Shapeshifting, also spelled shape-shifting, is the paranormal ability to change appearance, taking the features of another living being. Sometimes this paranormal ability is referred to as transformation or metamorphosis, which is slightly incorrect because the first term is too generic while the second term indicate a mutation in only one direction, without the possibility of returning to the previous physical appearance (i.e. a caterpillar into a butterfly).
This paranormal faculty is common to many alien species as well as hybrids, of which the most famous case of shape-shifting worthy of being mentioned as an example is that of the Jeremiah Smith clone series. These hybrid beings can take on the features of any human being in the blink of an eye as if they were chameleons and without physical pain (TXF: Talitha Cumi).
Even creatures commonly considered legendary or mythological, like werewolves and Manitou, can be counted among the creatures that can shapeshift, although in this case they can only assume fully or in part canine features, but not the appearance of other humans or animals. Their transformation is painful and for this reason, perhaps, most legends mention lycanthropy as a curse. (TXF: Shapes; X-Cops)
Witches, through rituals of black magic and witchcraft, are able to take on different identities or to assume physical appearance and characteristics of some animals, such as snakey eyes. It is assumed that this ability is also shared by demons, since the true identity of Phyllis Paddock remains a mystery and it has been speculated that she may be the demon Azazel in disguise (TXF: Die Hand Die Verletzt; Sanguinarium).
- Shapeshifting on Wikipedia