shape-shifting is distinct from metamorphosis, which is a long Greek word that speech therapists use to lower their patients' self-esteem; and shifting shape, which is when babies try to cram large, valuable objects into obscure spaces.
edit The beginnings of shape-shifting
Shape-shifting originated with the cavemen, who believed that draping animal skins over one's shoulders imparted characteristics of the beast that provided the hide, transforming the wearer into the actual animal. For example, mammoth skins would fill the wearer with hardiness and durability, saber-tooth cat skins with ferocity, and bear pelts with a hunger for human flesh. Tribes that believed in the latter subsequently became extinct. As civilization arose, followed by religion, it was believed that gods and other deities could stimulate shape-shifting in mortals. This was proven when the teenager was born.
edit Shape-shifting in classical cultures
As civilizations became more complex, so did their mythology containing shape-shifting. In Ancient Greece, a common legend was the raping of innocent mortal women by gods, whose goddesses would then transform the victims into beasts to keep their husbands at home. Shape-shifting was also used to describe homosexuality in Greece, as is the case with Tiresias, who changed his/her sexual orientation twice. The Roman Empire, which copied everything Greek and changed the names to make it look original, adopted many of the shape-shifting myths.
edit Christianity and shape-shifting
Christianity also has its fair share of shape-shifting lore. One story from the Old Testament tells that God turned a woman into a pillar of salt because she looked back at the burning city she was running from. God then picked up the pillar of salt and dropped it into the Living Sea. The pillar dissolved, and the increased salt content in the water changed it into the Dead Sea. However, this incident benefitted local fishermen, as the catch was not only pre-killed but pre-salted.
edit Shape-shifting today
Shape-shifting is surprisingly common today. It is commonplace for people to spontaneously transform into animals, plants, and other organisms or substances. The most common shape-shift is into a pig, also known as obesity.
edit How to avoid spontaneous shape-shifting
Spontaneous shape-shifting (known to scientists as spontaneous shape-shifting), is usually a curse from a higher power and means you have done something terrible to offend him/her. To avoid this, frequently burn incense and offer sacrifices to the Heavens in the form of food, drinks, and kittens. Cut down on salty or sugary foods and exercise regularly. If shape-shifting persists, it may require medical attention.