A Werewolf Hunter’s Tools

What would you do to defend yourself against a werewolf gone rogue?  In the days before the concept of a friendly werewolf, legends spanned most continents that told stories of man-wolves who would sooner kill their victims than help them out.  And the regular wolves that roamed the countryside were nothing in comparison to these monstrous fiends with red glowing eyes and a hunger for human flesh.

Most famous of werewolf hunting tools is the silver bullet.  Real silver bullets are difficult to find these days, and with good reason.  As pure silver is a softer metal than lead, it immediately poses a problem for those wishing to fire one out of a conventional weapon.  In the days of werewolf hunters such as Jean Chastel, the Arquebus was often implemented, which was far more forgiving of the projectiles used, and required only sufficient gunpowder to launch a projectile.  Another problem with the silver involved with a silver bullet is one of heat.  Silver was likely not melted and molded into a proper bullet by traditional means.  While lead can be melted and poured into a bullet mold in temperatures no less than 622 degrees Fahrenheit, silver requires far more heat than the standard kiln gives off, and melts only at temperatures exceeding 1,763.2 degrees Fahrenheit.  Clearly silver requires far more heat than the standard kiln, so bullets made from silver were exceedingly rare and often shaped rather than molded by bending and hammering.  Additionally, the expense of acquiring enough silver to mold a bullet is another hurdle.  As a result, bullets would more likely be blessed with holy water then dried before making contact with gunpowder to prevent misfiring.

Another powerful tool in the hunting of supernatural werewolves in ancient times was the use of wolfsbane, or aconitum flower.  These herbs were said to possess powerful wolf repelling qualities that in fact extended to both werewolves and wolves of the more “mundane” variety.  Aconite has several properties attributed to it, including the ability to kill a secret werewolf if they eat it.  Of course it also had the potential to kill non-werewolves if an allergy was present or too much was eaten, but it was often used as medicine for a number of ailments.  A werewolf problem often would be “treated” rather than hunted in the heyday of so called “werewolf” attacks, with a wise matron of a local village or township handing wolfsbane to those who required help.

Though they are prolific in modern popular culture, werewolf attacks are not a part of our world.  Often those who carry out “werewolf” attacks are quickly diagnosed with mental ailments such as schizophrenia or lycanthropy (in which a patient believes they are half wolf).  Of course there are some limited cases of wolf-like beings appearing to transform before witnesses frightened eyes.  These cases, of course are extraordinarily rare.  So it seems the werewolf myth does have some modern thorns in its side, but thankfully stories never go extinct and there will no doubt be plenty of werewolf stories for years to come.