No, Argentina's President Did Not Adopt a Boy to Keep Him From Turning into a Werewolf

No, Argentina's President Did Not Adopt a Boy to Keep Him From Turning into a Werewolf

Um, what? A newspaper believed that Argentine President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner is keeping her country safe from werewolves by adopting them.

Basically mixing up two distinct tales, The Independent wrote that in Argentinian folklore, the seventh son born to a family will turn into el lobison on the first Friday after his 13th birthday. The tale states that the child will transform at midnight during each full moon, ravaging the countryside before returning to human form. 

Did we mention they feed on excrement, unbaptized babies and flesh of the recently dead? Gruesome. 

MORE: Terrifying Latin American legends — explained

According to The Independent, in the 19th century, the myth was so prominent in Argentina that families would actually abandon their seventh male babies — sometimes even murder them. So, naturally, the president "adopted" them — which has now become a longstanding tradition. 

Except, they later pointed out that this is a very old myth that has nothing to do with the seventh son tradition by the President.

In 1907, the tradition was created that the president would "adopt" the seventh son. It was a custom began by Enrique Brost and Apolonia Holmann, Volga German emigrés from south-eastern Russia. They had asked then-president José Figueroa Alcorta to become godfather to their seventh son.

“The couple wanted to maintain a custom from Czarist Russia, where the Tsar was said to become godfather to seventh sons," a historian told The Guardian. "And Argentina’s president accepted.”

The practice became tradition and was formally decreed in 1973 by President Juan Domingo Peron, and extended to girls as well. 

The "adopted" receive a gold medal and an educational scholarship, as well as become the godson (or daughter) of the president.

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This year, Kirchner adopted the first Jewish recipient of the scholarship and designation — Yair Tawil. (The practice had originally only included Catholics until 2009.)

The president with most godsons was Juan Perón, who had 1,982 over three terms in office. He is followed by another Peronist former president, Carlos Menem, who had 1,136 during the 1990s. Fernández has become presidential godmother to some 700 children since taking office in 2007. Earlier this year, she set another precedent, by making the the daughter of a lesbian couple the first presidential godchild.