You ask and I deliver! Over on our Facebook page I asked you, my fantastic werewolf fans, what you wanted me to write about and you replied that you want silver. More specifically, you want to know what’s up with werewolves and silver. We all know the story about silver bullets being the only way to take down a werewolf and you want to know if there’s any truth to that. So I gathered up all of my books on werewolves, mythology, superstitions and so on (I have a lot) and found out what I could on silver and werewolves. Here are my findings…
Killing a werewolf with silver does NOT come from folklore or age-old stories – it comes from the movies. Yes, it’s true, the whole werewolves vs. silver thing was thought up by Curt Siodmak, the man who wrote the script for The Wolf Man in 1941. He is also the one who made up the bit about transforming on the full moon. Silver bullets AND the curse of the full moon came from this man’s head.
Was Siodmak inspired by folklore and superstition? Possibly. There are plenty of beliefs surrounding both the moon and silver (moon myths here). For example, silver was considered one of the most precious of metals and was said to both ward off evil and bring good luck. It was once common practice to keep a silver coin in your pocket for good luck (some still do this, particularly brides on their wedding day). And oddly enough, while there aren’t any folktales about people killing werewolves with silver, I did find that some people once believed that silver could kill vampires. So originally, silver could be used against vampires, but it was the movies that changed that to werewolves. There was a time in history when some even used silver nails to nail down coffin lids in order to prevent the corpse from rising as a vampire.
So all in all, it was Curt Siodmak, the man behind the original Wolf Man film, who came up with the moon curse and silver bullets.