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Threefold Death

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Within the mythology of Teen Wolf the term "Threefold Death" is attributed to ancient ritual of dark intent.

In the real world, Threefold Death has its roots in Irish Folklore and is thought by modern researchers to have been a genuine form of prehistoric human sacrifice.

Teen Wolf Mythology

In Season 3 of Teen Wolf, a mysterious killer plagues Beacon Hills choosing young victims according to their status; first virgins, then warriors.

Each is found with three distinct fatal wounds

  • Blow to the head
  • Cut throat
  • Strangulation by garrote

Within the show, these threefold deaths are linked to ancient ritual as explained by Stiles Stilinski and Dr. Deaton in the episode Unleashed.

Deaton is very clear that the killer is NOT a Druid which he says translates to “Wise Oak”. He claims the Druids were “philosophers not serial killers”.

Instead he says they are dealing with a “Darach” which he claims means “Dark Oak”.

In all, eight people fell victim to the threefold death including Chemistry Teacher Adrian Harris.

There have been two additional ritualistic murders but the killer did not use Threefold Death and instead used a different method to suffocate them. (see more...)

Real World History

Literature

Modern concepts of the Threefold Death were formed by a type of Irish literature known as “Aided” or “Violent Death" tales.

Almost all of these tales feature the deaths of kings and heroes and follow the same basic narrative.

  • A crime committed against god
  • A prophecy that the guilty party will die the threefold death
  • The guilty dies in the threefold manner foretold.

A good example of these tales is the Aided Diarmata, the story of the death of King Diarmait.

The trope usually involves a seemingly impossible series of events foretold to the intended victim who then takes steps to avoid the prophecy. The reaction to the prophecy, actions taken to avoid their fate, ends up making the prophecy come true.

In the case of Diarmait –

  • He is told a roof beam will fall on him so he removes the beam.
  • He is told his foster son will kill him so he exiles the man.
  • He is told he will die by slaughter, drowning and fire (threefold death).

In the end, while visiting another man’s home, he begins to see the signs of the prophecy.

His roof beam has been recovered and installed in the hall. When he goes to leave he is attacked by his foster son who then sets the hall on fire.

Diarmait crawls inside a barrel full of ale to escape the flames and the beam crashes down on top of the barrel fulfilling all aspects of the prophecies.

Human Sacrifice

Archaeological finds in the United Kingdom and elsewhere suggest there was an ancient real world basis for the fictional accounts.

Researchers believe that human sacrifice practiced by some Indo-European cultures used the method to appease multiple gods at once.

A number of prehistoric bodies found in bogs in northern and western Europe, like the Lindow Man from England, show signs of ritualistic threefold death.

Scholars suggest each of the three killing blows represent a sacrifice to a different god.

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