Werewolves & Silver Bullets?

How come silver bullets will apparently kill werewolves? They’ve been a legend for many centuries whereas guns with bullets have only been around for a couple of centuries. Did the early villagers accidently use a silver dagger? Does silver anything supposedly have an effect (like a wooden stake w/vampires)? Might a medieval predecessor to the Lone Ranger (who evidentally had the bucks to use silver bullets) (and why DID the L.R. carry, or at least leave, silver bullets?) have existed in Eastern European prehistory? Would this also mean the werewolves also fear Coors Light? :slight_smile:

Thanks, and have a positive day,

better living through chemistry

I don’t know the answer to your werewolf question but I do know the answer to you Lone Ranger question.

When the Lone Ranger radio show was in the developmental stages it was decided that the character should be a composite of Zorro and Robin Hood. A Robin Hood radio serial at the time featured silver-tipped arrows. This inspired the silver bullets that meshed well with the name of the Lone Ranger’s white horse. For good measure they also gave the Lone Ranger silver shoes. Luckily, the shoes were replaced with cowboy boots by the time the Lone Ranger hit movies and TV.

The episode detailing Silver’s origin has the silver bullets in use prior to TLR’s acquiring the horse. The backstory of the silver bullets is that TLR and his brother owned a silver mine which they were going to work after leaving the Rangers. TLR’s brother was killed (by the Cavendish gang) and the silver bullets are in part a tribute to his dead brother.

The origin of silver as a weapon against werewolves predates the invention of the gun (in the first werewolf movie the beast was done in by being hit with a silver-headed cane). Silver has long been a symbol of purity. When guns and bullets became common, it made sense that popculture would co-opt the image of a silver version of this common weapon.

That would be The Wolf Man (1941) you’re referring to. Don’t forget The Werewolf of London (1935), in which Henry Hull bites the dust after being winged with an ordinary lead bullet.


And in An American Werewolf in London the lycanthrope was done in by a hail of ordinary 7.62mm NATO from L1A1 rifles.

In Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London a werewolf was drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s. His hair was perfect.

Basically, silver is bad for evil things. For instance, an instrument with silver strings is supposed to be able to break enchantment.


'Twis brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gymble in the wabe.
Mimsy were the borogroves,
And the momeraths outgrabe.

…and when Warren Zevon played the long gone and much lamented “Main Point” on the Main Line in Philly so many years ago, it was “Wa-hoooo…werewolves of Bryn Mawr”. I loved that place. I saw a concert there, and the last band to gig the night before had left a large sign, it read “Gentleman George Thorogood and The Delaware Destroyers”. <sigh> Takes me back. Just about everyone played there. Legend has it that Jackson Browne rode a bike out from Center City to play a benefit to try to save the place at one point before it closed. ( I actually worked with Jackson about 18 months ago, and of course never thought to ask if the damned story was true…) I don’t even think The Main Point seated 250.



If you want to kiss the sky, you’d better learn how to kneel.

Thank you, Manly Wade Wellman.