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Werewolves of Argentina? President 'adopts' young man in accord with Medieval tradition

Cristina Fernandez via Twitter

 (Cristina Fernandez via Twitter)

Argentina's president has "adopted" a young man – possibly to prevent him from becoming a werewolf.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner introduced her new godson, 21-year-old Yair Tawil via a series of tweets last week.

“It was magical to receive Yair Tawil, the 1st presidential godson in our history that is Jewish,” she wrote on Twitter with a picture with his family.

The visit coincidentally took place during Hanukkah.

This adoption is part of an unusual tradition in the South American country in which the president is obliged to become the godparent to any seventh-born child in a family. 

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According to legend, a seventh-born son is doomed to become “el lobisón” – a werewolf-like beast after his 13th birthday during the full moon – doomed to hunt and kill before turning back into a human.

Fear of the lobisón was rampant in 19th century Argentina, and some families went as far as abandoning or murdering their seventh-born child. As a way to prevent the deadly stigma, the country’s president started the practice of “adopting” the child in 1907.

Former strongman Juan Domingo Perón formally established the ceremony in a decree in 1973, and his wife, Isabella, extended it to baby girls.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Tawil’s family first sent a letter to then-President Carlos Menem in 1993 asking for the honor but was denied because it was traditionally only granted to Catholic children until 2009.

This year, Tawil wrote another letter citing the 2009 decree and his wish was granted.

In a Twitter post, Fernández de Kirchner described the Tawils as “a very special family. They have a sort of peace, happiness and a lot of love that is not common.”

Fernández de Kirchner has become godmother of nearly 700 children – none of whom have been known to turn into werewolves – since taking office in 2007.

While it's tantalizing to link the presidential adoptions to the lobisón legend, one Argentinian historian is calling bull. Daniel Balmaceda told the U.K.’s Guardian that there is no link between the two traditions. 

He said the president’s custom began when Enrique Brost and Apolonia Holmann, emigrants from southeastern Russia 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 czar was said to become godfather to seventh sons, and Argentina’s president accepted,” Balmaceda said.

“The unconnected myth of the lobisón began among Argentina’s ‘gauchos,’ the cowboys of Argentina’s vast cattle-raising Pampas, adapted from the older European werewolf legends.”

Fox News Latino reached out to the Argentinian embassy in Washington for more information about either the adoptions or the lobisón, but messages weren't returned.

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