The term Berserker could mean "bare shirt" or naked, since berserkers, as a mark of their ferocity and invincibility, are said to have fought without armor. The term may also mean "bear-shirt," reflective of the shape and nature of the bear, with which the warriors associated themselves. More literally, it may refer to protective bearskins that the warriors may have worn into battle. When the "berserker rage" was upon him, a berserker was thought of as a sort of "were-bear," a part man, part beast.
Berserkers were said to be the first sent ashore during a Viking raid. They drank a strange brew and worked themselves into such a frenzy that they jumped into the small boats, rushed ashore, and ran through the villages attacking and killing villagers before the Viking warriors came ashore. Sometimes they were so berserk that, when they jumped into the boats, some missed the boats and were drowned.
Berserkers are found today in bars, clubs, and ball games. They drink alcohol to excess, the run around without their shirts, and sometimes paint themselves in their team colors. They may dress as Vikings or Bears. They yell, work themselves into a frenzy, and start feeling invincible. Then they run out of the bars or games attacking anyone in their way. If you encounter one of these berserkers, it may be a just humorous encounter or you may have to fight for your life, so be prepared.
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