Okay, so why the heck would silver kill a werewolf? Why not gold? Or good old fashioned steel?
Personally, I wonder if it’s just a scheme to give them some mythical popularity. But I’ve done some research and I’ve got some historical views now. Actually, silver and the werewolf weren’t tied together until somewhat recently, historically speaking. So check this out.
Alchemy: Silver & The Moon
According to the old alchemy table of the elements, silver came from the moon. Now, let’s think, why would the moon and werewolves be tied together? Ah yes, that pesky full moon change.
Interesting fact, gold was from the sun, iron was from Mars, and lead was from Saturn. Fun, right? Well, you can check out that wikipedia article here. But I feel like this could be a fun reason why silver and werewolves started to be associated. The crescent moon has been associated with silver for ages.
Beast of Gevuadan
One of the first stories we know of that used silver bullets to kill a ‘werewolf’ was the Beast of Gevuada from France in the 1760’s. History tells us of a man-eating wolf-like creature that killed a lot of cattle and then went after people. Reports differ on exactly how many people died in these attack, but most reports say the victim count was in the hundreds. Of course, some witnesses were reported to have stabbed the beast to no effect. Of course, this is where the werewolf myth gets tied in.
A guy named Jean Chastel is credited with the kill for the Beast of Gevuadan. Some reports say he was praying when the beast attacked and that’s how he managed to kill it. The more popular theory, perhaps due to the werewolf tie in, is that he shot it with a blessed silver bullet of his own crafting.
Those Brothers Grimm
If you’ve done any kind of reading about the supernatural or fairy tales, you’ve probably heard of the Brother’s Grimm. They’re a set of German storytellers who publicized the original fairy tales that we see in Disney movies: like Snow White, Cinderella, and the Frog Princess. If you read the originals, they’re much more icky than the Disney version which was cleaned up for kids.
However, the Brothers Grimm wrote a tale called “The Two Brothers” which was about, you guessed it, two brothers. They have this mystical connection through a knife, and go on separate adventures. A seven-headed dragon and a princess later, one of them runs up against a witch. He shoots it, but she’s proof against led. He tears off three silver buttons from his clothes, stuffs them in his gun, and tada, dead witch.
You can get Grimm’s Fairy Tales from Amazon for free on your eReader.
A Comment on Silver Bullets
Okay, so some gun experts have done some research into making silver bullets. Apparently, it’s extremely difficult to just go out and melt down silver and cast some bullets like they do in books and movies. I’m not a gunsmith, so I can’t be totally sure. If you want a more complete explanation, check out this site by Patricia Briggs, who is famous for her Mercy Thompson novels. The site references other gun experts who have done their own research. If you’re a gun buff, check out her extensive collection and links.
A Bullet to the Heart
Once again, the silver and werewolf legend’s accuracy in your paranormal fantasy novel highly depend on your author. For me, I love the silver legend because it’s one of the things that ties together a lot of the common werewolf stories. In my Victoria Novak: Paranormal Division novels, silver kills werewolves and vampires both. Tori uses silver plated bullets and silver plated knifes and even has her own specialty silver stakes.
So, have fun with your legend! But make sure that once you choose your level of silver allergy, you stick with it throughout the entire novel.
If you liked this explanation, be sure and share this post on your favorite social media. As always, comment with any questions and I’ll get back to you with whatever I know. You can also check out my post about vampires and garlic, if this was down your alley.